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How Disneyland's Haunted Mansion Will Be Different When The Park Reopens

Few attractions at Disneyland are as iconic as the Haunted Mansion. While the New Orleans Square location wasn't there when Disneyland opened, it was part of the park's first major expansion, and the Mansion is a favorite attraction of many, including us here at CinemaBlend. 2020 was going to be a year where we didn't see much of the Mansion even before the park itself had to close, as it went down for a major refurbishment at the beginning of the year. When Disneyland Resort reopens April 30, guests will see a literal fresh coat of paint on the over 50-year-old ride, as well as numerous updates and additions inside the ride as well.

The Los Angeles Times provides a small list of changes to the Haunted Mansion that seemingly won't drastically change anything for the guests that have the ride's narration memorized, and insist on speaking it along with Paul Frees while crammed in the stretching room. Still, it should delight both longtime fans and new riders. Nothing significant has been changed, but a few things have been polished up, while additions have been made throughout the attraction.

New items will be found even before guests enter the attraction itself. Small additions have been made to the pet cemetery that guests walk by as they snake through the queue. Walk past the grave of a pet skunk and you'll be able to smell garlic. The grave of Rosie the pig, now is surrounded by roses. The exterior of the Mansion has been repainted, and the spider-web flooring of the entryway has also been updated.

The major new additions guests will find as they leave the stretching room and head toward the Doom Buggies. The portrait hallway has been extended, and now has another painting hanging on the wall. It is a new version of previous item that hung in the hall until the early 2000s, created originally by Imagineer Marc Davis, which shows a young woman slowly transforming into an old hag. Other new additions have been added to the latter portion of the hall and the area behind the Doom Buggies, which has previously only came to life as part of the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay during the holidays.

This area will include the new artwork, a mysterious door, and a statue of a cat with an occasionally glowing red eye. This was designed as a reference to an early concept for the Haunted Mansion from Imagineer Xavier Atencio, who saw a Black Cat as a recurring character in the ride, a sort of guide taking guests through the attraction. "X" as he was known, wrote the song "Grim Grinning Ghosts" for the ride.

In addition to these completely new items found in new areas, guests will also find updates to some of the areas they know well. A wicker chair floats in the air among the already existing items in Madame Leota's seance room. A new dollhouse sits among the collection of items belonging to the various deceased husbands of Constance Hatchaway.

The Haunted Mansion is confirmed to be one of the attractions that will be back when Disneyland Resort reopens April 30. It will likely be one of the more popular attractions, as it's always been that way. Although I expect the line for the ride will be even longer than usual. With social distancing in effect, the stretching room won't be able to accommodate nearly as many people as it usually does, and while Walt Disney World has been able to simply skip the room entirely and use that space for the socially distanced queue, the Disneyland version is an actual elevator to the rest of the ride, so that won't be option.

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.