Vote of the Week: Happy birthday to Disney's Haunted Mansion

August 8, 2014, 2:53 PM · Disney's Haunted Mansion turns 45 this weekend, as the original version of the enduring dark ride opened at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on August 9, 1969. The three versions of the ride — at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland — consistently earn high marks in our Theme Park Insider reader ratings, and have inspired a devoted following of fans throughout the world.

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

None of the three Haunted Mansions exactly duplicates another, although all keep the same basic structure: you enter into a stretching room before queuing to board a "Doom Buggy" for a ride through the mansion, passing a seance and ghosts dancing in a ballroom, before heading into the attic, then down into the graveyard next door. Florida and Tokyo share the same exterior — Dutch Gothic Revival — while the Disneyland original offers an antebellum plantation style. Anaheim and Tokyo each run the "Haunted Mansion Holiday" overlay for the final three months of the year. Since 2007, the Florida Mansion includes the Library and Escher-like staircase scenes before the conservatory.

You'll find many of the iconic scenes from the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland Paris' frontier Western-themed Phantom Manor, which drops the graveyard scene in favor of Boot Hill and Phantom Canyon derived from the never-built Western River Expedition attraction that was to go into the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World before being dropped in favor of Pirates of the Caribbean.

To honor the Haunted Mansion on its birthday, let's vote on our favorite scene in the ride. We're offering five candidates, representing the five major scenes found in more-or-less similar form all three Haunted Mansion attractions.

How many Haunted Mansions have you visited? Please share your favorite Mansion memories, in the comments.

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Replies (9)

August 8, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Love the ballroom scene. We had a breakdown in front of it and we got to watch it for about 15-20 minutes. Every minute was great, never got tired of it.

August 8, 2014 at 3:22 PM

There are only 2 rides I've ever been on that continue to scare me: Forbidden Journey and Haunted Mansion. In the graveyard scene, there are always those pop-up ghouls that come out and scare the you-know-what out of me. Because they are randomly deployed to make sure they jump in front of each vehicle at least once, you can never tell when they're gonna strike. No matter how much I go in feeling anxious for when it's gonna happen, they always make me jump back in my seat. For that reason alone, I voted for the graveyard.

August 8, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Really need an all of the above option here :-). It's hard for me to pick a favorite scene, as this is one of my all time favorite rides ever... But I voted for the graveyard simply because there's so much going on to look at. But I'm very envious of Rob getting stuck at the ballroom scene -- I've always wanted a bit more time there than the ride allows.

August 8, 2014 at 3:38 PM

I have been to the Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Disneyland Paris versions! All fun!

You gotta vote for the ballroom. It is such an iconic scene and such a simple effect.

August 8, 2014 at 4:40 PM

Ballroom. Is this even up for debate? ;) It is one of those jaw-dropping spectacles that people go to Disney for, like seeing the castle at night or Fantasmic. You just want to break out of your Doombuggy and join the party.

August 8, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Fantastic attraction and even after 45 solid years, guests continue to be awed by this attraction! It was already so ahead of its time back in 1969 and started using projections a good 40 years before they became more mainstream than animatronics on rides! Happy happy birthday to arguably one of the best dark rides ever!

August 8, 2014 at 5:42 PM

How cool would it be if they let guests who pay extra cash to stay overnight at the Haunted Mansion with dinner at the ballroom.

By the way, what happened with Guillermo del Toro's project?

August 8, 2014 at 10:34 PM

Okay, guys. For those of you who mentioned you'd like to spend a little more time on Haunted Mansion, have I got a story for you. You should have been there with us one evening this last June. The ride stopped just about every 30 seconds. For a while it was pretty cool. We got to look at all the scenes for a very long time and in great detail. I even spotted the Hidden Mickey on the big table (which I'm terrible at, by the way). It must have taken us maybe 15 minutes to complete the ride. Could have been very frustrating if it had been our first ride but it wasn't so I tried to sit back and enjoy the opportunity to see things I had never seen before. We did get a little tired of hearing scary-voice guy telling us to remain in our doombuggies though. You know, after the 30th time or so. BTW this was at Disneyland. Have also ridden at WDW and loved them both of course.

August 9, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Such an enduring classic. I was there in Sept. 1969, barely a month after the grand opening! I don't remember that trip, but I was there, and how cool is that?

My earliest memory of the Mansion is getting very spooked by the attic scene. It was SCARY back then.

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