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Disneyland Prepares to Welcome a new Haunt in its Mansion

January 30, 2015, 10:13 PM · Disneyland's adding something to its Haunted Mansion, but the park isn't yet saying what that will be. Disney just finished removing the Mansion's annual holiday overlay, and sharp-eyed visitors have noticed the addition of a new, opaque window on the roof of the mansion as the Doombuggies exit the attic into the graveyard. And today, Disneyland confirmed that will be the location of something new in the mansion. Disney teased the addition in a Disney Parks Blog post:

"Those with a keen eye will notice something strange when they leave the mansion and enter its spooky cemetery on their Doom Buggies … but what disquieting metamorphosis is happening in this space?"

The Haunted Mansion

The overwhelming choice of fans who've seen or heard about the new window is that it will be the new home of the Hatbox Ghost.

Hatbox Ghost
The Hatbox Ghost, without his hatbox, on display in the Imagineering pavilion at the 2013 D23 Expo

The Hatbox Ghost was an original character from the Mansion that Disney removed soon after the ride's debut. The character was a hunched, skeletal ghost whose head disappeared, only to materialize in the hatbox the ghost was carrying. The disappearing/reappearing head effect relied on lighting, and pretty much failed. But absence can make the heart grow fonder, and the Hatbox Ghost became a legend among fans over the years. In 2013, Disney Imagineers created a new Hatbox Ghost animatronic, minus the hatbox, for the D23 Expo in Anaheim.

When I rode the Mansion this week, that new window looked to me too small to be for that Hatbox Ghost animatronic I saw in 2013, unless it were to be staged far behind the window, which would be tough given the relative lack of space in the show building there. But that doesn't rule out a different version of the Hatbox Ghost in that space. (Remember, the D23 ghost didn't have the hatbox, which anything called a "Hatbox Ghost" would have to have, right?)

If you're planning to visit Disneyland in the next few weeks, keep your eyes open for a new ghost in the mansion, whatever it might turn out to be.

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Replies (9)

January 31, 2015 at 2:36 PM · OK, I've never heard of the Hatbox Ghost before.

However I rode HM in WDW a few weeks ago twice. Once, the ghost who "enters" your doombuggy (near the very end of the ride) rode on top of the doombuggy. The other time it appeared that a ghost appeared in our car, pulled off my son's head (my son was riding with me), and then held it in his hands.

I'm now guessing that this was actually the Hatbox Ghost having his head materialize in his hands ?

Has anyone else seen this ?

January 31, 2015 at 3:09 PM · I'm guessing it will be a digital, computer generated hatbox ghost illusion similar to the new, digital hitch-hiking ghosts.
January 31, 2015 at 5:38 PM · Not really pertinent to this thread but it is significant Disney news. Orlando TV station WESH reported that Disney laid off apx. 500 IT employees yesterday (1/30/15). It may not be all Next Gen oriented since some of the IT specialists had been with Disney 10+ years. Rumors are that some of the jobs are being outsourced to Asia through an India IT company Disney signed a contract with.
February 1, 2015 at 12:23 AM · If they add a new ghost, do they have to take one out, or will there always still be room for one more?
February 1, 2015 at 9:44 AM · Maybe they can build a better ghost bride animatronic that doesn't look so lame...
February 1, 2015 at 9:51 AM · All I can add here is that if they DO actually bring Hattie back this time (as opposed to the countless OTHER times we believed it 'was happening' and it did NOT), he better look as he ORIGINALLY did...a short, jittery, grinning goblin with wild hair and bug eyes...NOT like that horrid, newer, 'dapper' version seen in the photo above here (that newer animatronic is also very TALL...the Hatbox Ghost is small, hunched over, and CREEPY)!...;)
February 1, 2015 at 10:40 AM · HM gotten progressively less scary over the years. The new animatronic would bring back the more scary classic elements.
February 1, 2015 at 12:23 PM · This sounds promising, but I'll believe it when I see it. I've been hearing rumors about the HBG's return for years.

February 3, 2015 at 2:07 PM · D23's Hatbox Ghost had the Hatbox down at his feet, he just wasn't holding it

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