The Haunted Mansion is among some of Disney’s most iconic theme park attractions. A foreboding experience of visiting a terrifying mansion is probably incongruous in a Disney Park, but the mansion presents dark humour and chilly wit in the form of a slow dark ride and elaborate walkthrough pre-show.
This entry won’t be a full photo tour, because I believe that the Haunted Mansion truly needs to be experienced in person. Instead I will focus on the unique aspects of Tokyo Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion – which is essentially its exterior appearance and curious place in Fantasyland.
Fastpass is offered on the left of the queue entrance. Wait times for the Haunted Mansion can go as high as 60 minutes on a moderately crowded day.
This ornate plaque, which hangs over the entrance to the queue, is unique to Tokyo Disneyland.
Several versions of the Haunted Mansion (and Phantom Manor) exists in every Disneyland-style theme park around the world. Mysteriously, the mansions never exist in the same themed land. And while the attraction follows a same structure, each mansion has its unique characteristics. On another note: Mystic Manor is a re-imagination, or distant cousin, of the Haunted Mansion.
Many legends surround the mansion(s), from tales of real spirits haunting its halls or even stories that ashes were scattered inside the mansion. The actual narrative of the mansion has also greatly varied through the years, with technical upgrades altering both the presentation and meanings of each scene.
Exclusive to Japan: An outdoor queue area that goes towards the left wing of the mansion.
This particular Haunted Mansion, in Tokyo Disneyland, has remained true to its original form over the years. The other mansions have received new effects and artistic changes – many of which have dramatically altered the story of the Mansion. In Tokyo however, most special effects, characters and their stories have remained the same. This mansion also stands out from its siblings by being the only one with an exterior that looks rather derelict – broken windows, ruined crypts and overgrown gardens.
A curious change for those familiar with the Haunted Mansion’s tombstones. Master Gracey’s tombstone is nowhere to be found, but a similar one is located here, for a Mr. West.
The freshly dug grave of Chauncey Xavier (which in another Mansion, belongs to Master Gracey). Supposedly, a single rose is placed here each day as part of the Mansion’s “show” appearance. In Japan, some birds made the grave their (momentary) resting spot.
Despite being an “old” attraction, the Mansion was designed with so much care, and remained a classic. It is very popular all times of the year; and transforms into Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare during the Halloween and Christmas period.
There it is. The iconic Haunted Mansion plaque.
A gloomy cast member led guests into the foyer. The doors creaked loudly as it closed.
While lavishly furnished, the room was quite barren. A single portrait hangs above a fireplace. As an invisible host welcomes guests into this seemingly harmless manor, the portrait gradually transforms – a manifestation of the mansion’s true dark nature.
The tour then continues into a gallery – one with no windows or doors. This is one of the most iconic scenes in the attraction. After a frightful encounter, a secret door slides away, leading the way to the loading platform.
As a slow dark ride, Haunted Mansion uses these ride vehicles, affectionately and famously known as Doombuggies. Each could sit up to three (a tight squeeze).
Unfortunately, that will be all that I am showing inside the mansion. There are much better websites, like Doombuggies.com, which I have spent countless hours surfing when I was a teen.
For the Haunted Mansion fans: This mansion is still in its original form, with no significant addition from the “modern updates” in the American parks. Leota does not float in any way; the bride and attic are the same; there are still giant spiders after the Piano scene. Anyway, there is one effect unique to Japan, which is not often mentioned: At the Corridor of Doors, there is one portrait where a face would push “out” of the canvas.
Anyway, the exit crypt is the last part of the attraction (before the path leads out to a very happy Fantasyland, and Dumbo).
It totally changed at night. This was taken when the park is about to close. You see, we went into the mansion during the park’s last half hour. There was only a small group (probably 5-7?) at the foyer. After that, we allowed the other guests to go ahead first at the loading platform. We then split up and went into individual doombuggies.
And it was quite terrifying, and it wasn’t even our first time at the mansion – probably 4th or 5th. The sight of empty doombuggies (the vehicles rotate so at some scenes, you can see other people on the ride) was very unsettling. It seemed like those movies where hapless kids explore some haunted house on a hill and never came back.
We did survive to tell the tale. It was just, really chilling. While we walked into Fantasyland, it seemed we were not out of the Mansion’s grasp. The chirpy fair music was gone and Dumbo wasn’t spinning. To handle our nerves, we ran straight to Peter Pan’s Flight, barely making it into the queue before the entrance officially closed.
Well, I definitely need to do this again sometime.
And ah, how I can forget this. Two griffin statues guard the entrance to the Haunted Mansion. At night, their eyes glow red. All the park needs to do… is to make them move their heads.
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Tokyo DisneySeaMediterranean Harbor | Mediterranean Harbor at night | Fortress Explorations
Magellan's | American Waterfront | Tower of Terror | Toy Story Mania!
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Mysterious Island at night & 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Tokyo DisneylandWorld Bazaar | World Bazaar at night | Adventureland | Pirates of the Caribbean
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