Greetings from the 999 happy haunts. During Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary Celebrations, the Haunted Mansion was given its own party. Room For 1 More gave full justice to this iconic attraction with a sit-down dinner in Disney’s Contemporary Resort Fantasia Ballroom, entertainment by a spectral organist, singing graveyard musicians, and a one-of-a-kind presentation from Disney Imagineers ( Pete Carsillo, Eric Goodman, Jason Grandt and Jason Surrell) chronicling the development of the beloved dark ride. Nothing during our 3-hour event was more impactful than this 1965 clip from the master ghost host himself, Walt Disney.
– Contrary to common lore, the Disney Imagineers present felt the Haunted Mansion was Walt’s last project, not Pirates of the Caribbean.
– Before the opening of Disneyland, Walt began development of his own haunted house; one that would include an edge of comedy along with its “creaky doors and creaky floors.”
– Walt was unhappy when he saw early schematic drawings, saying that he didn’t want anything decrepit-looking in Disneyland. He said: “We’ll take care of the outside; let the ghosts take care of the inside.”
– Haunted Mansion was built in 1963, but kept behind construction walls until 1969!!
– Kurt Russell narrates a 1969 behind the scenes tour of WED Enterprises and explores Haunted Mansion special effects and Audio-Animatronics. He later takes some “pals” on a tour of the newly-opened Disneyland attraction.
– Walt was intimately involved in the Haunted Mansion show elements. (I do believe his footprints are all over it!)
– Disney Imagineers began attraction development a full 10 years before its Disneyland opening.
– Despite dramatic technological advances, “the original gags still work” and have not been changed.
Happy Halloween fellow ghoul-lovers. Remember these Walt tidbits during your next Doom Buggy ride.
(And be sure to leave Ezra, Gus and Phineas behind!)