Disney Ride History: The Haunted Mansion

Hey guys! If you don’t remember, back in May of 2013, I told you I would talk about Disney history. But I really haven’t done much besides the Heroes of Animation series. So today, I will talk about the history of one of my favorite Disney rides.

When hinges creak in doorless chambers, and strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls; Whenever candlelights flicker where the air is deathly still – that is the time when ghosts are present, practicing their terror with ghoulish delight!

I absolutely LOVE this ride. It’s scary, it’s funny, it’s everything a Disney ride should be. But a good ride doesn’t make itself. Let’s dive into how Walt Disney and the Imagineers built this Haunted Mansion.

You see, Walt Disney had ideas of a haunted house even before Disneyland. Many designs were drawn before the opening of Disneyland. But it didn’t open with the park.

Many stories such as ones about sea captains and ghostly brides were written. I, for one have a strange fear of ghostly brides. But that doesn’t matter.

Imagineers Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey were making the “spectral effects” for the ride. They created many classic effects that we know and love today. But Walt wasn’t satisfied.

The mansion’s exterior was built, but the inside was still empty. Walt was busy with…


Oh geez…

Well, with the NY World’s Fair out of the way, Walt contributed more to the mansion. But he had one question:

Should it be scary? Or funny?

That was the argument made by Claude Coats and Marc Davis. Marc wanted it to be funny and goofy. But Claude wanted it to be scary and creepy.

Who won? Think about it. The first half of the ride, from the beginning all the way to the attic, is scary. But rhe second half, the graveyard, is goofy.

Both Claude and Marc got their way when the ride was built. 🙂

When the ride opened, people were disappointed. They thought it wasn’t scary enough. If a homicidal bride doesn’t seem scary to you, I don’t know what does.

But years later, it became a classic. Walt never saw his ghostly abode open, but if he did see it, he’d be proud.

Next episode, we’ll hop in our Doom Buggie and ride this haunted classic for ourselves!

See you later, Animators!

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