While there's so much to see and do at Disney Parks, from the thrilling Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride to the visually stunning Avatar-themed Flight of Passage, we'd argue that the Haunted Mansion is the best attraction there is, and it's even better during the holiday season.
It's not surprising that the popular attraction inspired two movies, the 2003 film and the 2023 Haunted Mansion remake. The attraction really epitomizes everything Disney Imagineering succeeds in with its attractions, which is creating an immersive experience for guests that tells a great story, with interesting characters.
Here's everything you need to know about the Haunted Mansion attractions and experiences at Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line:
Haunted Mansion-inspired bar coming to Disney Treasure cruise
The cruise ship, Disney Treasure, will include the first ever Haunted Mansion-themed bar on a Disney Cruise Line.
Guests can step into the Haunted Mansion Parlor, filled with décor that's reminiscent of the famed attractions at Disney Parks, to encounter some of the fan-favourite characters and enjoy craft cocktails.
There's also exclusive new merchandise that will be available, including a Haunted Mansion Parlor music box, clock and mirror.
The Disney Treasure will set sail in 2024.
What to expect during Haunted Mansion Holiday
Jack Skellington haunts the halls of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Resort during Halloween and the later holiday seasons, all inspired by Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.
In a holiday tradition, Jack leaves a giant gingerbread house for ghosts, who dance around the Grand Hall. The gingerbread house is just under three metres tall. For 2023, it's a "merrily creepy mausoleum" and there are also two new cotton candy decorations, in the form of a food ghost, and gingerbread chains.
There is a fully animated sequence of Jack and his dog Zero on the ceiling of the "stretching room," with Zero making a few more appearances in the transforming portraits in the gallery corridor.
There are more than 400 flickering candles on the facade of Haunted Mansion Holiday, with more than 100 jack-o-lanterns shining at night.
Madame Leota’s "13 Days of Christmas" in the Séance Room are featured in 13 spinning fortune cards.
The graveyard is covered with about 7,500 square feet of snow and 1,000 tiny orange lights on the trees.
Haunted Mansion updates coming to Disneyland
In 2024, the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland will go through an expansion, including an expanded outdoor queue.
The new queue will tie into the legend of the mansion, built by a sea captain, and will include new gardens inspired by Master Gracey and one-eyed cat Madame Leota. Each garden will be unique, with features like a water fountain and gazebo.
There will also be a new standalone retail shop, a carriage house belonging to Leota.
Where is there a Haunted Mansion attraction at Disney Parks
There is a trackless version of a similar attraction called Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland.
What's the best Haunted Mansion attraction
While the Haunted Mansion attraction isn't entirely identical in each park, the original Disneyland version, in New Orleans Square, is our favourite.
History of the Haunted Mansion Disney Parks attraction
The Haunted Mansion opened its door at Disneyland Park on Aug. 9, 1969, the first attraction that became operational without the supervision of Walt Disney himself, but he did review the early concepts while he was alive. It was actually something he imagined being part of Disneyland even before the park opened.
The construction of the mansion began in 1961. Disney's idea was that he wanted the exterior of the mansion to be in beautiful, pristine condition, leaving the ghostly elements to the interior. The mansion itself was inspire by the Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore, Maryland.
This is also the start of what was called "Illusioneering," experimenting with illusions that would allow guests to see ghosts in the mansion.
When the Haunted Mansion first opened, there was a sign out front calling on "all ghosts and restless spirits" to apply to enjoy "active retirement" at the new "country club atmosphere."
The Haunted Mansion attraction at Disney World opened two years later. Located in Liberty Square, a New England-style mansion was a better fit for the location at Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park.
In 2011, the graveyard area was updated at the Magic Kingdom attraction to provide an interactive queuing experience for guests.