Disneyland Resort announced today that an expanded queue area, including different garden themes, are coming to the Haunted Mansion grounds. Along with that, there will be a gift shop added to the exit area of the attraction. In this post, we’ll give details on the news and then add in our own commentary at the end! First the news, via the Disney Parks Blog.
In 2024, the additions will build on the story and lore of the Haunted Mansion and include an expanded outdoor queue to immerse guests in enhanced theming, as well as a new retail shop adjacent to the attraction’s exit.
Local legend suggests the manor known today as the Haunted Mansion was first built by a prosperous sea captain. To this day, the mansion’s staff faithfully maintains the happy haunting grounds. The expanded queue will tie into these stories and more, including new gardens inspired by Master Gracey, Madame Leota and the one-eyed cat.
Each of the gardens will feature unique elements ranging from a water fountain and gazebo to themed statuary and landscaping. In fact, guests will be able to see a new greenhouse where the groundskeepers for the Haunted Mansion grow their plants. The pet cemetery and horse-drawn funeral hearse will continue to reside on the attraction’s grounds.
And speaking of Madame Leota, it was time to continue her presence beyond the walls of the Haunted Mansion with an all-new retail shop. This carriage house of the mansion, belonging to Leota, will be a standalone shop that we are just “dying” to tell you more about in the future.
We also will make enhancements to the plaza adjacent to Tiana’s Palace. This area is one that holds a lot of memories and history, and a new, elegant park-like setting will be a place to relax and enjoy the ambiance and live entertainment under the shade of new and historic trees.
Construction on these additions will begin in January 2024. We will take the opportunity to help improve the accessibility of these areas which includes a new elevator exit from the Haunted Mansion for guests with disabilities.
We look forward to sharing more about the final arrangements early next year. For now, consider this dismaying observation: the objects found in Leota’s garden will be inspired by her incantation!
One of the most treasured areas of the park, New Orleans Square, is one to be very careful with when making modifications to anything. Here’s a dirty little secret about that area though (come in close, we don’t want too many people to hear) – it’s lost some luster in the past few years. Whether we look at the changes to Club 33 taking over some of the area, higher crowd levels in the parks, removing French Market or any other nit you want to pick, New Orleans Square isn’t quite what it used to be. Of all those changes that I just mentioned, the one detailed above makes the most sense by far.
Part of the reason New Orleans Square has lost a little bit of sparkle, in my eyes, is because of the area this move should dramatically impact – Magnolia Park. This plaza next to Tiana’s is home to a beautiful fountain, sculptures and can be quite peaceful when void of people. The problem is that the area, as currently constructed, is either stuffed with crowds and/or ropes to help corral the overflow from the Haunted Mansion queue. Pair that with the train station queue, lines for the nearby restaurants and crowds for Fantasmic when it’s running and there is nothing serene about this beautiful area. Walking through this area during the holidays, when Haunted Mansion Holiday is at its peak in popularity is such a headache.
Adding to the Haunted Mansion queue might slightly infringe on Magnolia Park’s footprint but should alleviate the crowd pressure in one of the most troubling areas of Disneyland. On top of that, all of the areas they are adding to the queue seem like well thought out ideas. I’m happy to see there won’t be any interactive elements. The goal is simple, make these new areas in the queue look spookily pretty.
Over on the other side of the attraction, adding a gift shop by the exit shouldn’t be a big deal. There’s already a shopping kiosk there and I wouldn’t think the new store should infringe on the walking path much more than that. I don’t particularly care about gift shops but if they’re going to have one then it might as well be based on something as cool as the Haunted Mansion!
All of the concept art has a nice whimsy to it. Outside of that little note, I’ll wait to add anything substantive on design until we get more details. Overall, this isn’t a big thing but is something Disneyland really needs right now. I’m hopeful that the change will help restore some of New Orleans Square’s charm, making it more inviting!
What are your thoughts on the changes? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below! Planning a trip to Disneyland Resort? Check out our Disneyland Trip Planning Guide to help you out. Looking for discount tickets to the parks? You can look here! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends and like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!