Well, I finally got up the ambition to tackle this legendary attraction. The Haunted Mansion is one of the most requested attractions in the emails I receive from viewers. I must have 8-10 complete ride through videos of this attraction but still it's extremely hard to find usable clips from such a dark show. Some of the footage in this episode is grainy and fuzzy but that is a choice I made to at least try to show some detail. Next to the Westfest 2007 video I did, this one took me longer than any other episode to gather media, capture video and edit. There is so much information written about HM that I thought I would never be able to pull together a short and informative narrative but I guess it turned out OK in the end. I hope you all enjoy the show!
Once again, I'm including the script for this attraction. If you have a request for other scripts, please send me an email and I will see if I have them. I only have a few though because I never thought I would need the. Live and learn I guess.
I would really like to thank everyone who has sent me an email, a voicemail or has left a review on iTunes. I read them all and really appreciate your feedback!!! If you haven't yet and you are enjoying my videos, I would love to hear from you and I would greatly appreciate a review on iTunes. THANKS!
The origin of the Haunted Mansion dates back to 1951, four years before Disneyland opened. A Haunted House and Church Graveyard were part of Harper Goff's original concept drawings for Walt's "Mickey Mouse Park" which eventually grew into Disneyland. It would take 18 years and many changes during its development for this attraction to come to life "no pun intended".
It's no surprise that the first post Walt Disney attraction had some big challenges to overcome before it became a reality. The Haunted Mansion opened on August 9, 1969 but as far back as 1965, Disneyland had been promoting the upcoming addition. One press release read "The world’s greatest collection of actively retired ghosts will soon call this Haunted Mansion home." The Haunted Mansion building had been completed for years, remaining unoccupied along the Rivers of America. Walt’s obligations for the 1964 New York World's Fair had forced him to put the Mansion’s design on hold. Then over the next few years many other projects took priority. But that changed in 1968 when the design kicked into high gear.
Like Pirates, the Haunted Mansion was at first going to be a walk through attraction. But the ever pressing need for high capacity attractions led to an adaptation of the Omni Mover system that had been used for the "Adventures Through Inner Space" attraction. For the Mansion, the Omni Mover cars were dubbed "Doom Buggies".
It was difficult to find anybody at WED who did not, at one time or another, work on the project. Harper Goff, Ken Anderson and Sam McKim were among many Disney Legends who contributed to the design and planning of the Haunted Mansion. Another Disney Legend, Marc Davis, helped with some concept drawings. With Walt gone and the reality of having too many cooks in the kitchen, Marc said (quote) "I think we had a lot of confusion because Walt had not been gone all that long. I think there were a lot of great ideas, but when you have too many people of equal clout, nobody’s about to say 'Hey, wait a minute! Let's do it this way.' which Walt would have done in a moment." (end quote)
During the design phase, there were arguments back and forth on whether the ghosts should be scary or more lighthearted. Which would Walt prefer? Nearly every person working on the Mansion thought the building should look old and dilapidated. Walt wanted it to look fresh and new. These are just a couple of the challenges the Imagineers faced. The debate went on for a few years before the lighter side won out and the immaculate, friendly-looking Southern mansion became a "happy haunting ground" for the grim grinning ghosts.
Imagineer Rolly Crump worked closely with Imagineer Yale Gracey, forming a team that would invent many of the Mansion's amazing illusions. Using techniques both new and old, Crump and Gracey developed, among other things, incredible methods of enabling the Mansion's guests to see "transparent" ghosts and other eerie apparitions. This illusion, called "Pepper's Ghost" by stage magicians, has been used in the theater since the late 1800s and it still works perfectly to this day.
After all those years of empty promises, it was little wonder that the newly inhabited Haunted Mansion generated tremendous interest on its grand opening. It was the most anticipated premiere in the history of Disneyland, and quickly led the Park to new records in attendance.
The Haunted Mansion is still today among the park's most beloved attractions, and remains a "gold standard" in the haunted attraction industry. It is one of the few attractions to appear in all four Disney parks, and the only one to appear in a different "land" in each. Now grab a hold of your loved ones and stick close as we bravely venture through Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.
What many guests thought was an urban legend is actually true – there was indeed, a pet cemetery hidden in an enclosed garden at the side of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion. It was created in the early 1980s by Imagineering’s Senior concept designer for Disneyland, Kim Irvine – the daughter of Madame Leota herself, Leota Toombs. Kim bought pieces of statuary from local nurseries and turned to show writer Chris Goosman to compose humorous epitaphs for the lost pets. This hidden gem proved to be such a hit that Imagineers made it official, creating a permanent pet cemetery along the attraction’s queue in 1993. Pet cemeteries have since been added to all the other incarnations of the Haunted Mansion.