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    13 Interesting Facts About The Haunted Mansion That Will Make You Say, "I Had No Idea"

    It’s been 20 years since Jack Skellington first took up residence in this iconic ride.

    by ,

    What's this? What's this? It's the 20th (yes, 20th!!!) anniversary of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion Holiday celebratingTim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas! So, in honor of this special occasion, here are some interesting behind-the-scenes facts about the Haunted Mansion...because life's no fun without a good scare...

    Crystal Ro / BuzzFeed

    1. The Haunted Mansion is the only attraction that's located in four different "lands" across four different Disney Parks.

    Exterior of the Haunted Mansion in Tokyo Disneyland, which features a brick building and a small greenhouse
    4K Theme Park Videos / Via

    It is located in New Orleans Square at Disneyland, Liberty Square at Walt Disney World, Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland (pictured above), and Frontierland at Disneyland Paris.

    2. The ride was in development for years — dating back to the late '50s. The facade of the mansion was completed in 1963, but the ride itself wouldn't open until 1969.

    Park goers waiting in line to enter the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland in 1980
    Scott Mcpartland / Getty Images

    Several factors caused a delay in completing the attraction. First was that Imagineers were redirected into developing four attractions for the 1964 New York World's Fair. 

    Second was that Imagineers were unsure of what would go in the house, aka they could not decided whether the attraction was meant to be scary or fun. 

    Third was Walt Disney's death in 1966, which put a pause on the project.

    3. When they finally built the Haunted Mansion, Imagineers created two of everything (props and animatronics, etc.) for Disneyland and Disney World because the Magic Kingdom was already under construction and would have its own version of the attraction as an opening day ride.

    Exterior of the Haunted Mansion in Disney World
    DLP Welcome / Via

    4. The idea to do an overlay on the Haunted Mansion first came about when Imagineer Steve Davison was walking by it and said, "Oh, what would it be like if Santa landed on that house? What might it be?"

    Steve Davison, Imagineer, sitting in front of a wall of drawings of Nightmare Before Christmas
    travelan / Via

    5. Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland are the only two parks that get the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.

    Exterior of Haunted Mansion in Tokyo Disneyland
    Attractions 360° / Via

    Reportedly the overlay is only done at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland because both those parks' visitors are primarily locals, while the Magic Kingdom at Disney World is primarily visited by people who don't live in the area. The thinking is that those visitors might only get to experience the Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom once, so to not give them a different experience than they are expecting, they do not do the overlay.

    6. When it first opened in 2001, Imagineers were originally nervous that the overlay would not be well received by guests since it was changing one of the park's most iconic attractions.

    Exterior of Haunted Mansion in Disneyland, Jack Skellington sitting on a Jack O Lantern at the entrance
    Barry King / WireImage

    There was the added risk of basing the theme of the overlay on a then 8-year-old movie, which was more of a cult hit. But it was an instant hit from opening day.

    7. Because it's so difficult to put the Stretching Room portraits back on if they're taken down, the Imagineers instead overlay the Nightmare Before Christmas-themed portraits over them.

    The stretching room decorated with it's Holiday Mansion overlay
    MediaNews Group via Getty Images

    8. A brand-new Gingerbread Mansion is created EVERY YEAR to display inside the ride's Grand Hall scene during Haunted Mansion Holiday.

    A tall gingerbread mansion with wreath, pumpkin, and ribbon decor, sits 10 feet high inside Haunted Mansion Holiday
    MediaNews Group via Getty Images

    The 2021 creation is nearly 10 feet tall and made from about 30 pounds of gingerbread.

    9. And this year's features a lot of double X's in the design, which is meant to be a nod to the Roman numeral 20 and also the XX used to draw cartoon eyes when a character "kicks the bucket."

    Close up of the wreath on the cake with XX in the middle and a gingerbread man cookie with XX for eyes
    MediaNews Group via Getty Images

    10. During Haunted Mansion Holiday, Disney Imagineer Kim Irvine — who is the daughter of the original Madame Leota — gives a spirited performance as everyone's favorite psychic, floating inside the Haunted Mansion’s Crystal Ball in the Séance Room.

    11. It takes Disney's team nearly 7,500 square feet — almost the size of TWO basketball courts — of "snow" to transform the graveyard into a spooky winter wonderland.

    Inside the Haunted Mansion Holiday graveyard where ghost musicians play around graveyards, covered in fake snow
    MediaNews Group via Getty Images

    12. The animatronic of Sally in the cemetery scene is a more recent addition. She was added in 2016, for the overlay's 15th anniversary.

    Inside the ride, in the graveyard, Sally leaning on a tombstone, head resting in her hands
    Attraction Faction / Via

    13. And lastly, the Haunted Holiday Mansion has one very famous celeb who hates it: Ryan Gosling.

    Ryan Gosling going OFF about the Haunted Mansion for 42 seconds

    Twitter: @carriesnotscary

    In 2020, an old clip of Ryan — whose favorite ride is the Haunted Mansion — passionately talking about his dislike of the overlay went viral.

    The Haunted Mansion Holiday is running now through Jan. 9, 2022, at Disneyland Park. And if you want to experience it IRL, you can get your tickets here. Season's Screamings!

    Disney / Via

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