Happy (belated!!) Halloween! I’m celebrating my favorite spooky holiday with a book review of one of my favorite attractions.
The Haunted Mansion is inarguably one of the most iconic and beloved attractions at Disney theme parks around the world. Since 1969, guests have been invited to ride in Doom Buggies and meet the 999 happy haunts living at The Haunted Mansion. For the 50th anniversary of the attraction, Theme Park Press released an updated version of their Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion by Jeff Baham.
Welcome, Foolish Readers! The first half of the book is dedicated to the history of the ride, from conjectures about inspiration to interviews with inside information from WED Imagineering during the early stages of planning the Ghost House. My favorite information bits were about the initial story ideas, from the haunting pirate to the bride that ended up making the final cut.
Another fun fact I really appreciated was regarding the opening of the ride. Cast members were able to preview the attraction before it opened to the public (which I loved since it is still a tradition today with new lands opening!) and within the first week of the Haunted Mansion’s opening to the public, attendance reached a record high — 82,516 guests in a week! That record stood for almost 18 years, which is crazy to think about now with daily theme park crowds.
The second part of the book dives into the full Haunted Mansion experience. I personally had no idea how many enhancements the attraction has gone through since completion! I loved learning that the ride had live character actors in the 1980s — knights that scared guests inside the mansion with their axes! There was talk of introducing other live characters in the attraction but sadly the whole live character program was cut after about 2 years.
While taking you room by room through the Haunted Mansion, Jeff Baham enlightens readers with fascinating stories of how the technology works and quotes from the Imagineers that add to the experience. My favorite scene to learn about was Madame Leota, with a close second being the scene in the attic with the bride. So much detail and thought is put into literally everything about this attraction! I can’t wait to ride it ASAP and try to spot all of the hidden gems mentioned in the book.
The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion
As a whole, I loved Jeff Baham’s book — The Haunted Mansion is an attraction with a lot of history and story tied to it. The information in the book gives an incredible history to the ride, as well as enlightens the reader to modern experiences and interesting facts.
I’ve wanted to read this book ever since watching the video clip of Walt talking about the project (and ensuring creaky floors and creaky doors for ghosts from all around the world):
I highly recommend this read for every Haunted Mansion fan and every Disney fan — you’ll feel like the 1,000th happy haunt! Be sure to check out The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion on ThemeParkPress.com!