Everything You Need to Know About the Haunted Mansion

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You’re going on vacation to Walt Disney World! The only problem? You’re not sure which attractions are right for you and your kiddos and you have questions. Which attractions are too intense for little ones? What rides do I really need a FastPass+ reservation for? What’s the disability access like for certain attractions? We’re answering all those questions and more in our Everything You Need to Know attraction series with today’s focus on the Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom!

What is the Haunted Mansion?

The Haunted Mansion
Photo courtesy of Disney

The Haunted Mansion is a fun yet spooky dark ride through a haunted estate home to 999 happy haunts! This attraction is a Disney Park classic known for its incredible detail, use of effects and audio-animatronics, cast of characters, and lore.

Where is the Haunted Mansion?

The Haunted Mansion can be found in Liberty Square alongside the Rivers of America at the Magic Kingdom and adjacent to its gift shop Memento Mori.

What is the History of the Haunted Mansion?

The Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion opened with the park on October 1, 1971 and was inspired by Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, despite their differing exteriors and locations within their respective parks.

Walt Disney wanted a haunted house attraction for Disneyland, but exactly what that haunted house would be was less than clear.  For a time, it was referred to as the Museum of the Weird. The exterior of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion was finished in 1963, but the attraction wasn’t completed until 1969 after Walt Disney’s passing.

Legendary Imagineers including Yale Gracey and Rolly Crump worked on illusions and effects for the attraction while Claude Coates and Marc Davis worked on the design. Coates gravitated towards the strange and scary while Marc Davis preferred gags. The mansion’s famous song “Grim Grinning Ghosts” written by X Atencio was arranged and presented in such a way to tie both Coates and Davis’ visions together.

When the attraction debuted in August of 1969, it was an instant hit with guests and is considered one of the greatest, and most popular, Disney attractions ever created.

When Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom was being constructed, its own version of the Haunted Mansion was a must. However, while the two ride experiences are similar, they are not identical.

What You Need to Know About the Queue

Guests enter the queue through the carriage house with the foreboding mansion looming in the distance. In 2011, Imagineers created an interactive queue for the Haunted Mansion of busts and crypts tied to the attraction’s lore and serving as tributes to the attraction’s original Imagineers. There are even mysteries and puzzles to solve while guests wait! Note: This interactive queue is currently not accessible to guests as of summer 2020 due to COVID-19.

The queue also showcases the mansion’s classic queue tombstones with punny inscriptions like “Here lies good ol’ Fred. A great big rock fell on his head,” and “Dear departed Brother Dave. He chased a bear into a cave.”

What You Need to Know About the Experience

Upon entering the mansion, guests are taken into the stretching the room for a sort of introduction to the mansion and the ghost host. At the loading area, guests board omnimover-style “Doom Buggies” to travel through different parts of the mansion before a swing through the graveyard.

The attraction starts off a little spooky; but as it continues, scenes become more funny than eerie. The ride’s signature theme “Grim Grinning Ghosts” can be heard throughout the ride, and its tempo changes along with the tone of the experience.

There are some scary elements in the attraction, but no serious jump scares or scare actors. Some children love the attraction while others find it a little too spooky.

What You Need to Know About the Ride Vehicles

Guests ride through the mansion aboard “Doom Buggies” which move along a conveyor belt. There is one row per buggy accommodating 2 to 3 guests. Typical capacity is two guests, but two adults plus one small child, or one adult plus two small children can be accommodated. Larger adults can be seated in their own vehicle; this is rarely necessary.

Guests need to take a small step up (less than 12″) from a moving walkway onto a moving vehicle. There is also a moving walkway at the exit area.

The Doom Buggy seat is a hard bench with a high back. There is a single pull-down lap bar for all riders that’s automatically lowered by your ghost host.

What You Need to Know About Accessibility

Guests must transfer from a wheelchair/ECV to experience this attraction. The ride can be slowed or stopped to facilitate boarding for guests with mobility issues. Brief ride stoppages are common.

What You Need to Know About Health and Safety Advisories

There are no health or safety advisories for the Haunted Mansion. However, some young children may be frightened by certain elements in the attraction and its overall theme, and there is a section in between the mansion and graveyard where your ride vehicle will be slowly lowered backwards down a small incline.

What are the Height Requirements?

There is no height requirement for the Haunted Mansion.

Does Haunted Mansion Offer FastPass+?

Yes, the Haunted Mansion offers FastPass+. However, you may find that FastPass+ saves more time at other attractions than at the Haunted Mansion.

Note: FastPass+ is currently suspended at Walt Disney World as of summer 2020.

Does Weather Affect the Haunted Mansion?

A June storm pops over World Drive as a rainy afternoon gets started.

Since the Haunted Mansion is an indoor attraction, inclement weather won’t impact its operation. However, guests in the queue are exposed to the elements.

What’s the Best Time of Day to Experience the Haunted Mansion?

To avoid long waits and crowds during average attendance periods with longer park hours, try to visit the Haunted Mansion before 11:30 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

This chart shows you roughly how long you’ll wait for The Haunted Mansion when you visit on a day with a given Magic Kingdom Crowd Level. The blue bars represent the average “peak” wait time (that is, how long the line will be at its busiest). The bottom and top black lines represent the range of peak wait times to expect (for you fellow nerds out there: it’s the 5th percentile and 95th percentile of peak wait times). Please note that these are estimates, and for a better forecast for your travel dates, see The Haunted Mansion Wait Times.

Did I answer all of your questions about the Haunted Mansion? Is this attraction at the top of your family’s vacation to-do list? Let us know in the comments.

Savannah Sanders

Savannah has been visiting Disney World since she was a year old and has gone back almost every year since. In the real world, she teaches high school history and government and enjoys writing about all things Disney. Savannah can be reached on Twitter @DisneyParkSavvy.

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