Opened: October 1, 1971
Location: Haunted Mansion is located across the way from Columbia Harbour House. From Frontierland, you’ll see it on your left before arriving in Fantasyland. From Fantasyland, it’s on the right after you pass it’s a small world and Peter Pan’s Flight.
Extra Magic Hours: Evening
Type: Dark ride
Similar To: Spaceship Earth
Scary Factor: Medium. The Haunted Mansion is intended to be a fun and goofy ride, not a frightening experience. You won’t see anything gruesome or disgusting and there aren’t any sudden drops or surprises that will pop up unexpectedly. Still, it is a haunted house full of ghouls and the ride is almost entirely in the dark, which may be enough to make youngsters apprehensive about riding. Chances are they won’t be frightened by anything they see during the ride, but they may be too scared from the thought of a haunted house to enjoy the attraction.
What to Expect: The queue for the Haunted Mansion is outdoors under a large canopy. It protects from the rain, but won’t do much to keep the afternoon heat out. In fact, it can make it seem even hotter because there isn’t a lot of air flow. In 2011, Disney installed an interactive queue near the entrance to the mansion. You can elect to walk through it by taking the left path or bypass it entirely by taking the right. Walking the interactive queue adds about five minutes to the overall wait. It’s recommended and adds a bit of ambiance before entering the mansion.
Once it’s your turn to enter the Mansion, you’ll be greeted and led in by two caretakers. After a neat room-expanding pre-show, you’ll be let into another larger room where you’ll wait to board your “doom buggy,” which is a small ride vehicle similar to those found at Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Spaceship Earth. Unfortunately, this room has become more and more crowded and it can be a bit of a hassle to walk with hundreds of other people down the narrow corridor. Grab a hold of children to make sure you don’t lose track of them. The vehicles move on a conveyer belt and will occasionally turn 180 degrees automatically so your buggy is facing the correct direction. Your slow ride through the Haunted Mansion will take about eight minutes to complete and features some of the best, most detailed scenes and animatronics in all of Disney World. For a detailed explanation of the story and the different scenes, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Haunted_Mansion
When To Go: To find the shortest lines, visit before 11am or in the last two hours of operation. Be aware that the Liberty Square Riverboat and Hall of Presidents let out about 750 people every 20 minutes. Many of those people head here, so try to find something else to do (ice cream sounds good) while the line dies down if you see a horde of people descending on the Mansion. Also, The Haunted Mansion is usually a walk-on during evening Extra Magic Hours so be sure to check back then as well. Like most haunted houses, it’s even better after dark.
Expect to Wait: Waits before 11am are usually ten minutes or less. When the overall crowd level is a five or below and Magic Kingdom is recommended, waits should be 20 or less minutes all day. When Magic Kingdom is not recommended and the overall crowd level is an eight or above, wait times can peak as high as 40 to 50 minutes between 12pm and 5pm.
Length: 9 minutes
10 Years Plus in the Making: During planning and construction, Disney Imagineers couldn’t agree on the theme or scope of the Haunted Mansion. At one point, the building was to be surrounded by overgrown weeds, decaying trees, boarded windows, and hundreds of bats. Walt Disney didn’t like the idea of an ugly building in an otherwise beautiful Park, so the building’s design changed to what you see today. For a complete background story, make sure to read the Wikipedia article linked above.
Commentary: Although riders expecting a frightening experience will be disappointed, the Haunted Mansion is great fun and one of Disney’s best and most enduring rides. This is a must-ride for all guests, although youngsters may be too nervous to ride or enjoy the Mansion. This is also one you’ll probably want to ride at least twice because there’s a lot to see. This will also give young riders a chance to see that the ride isn’t “scary” the first time and actually enjoy it the second time.