I found some information on the History of the Haunted Mansion - stateside and worldwide!
I will be posting little portions here and there with some fun facts you may have already known, and some you may not know!
The Haunted Mansion is a haunted house dark ride located at Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom (Walt Disney World), and Tokyo Disneyland. Phantom Manor, a significantly re-imagined version of The Haunted Mansion, is located exclusively in Disneyland Paris, and the newest rendition at Hong Kong Disneyland which is called Mystic Manor. The Haunted Mansion features a ride-through tour in Omnimover vehicles called "Doom Buggies," preceded by a walk-through show in the queue. The attraction showcases a number of age-old tricks, advanced special effects, and spectral Audio-Animatronics.
Disneyland Version, Anaheim, California
The Hall Of Portraits which guests pass through after they step off the elevator.
Entering the queuing area through a pair of ornate gates, guests find themselves in the mansion's well-tended gardens and courtyards. The queuing path leads guests past a pet cemetery, a mausoleum with pun names, and a white carriage hearse led by an invisible horse. The path leads guests onto the porch, where they are led into the mansion's foyer by somber house servants.
At the foyer, the Ghost Host (voiced by Paul Frees) welcomes the guests as the Cast Members usher them into the first room: an octagonal portrait gallery. The door slides closed and the tour begins.
As the Ghost Host taunts his guests, the room begins to "stretch." The portraits on the walls elongate, revealing the fates of previous guests as follows:a bearded gentleman holding a document wearing only his undergarments from the waist down and standing atop a lit keg of dynamite, a pretty young lady holding a parasol balancing on a fraying tightrope above the gaping jaws of an alligator, Constance Hatchaway holding a rose while sitting atop a tall gravestone, at the bottom of which is a stone bust of her husband George with a hatchet embedded in his head and a man in a bowler hat sitting on the shoulders of another man, who sits on the shoulders of a third man who is waist-deep in quicksand.
“...And consider this dismaying observation: this chamber has no windows and no doors... which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out! Of course, there's always my way...”
A sudden thunderclap later, the lights go out and the ceiling vanishes, revealing the cupola above, and in it is the skeletal corpse of the Ghost Host dangling from the noose, illuminated by flashes of lightning. After a few seconds, the room becomes pitch black and a dreadful scream is heard, followed by the sound of bones shattering.
Guests are then led down a hall of portraits. As lightning flashes from the windows on the left wall, the portraits on the opposite wall transform into images of corpses and monsters. At the far end of the hall, two statuary busts depicting a man and a woman are stationed. As the guests move past, these two statues appear to turn and follow them with their gaze.
Next, guests step into a dark and misty loading area, where they are guided to their carriages, or "Doom Buggies." The Ghost Host lowers the safety bars, provides the safety spiel, and the journey begins. The Doom Buggies glide upstairs to the second floor and point guests toward a hallway with no apparent end. A candelabra can be seen floating in the distance of the misty passage. Near the entrance stands a haunted, moving suit of armor.
Turning away from the endless hall, guests travel past a conservatory filled with dead, withered plants and flowers. In the middle of the room is a coffin occupied by a restless "guest" attempting to get out. Perched near the coffin is a black raven with glowing red eyes.
The Doom Buggies continue down a corridor lined with doors. The sounds of pounding, screeching, calls for help, and maniacal laughter can be heard. Door knockers and handles are moved by unseen hands, and some doors appear to be "breathing." The walls, covered in demon-faced wallpaper, are adorned with daguerreotypes of corpses and a large painting of the Ghost Host. A demonic grandfather clock chimes 13 as the hands spin wildly backwards, and the shadow of a claw passes over it.
Guests enter a dark séance room full of floating musical instruments. Madame Leota, a medium whose disembodied head appears within a crystal ball, summons the mansion's spirits while levitating above her table. Madame Leota's incantations goes something like this:
"Serpents and spiders, tail of a rat
Call in the spirits, wherever they're at.
Rap on a table, it's time to respond
Send us a message from somewhere beyond.
Goblins and ghoulies from last Halloween
Awaken the spirits with your tambourine.
Creepies and crawlies, toads in a pond
Let there be music from regions beyond.
Wizards and witches wherever you dwell
Give us a hint by ringing a bell."
Next, guests pass onto the balcony of a magnificent ballroom where the happy haunts have materialize. A ghostly birthday party appears to be taking place at the dining table (a dinner plate and two saucers on the left side of the table combine to make a "Hidden Mickey"). Some spirits sit on the chandeliers, drinking, while other ghosts enter the hall from an open coffin in a hearse. A ghost wraps his arm around a woman bust, and two portraits of men with guns come to life, dueling with their pistols. A ghost plays an organ (Captain Nemo's original organ from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), while spirits float up out of the pipes and transparent couples waltz nearby.
The attic is an irregularly shaped room that the Doom Buggies enter immediately after the ballroom scene. It features a collection of gifts, personal items, mementos, and wedding portraits. In each portrait, the same bride is featured with a different groom, whose heads disappear to the accompaniment of a hatchet sound. Eagle-eyed guests may notice that with each successive photograph, the bride gains another string of pearls. Just before the Doom Buggies leave the attic, the same ghost bride from the pictures, Miss Hatchaway is seen floating in the air, intoning macabre wedding vows. As she raises her arms, a hatchet appears in her hands.
The Doom Buggies drift out a window, turn around, and tip backwards down a fifteen percent grade surrounded by dark, ghoulish trees with knotted expressions. On a branch overhead, a raven caws at the guests.
The Doom Buggies reach the ground, and turn towards the gate of the graveyard. There stands a caretaker, one of the few living characters in the entire attraction, his knees shaking in fright and an expression of terror on his face. Beside him is his emaciated dog, whining and whimpering. Around the corner, a ghostly band of minstrels plays a jazzy rendition of "Grim Grinning Ghosts".
Ghouls pop up from behind tombstones, a king and queen balance on a teeter-totter, a duchess swings back and forth from a tree branch, and a skeletal hell hound howls from behind them. The Doom Buggies travel down a hill and turn to see five singing busts continuing the song of "Grim Grinning Ghosts."
Next, guests encounter a tea party of ghosts surrounding a hearse stuck in the mud. An arm protrudes out of a crypt with a wine glass in its bony hand, while banshees ride bikes in the distance. Nearby, the ghost of a hearing-impaired wise old man struggles to understand the words of an awakened mummy through a hearing horn.
The Doom Buggies turn to face two "phantoms of the opera," blasting their voices up into the night. Beside them are three other ghosts — a decapitated knight, his executioner, and a prisoner — who also join in the song.
Guests pass a spirit bricking himself into his own tomb. At this point, the Ghost Host catches up with the guests as they enter a crypt where they encounter the Hitchhiking Ghosts. Passing by large mirrors, guests discover that one of the trio has hitched a ride in their Doom Buggy.
The last apparition guests see as they exit the mansion is a tiny spectral figure named the Ghost Hostess—who encourages them to:
“Hurry back... be sure to bring your death certificate, if you decide to join us. Make final arrangements now. We've been ‘dying’ to have you…”
Tomorrow - The History of Disneyland's The Haunted Mansion...!