The Stretching Room is the the first major show scene in all versions of the Haunted Mansion.
Disneyland/Walt Disney World/Tokyo
Guests enter this octagonal room from the Foyer as the Ghost Host welcomes them. Four paintings, flanked by candle-wielding gargoyles, hang from the walls in this chamber, which are said to be "guests as they appeared in their corruptible mortal states." As the Ghost Host continues, the door which guests enters through slides closed and the room seemingly stretches upwards, the paintings on the walls elongating with it to reveal a comically gruesome end for each subject:
- A bearded gentleman holding a document is revealed to be wearing only his undergarments from the waist down and standing atop a lit keg of dynamite.
- A pretty young lady holding a parasol is revealed to be balancing on a fraying tightrope above the gaping jaws of an alligator.
- An old woman holding a rose is revealed to be sitting atop a tall gravestone, at the bottom of which is a stone bust of her husband George with a hatchet embedded in his head.
- A man in a bowler hat is revealed to be sitting on the shoulders of another man, who sits on the shoulders of a third man who is waist-deep in quicksand.
“...And consider this dismaying observation: this chamber has no windows and no doors... which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out! Of course, there's always my way...”
At this point the lights go out and lightning flashes above. The ceiling vanishes and gives a view of the mansion's cupola, where the skeletal corpse of the Ghost Host sways from a noose tied to the rafters. After a few seconds, the room becomes pitch black and a dreadful scream is heard, followed by the sound of bones shattering.
When the lights come back up, the ceiling has returned to normal. Another panel slides open, letting guests exit into the Portrait Corridor.
Guests file into an octagonal room with four portraits of a young Melanie Ravenswood. The Phantom comments on the paintings, and asks guests if they have noticed that the walls are stretching. The room actually appears to stretch, and the portraits grow taller — revealing some haunting situations the young girl is in, including:
- picking flowers above a gravestone where a skeleton emerges from the ground.
- holding a parasol while in a boat above a vertical waterfall.
- stepping through a stream as a water monster reaches for her foot.
- having a picnic with her fiancé as ants raid their food and a snake, scorpion, spider and beetle approach.
After the Phantom offers a challenge of finding a way out (to which he adds that there's always his way) the ceiling turns invisible in a flash of lightning, revealing the Phantom emerging from a secret panel high above in the cupola, holding on to the rope he used to hang the groom from the rafters as he laughs sinisterly.
The Stretching Room portraits are changed to "Twas the Night Before Christmas" style portraits in stained glass, and the ceiling appears as a green wreath with a yellow bow surrounding a blue area. As the lights go out, the Ghost Host says a dark version of the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" poem, the glass "shatters", and portraits of Halloweentown's version of Christmas are revealed underneath:
- The outside of a house decorated for Christmas changes to Jack Skellington as "Sandy Claws" with lots of ghosts behind him.
- The Christmas tree with presents underneath changes to a massive, carnivorous snake.
- The stockings in front of a fireplace changes to the evil toys emerging from Jack's sack.
- The children sleeping in their bed changes to a large monster wreath.
Also, the wreath goes dark indigo as well as the glass, and the bow turns orange. Once the Ghost Host finishes speaking, the wreath "shatters" into a Jack-o-Lantern face, before completely breaking to reveal Jack Skellington leans forward in his "Sandy Claws" outfit with his ghost dog Zero in the cupola, obscuring the Ghost Host's hanging corpse. Jack says "Happy Holidays, everyone!" to the guests before he cackles and vanishes into the darkness, accompanied by the same scream from the regular Haunted Mansion, and then the bone shattering noise is heard after the room goes black, and the ceiling flashes in the style of the Jack-o-Lantern face from earlier. When the lights come back on, the only trace of Jack and Zero are the shattered glass, the cupola, and it's hanging occupant.
- In the Disneyland original, as well as Phantom Manor, the Stretching Room is actually a cleverly disguised elevator, designed to take guests down so they can pass through a corridor that takes them to a separate show building. The scene became so iconic that it remained in later versions of the attraction, though in these the floor does not move down at all and the ceiling simply moves upward, taking the walls with it.