Do you know which Disney theme park does NOT have a Haunted Mansion?
Every resort has a version of this ride; every resort that is except the newest one. Interestingly, only Shanghai Disneyland does not have a Haunted Mansion type ride. Forbes magazine reports Chinese cultural reverence for ancestral spirits and the very real belief in ghosts is why they skipped adding this popular attraction to the park. At Hong Kong Disneyland they found a work around with Mystic Manor. Instead of ghosts, the story revolves around an ancient artifact that brings inanimate objects to life. Whether or not Shanghai Disneyland will eventually get their own Mystic Manor or something else even more unique and innovative, only time will tell.
Interesting fact: None of the Haunted Mansion attractions reside in the same land in any park!
The fun part about experiencing these attractions around the world is seeing how they differ and how each one has its own unique spin on this legendary ride. Having been on them all, here are my favorites in order from least favorite to most.
Tokyo Disneyland (Name: Haunted Mansion; Location: Fantasyland) – Don’t get me wrong. All of the Haunted Mansion rides are entertaining and I like them all. But compared to the others this was my least favorite. Technically perfect, riding this one was like taking a step back in time. The old bride with her heart pounding was still there in the attic instead of the new bride with the digital face and disappearing head pictures. Madame Leota doesn’t float in her crystal ball but remains stationary. It was neat going on it because rarely do you get to revisit a ride as it was when you were younger. But I miss the technical innovations of its counterparts. However, Tokyo is the only other park with a Haunted Mansion Holiday.
Walt Disney World (Name: Haunted Mansion; Location: Liberty Square) – Sorry WDW but you come in near the bottom. The interactive queue line is awesome and beats your Disneyland counterpart for sure, but there are a few innovations at Disneyland that keep it one step ahead of you.
Disneyland (Name: Haunted Mansion; Location: New Orleans Square) – This is where Haunted Mansion belongs. New Orleans Square is the perfect fit for this story and look of the house. It is also the original Haunted Mansion so score kudos for that. But what brings this version above and beyond WDW and Tokyo are the exclusivity of the Hatbox Ghost and the transformation annually into Haunted Mansion Holiday. The Hatbox Ghost is a legendary figure and fan favorite who was around for the opening of the attraction but hadn’t been seen since those early days. It was only 45 years later that he made a triumphant return and only at Disneylandd. And while Tokyo also has a Haunted Mansion Holiday, only at Disneyland can you enjoy what has become symbolic of the season – the annual gingerbread house. Each year the bakers at Disneyland create a brand new house full of intricacy and one of a kind. Fans look forward to seeing what they create.
Hong Kong Disneyland (Name: Mystic Manor; Location: Mystic Point) – Different from all the other versions in a creative and unique way. This is an amazing ride that elevates the idea of the Haunted Mansion to a whole new levvel. Utilizing the most sophisticated technology available, including the trackless ride system, the attraction takes you through an adventure with Albert the monkey who unwittingly releases the magic inside an enchanted box which brings the mansion to life. The use of sound, light, computer imagery, and a mind-boggling final scene in which an entire room transforms before your eyes is something to be seen. If you get the chance this is a must-see attraction to be sure!
Disneyland Paris (Name: Phantom Manor; Location: Frontierland) – Not as technologically sophisticated as the ride in Hong Kong, this one is still my favorite because it tells a more complete story than any of the others. Mystic Manor is more of an adventure in one specific moment in time and the other three Haunted Mansions are more of a conglomeration of ghostly tales. Phantom Manor is one story from beginning to end of a mourning bride and the fate that befalls her. Perhaps its my favorite because it is so different than the others and yet built within the same spirit. If you picked any of the other versions, you would have a more than defensible argument for selecting them. They are all attractions worthy of being admired.