Disney’s Iconic Haunted Mansion Changes Overnight

Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney

The Disney Parks are constantly updated to bring more magic to guests during their visits. Sometimes, those big changes bring in brand-new rides or even lands. Other times, the changes revolve around bringing back something that once was in the parks.

Today in Walt Disney World, we saw a significant change to one iconic attraction.

He’s Back

The beloved Hatbox Ghost finally returned from Disneyland to Walt Disney World overnight. Guests of the Magic Kingdom were surprised to discover a new addition to The Haunted Mansion when riding early this morning.

Fans have anxiously been waiting for the Hatbox Ghost to reappear at Walt Disney World since the announcement came in September 2022.

The Hatbox Ghost was reintroduced in Disneyland for the 60th anniversary celebration. Those guests visiting The Haunted Mansion in Walt Disney World were left waiting and hoping for his return.

That day finally came as November wrapped up, and we prepared for the holiday season. It was a strange time to make a ghostly return, but an exciting one nonetheless.

The Hatbox Ghost made residence near the Endless Hallway scene, which is a very different location from where he makes his home in Disneyland Park.

No matter where he decides to set up his haunts, we are glad he is back at Walt Disney World again.

Hatbox Ghost at Haunted Mansion

Credit: Disney

History of Hatbox Ghost

The Hatbox Ghost is part of the mansion’s 999 happy haunts. The ghost is an elder figure that holds a cane and a hatbox in the other. What makes this ghost so interesting to guests is that his head would vanish from atop his shoulders to reappear inside the hatbox he holds.

When he first arrived at The Haunted Mansion, the Hatbox Ghost appeared before the attic scene, just before the bride character was introduced. 

The issue with this location was that the illusion wasn’t as strong due to the closeness between the animatronic and the ride vehicle. Because of this, the figure was quickly removed from the ride. Even since then, the Hatbox Ghost has become a legend to Disney guests.

The cast of Disney's 2023 'Haunted Mansion' looks into the crystal ball, Disney+

Credit: Disney, Canva

Hatbox Ghost Hits the Big Screen

The excitement of the Hatbox Ghost continued this year in the film The Haunted Mansion (2023). Alistair Crump, later known as the Hatbox Ghost in the film, is the main antagonist. In the film, the Hatbox Ghost works with the other ghosts to scare the newest owners of the mansion.

The film brought even more fun and excitement around the Hatbox Ghost character. 

As he appeared quietly at Walt Disney World overnight, it will be interesting to see how wait times for this already popular attraction are impacted by the return of the Hatbox Ghost.

Related: Disney Announces Plans for All-New Guest Experience Inspired by the Haunted Mansion Attraction

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.