Haunted Mansion

Take your seat in a gloomy Doom Buggy for an eerie tour through this house of happy haunts!

Icon for height Any Height

Icon of family Kids and Adults

Caution alert icon Slow Ride, Dark, Loud, Scary

The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland is one of the park’s most iconic and beloved dark rides. Since opening in 1969, it has been thrilling foolish mortals with its 999 happy haunts. For fans of the supernatural, the Haunted Mansion balances laughs and spooks perfectly. This review aims to showcase why the ride has remained a beloved Disneyland classic for over 50 years.

Haunted Mansion General Ride information

The Haunted Mansion is located in New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park. It has been thrilling guests since it opened on August 9, 1969.

  • Average Wait Times: The standby wait times vary greatly by season and time of day. In the busy summer and holiday seasons, afternoon waits can exceed 60–90 minutes. Early morning and late evening waits are typically 30 minutes or less.
  • Height Requirement: There is no height requirement for The Haunted Mansion, making it suitable for guests of all ages.
  • Single Rider: There is no single rider line offered. All guests must wait in the standby or Lightning Lane queue.
  • Ride Duration: The total experience lasts around 10–15 minutes from entering the queue to exiting the doom buggies. The ride portion is approximately 7 minutes long.
  • Genie+ and Lightning Lane: Haunted Mansion is available to book using the paid Genie+ (formerly FastPass) and individual Lightning Lane services, subject to availability.
  • Rider Switch: The Haunted Mansion has an active Rider Switch program to accommodate guests with small children who meet the requirements.
  • Early Entry: Haunted Mansion is not part of early entry, unfortunately.
  • Best Times to Ride: During parades/shows, right at park open and the hour before closing typically have the shortest standby waits.

History & Design of Haunted Mansion Ride at Disneyland

The idea for a haunted house attraction at Disneyland originated with Walt Disney himself in the early 1950s during the initial planning and construction of the park. Various concepts were considered over the years, originally envisioned as a walk-through wax museum before evolving into the iconic dark ride we know today.


Original Concept and Evolution


In 1957, an early concept envisioned the attraction as a New Orleans-style plantation home that would transition from an opulent mansion to a ramshackle ghost house as guests walked through. However, Walt insisted that he did not want any part of Disneyland to appear run down. In 1961 the project was put on hold as Walt devoted his team’s full attention to creating attractions for the 1964 World’s Fair.


After the Fair, development resumed in 1965. Legendary Disney animators and Imagineers Marc Davis, Claude Coats, Yale Gracey and X Atencio joined the project and changed the concept from a walk-through to a dark ride using innovative ride systems. The storyline and tone evolved to have a balance between spooks and humor, with music and effects setting the mood.


Exterior Architecture and Queue


The final design for the exterior was inspired by the Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore, built in 1803. The architecture mirrors the antebellum mansions found throughout the American South in the mid 19th century. The façade features white columns, ornate moldings, and decorative ironwork. The interactive queue includes the pet cemetery, musical crypts, and floating instruments while guests wait to enter. The grounds are landscaped with weeping trees and plants to appear abandoned and in mourning.


Interior Design and Technology


Inside, Claude Coats designed surreal endless hallways, morphing corridors, ghostly ballrooms, and haunting graveyards. Marc Davis counterbalanced with humorous scenes and characters. The various rooms and scenes were achieved using groundbreaking illusions and special effects for the time. The ride introduced the innovative Omnimover system to transport Doom Buggies through the attraction.


The buggies can rotate to ensure guests see key scenes. Other effects like the floating candles, dancing ghosts, and hitchhiking spirits utilize Pepper’s Ghost, a 19th century illusion technique using glass and lighting. The audio-animatronics, lighting, and set decoration further enhance the mood and effects throughout the ride. The Ghost Host narration guides visitors through the mansion as part of the storytelling.

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion:The Ride Experience

The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park takes riders on a 7-minute tour through the supernatural realm of “999 Happy Haunts.” The experience begins even before boarding the Doom Buggies, setting the tone through immersive visuals, sounds and special effects. We’ll take you inside Haunted Mansion Disneyland with this amazing ride experience!


Stretching Room


After passing the pet cemetery, guests enter the Portrait Gallery stretching room. As the Ghost Host delivers his spiel, the room appears to magically elongate upwards, revealing changing portraits and flying objects. In reality, the ceiling remains fixed as the floor descends, but the effect is startling.


Doom Buggies


Guests then board the Doom Buggies, vehicles inspired by early 20th century funeral coaches that can rotate to direct the riders’ attention. The buggies utilize Disney’s innovative Omnimover system to transport visitors through the various scenes of the attraction.


Key Scenes and Effects


As you travel through the Endless Hallway, ghosts seem to materialize and vanish before your eyes. In the Ballroom, apparitions dance and revel to haunting music. Ghouls pop up from behind tombstones in the Graveyard. Spectral figures also appear in the Attic, Grand Hall, and other rooms. Madame Leota floats within her crystal ball, conducting a chilling séance. A ghostly organist plays a melancholy tune. And three Hitchhiking Ghosts may just follow you home! These iconic characters and scenes have made the Haunted Mansion famous.


Animatronics and Characters


In addition to the dancing ghosts and Leota, the ride features several incredibly detailed audio-animatronic figures. The Bride, holding a hatchet, stands frozen in the Attic scene. A ghostly organist plays a massive pipe organ. And the Caretaker and his dog cower in the pet cemetery. The three Hitchhiking Ghosts – Phineas, Ezra, and Gus – appear in your Doom Buggy at the end of the ride. These playful spooks may just try to follow you out of the mansion!

Mansion House attraction

Disneyland Haunted Mansion Holiday Overlay

Every September, the Haunted Mansion transforms into a Nightmare Before Christmas theme for Halloween and Christmas. Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie appear throughout the ride, and music from the film plays. The gingerbread men in the ballroom become creepy insects, and the attic features presents and trees. 

The pet cemetery outside the mansion is often overlooked but has some humorous tombstones dedicated to deceased pets like good old Fred who was crushed by a rock. During the holidays, Jack’s ghost dog Zero gets a tombstone here too. Disneyland Haunted Mansion overlay is one of the best time to experience the ride! The Haunted Mansion Nightmare Before Christmas is so much fun with so many little surprises!

Ride Experience

As guests board their Doom Buggies, they are greeted by a voice-over from Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, who has come to the Haunted Mansion to celebrate Christmas. The Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland takes guests through re-imagined scenes like the Séance Circle, where Madame Leota has been replaced by Oogie Boogie, the film’s villain. The Ballroom scene features ghoulish Christmas characters dancing amid salt-and-pepper shakers and a massive carved pumpkin. Other highlights include Sally, the rag doll, in the Attic scene, Jack Skellington taking Santa’s place in the Graveyard scene, and the return of the infamous Hatbox Ghost. Throughout the ride, projections, special effects, and an adapted soundtrack from the film help bring the overlay to life in an immersive experience blending Halloween frights with Christmas delights.

Popularity and History

The Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay first debuted in 2001 and has become a beloved tradition for Disneyland guests and locals. Its popularity has led to it being extended in recent years, sometimes running through early January instead of closing right after Christmas. While initially controversial when first introduced, the overlay has gained a dedicated following of fans who look forward to experiencing the unique mashup of two holidays and the creativity of the Imagineers each year. It remains one of Disneyland’s most elaborate seasonal transformations of a classic attraction.

Changes Over the Years


2001 – Debut Year

  • The original overlay featured characters and scenes directly inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas film.
  • Key elements included Jack Skellington hosting, Oogie Boogie in the Seance Circle, and the Gingerbread Mansion in the Haunted Mansion’s Grand Hall.


  • The Gingerbread Mansion became an annual tradition, with a new design created each year by the Disneyland Resort Enhancement team.


  • The Hatbox Ghost, an original 1969 Mansion effect that was removed shortly after opening, made its return in the Haunted Mansion Holiday.


  • Tokyo Disneyland became the first international park to receive the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.


  • New audio-animatronic figures of Lock, Shock and Barrel were added to the Haunted Mansion’s graveyard scene.


  • The Gingerbread Mansion featured a spinning Halloween Tree topped with Zero, Jack’s ghost dog.


  • An animated projection of Oogie Boogie’s shadow was added to the Endless Corridor scene.


  • New projections and effects were introduced in the Séance Circle scene to make Oogie Boogie and his bugs seem more lifelike.


  • The Cadaver Dan animatronic in the graveyard scene was refurbished with new movements.


  • The Gingerbread Mansion featured a giant walking gingerbread monster for the first time.

Tips for Riders

-Look for the Hidden Mickey that appears on the plates in the ballroom scene
-Be sure to see the Hatbox Ghost in the endless hallway with the floating candelabra
-Listen for the deep organ music and try to spot the ghostly organist
-See how many ghosts you can count in the cemetery and ballroom scenes
-Watch out for those Hitchhiking Ghosts at the end – don’t pick up any extra passengers!

-The Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland is a must! Whether it’s your first visit or your millionth! Stop by for a frightfully fun experience!

Comparing Haunted Mansion Rides

While based on the original Disneyland ride, the Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland Haunted Mansions differ in their exterior architecture and some show scenes. The Disneyland Paris Phantom Manor features an entirely different backstory and darker tone.


Magic Kingdom Haunted Mansion: Liberty Square location, brick façade, more colonial aesthetic, additional graveyard scenes.

Tokyo Disneyland Haunted Mansion: Fantasyland location, imposing gothic architecture, unique holiday overlay.

Disneyland Paris Haunted Mansion: Frontierland location, named Phantom Manor, Victorian architecture, scarier tone and effects, unique bride backstory. Disneyland Haunted Mansion Paris is probably one of our favorites outside the original!


In the end, the iconic Disneyland Haunted Mansion set the standard, balancing humor and spooks perfectly to stand the test of time as a Magic Kingdom classic attraction.

Haunted Mansion Ride Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Haunted Mansion ride?

The Haunted Mansion is a classic dark ride attraction located in New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park. Guests board “Doom Buggies” and travel through a haunted manor populated by 999 happy haunts. The ride features special effects, Audio-Animatronics, and beloved characters like the Ghost Host and Madame Leota.

How long is the ride experience?

The ride experience lasts around 8–10 minutes from the time you board your Doom Buggy until you exit into the gift shop.

What is the ride system?

The Haunted Mansion uses an Omnimover ride system, which allows for a continuous loading of ride vehicles. The Doom Buggies slowly move along a track through the various show scenes.

Is there a height requirement?

No, there is no height requirement for the Haunted Mansion. It is considered a slow, smooth dark ride suitable for all ages.

Are there any drops or thrills?

While relatively tame, the Haunted Mansion does feature some mild drops and thrills, like the rapid backwards descent into the underground graveyard scene.

Can I get Genie+ or Lightning Lane?

Yes, the Haunted Mansion participates in the Disneyland Genie+ paid line-skipping service, allowing guests to book a Lightning Lane return time.

What are some of the iconic scenes?

Some of the most famous scenes include the Stretching Room, the Seance Circle with Madame Leota, the Ballroom with the ghostly dancers, and the Attic with the haunted bride.


Is Haunted Mansion ride scary?

Yes and no. It has one jump scare in the elevator, but other than that it’s all pretty tame. A young child could easily cover their eyes if they got scared. The music is actually light-hearted and fun. Some animatronics pop out from behind things, but they’re pretty slow and not too scary.

Are there any hitchhiking ghosts?

Yes! At the end of the ride, guests may be followed home by one of the three infamous Hitchhiking Ghosts – Ezra, Gus or Phineas.


Is there a Haunted Mansion Disneyland closure 2024?

Yes. The Haunted Mansion is currently closed for refurbishment. Check back here for real-time updates on the Disneyland Haunted Mansion ride closure. We’ll let you know when the Disneyland Haunted Mansion premiere will be!


For over 50 years, the Haunted Mansion has been thrilling foolish mortals with its 999 happy haunts. From its iconic southern façade to the chilling graveyard finale, this dark ride masterfully combines storytelling, innovation, and special effects. The rich detail and dynamic scenes reward repeat rides. For many guests, a visit to Disneyland isn’t complete without a tour from the Ghost Host into this beloved realm of the supernatural. Do you dare enter the Haunted Mansion? There’s always room for one more…

Location Map

Location Map
Haunted Mansion Ride Review
The Final Word
For over 50 years, the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland has been thrilling guests with innovative illusions, eerie environments, and playful spooks that strike the perfect balance between laughs and scares. This dark ride masterpiece rewards repeat visits to uncover rich details within the mansion’s endless corridors, ghostly graveyard, and spirited ballroom filled with Disney’s most iconic 999 happy haunts.