The Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom is the second version of the Haunted Mansion to be built. Unlike the first one, this version is supposed to look little more run down, and has a completely different facade. The interior is different as well, featuring a different layout and some rooms that were not in the original.
This page is about the real-world attraction found in Walt Disney World; for a page on the in-universe location in which this incarnation is set, click here.
As the construction of Walt Disney World lined up with the installation of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion, duplicates of every animatronic, prop and setpiece were created to save time and money, allowing Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion to be the first attraction finished for Walt Disney World. With the high Florida water table and the park's layout not requiring a tunnel under the railroad, the Stretching Room goes up instead of down. Several new scenes were also developed for Florida such as the Sinister Eleven portrait gallery, Library, Music Room, and the Spider staircase. The spider staircase was briefly home to the Spider-Web Man, a skeleton trapped by the giant spiders, though this was removed shortly after opening.
With Liberty Square replacing New Orleans Square in the Magic Kingdom's land roster, a new facade was developed for the attraction. With New England's long history of horror stories such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the works of Edgar Allan Poe, the Mansion was placed in upstate New York and given a "Dutch Colonial Gothic" architectural aesthetic. Although the facade of the Mansion may have been inspired by the Harry Packer Mansion, its actual design is based on the Joel Rathbone mansion, a Gothic Revival Pointed-style villa designed by Alexander Jackson (A.J.) Davis, in the upper Hudson River Valley area of Albany, New York.
In 2007, the attraction underwent a significant refurbishment known as "The Re-Haunting", which upgraded the sound system in the Stretching Room to give the effect of the Ghost Host's voice moving through the room and adding new sound effects, brought in updates to the Seance Room and Attic that had been added to Disneyland's Mansion in 2005 and 2006, replaced the Sinister Eleven's gallery with the Changing Portraits (while spreading the Sinister Eleven paintings across the Mansion), the spiders being replaced by the new Endless Staircase scene, and rerecording the "Grim Grinning Ghosts" vocals in the Graveyard scene.
This was followed in 2011 by an expanded queue area featuring new tribute headstones and three large interactive crypts. Additionally, the original Hitchhiking Ghosts effect was replaced by digitally projected computer animated ghosts that more directly interacted with the guests in the mirrors.
Entering the queuing area through a pair of ornate gates, guests find themselves in the mansion's nearly-neglected gardens and grounds. The queuing path leads guests past a knocked over birdbath, a black carriage hearse led by an invisible horse, and finally leads into the awning.
From the awning there are two, separate paths from which the guest can choose. The shorter one is for FastPass guests and leads directly to the mansion. The longer one takes guests through a portion of the mansion's overgrown cemetery.
If a guest chooses the longer path, he is greeted at a gate with several busts of former mansion residents. This graveyard twists and turns, past several crypts and headstones. This including the likes of Culpepper Clyne, Prudence Pock, a composer's crypt, and the remains of the Dread Family. At the end of each path lies the servant's entrance.
“When hinges creek in doorless chambers, and strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls... Whenever candle lights flicker, where the air is deathly still... That is the time when ghosts are present, practicing their terror with ghoulish delight."
As the Ghost Host delivers his infamous narration, the image in the portrait transforms Dorian Gray-style from that of a handsome young man, to that of a rotting corpse.
The hidden doors then open, and the guests are then ushered into an octagonal portrait gallery and encouraged by the staff to "drag your bodies" into the "dead center" of the room. As the wall behind them slides closed, the Ghost Host introduces himself with an eerie voice:
“Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Mansion. I am your host – your ‘ghost host.’"
As the Ghost Host continues his narration, the room begins to "stretch." The portraits on the walls elongate, revealing morbidly comedic fates of previous guests:
- 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...”
With a sudden thunderclap, the lights go out and the ceiling vanishes, revealing the cupola above. Hanging from a noose tied to the rafters is the skeletal corpse of the Ghost Host, illuminated by flashes of lightning. After a few seconds, the room becomes pitch black and a dreadful scream is heard, followed by the sound of bones shattering. As the lights come back on, the ceiling reappears and a wall mysteriously opens.
Upon boarding, guests enter a rather steep stairwell and pass under a landing where a floating candlabra floats in the darkness.
After guests pass under, they enter a hallway. To the left are two windows with white sheer drapes; lightning crashes and thunders outside. To the right are four paintings: a woman in a black sheer dress reclining on a daybed, a sloop on choppy waters, a knight on a rearing horse, and a woman in a Greek temple. With each flash of lightning, the paintings become: an anthropomorphic tiger, a ghost ship in a tropical storm, a skeleton knight on a skeleton horse, and Medusa in Greek Ruins.
As guests leave the hallway, they enter into a rectangular library, which is filled from floor-to-ceiling by shelves lined with hundreds of books. It is then the Ghost Host boasts:
“Our library is well stocked with priceless first editions, only ghost stories, of course, and marble busts of the greatest ghost writers the literary world has ever known. They have all retired here to the Haunted Mansion. Actually, we have 999 Happy Haunts here, but there's room for a thousand. Any volunteers, hmm?"
Phantom hands pull books from the shelves. An empty chair rocks gently back and fourth, and a ladder slides to and fro as an unseen force searches for a good read. Among the shelves, marble busts glare at guests as they move along in the gloom.
Out of the library, guests enter the Music Room. Piano music fills the air, as a dust covered square piano sits in the center of the room, plays by itself. Or so it seems. The moonlight casts the shadow of a pianist on the floor as he pounds away on the piano keys.
As guests ascend the grand staircase, they enter the main stairwell of the Mansion. Here in this M.C. Escher-like void the stairs go right-side up, upside-down, sideways, slantways, longways, backways, frontways, squareways, and any other ways that you can think of. It is on these steps we see the ectoplasmic footprints of the Mansion's ghostly residents. In the blackness, glowing, blinking eyes transform into the pattern on the wallpaper.
On the second floor, the Doombuggies point guests toward a hallway with no apparent end. A candelabra can be seen floating in the distance of the misty passage. Near the entrance stands a haunted, moving suit of armor.
Turning away from the endless hall, guests travel past a conservatory filled with dead, withered plants and flowers. In the middle of the room is a coffin occupied by a restless "guest" sealed in a coffin, attempting to get out. Perched near the coffin is a black raven with glowing red eyes.
The Doombuggies continue down a corridor lined with doors. The sounds of pounding, screeching, calls for help, and maniacal laughter can be heard. Door knockers and handles are moved by unseen hands, and some doors appear to be "breathing." The walls, covered in demon-faced wallpaper, are adorned with daguerreotypes of corpses and a large painting of the Ghost Host. A demonic grandfather clock chimes 13 as the hands spin wildly backwards, and the shadow of a claw passes over it.
Guests enter a dark séance room full of floating musical instruments. Madame Leota, a deceased medium whose disembodied head appears within a crystal ball, summons the mansion's spirits while levitating above her table. Madame Leota says the following:
"Serpents and spiders, tail of a rat, Call in the spirits, wherever they're at. Rap on a table, it's time to respond, Send us a message from somewhere beyond. Goblins and ghoulies from last Halloween, Awaken the spirits with your tambourine. Creepies and crawlies, toads in a pond, Let there be music from regions beyond. Wizards and witches wherever you dwell, Give us a hint by ringing a bell."
Next, guests pass onto the balcony of a magnificent ballroom where the happy haunts begin to materialize. A ghostly birthday party appears to be taking place at the dining table. Some spirits sit on the chandeliers, gorging themselves on wine, while other ghosts enter the hall from an open coffin in a hearse. A ghost wraps his arm around a woman bust, and two portraits of men with guns come to life, dueling with their pistols. A ghost plays an organ.
The attic is an irregularly shaped room that the Doombuggies enter immediately after the ballroom scene. It features a collection of gifts, personal items, mementos, and wedding portraits. In each portrait, the same bride is featured with a different groom, whose heads disappear to the accompaniment of a hatchet sound. Eagle-eyed guests may notice that with each successive photograph, the bride gains another string of pearls. Just before the Doombuggies leave the attic, Constance Hatchaway is seen floating in the air, intoning macabre wedding vows. As she raises her arms, a hatchet appears in her hands.
The Doombuggies drift out a window, turn around, and tip backwards down a fifteen percent grade staircase surrounded by dark, ghoulish trees with knotted expressions. On a branch overhead, a raven caws angrily at the guests.
The Doombuggies reach the ground, and turn towards the gate of the graveyard. There stands a caretaker, one of the few living characters in the entire attraction, his knees shaking in fright and an expression of terror on his face. Beside him is his emaciated dog, whining and whimpering. Around the corner, a ghostly band of minstrels plays a jazzy rendition of "Grim Grinning Ghosts".
Ghouls pop up from behind tombstones, a king and queen balance on a teeter-totter, a duchess swings back and forth from a tree branch, and a skeletal hellhound howls from behind them. The Doombuggies travel down a hill and turn to see five singing busts continuing the song of "Grim Grinning Ghosts."
Next, guests encounter a tea party of ghosts surrounding a hearse stuck in the mud. An arm protrudes out of a crypt with a tea cup in its bony hand, while banshees ride bikes in the distance. Nearby, the ghost of a hearing-impaired old spirit struggles to understand the words of an awakened mummy through a hearing horn.
The Doombuggies turn to face two "phantoms of the opera," blasting their voices up into the night. Beside them are three other ghosts — a decapitated knight, his executioner, and a prisoner — who also join in the song.
Guests pass a spirit bricking himself into his own tomb and enter a crypt where they encounter the Hitchhiking Ghosts. Passing by large mirrors, guests discover that one of the trio has hitched a ride in their Doombuggy. The last apparition guests see as they continue through the crypt is a tiny, female spectral figure, who encourages them to:
“Hurry back... be sure to bring your death certificate, if you decide to join us. Make final arrangements now. We've been ‘dying’ to have you…”
Guests then exit their Doombuggies, and walk out of the mansion.
As there are Hidden Mickeys hidden throughout Disney Parks, there are also five hidden Jack Skellingtons throughout the Mansion. They are:
- Two copies of The Nightmare Before Christmas in the library: one on the table next to the rocking chair, the other on the ground next to the table.
- Another The Nightmare Before Christmas book in the attic on the Attic floor near the orange rug and tea china.
- A snowglobe bust on a shelf on the right side of the attic.
- A doll in a basket on the corner opposite of Constance.
- The mansion's interior supposedly has 999 faces or people weaved into its design, to represent each ghost. An example would be the trim of the music room, which looks like small people.
- According to an urban-myth, the mansion's exterior has every chess pieces built into it's architecture, except for the knight. The knight is missing because inside the Haunted Mansion, it's always night.
- The space beneath the Séance Room is often used for storage of old props and animatronics from other attractions, with one of the most famous residents being the head of Max from the Country Bear Jamboree attraction.