Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

Orlando/SoCal Theme Park Showdown: Haunted Mansion vs. Haunted Mansion

Written by
Published: October 12, 2011 at 7:38 AM

For the next three days, we're going to be matching up Orlando-area versions of popular theme park attractions with their Southern California counterparts. It's the Theme Park Insider Orlando/Southern California Showdown. We'll be posting four match-ups a day, every two hours starting at 11am ET (8am PT) each day.

We're asking you to pick your favorite between the two versions. Consider whatever details you'd like - setting, decor, ride, narrative, or whatever petty individual bias you'd like to throw into the mix. We've tried to select match-ups where there are enough significant differences between the two versions that you can make something other than a purely random choice. Each vote will be open for 24 hours. If you feel strongly, campaign all you want. You know what to do.

First up is a match-up of classic attractions from Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. It's Haunted Mansion versus Haunted Mansion.

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion: New Orleans Square

Disneyland Haunted Mansion

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Haunted Mansion: Liberty Square

Disney World Haunted Mansion

The differences? Disneyland's Haunted Mansion opened in 1969 in the New Orleans Square section of the park, an antebellum mansion on the outside, with 999 happy haunts within. In order to transport guests from the entry foyer into the larger show building, which was located behind the Mansion and outside the park's berm, Disney built two "stretch" rooms - elevators in which guests would descend below the level of the train tracks behind the Mansion facade. Walt Disney World's Mansion opened with the park in 1971. Located in Liberty Square, the Magic Kingdom's Mansion is a Gothic Revival style. Guests enter not through the front door, but through a side entrance in the basement. That's because the stretch rooms at Disney World aren't elevators. The floor doesn't move - it's the ceiling that's stretching up above you. Disney World's larger show building also accommodates an additional library scene at the beginning of the ride.

Oh, and there's Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland, too. But Disney World has the nifty new additions to the queue.

Feel free to further break down the match-up in the comments.

Other Showdown winners:

Readers' Opinions

From Dominick D on October 12, 2011 at 8:01 AM
Ive only been on MKs HM, but it seems much superior then DLs. Now for Buzz, Magic Kingdom's seems more twords the movies, so thats getting my vote.
From Anon Mouse on October 12, 2011 at 8:19 AM
The Magic Kingdom's lack of stretch room is a deal killer for me. It just doesn't work as an effect.

Disneyland's lead up from the stretch room to the loading platform add a lot of suspense to a rather tame ride. I have to give the nod to Disneyland's version.

From 204.102.252.106 on October 12, 2011 at 8:52 AM
On an added note, I've heard that the setting for the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion is very picturesque, with the building on a small hill in front of the river in Frontierland. The Disneyland version is separated a bit from the river and the setting is not quite as nice, from what I understand.

(Although I go to Disneyland frequently, my one visit to the Magic Kingdom in 1997 was only a half-day, and we only had time to rush around the park and go on about five rides.)

From Skipper Adam on October 12, 2011 at 9:01 AM
Disneyland's version is short and just doesn't build up the same. The load area is rather ugly and plain in DLR's, but the one thing I will give them is their stretch room is better, but not by much.

WDW's version just comes off as a better paced, more thought out version.

From TH Creative on October 12, 2011 at 9:04 AM
I prefer the Magic Kingdom's version in Orlando because the stretch room is so much better than the one at DLR.
From Brian Emery on October 12, 2011 at 9:05 AM
Robert - you should add a tie button..
From Victoria Jurkowski on October 12, 2011 at 9:20 AM
I chose DLR because I much prefer the setting, and I like the history of it [but I'm a bit of a history nerd, and will appreciate any ride if it has a good history]. To be fair, I have yet to experience the new queue in WDW, which might make the Florida version superior.
From 50.10.11.89 on October 12, 2011 at 9:25 AM
I voted for the magic kingdom ride becuase it somehow "feels" longer and better paced. But I must admit I like the DLR facade much better and the portrait hall.
From 199.184.238.132 on October 12, 2011 at 9:25 AM
I like the Disneyland facade better, and appreciate that you actually enter the building rather than entering beneath MK's relatively distant house on a hill, but the Magic Kingdom's additional scenes and much better loading area gives it the edge and my vote.
From Gordon Free on October 12, 2011 at 10:13 AM
The walk-thru at DL gallery does it for me. But I have to concede that WDW has some very interesting additions not found in CA.
From Tony Perkins on October 12, 2011 at 10:18 AM
This is a tough one, but the superior stretch room that really stretches at DL gives it the nod. Add in the Haunted Holiday overlay and DL clearly becomes the better choice.
From 173.162.139.169 on October 12, 2011 at 10:45 AM
I had to go with the DL version for one reason, the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. Aside from that I would choose the MK version.
From Tim W on October 12, 2011 at 11:07 AM
Cool idea! And I voted for MK's since it has the better show building and the better queue!
From 76.175.251.88 on October 12, 2011 at 12:30 PM
I have to go with the Magic Kingdom version because of the staircase room; I love that scene.
From 72.211.138.245 on October 12, 2011 at 12:54 PM
I think that the MK version is much better due to the facade, new interactive line, and the overall creepiness of the building. I believe that the fireplace room at the beginning of the ride does it for me, it's really quite good and seals the deal that you are at a haunted mansion
From 76.91.49.25 on October 12, 2011 at 1:56 PM
WDW's Haunted Mansion is the better one, currently. The overall show quality - effects, lighting, sound, etc. - is far superior. Plus it's longer.
DL's Mansion desperately needs a refurb.

The WDW version lost a few points this past year though. The new additions (the interactive queue and the CGI hitchhiking ghosts) SUCK, in my opinion. They're too kiddie-oriented and don't match the style of the rest of the attraction.

From 2.26.227.223 on October 12, 2011 at 1:59 PM
MK, I just think the House's architecture, the setting, the additional scenes which are absent in DL's makes it my favourite.
From Manny Barron on October 12, 2011 at 2:28 PM
Very close but Magic Kingdom is better. I actually like the facade better at Disneyland since it goes with the New Orleans theme but the ride is better in WDW.
From Sylvain Comeau on October 12, 2011 at 5:15 PM
WDW has been steadily plussing their Mansion, whereas Disneyland is more concerned with putting in the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. The east coast version has been superior for 4 years now.
From 76.91.1.98 on October 12, 2011 at 6:47 PM
Oh Sylvain. It is woefully obvious that you have never experienced DL's Haunted Mansion during the holiday season. Combined with the intimacy of NOS, the overlay is a guaranteed vote changer. Seeing as you will be joining me for a full week of theme park hopping (3 days at DLR included) I think it only fitting to change your vote to the ORIGINAL (and still the best!) Anaheim version.
From Skipper Adam on October 13, 2011 at 8:16 AM
There is no quest that Florida has a better show quality than Disneyland's.
From T Dunc on October 13, 2011 at 4:40 PM
Definitely magic kingdom. Everything is so much better. The effects and all of the new additions. So magic kingdom's got my vote.
From 24.205.48.131 on October 16, 2011 at 12:48 AM
I've experienced both Haunted Mansions numerous times, and I gotta give it to WDW. however, I haven't been on the WDW version since before it was updated in 2007. but it's not just because I grew up riding the one in WDW that makes me partial to it, but there are many small things that make it the winner for me. the "head popping" ghosts in the cemetary are a huge reason. they pop up out of nowhere and in such an eerie movement it's always kinda scared me, but the ones at Disneyland's Haunted Mansion just kinda lazily come up like they're almost broken or something. if they go in and refurbish Disneyland's any time soon, that is one thing they should fix immediately. I try to tell a worker to pass that on every time I'm there! and of course WDW has the additional scenes. I just wish they would start doing the Haunted Mansion Holiday in Orlando! my one gripe about BOTH mansions are the new attic scenes. I miss the head popping ghosts that used to jump out at you as you moved through the attic. that was a huge mistake they made, putting that dumb bridal procession music with the talking bride instead of it being eerily quiet with a heart thumping as you move through there, not knowing where or when one of those little ghosts is going to jump out at you next! that's why Tokyo's Haunted Mansion may still be the best of them all... they still have the original attic!

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Previous article: What to expect from Legoland Florida



Planning a trip to Orlando?

Walt Disney World

Insider's Pick: Get all the best advice from ThemeParkInsider.com in one convenient book! Theme Park Insider Orlando 2014 offers you the insight, background, and how-to skills that will help you enjoy Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando like, well, a theme park insider. Save yourself time and money by learning how to visit the Orlando-area theme parks the insiders' way.

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks