Think you know a lot about the Haunted Mansion at Disney World?
Think on this: The mansion you see out front is not where you ride on the attraction at all!
HM Tip: You’ll never see the Haunted Mansion standby time set at 5 minutes like other rides in the Magic Kingdom. When the HM standby time is set to 13 minutes, it means it’s walk on!!!
Taking a Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Haunted Mansion
When I was a cast member at Disney World, I got to go on a behind-the-scenes, aka “backstage”, tour of one of my favorite rides at the Magic Kingdom – The Haunted Mansion!!
So, if you know me at all, you know that I am not an early riser. When I first saw that the meeting time for the tour was at 6:40am…..ugh, no thank you! But, it is one of my all time favorite rides, so I HAD to do it!
We were running late and I got a text from another CP in the group which said, “If you can catch up to us in the Utilidors, then you can be in the tour. If not, then you can just go home.” WHAT??!!! Not very nice, and very stressful to read!
Sara and I parked and ran through the Utilidors and kept getting stopped by other cast members because we looked so lost and were wearing our street clothes. But we did it!!! We found the group and made it on the tour!!
The old woman who did our tour was perfect for her role. She has the highest seniority at the Haunted Mansion and has worked there for 17 years. 17 YEARS!!!! She was extremely intimidating and unfriendly to say the least.
She began her tour by telling us that if we couldn’t keep the chatter down, then she’d end the tour early. Hilarious, as the average age of our group was around 35. She acted like we were a school tour of 2nd graders.
Note: She said that we could take as many photos as we wanted AND use flash photography if we needed to!!!
We started out by doing a walking tour of the entire ride with the lights on. We got to stay in each room as she pointed out interesting details and facts of the room.
Something I had heard before was that during the 2007 renovation, seven hidden Jack Skellingtons were added to the HM ride. The first one is in this photo in the first HM room. Jack can be found in the wrinkles above the left eyebrow.
Here is a photo of our entire DAK group. They told us to make a scared/frightened face! I think mine is the best. 😉
After we watched the first scene in the stretching room, we all got to lay down and watch as the room slowly folded in on itself! So scary! And weird. I bet no one has ever seen this room so empty!
There are 160 black “Doom Buggies” that move through the 10 minutes of the spookiest rooms in all of the Magic Kingdom!
I love this scene! It is so cool how the eyes all watch you as you move along. We actually got to go up and touch the heads! The trick is that the faces are actually concave into the other side of the wall. It’s just a trick your eyes play on you as you move across the room.
There are two Jack Skellingtons in this room. They are near the chair. One is a picture of Jack on a book cover and the other is just Jack’s head on the spine of a book.
Next time you’re in this scene, check out how creepy the coffin is! There are hidden skulls around it.
Also, we got to pet the scarecrow! It was surprisingly soft. The original concept of the HM ride was to have the crow follow along with you and narrate the ride. That plan was scraped, but you can still see the crow in every scene.
I LOVE this part of the ride! Especially when the evil hand shadow crosses it!
Several people have tried to jump out of their Doom buggies to steal the ball every year. Apparently the going rate online for it is $500,000. However, what you can’t see is that between the railing and the table is actually nothing! It drops down to the floor below.
There was a guy who jumped over to the table, but missed. He fell and broke his arm and kept screaming “Help! I can’t get out!” which, if you know Haunted Mansion, is exactly what the guy in the coffin is saying! He wasn’t discovered until the end of the night when the music was finally turned off and the lights turned on for cleaning. Ouch!
There are now grates to over the open area, but a few years ago, a high schooler on graduation night tried to jump across and landed on the grates. Except he landed between two of the bars, broke through, and got stuck. Because he was bigger, they had to pull him all the way through to get him out. He ended up getting about 70 stitches around his stomach. Ouch!
Sorry this is such a bad photo! But I love this scene! I love when the ride breaks down in this room because there is always so many interesting things to look at!
The BEST part about our backstage tour was the guide gave us a special opportunity to actually go into the ballroom! We got to walk around the table and look at all the actual ghosts which are being reflected through a series of mirrors into the ballroom. We got to dance with the ghosts! And to touch the plates and silverware on the table, and see the Hidden Mickey! This was my coolest and most amazing WDW experience!!!!
Our tour guide said that so far this year there have been 14 instances of people throwing human ashes during the HM ride, especially during the ballroom scene. Each time it happens, it closes the ride for about four hours while custodial is called in to vacuum the ashes up! Code HEPA….
Hidden Mickey!! This is right before the fat lady sings (so you know the ride is over!).
Sara and me in our Doom Buggy. I was glad to have her as ‘my partner in crime’!
Sara and me in front of the carriage after the tour. Still no Park guests! It was only 8am.
First stop after the backstage tour – Starbucks on Main Street! Yum! I got an iced coffee with caramel. So good!
Interested in bringing home a few mementos from the Haunted Mansion?
Then, Memento Mori is the place for you!
Memento Mori is the Haunted Mansion-themed shop located in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom.
Memento Mori is Latin for ‘remember you will die’.
As the Haunted Mansion attraction is one of Caroline’s favorite rides at MK, we had to stop in and look at all the cool HM merchandise!
We loved the Haunted Mansion Cast Member t-shirt!
Madame Leota’s beautiful portrait is rumored to have been created during the time she lived in the area. (It changes its look every 60 seconds. Wait for it…..)
Something I never knew: Each piece of HM dinnerwear features a floor plan of the Haunted Mansion! The dinner plate has the 1st Floor, the salad plate has the 2nd Floor, the dessert plate has the 3rd Floor. That is sooo cool!
Thinking about the ride, you start out on the first floor, then move through the gallery on the second floor, finally exiting the mansion on the 3rd floor. (You can even see the roof shingles when you exit the house!)
I really had no idea that the ride was supposedly taking place in a 3 story mansion!!!
Our HM costumes at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party:
We’ve written two books about our time working – and playing – as Disney Cast Members at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
If you’d like to follow our daily Disney blog, here’s the link: https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/
Have a magical day!
Two Disney Sisters