Fan Art Friday: Disney's The Haunted Mansion
January 3, 2015 10:53 AM   Subscribe

"Disney's Haunted Mansion has a devoted fan following. I get it. It's a classic attraction packed with beautiful artwork, memorable and creepy characters, and grand rooms with tons to look at. Even though I've gone on the ride dozens of times at Disneyland, I still come across new things. The ride is deserving of piles of fan art so I've gathered not quite 999 spooktacular examples from around the web. From Ghost Hosts, to Hitchhiking Ghosts, to Madame Leota – it's all right here. Ignore the hot and cold running chills and browse the below gallery."

Amy Ratcliffe shares Disney's Haunted Mansion fan art at Nerdist.

Part of a series at Nerdist on fan art.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (29 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Makes me wanna reread Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Still his best book.
posted by cthuljew at 11:01 AM on January 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

Ha! I wrote Haunted Mansion fanfiction as a middle schooler. It's too embarrassing to even read now, of course. But at the time I was very proud.
posted by town of cats at 11:04 AM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

We went to Disney World when I was a kid, and my dad, who is kind of claustrophobic, freaked out when the doors slammed shut behind us in the Haunted Mansion. He got out of the car and started pounding on the wall where the entrance door had been and yelling, "Let me out, let me out!" Everybody not in our family assumed he was part of the ride. He was still pounding and yelling when everybody else started in on the ride proper, but eventually somebody from Disney did let him out the front door.

I never went back to Disney until last month, when I brought my own kids. I was really hoping there was going to be an animatronic version of my dad at the Haunted Mansion. But there wasn't. You missed out, Disney. My dad was the scariest thing ever seen on that ride.
posted by escabeche at 11:09 AM on January 3, 2015 [29 favorites]

The Haunted Mansion is really interesting to me as a phenomena more than as a ride. As a kid, I was afraid of it, and put off even riding it until I was older, maybe 14 or 15, and finally understood its purposely goofy nature. I guess I took all the menacing mansion outside design as real and ghosts and skeletons terrified me as a kid so I avoided it until then (I grew up 20min from Disneyland and went every couple years growing up).

I liked the ride ok as an older kid, but I was kind of dumbfounded by how much people adore the ride. It's taken me years to understand it, and I still think of it as a pretty good ride with good design and lots of nice tricks, and I appreciate all the fandom around it and how much it is revered. Honestly, I wish I dug it that much but I like seeing all the amazing creativity people have about it.
posted by mathowie at 11:18 AM on January 3, 2015 [5 favorites]

GAAAAAAAAH! I shouldn't get involved in this thread because I'll be here all week.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:52 AM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Or..... forever! (creepy laugh)
posted by escabeche at 11:52 AM on January 3, 2015 [13 favorites]

The absolute best, by far, blog about this ride Long Forgotten Haunted Mansion is a treasure trove of history and minutia. Lots of Rolly Crump's Museum of the Weird concepts, well-sourced speculation about an attempt to make HM a boat ride. Seriously wonderful detective work about what happened when behind the scenes and what influenced what.
posted by Brainy at 12:13 PM on January 3, 2015 [4 favorites]

I finally made it to the Magic Kingdom in Florida in 1995 after years of whining about how we spent our summers exploring cemeteries in New England, seeking out tracker action pipe organs, and ending up on deserted islands off the coast of Maine, and the first thing I wanted to see was the Haunted Mansion.


Like one's first time having sex, it was pretty much a "That was…it? Is that all there is?" moment.

Of course, I was spoiled, as a Marylander, because we have one of the best preserved Bill Tracy dark rides, the Ocean City Haunted House, which was a rockabilly concerto of day-glo goofyshock in comparison to the stately marketing department work at Disney.
posted by sonascope at 12:59 PM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was looking at the other fanart galleries and they all made me sad because I wish I had curated them with the much more awesome fanart I've seen.
posted by Windigo at 1:00 PM on January 3, 2015

"Disney against the metaphysicals"
posted by clavdivs at 1:01 PM on January 3, 2015

It's funny because I also grew up in Maryland and went to Ocean City, but the OC Haunted House scared the PANTS off me as a kid (seriously, I had nightmares. But I was also five or six the first time I got on it) - and I didn't see the Haunted Mansion until I was 12 or 13. So for me, Disney's HM is forever connected to that one. Perfect. summer, where we actually had a real family vacation, and I was old and tall and mature enough to get on everything and appreciate everything and not have nightmares about it.
posted by FritoKAL at 1:19 PM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I am one of those nerds who loves the Haunted Mansion. Oh man, every time I go to Disneyland, always wanting to buy Haunted Mansion-themed stuff (and have you seen some of the stuff for their 50th anniversary? Oh my God, my hands, they are claws of grabbing again), listening to ride-throughs...

It's just the attention to detail, the Victorian special effects that still work so well, everything from the wallpaper to the spiderweb to the cross-stitch. It's the fact that all these ghosts are happy to be there, and they want to share their happiness with you.

I don't really believe in an afterlife, but if it was the Haunted Mansion, I'd happily be the 1000th.

As even more proof of what a nerd I am about the Haunted Mansion, this is the sign on my front door.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:29 PM on January 3, 2015 [8 favorites]

First time I went through the Ocean City haunted house I came back out hiding down inside the coffin car. Of course it didn't scare my younger sister a bit, so my parents thought I had jumped off the ride until I reappeared.
posted by lagomorphius at 1:30 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: That was…it? Is that all there is?
posted by localroger at 1:33 PM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Doombuggies is awesome for Haunted Mansion trivia.

We recently visited WDW. They had recently opened the HM gift shop, Memento Mori. Mrs. Fleebork went nuts and got a cap, shirt, and iPhone case. She wanted to get the spooky portraits, but it was packed and we didn't have the time to wait.
posted by Fleebnork at 2:38 PM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

When I took my kids to the OC Haunted House they mocked me for thinking it was scary and pointed out one of the skeletons was wearing my bathrobe. My exact everyday bathrobe. In a similar unlaundered state of disrepair. Then they forced me to go on the'1001 Nacht' ride which also scared me. Stupid kids.
posted by umberto at 2:43 PM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Fleebnork - whyyyyyyyy did you add that link? I never wanted to go to Disney World, but now I have to. TO BUY EVERYTHING.
posted by Katemonkey at 3:23 PM on January 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

I adore the Haunted Mansion. It's not my favorite WDW ride (I'm always true to you, Big Thunder Mountain), but on top of being incredibly rich and fun in its own right, the Mansion hits has the inarguable trifecta of great Florida rides: air-conditioned, long-lasting, and just hard to find enough in the park that if you get there first you can usually ride it 2-3 times before the lines start.
posted by Mchelly at 4:26 PM on January 3, 2015 [4 favorites]

I hated, hated, hated the Haunted Mansion as a kid, although I was fonder of it when I hit my teenage years (last time I was at Disneyland was about '86 or '87, I think). But I'm endlessly fascinated with the ballroom scene, which is such a great example of Victorian FX put to modern use.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:30 PM on January 3, 2015

Hooray, this thread is the perfect opportunity to share what my sister made for my Christmas stocking last week: a Haunted Mansion stretch portrait of Annalise Keating from How to Get Away With Murder (spoilers for the pilot episode if you haven't seen it).
posted by brookedel at 4:34 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I never wanted to go to Disney World, but now I have to. TO BUY EVERYTHING.

I don't want to ruin your justification for what I'm sure would be an amazing trip, buuuuuuut...

It has happened to nearly every one of us. You see an item for sale in one of the shops in a theme park that you like but you decide to wait before you purchase it. One thing leads to another and before you know it, you are back home without having bought that item. Oh, if there were only a way to still get it.

There is. Disney's merchandising division operates the very efficient Merchandise Guest Services department for just such contingencies...

Tell them as much detail about the item as you can remember. Important things are where you saw it (what park or even better which shop), as detailed a description as possible including the price if you remember it, and the size and/or color of what you are looking for. They will search their database of thousands of merchandise items to try to locate what you seek.

Most times they can come up with a match. They will tell you the SKU number of the item (this is the unique computer coded number assigned to every item that Disney sells) and the cost of the item. Merchandise purchased through Merchandise Guest Services department sells at exactly the same retail price as it does in the parks. You will however be charged a shipping cost to have the item sent to you.
posted by frijole at 4:54 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was too scared to go on the Haunted Mansion when I was little and so I didn't get to go on it until my honeymoon, and the effort and are that go into the whole thing are incredible. I love the old vision of the parks as Disney gives into financial pressure and tries to figure out how to cram thrill rides into the parks where they don't quite fit. Such a nice bit of nostalgia.

Of course I also made the newly Mrs. Penguin ride it's a small world so my tastes may be abnormal.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:47 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I may or may not have HM candleholders and a wine stopper. Oh, and a throw pillow and a blanket covered in eyes...

Of course, I also have Hollywood Tower Hotel guest towels in my bathroom, so nothing really out of the ordinary.
posted by Biblio at 9:18 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is one of my favorite rides at Disneyland, and even as an adult find it scarier at night. There's a good mix of funny vs. truly scary stuff IMHO - the ghost in the attic in the wedding dress with the beating heart scares me even now, and some of the visual effects are simple, yet deliver a creepy atmosphere (rubber door mushing outwards with something snuffling on the other side - very Haunting of Hill House, and the candelabra moving listlessly in the hall).

My favorite of the linked art is the instantly reconizable HM clock replica.

The ride is also a compromise between a walk-through and a track-ride; it seems early Disney was all about planning walk-throughs (Alice in Wonderland was originally supposed to be a walk-through - what a mistake that would've been), but they soon realized in order to move massive amounts of people through quickly, they had to have a track system.

The initial walking around the mansion is in a way the scariest - you feel vulnerable and like you have to stay with the pack. Or at least I do. And the opening room that you're corralled into like sheep increases the tension and sense of vulnerability: the best opening of any ride ever. Again there's the pull between two opposing forces on the ride: the humorous side (the paintings that stretch and reveal an entirely different story), and the sincere business of scaring the dickens out of you (the hanging body in the cupola - "there's always MY way..." and the inevitable screams and people choose to let loose. Sanctioned hysteria, hooray.)

The coup de grâce is the ballroom towards the end of the ride, of course; it employs the Pepper's ghost technique to make the "ghosts appear" below. (Favorite bit: the two paintings opposite who turn and fire shotguns at each other.) Again, this is very simple stuff but effective!

(note: author says they've ridden the Haunted Mansion dozens of times... HA! Lightweight...)

Think you're leaving this thread? "You'll be baaaack, you'll be baaaack. Be sure to bring your death certificate..."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:43 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

How old am I?

I am so old that I remember when the pop-up ghosts in the cemetery were fast and scary, and then they slowed them down because they were too startling. This must have been 40 years ago.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:32 AM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Fleebnork - whyyyyyyyy did you add that link? I never wanted to go to Disney World, but now I have to. TO BUY EVERYTHING.

You don't have to go all the way to WDW. The Disney Store has a fair amount of stuff available.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:11 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

the opening room that you're corralled into like sheep increases the tension and sense of vulnerability

Yes! That you're crammed in, and shut in, ratchets up the anticipation. It's a really clever way to solve the problem of getting riders from the surface-level entrance to the underground guts of the ride: they could have made a more utilitarian lift or staircase or escalator, but instead they made that transition into part of the ride itself: a pre-show.

Tower of Terror does the same trick with the Twilight Zone introduction in the library room. I'm sure they borrowed that from Haunted Mansion as a narrative strategy: set up the story, ramp up the tension, build anticipation that will last through the remainder of the wait time to get onto the ride itself.

The Indiana Jones ride does this a little too with the cinema room with Sallah's safety instructions, but it's less of a forced transition, more of a walk-through. All three, though, are really good at applying rigorous theming to establish their story: as you make your way through the wait line you're leaving the outside world behind and entering the ride's world.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:20 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

That's sort of the thing with the Disney Parks, though: total commitment to the bit. The care they put into theming really sets them apart from Universal. It's one of the reasons I dislike the Rock and Roller Coaster in Disney Studios. The ride is fun but it really sticks out.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 12:22 PM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

The coup de grâce is the ballroom towards the end of the ride,

Correction: the coup de grâce is the giant graveyard room at the very end of the ride; ambitious, scary, fun. Don't get me started about the pop-up gravestone ghosts...
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:32 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

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