Apparently, we’ve been seeing the colors of Disney’s Haunted Mansion all wrong, or they changed overnight!
The Haunted Mansion, an extremely popular dark ride you’ll find tucked away in Liberty Square at Walt Disney World and in New Orleans Square at Disneyland, has been escorting guests to their final resting place for decades.
Beloved by Disney faithful, Madame Leota and her 998 other ghastly roommates first materialized in 1969 at Disneyland Resort, with Disney World’s version of the mansion following in 1971.
In its years of operation, The Haunted Mansion has become deeply ingrained in Disney lore, resulting in a macabre cult following of fans who adore everything about the attraction, from its quotable references down to its gothic style.
However, what if I told you there’s one unique part of The Haunted Mansion that we’ve all gotten wrong for years?
The Haunted Mansion Is Born
Long before feature films including Eddie Murphy or Owen Wilson, The Haunted Mansion found its roots somewhere between frightening and funny.
The Gracy Manor didn’t just happen overnight; in fact, for Disneyland’s initial attraction to open, it took quite a while, as famous Imagineers worked alongside Walt Disney to find an accurate balance appropriate for his theme park.
Marc Davis and Claude Coats, two designers who worked on The Haunted Mansion, are famously cited as striking that balance. As demonstrated in the popular Disney + series Behind the Attraction (2021), the pair were partnered up with mastermind Walt Disney and tasked with creating the mansion that we know and love today.
Throw in a few fantastic Imagineering tricks from Disney Legends Yale Gracy and Rolly Crump, sprinkled with the iconic “Grim Grinning Ghosts” by Xavier Atencio; toss in a Hatbox Ghosts or two, and boom: you have what some would call the most iconic Disney ride of all time!
999 Ghosts Move to Hollywood
When experiencing The Haunted Mansion, you’ve got to be mindful, as it isn’t uncommon for a hitchhiking ghost to follow you home. If you need proof, just look to 2003 when Disney released their first official Haunted Mansion movie featuring Eddie Murphy.
Although loved by many for its references to popular mansion icons like Madame Leota, the graveyard scenes, and singing busts, most disliked Disney’s approach to the film, prompting them to try again in 2023.
Most recently, a star-studded readaptation of The Haunted Mansion made its way to theaters in July 2023. Featuring Owen Wilson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Wynona Ryder, Lakeith Stanfield, Jared Leto, Rosario Dawson, and more, Disney’s newest Haunted Mansion film did a better job at keeping to the lore of the attraction. However, despite the addition of Hatbox Ghost and doom buggies, it ultimately underwhelmed at the box office as well.
Something both Justin Simien and Rob Minkoff knew that they had to do in their respective films was stay true to the iconic scenery and grandeur surrounding the world-famous attraction.
Including sets that featured detailed icons from the ride was an absolute must, and although both directors did their best to ensure the representation was present, features of the ballroom, graveyard, and hallway scenes still left fans feeling disappointed.
The deliberately designed sets within the actual attraction are part of what lends itself to the ride’s popularity and lore. Upside-down staircases, busts in libraries whose eyes follow your doom buggy as you walk through the halls, frightening spectral spirits playing with organ, cluttered attics, and more create a masterpiece of comedic entertainment with a splash of uncomforting doom.
Despite the many, and we mean many, iconic features in The Haunted Mansion, one that guests have adopted to represent and display their affection for their favorite ride is the infamous wallpaper.
The Haunted Mansion Wallpaper
Along the dark and long walls of The Haunted Mansion, you’ll find a very unique feature starring back at you. This amazingly designed wallpaper, which literally watches you as you make your way through the attraction theme park attraction, has become one of the most recognizable of the ride’s features.
Credited to Rolly Crump, The Haunted Mansion wallpaper has become synonymous with the ride itself. Often plastered on merchandise such as clothing and coffee cups, the iconic design of the wallpaper brings to mind whispering ghosts and cold chills.
At first glance, one may think that the clustered design is something typical you’d find in any Victorian mansion. However, upon further close investigation, you’ll find spooky faces hidden within its structure.
Reaching cult status, even rumored to be a feature in the home of Guillermo del Toro, many sites reproduce the infamous purple and black wallpaper for home design and decoration, some illegally.
However, many of those reproductions, and even our remembrance of the wallpaper, may be entirely incorrect, or Disney has changed the color (only joking, of course, they didn’t). According to u/WidenYourWorld1 on Reddit, the famous wallpaper is actually periwinkle blue and black, not purple at all, and to be honest, it’s difficult to argue that point.
It would make sense that the dark aesthetic of The Haunted Mansion would undoubtedly impact our visual perception of the wallpaper within the walls of Gracy Manor, presenting the periwinkle color to be much darker than it actually is.
Other forums have also debated the actual color of the wallpaper at The Haunted Mansion, solidifying that it is indeed periwinkle blue as opposed to the dark purple that we often associate with the ride.
It’s interesting that something so iconic would be misperceived, so what do you think? Is it a trick of the light or a Mandela Effect?