My post this week is dedicated to explaining the exciting news about one of Disneyland’s most iconic dark rides – The Haunted Mansion.
Now, if you don’t know me personally, it is only fair that you are aware of the fact that I am a huge chicken. I am the girl who watches Walking Dead through her fingers, who jumps at the smallest noise in horror movies, and who still is scarred by the scene in The Sixth Sense where that little girl’s hand shoots out from under the bed. But, as much as it gives me the creeps, I adore The Haunted Mansion. To me this ride is definitely a Disney classic, so I was excited to hear the news about an exciting change coming to the ride. Enter – the Hatbox Ghost.
This past week, Disney announced the return of the Hatbox Ghost to The Haunted Mansion in May 2015. You can read the announcement that they posted on their blog here. If you are a Disney fan and don’t know who the Hatbox Ghost is, you are not alone (and you actually probably do know him, you just don’t know that you do). I have seen multiple postings on articles asking for more information about this Grim Grinning Ghost and have had friends who are fans of the parks asking me for more information as well, so I would like to clear up the confusion for anyone who has been left wondering!
The Hatbox Ghost is a classic character who appeared in the Haunted Mansion right around the opening of the ride in 1969. The ghost was supposed to be a sight gag within the scariest scene (in my opinion) of the entire ride – the attic. According to reports, this gag was basically supposed to work in rhythm with the heartbeat in that section of the ride. Along with the heartbeat the head of the ghost would disappear from his body and then reappear in the hatbox that the ghost was holding. If you are familiar with the ride, you can see how perfectly he fits within the attic scene. The only problem was that the illusion didn’t work properly due to the close proximity of the ride vehicles and the fact that the ambient lighting in the scene prevented the head from disappearing all the way. Because of these speculated issues, he was removed from the ride shortly after the opening. Even though the ghost was removed soon after opening, he has appeared in Disney artwork and merchandise and has developed quite a large fan base.
Still wondering who he is? If you are a Disney fan, these pictures may look familiar to you:
So that leaves the question: why am I so excited about this guy making a return trip to Gracey Manor?
I am a lover of Disney history and enjoy when Disney pays tribute to the iconic rides, characters, people, etc. from the early Disney days. I find it incredibly exciting when the parks try to reimagine rides, technology, and more to update it for the ever-growing and changing theme parks. This love for Disney history is why I was so excited when Disney brought back the failed Flying Saucer ride in the form of Luigi’s Flying Tires in Cars Land (which now has also been shut down, RIP to the ride that makes me feel like an air hockey puck). To me, this is just another example of Disney bringing back and retrying some “failed” characters to make a ride even more memorable. I will have to try to get a picture of this happy haunt during my trip in October.
Until then, if you are interested in learning more fun facts/history about the Haunted Mansion I have a few sites you can visit. The mansion has a huge following and actually has a website created by fans totally dedicated to sharing more about the story and history. It is pretty cool!
Have fun, and happy haunting!
– Melissa H.