Hatbox Ghost makes its Walt Disney World debut

November 30, 2023, 2:45 PM · The Hatbox Ghost has materialized at Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion.

Added to Disneyland's version of the ride in 2015, the Hatbox Ghost now is part of the Magic Kingdom's installation, too. Disney shared some photos of the new addition this morning.

Hatbox Ghost
Photos courtesy Walt Disney World

Hatbox Ghost with head in box

The Hatbox Ghost was one of the early residents of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, but the effect wasn't particularly convincing, so Disney removed it from within a few months of the Mansion's opening in 1969. A new version of character debuted at the D23 Expo 10 years ago, before making its return to the park two years later. The character also features prominently in Disney's new Haunted Mansion movie from this year.

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Replies (10)

November 30, 2023 at 9:56 PM

A welcome addition! Now if we could just get the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay too…

November 30, 2023 at 11:06 PM

I really am amazed they've never gotten the Nightmare overlay in WDW.

December 1, 2023 at 2:05 AM

If anyone wants to see what that would look like, Tokyo has a copy of Orlando’s mansion and does the holiday overlay.

December 1, 2023 at 8:41 AM

I will withhold final judgement on this until I've seen it in person, but based on the images Disney has provided of MK's figure, Disneyland's version of this character looks far superior.

And yes, I too have always wondered why MK has never performed an overlay of Haunted Mansion for the fall holiday seasons. Perhaps it's because MK can't afford to take HM down for 4-6 weeks every year to put up and take down the overlay, maybe it's because their Halloween season starts in mid-August meaning the overlay would be up for nearly half the year, or maybe it's just that MK visitors have never asked hard enough for it (likely because most don't know about it having never been to Disneyland). Nonetheless, it's definitely something that's been rumored for years, but Disney has never commented on it.

December 1, 2023 at 10:13 AM

I was always told that since DL is a "locals" park, the overlay is acceptable. But because WDW is visited by guests worldwide, they expect to see an original attraction as it is meant to be seen. They may only visit once in their lifetime and would rather see The Haunted Mansion in its native format.

December 1, 2023 at 10:51 AM

It's because they don't want it closed. If they could flip a switch and have the whole overlay done overnight they would definitely do it, but HM gets like 20,000 riders per day and in their view MK is too busy to be closing such a major attraction for so long and so often. Notice how the Space Mountain special overlays are done with the push of a button at night and they don't take the attraction down at all like DL does every year.
(random note Space Mountain's overlays are activated by a cell phone mounted on a wall with 3 options you can click: Halloween, Holiday, and Villains lol)

December 1, 2023 at 12:29 PM

The new Haunted Mansion movie gives the Hatbox Ghost a great backstory. Effectively, he's a malevolent spirit that has imprisoned the other 999 ghosts in the house. Explains why he stands apart, and adds a layer of menace that wasn't there before.

As for the Holiday overlay: please, PLEASE take ours from Disneyland. Every year, EVERY YEAR they ruin our beloved Haunted Mansion with that overlay. The ghost host narration is abysmal (written in this plodding rhyme scheme that sounds like someone's crappy first draft of a Hallmark Christmas card), and the music is--it's nothing! Some generic song that's not even in the Nightmare movie, I don't think, and certainly far, far inferior to Grim Grinning Ghosts. The song is an essential part of the ride, and removing it absolutely kills the vibe.

I get it that some people like that movie, and so seeing the characters is fun to them, but it ruins a classic ride. Sometime in the 2010s we stopped going in the fall, because we want to ride the Haunted Mansion, not the Christmas Fart. Plus, why in the heck do they install it before Halloween? Shouldn't Halloween be the one time of the year when the real mansion should be open? Why is a houseful of ghosts celebrating Christmas at Halloween?

If they did it every few years, like with the Space Mountain overlays, it would be one thing. But every year, for friggen four months of the year? Lame. If I never rode the overlay again it would be too soon.

December 2, 2023 at 5:12 AM

This is big news ? Ok but nothing on epic universe %?

December 2, 2023 at 4:56 PM

I totally agree with Sarah. First, WDW for many if a once in a lifetime deal, so the HM should be the original. Second, there should be one place where it stays the same. Since it is my favorite attraction, I want to be able to see it in its original form. That being said, I really think the DL version is the best for several reasons.

Now to the placement. Where did they put it. If it is before the seance room then I have a problem. He is clearly a ghost, which you should not be able to see until they are called forth so to speak. His location in the attic at DL is the best location. Also, WDW does need a bit of work. There were a number a problems and it has been down quite a bit lately.

December 4, 2023 at 10:50 AM

@Happy Haunt - I believe this new character in WDW's attraction is in the Endless Hallway, so that would place it before the séance room.

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