I normally don’t like peeking too far into Disney construction, as it’s often unsightly and takes away from some of the Disney magic. But in the case of the ongoing exterior addition to The Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, I just couldn’t resist.
The Haunted Mansion is receiving an all-new entrance which will lead guests through a crypt, surrounded by tombs of familiar ghosts that reside within the classic attraction. Rumor points to it all opening within the next 2-4 weeks (by the end of March), but today we offer a peek inside the construction to get an idea of what guests will experience.
(Big thanks to Denise for the majority of these photos! Visit MouseSteps.com for more.)
Beginning near the water’s edge, guests approaching The Haunted Mansion will find themselves walking through a newly-built area, replacing the former exterior graveyard. Tombstones line the hillside to the left of the Mansion, above where guests will pass.
Perhaps this hill will be the future resting place of the classic Imagineering-tribute tombstones that used to lie next to the entrance of the Haunted Mansion.
An elaborate final resting place now exists for The Haunted Mansion’s nefarious sea captain, with his tomb not only featuring a sculpture of the captain himself, but also sea creatures reaching around it.
The captain was a major part of one of the Mansion’s oldest story lines during early planning stages decades ago. His importance to the attraction has since diminished, represented as a single portrait for many years. Now he claims more of the spotlight with an elaborate grave.
Here’s a closer look at what may prove to be the most elaborate of all the new tombs:
Also included in the crypt is a tomb themed very similarly to the library in the attraction and attributed to Phineas Pock – another name that dates back to early Mansion story days. The name Phineas has also been given to the carpet bag-carrying Hitchhiking Ghost at the end of the ride.
Here’s a closer look at the detail of this tomb:
In the dark ride’s famous ballroom scene, countless disembodied spirits circle high above a large pipe organ. Now in the Haunted Mansion’s exterior graveyard, these same ghostly heads can be seen presumably marking the organists tomb (a closer view of the photo above):
You can almost make out the shape of a pipe organ through the green fabric in this picture:
The band forever-playing “Grim Grinning Ghosts” in the Mansion’s interior graveyard scene have now received their own exterior tomb, featuring the instruments they play inside:
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this grave will audibly interact with guests…
These are merely the currently-visible portions of the extensive and elaborately-themed crypt that will now be part of the queue for The Haunted Mansion. A few overview shots show just how large this all-new area is:
These new crypts are rumored to include interactive elements, but those have yet to be discovered or officially announced.
The new area is what Disney is now referring to as a “Scene One” for The Haunted Mansion. It’s a way of beginning the attraction experience before guests even step foot into the actual attraction itself, allowing guests to be entertained while waiting in line. A similar “Scene One” addition was recently added to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh dark ride in Fantasyland, giving children (and adults) several places to play while waiting to ride, leaving no dull moments.
Meanwhile in the Haunted Mansion’s finale scene, the three Hitchhiking Ghosts have been replaced, for now, by computer-generated animated projections, while additional unknown enhancements take place behind the scenes. We don’t know in what form these ghosts will return, but the relatively stiff Hitchhiking Ghosts will not be returning as we’ve known them for years.
Given the well-received enhancements the Haunted Mansion received in 2007, it’s likely that Walt Disney Imagineering’s latest round of additions to the classic dark ride will dazzle visitors for years to come and we’ll surely be there the day they premiere, so check back here for further updates.
More photos from the under-construction addition to The Haunted Mansion:
Again, thank you to Denise for taking these photos. Be sure to visit her site at MouseSteps.com for more like these plus many more updates from throughout Walt Disney World and beyond!