Everyone thinks that it is strange that the Haunted Mansion is my favorite ride at Walt Disney World. I do not like scary movies, horror nights, nor had I participated in Halloween for most of my life. My favorite season of the year is fall – I love the weather, decorations, and the colors. But, as for the terror aspects of this time of year – I have stayed away from them.
I think it partially has to do with a traumatic experience in a haunted house (that was really the basement boiler room of my elementary school) at a fall festival when I was in third grade. I won’t go into the details, but when you are running for your life to get out of a haunted house and your long hair gets tangled in the rubber bats hanging from a fake vampire’s wrist, it sticks with you for about forty-three years. And if you are wondering, yes, this was a public school sponsored activity…my teacher was the vampire! Ah… the good old days.
My participation in Halloween changed when we started to go to WDW and I found the Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. When you mix Halloween with Disney you get the beautiful colors, the fun fall decorations, candy, and people dressed up in spooky fun – not terrifying or gross – costumes. Our church had a Trunk or Treat the next year, and we found a way to share our love for Disney with kids during Halloween!
I am not going to go into detail about the Not-So-Scary Halloween Party right now, stay tuned for that later in the list…but I do want to talk about my favorite ride, all year long – The Haunted Mansion.
There are so many reasons that it is my favorite ride, but it basically comes down to how this attraction is so incredibly detailed and complex. The Imagineers were brilliant and outdid themselves on this one. The special effects are amazing, especially when you realize that many of them were created in the late 1960’s. Kids may ride it now and think the ballroom ghosts are just digital imagery, when in reality it is a fascinating effect called “Pepper’s Ghost”.
The theme song is catchy, and the spiel is a classic. Even with all the times I have ridden it, there are still things I am trying to figure out. (I cannot seem to decipher all the Bride’s late husbands’ names – and no I don’t want to look them up on Wikipedia!) Every room is meticulously designed, and there are several Hidden Mickeys…even the queue has riddles, puzzles, and a murder mystery game…it is just an all-around iconic ride.
Because this is my favorite ride, I am going to save more details and trivia for future posts (one of my favorite Disney moments with our daughter was on this ride). But I do want to share why I especially love riding The Haunted Mansion at the Not-So-Scary Party. Due to the obvious tie in with the theme of the night, during the party, the Haunted Mansion usually has some extra special touches that you can’t see any other time of the year…
- There is fog and lighting effects that make the Mansion area look extra spooky for the evening.
- All the Maid and Butler cast members wear special, creepy, make-up during the party.
- A wonderful woman by the name of Carlotta sits outside the Mansion, on the hill above the haunted carriage, and interacts with the guests waiting in the queue – she has delightful stories.
- There are some unique Haunted Mansion themed PhotoPass opportunities during the party that you do not normally see throughout the year. (Yay Annual Passholder PhotoPass Perk!)
Whether you are in the park during the Not-So-Scary Party or there on a regular day – a ride on the Haunted Mansion is compulsory – they are just dying to meet you! (I had to!)