This popular attraction can now be found in five Disney theme parks around the world. The original one in Anaheim, California has been welcoming “foolish mortals” since 1969. Here’s a peek at each one of the mysterious mansions.
Plans to build a haunted house attraction in Disneyland date back to the late ‘50s and the exterior, which resembles an antebellum manor, was built in 1963. However, it would be another six years before its gates would be opened to the public. Various concepts were considered, among them an Addams Family-style museum and a plotline involving the spirits of an angry sea captain and his bride. At the time of its debut in 1969, the mansion’s special effects were considered groundbreaking, but some only seemed cutting edge. Most, to this day even, rely on simple tricks like hidden wires and reflective optical illusions. The mansion continues to be one of the most popular attractions in the park and it now includes an annual “overlay” based on the 1993 animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas.
This mansion opened in Florida in 1971. Unlike the one in Disneyland, the company’s Imagineers had much more space to work, with so it’s larger than its predecessor. The exterior is more elaborate and even features a dilapidated greenhouse. One of the biggest differences is the addition of a haunted library filled with floating books, moving ladders, and an invisible ghost reading a novel in a rocking chair.
Originally opened in 1983, this mansion is nearly identical to its counterpart in Disney World. The exterior and interiors are basically the same but, curiously enough, it’s located in the kid-friendly Fantasyland. Oh, and all the ghosts inside speak Japanese.
While Phantom Manor contains many of the same special effects as the others, it features a shared storyline with the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a nearby roller coaster. The plot follows an American settler named Henry Ravenswood who discovered a goldmine on the mountain and built a large Victorian house nearby. Unfortunately, he angered a powerful Native American spirit who cursed him and his family. Now the house is haunted by Ravenswood’s clan and other damned souls. Phantom Manor is much scarier than the other Haunted Mansions, featuring rotting skeletons and a ghost town filled with gunslinging ghouls.
Hong Kong Disneyland
Mystic Manor is much different than the others and doesn’t even feature traditional Western-style ghosts because they aren’t well known in Chinese culture. Instead, the manor is populated by mischievous spirits who are released from an enchanted box by a monkey named Albert. The attraction opened in 2013 and guests explore the house while seated in innovative trackless vehicles.