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Disneyland's Haunted Mansion celebrates 50 spooky years

Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park
Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park
Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park – Ballroom
Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park – Hatbox Ghost
Posted at 12:09 PM, Aug 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 17:10:51-04

(KGTV) — On Aug. 9, 1969, the doors of Disneyland's spookiest attraction creaked open and invited guests inside to meet its ghostly residents.

The spirited New Orleans Square ride was the first attraction to open without Walt Disney's direct supervision at the theme park, according to Disney. And while Disney reviewed early concepts, he didn't live long enough to see the completed ride.

The idea for the mansion started in 1952 as an early concept sketch by Harper Goff when the theme park was still being developed. Construction started in 1961 and the gothic, Victorian exterior was finished in 1963.

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Inside, the halls of the mansion sat empty until 1969 because Disney and Imagineers worked on New York World’s Fair projects. But those projects paved the way for the technology used inside the ride to bring the ghosts to life.

Within a week of opening, the park saw its highest single-day attendance at the time.

The portrait chamber immediately inside the Haunted Mansion shows guests the home's residents in their mortal state, before the room "stretches" and reveals a far more horrific tale for each.

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Guests are then guided through a hallway of transforming portraits before a ghastly host takes them on a haunted adventure through the home, including stops at a ghost party in the Grand Hall, visit to the Hatbox Ghost, a "swinging wake," and a séance conducted by Madame Leota.

To learn about the residence's 13 ghostly inhabitants, click here.

Around the ride, 20 tombstone tributes exist — both inside and outside — to honor Disney legends and Walt Disney Imagineers who created the mansion.

This season, however, the Haunted Mansion will take on a different vibe, as it celebrates Halloween with its annual holiday theme inspired by “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.”