Walt Disney World Resort is home to many iconic attractions, including the world-renowned Haunted Mansion.
It’s called “The Most Magical Place on Earth” for a reason. Disney World allows guests to come in contact with some of their favorite characters from their childhood at four different theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, as well as Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park.
If you’ve visited Disney World, you understand that the parks are always updating and changing attractions, but there are certain mainstays that simply remain the same no matter how many times you visit. Though every now and then, Disney World elects to change a longstanding attraction– such as Splash Mountain (which will soon be Tiana’s Bayou Adventure) or Snow White’s Scary Adventures (which was closed down in 2012 to make way for the Princess Fairytale Hall meet and greet space) — this is very much a rare occurrence.
Everything that Magic Kingdom has to offer
With its classic charm, iconic attractions, and immersive experiences, Magic Kingdom stands as the epitome of the Disney magic. Honestly, there’s so much to do when visiting Magic Kingdom that it simply can’t be accomplished in just one trip. Many Disney experts recommend spending at least two days at Magic Kingdom, if you have the time, to take advantage of all the offerings the Walt Disney World theme parks has at its disposal.
1. Cinderella Castle: The quintessential symbol of Magic Kingdom, Cinderella Castle serves as the park’s centerpiece and a beacon of dreams. The castle provides a stunning backdrop for various shows, parades, and nighttime spectaculars, making it a must-see for every visitor.
2. Main Street, U.S.A.: As you enter Magic Kingdom, you step onto Main Street, U.S.A., a charming avenue reminiscent of a small American town at the turn of the 20th century. Lined with shops, eateries, and nostalgic architecture, Main Street sets the tone for the magical experience that awaits.
3. Adventureland: Venture into Adventureland, where you’ll encounter exotic jungles, pirates, and the famous Swiss Family Treehouse. Attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise offer thrilling adventures for the whole family.
4. Frontierland: Saddle up for Frontierland, where the spirit of the Old West comes alive. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad provide exhilarating rides, while the Country Bear Jamboree and Tom Sawyer Island offer a taste of rustic charm. Currently, you can also spot the construction happening at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which is set to open in late 2024.
5. Liberty Square: Celebrate America’s rich history in Liberty Square, where attractions like The Hall of Presidents and The Haunted Mansion transport visitors to different eras. The Liberty Belle Riverboat takes guests on a scenic journey along the Rivers of America.
6. Fantasyland: Enter the realm of fairy tales in Fantasyland, where classic Disney stories come to life. From the iconic “it’s a small world” ride to the thrilling Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Fantasyland is a haven for children and those young at heart.
7. Tomorrowland: Blast off into the future in Tomorrowland, a futuristic land featuring attractions like Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and the Tomorrowland Speedway. The area captivates with its sleek design and thrilling adventures.
8. Entertainment and Parades: Magic Kingdom offers a plethora of entertainment options, from character meet-and-greets to live shows. The daily parades, including the Festival of Fantasy Parade and Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade, add to the festivities.
9. Fireworks and Nighttime Spectaculars: As the sun sets, Magic Kingdom transforms into a dazzling display of lights and colors. “Happily Ever After,” the spectacular nighttime fireworks illuminate the sky with a magical combination of pyrotechnics, music, and projections on Cinderella Castle.
10. Character Experiences: Meet beloved Disney characters throughout the park, from classic princesses in Fantasyland to iconic characters on Main Street, U.S.A. These encounters create lasting memories for visitors of all ages.
Honestly, we could name more– as we haven’t even gotten into other entertainment options, dining offerings, and shopping– but you get the point.
Haunted Mansion has been a staple at Magic Kingdom
The Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom is a timeless and beloved attraction that seamlessly integrates a ghostly narrative into the enchanting fabric of the park. Nestled in the heart of Liberty Square, this dark ride beckons visitors into a mysterious and eerie manor, promising a spine-tingling adventure filled with ghostly apparitions and supernatural surprises.
The journey into The Haunted Mansion begins with its foreboding exterior, an architectural marvel that sets the tone for the eerie experience ahead. The mansion, adorned with Gothic details and exuding a ghostly ambiance, immediately captures the attention of passersby. Even the facade itself weaves a tale, with intricate details hinting at the otherworldly events awaiting those who dare to enter.
Upon crossing the threshold, guests are greeted by the disembodied voice of the Ghost Host. This spectral guide, with a macabre sense of humor, welcomes visitors to join the “spirited” residents within. The Ghost Host serves as the narrator, setting the stage for the supernatural journey that unfolds throughout the attraction.
As guests board their “Doom Buggies,” the iconic ride vehicles that guide them through the haunted halls, they embark on a journey through dimly lit corridors. The ride’s omnimover system ensures that every guest has a front-row seat to the ghostly scenes that unfold, creating a sense of intimacy with the supernatural narrative.
The official description for Haunted Mansion can be read below:
“The disembodied voice of the Ghost Host is your private guide through the cadaverous realm of an eerie haunted estate, home to ghosts, ghouls and supernatural surprises.
Glide past a casket-filled conservatory, Madame Leota’s chilling séance room and a ghostly graveyard of singing specters as you attempt to find your way out. Beware of hitchhikers—these phantom pranksters may follow you home.
The Haunted Mansion is home to a captivating cast of ghostly residents, each with their own story and distinct personality. From the mischievous Hitchhiking Ghosts to the somber Phantom Manor, these spectral inhabitants add layers of intrigue to the experience. The use of audio-animatronics brings these characters to life, making them eerily tangible and enhancing the immersive atmosphere.
Throughout the ride, guests encounter iconic scenes that have become synonymous with The Haunted Mansion. The stretching room, with its stretching portraits and chilling narration, creates an unsettling yet captivating atmosphere. The ballroom scene, featuring ghostly apparitions waltzing in mid-air, showcases the blending of cutting-edge technology and timeless storytelling.
A haunting soundtrack, composed by Buddy Baker, contributes significantly to the eerie ambiance. The memorable tunes, including “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” enhance the immersive experience, creating an auditory landscape that lingers in the minds of visitors long after they’ve left the mansion.
Disney World removes legacy piece from Haunted Mansion
Over the course of the last couple of months, Disney World guests have noticed several different offerings from Haunted Mansion go missing.
Back in October, for example, a guest noticed a Doom Buggy had been removed without reason. There have been other thematic elements go missing, as well. Now, however, a legacy piece has been removed from the attraction and we unfortunately don’t know the reason why.
A guest recently posted on social media that the Face Armchair (also known as the Donald Duck Chair) has been removed. The chair, which is extremely recognizable, was located just to the left of the hallway where guests begin to see strange occurrences happening in the Disney World attraction.
One guest shared that the piece was a “legacy” piece and it was approved by Walt Disney himself.
“The design for that chair was part of the original artwork by Rolly Crump for the Haunted Mansion that Walt approved before it was built and before he died. Kinda weird that they remove legacy for the hatbox ghost,” they shared.
One guest joked that they suspect an “entire cult” will be developed around this chair.
“You’ll see fan made tshirts and stickers and all kinds of etsy stuff made celebrating it,” they said. “First it will be an inside joke or wink and nod by the diehard fans to eachother, which eventually will spread to the point where everyone is in the know. It will no longer talked about as a unique niche bit of knowledge, but instead mentioned in every single youtube video or podcast labeled as “insider secrets of the haunted mansion”. People who never even knew it was there will reminisce fondly how they loved seeing it every time they went and it was special to them. In 5-10 years, full podcast episodes and youtube videos dedicated to it, and every detail on it. There will be archive footage interview of the imaginers involved with making it, but it will be only 30 seconds of footage they have to splice and loop in multiple ways since no one cared about it back then. People who are just being born now will learn about the chair in 10 or 20 years and build up in their mind how legendary this chair was.”
What’s next for the Haunted Mansion at Disney World?
After months of teasers, Disney World finally added the Hatbox Ghost to the Haunted Mansion attraction. This was something that fans had hoped would happen for years.
The Hatbox Ghost is a legendary and iconic figure within Disney theme park lore, specifically associated with Disneyland Resort in California. Originally conceived as part of the Haunted Mansion attraction, the Hatbox Ghost made his debut when the ride opened to the public in 1969. The character was designed to stand out as a particularly eerie and memorable presence in the ghost-filled mansion.
The Hatbox Ghost’s distinctive appearance included a decrepit top hat and a long cloak, and he held a hatbox in his skeletal hands. The unique and unsettling feature of this ghost was his ability to make his head disappear from his body, only to reappear moments later inside the hatbox he held. Despite the initial excitement surrounding the character, technical challenges led to the Hatbox Ghost being removed shortly after the ride’s opening, and he became somewhat of a mythical figure among Disney enthusiasts.
In 2015, Disneyland reintroduced the Hatbox Ghost to the Haunted Mansion, after nearly five decades of absence. The updated animatronic version utilized cutting-edge technology to bring the character back to life, and the Hatbox Ghost once again became a captivating and spooky element of the beloved attraction.
Now, eight years later, the iconic animatronic is located inside of the Haunted Mansion in both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney has not scheduled any more refurbishments or updates for Haunted Mansion at this time. Though closures are subject to happen, Disney park fans should be able to enjoy the updates with the Hatbox Ghost now on their trips to “The Most Magical Place on Earth.” Unfortunately, though, you won’t be able to see the “Donald Duck Chair” unless it is reintroduced in the future.