How many ghosts do we really need in Disney's Haunted Mansion?

August 20, 2018, 12:54 PM · Haunted Mansion fans, can we talk?

Or, more to the point... can we not?

It's become tradition, at least at the original, Disneyland installation of the Haunted Mansion, for visitors to recite the Stretch Room spiel along with the Ghost Host.

Your cadaverous pallor betrays an aura of foreboding, almost as though you sense a disquieting metamorphosis. Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it your imagination? And consider this dismaying observation: this chamber has no windows and no doors — which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out!

Of course, there’s always my way.

I don't remember when this tradition started, but neither can I remember the last time I visited the original installation of the Mansion when I didn't hear people chanting at least by the time the Ghost Host gets to "chilling challenge." It's become as much a part of the ride now as the Bride and the Hitchhiking Ghosts.

But is that a good thing? Look, I understand that the tradition emerged from fans' love of this amazing attraction. Heck, I've done it and laughed along with everyone else in the room, too. But what started as a joyful act of participation has begun to lose its appeal... well, at least for me. So I wonder if other Haunted Mansion fans are beginning to feel the same way?

The last thing I want to see happen is for the Haunted Mansion, or any beloved theme park attraction, to become a source of stress or conflict for anyone. So, please, do not take this as an invitation to shush or criticize anyone who does choose to recite the Ghost Host's spiel. If people want to express their love for the Haunted Mansion by giving the Stretch Room the Rocky Horror treatment, so be it. (Please, let's not start with the toilet paper, though, okay?) The only thing I want to hear less than everyone chanting the Stretch Room spiel is to hear people arguing about people chanting the spiel.

Please just allow me to suggest that it might be nice to hear the Ghost Host take the stretch solo again. What if we fans chose not to spiel for a while? What if we decided to switch things up in the Mansion by taking it old school and just listening instead of talking in the Stretch Room? How would that feel?

It might just be one of those moments of Disney magic that helped us fall in love with the Mansion in the first place.

Replies (20)

August 20, 2018 at 1:22 PM

I could not agree with you more. Nothing ruins the mood at a concert more than when an over zealous fan in the crowd sings along with the band. They are usually too loud, off key, off beat and mangle the lyrics. I feel like most of the foolish mortals who do this at the Haunted Mansion are trying to impress others with their knowledge of the script. Give me a break. If you have experienced this attraction enough to know the narration try this instead. Rather than doing your best to impress others with your depth of knowledge, spend that time looking at reactions of the people who are visiting the mansion for the first time. Don't draw their attention towards you, when they should be engrossed by the show around them.
Thanks for creating this topic Robert. I think it is important to remind folks from time to time to respect the show...not to be the show.

August 20, 2018 at 1:23 PM

Hey, I'd be happy if we could get through it just once without a teenage guy trying to impress his friends by fake-screaming for 10 seconds.

August 20, 2018 at 1:27 PM

Oddly, never had this experience in my Haunted Mansion trips. Has happened a few times at other rides (Rock n Roller Coaster, Big Thunder) but guess just some folks thinking it's fun, not getting how often other people do it.

August 20, 2018 at 1:39 PM

It’s yet another example of the “Me! Me!” Generation. I sound like an ancient Old Fogey but I grew up in an era when you gave respect, not only to the preformance, but also to your other audience members. You allowed everyone to experience the show/the event/the attraction on their own terms and you simply sat back and enjoyed your own experience.

There is much about the modern world which is good. The change in basic manners is not part of that goodness.

August 20, 2018 at 1:46 PM

I've heard this since I was a kid, and noticed that, at least back then, it seemed to happen a lot more at night than during the day. Disneyland after dark always just seemed...looser. I mean, I didn't see Cab Calloway 'hi-dee-hi-dee-ho'ing during daylight hours, but he would shimmy across the stage at Carnation Plaza Gardens at night (I know...I'm aging myself). It's a different kind of magic at night.

I always thought "be quiet and listen during the day, but after dark knock yourself out with spieling along" was a good middle ground. I'm not a spieler myself (and I'm with Clayton on the screams), but I don't mind it at night. During the day, though, when people are more likely to be experiencing the attraction for the first time, it bugs me.

August 20, 2018 at 2:29 PM

Very true and very annoying. I liken it to talking or texting at a movie. You are drawing attention to yourself and disrupting other peoples experience. Its no different with rides. Its ok to laugh when something funny happens or scream when something scary happens, but you should never be disruptive. My biggest pet peave is people who cant shut up during the quiet bayou start of Pirates of the Caribbean. Its quiet for a reason and I dont need to hear your conversation. If you are that bored than you dont need to be riding. As David pointed out its really a societal issue. It would never happen at Tokyo Disneyland. Dont add to the show!

August 20, 2018 at 5:03 PM

Really noticed this on my last trip to Disneyland in May. It got really annoying and definitely dampened my enjoyment. I have spent way more time at Disney World and don’t remember it being as much of an issue in Florida. Let the show be the show, other guests should not be a focal point in the ride experience.

August 20, 2018 at 5:16 PM

It personally doesn't bother me, but I do feel for those who are experiencing it for the first time.

The "screaming" at the end however could be the bigger issue. It can easily be too much in that space. There are also little kids who aren't regulars who could be frightened or simply bothered by the random loud scream of adults.

I think it's easy for AP holders to forget that there are many people who are visiting for the very first time (Not all of them have buttons, lol). So being less than cordial on attractions can often result in someone else not enjoying it as much.

This also happens many times with the "crazy photos" people take on rides (and have no intention of buying).
I think it's good for everyone to remember that there are others on the ride who might be first time riders or plan on buying the actual (high priced) photo.

August 20, 2018 at 5:31 PM

I take bigger issue with guests who just carry on a conversation during the preshow than those who like to join the host's narration. Now, if they're being obnoxious about it (such as screaming uncontrollably when everything goes dark or laughing at each other's attempts at mimicry during the descent) then that is a problem, but simply speaking along at a normal voice level doesn't really bother me. However, I've been in the stretch room with people who visit so often they don't care for the attraction and are just having a random conversation (or worse, talking to someone on their phone), and that is absolutely unacceptable as it significantly hinders the enjoyment of others.

August 20, 2018 at 5:43 PM

Hear hear Clayton! What's even worse is when it turns into a contest to see who screams the loudest and then kids start crying the entire ride.

August 20, 2018 at 6:04 PM

My fanatical Disney friend, her kids and grandkids can recite every single word of what is said in the Haunted Mansion ..... when we’re in the car heading to MK !!! but usually it’s only the “there’s always my way” line when in the waiting room. I don’t go very often, but I must admit I can’t ever remember people reciting the whole dialogue as Robert experienced at Disneyland. I’m guessing it’s the Disney-for-life brigade, who seem to think they own the place anyway, and look upon the rest of us as not worthy.

August 20, 2018 at 6:53 PM

Question for RN: Do you often find yourself yelling at kids to get off your "damn lawn"?

August 20, 2018 at 7:52 PM

Wouldn’t it be creepy to have a totally silent Haunted Mansion? No narrator and no music. Just silence.

August 21, 2018 at 4:33 AM

I’ve never been to Disneyland yet so I don’t know how frequent this is but in Orlando I do sometimes hear the chanting and I’m not as annoyed with that as I am just with people talking about other things. Too many times people are just going on with conversations as if the environment around them isn’t even there. No regard for people around them. Whether it be foreign groups or English speaking groups, once the doors open from the graveyard into the mansion I’d just love for people to be QUIET! Unless you’re consoling a child that is scared then enjoy the narrative and the surroundings. I find the times I’m there right before closing or during nighttime extra magic hours, I can get a room to myself and it is a real treat! I know this isn’t limited to this ride as most people who aren’t huge theme park fans are oblivious to ride narrative, but the Haunted Mansion is my FAVORITE ride so it seems more important to me then most! That just feels good to get that off my chest... and yes kids should stay OFF MY LAWN! Haha ;)

August 21, 2018 at 4:55 AM

You know, of all of the times I have done Haunted Mansion at Orlando, I can honestly say I have never noticed. I will listen out for them in December. Woe betide those that do!!

August 21, 2018 at 10:08 AM

oh I got another good one! At the start of Jurassic Park River Adventure, sit in the back row and say as loudly as you can "Time. The ever flowing river." seconds before the ride does it.

Points are awarded for people who shake their head, turn around, or ask you to be quiet. I'm not allowed to tell you the point values...

I've probably said too much as it is.

August 22, 2018 at 3:51 PM

This thread should have ended at 13 comments.

August 22, 2018 at 7:24 PM

It is even more important to stay quiet in the elevator during Haunted Mansion Holiday. It has some of the best music ever written for any kind of show. But they need to replace the sound system in there. It's just not loud enough. And I've heard people talking as loudly as they possibly can during it.

August 22, 2018 at 8:31 PM

I noticed this during our visit in May 2016 which was the first visit for our small boys. I remember feeling disappointed that their first experience of the HM was marred by this. I’d love for it to stop but it’s one of those things where I don’t know how Disney could actually stop it even if they wanted to.

August 23, 2018 at 7:46 AM

"This thread should have ended at 13 comments."

Actually, it should have drummed up 999 comments with room for 1 more.

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