The Haunted Mansion At Disneyland/-World: Were Earlier Versions Scarier?

I last rode The Haunted Mansion (Florida version) in 2005. I know that it’s been upgraded since then to flesh out the story a little better, update special effects that were no longer special nor effective, etc.

BUT - ISTR being terrified out of my damn mind when I first rode it as a seven-year-old back in 1977. I have here an old copy of Birnbaum’s Official Guide to Walt Disney World: 2003 edition, which says “… in deference to small children and other easily-frightened souls, the most terrifying parts were expunged…”

So does that mean that some pre-2005 version of THM was actually scary, rather than tongue-in-cheek scary like it is now?

Paging len!

I went through Disneyland’s several times in the mid '70s in my late teens and don’t remember it being scary at all. More along the lines of “Hmm. I wonder how they did that?” Maybe if I had been 7 at the time.

Went on it when I was 7 (1987) and was terrified… went on it as an adult (2005) and was bored. I doubt it was ever that scary, but maybe it had some jumpscares back in the day that were removed?

The early versions (Anaheim) had jump-up frighteners, or startlers, that were pretty damn overt. Glowing ghosts and ghouls that leaped up from hidden places with a really loud scream.

This was too intense, and they toned it down a bit.

I may be misremembering, but I don’t remember as many red glowing eyes or greenish-blue ectoplasms in the earlier MK version. I think that these really distract from the atmosphere and are therefore less scary. (The one glowing effect I do like is the singing busts, because they are very early-20th-century in look and character. But they aren’t scary per se. The ghostly banquet also does not distract because it is tasteful and not garish like the others.)

The worst is the walking-upside-down glowing steps on the stairs. Multiple confusing stairways: sort of spooky. Glowing green steps on the bottom of the stairs: creepy in real life, amusing for a second but then stupid on a ride. But again I must confess that I don’t remember if they were always there or not.

Does it still end with the woman crooning “hurry baaaack” in a spooky voice?

No, I wouldn’t say the scare level has changed at all over the years (I’m much more familiar with Disneyland version and its changes over the years but WDW is pretty equivalent I think).

Yes; she’s been *dying *to see you.

I went on the ride as an 8-year-old in 1985, and I wasn’t scared at all. Halloween haunted houses with actual actors jumping out at you were much scarier for me.

The 90’s version was no scarier than today’s version. I never went before 92 though so I can’t help beyond that from personal experience.

I do recall seeing a preview of it on the Wonderful World of Disney though in the early 70s and I don’t think it was ever intended to be truly scary.

The best thing they did was improve the small things in the waiting line. There is more to read and see as you wait.

I first rode it as maybe a 9 year old? That would have been 1989 and I was really, really worried it was going to be scary. The outside was a little scary, of course the stretch room had that dark scare, but the ride itself wasn’t scary and I LOOOVED it.

Rode it again two years ago and a lot is different but I wouldn’t say it’s more or less scary. The effect at the end, where you look into the mirror and there’s a ghost in your car, has been improved though - it was different each time but one time the ghost took our heads off! Or, rather, green glowing versions of our heads - I guess our “souls” - it was a hella neat effect. Might have scared a little one.

Don’t forget your death certificate!

I went on the Florida Disney World Haunted House ride in 1972, not long after it opened. I was around 6 or 7 and although it didn’t traumatize me (I knew it was just a ride) it was kinda scary. Actually, it was the live-action, opening part that was the most scary, before you got into the gondolas. The Disney employees did a pretty good job of acting confused and uncomfortable. I remember the ceiling slowly lowering in the entrance room being very creepy. I also definitely remember that it upset a little girl so badly that her and her mom were allowed to leave rather than continue on to the actual gondola ride part.

After that it was no big deal. I rode it several times over the course of the week we were there. Mr Toad’s Wild Ride scared me a hell of a lot more*!*

I rode it in the 70’s as a kid and I’ve ridden it many times as an adult. **Trinopus **is correct. There used to be “pop up ghosts” in the graveyard that were intended to give you a jump scare. Those have been toned down / removed.

I also remember the opening section with the infinite hallway and the knocking doors being darker and spookier, but that may just be my childhood imagination.

In general the changes to the ride over the year have been “scare-neutral”. The seance room has been updated so the crystal ball floats instead of just sitting on the table. The attic has had details added to flesh out the story of the murderous bride. But the level of scariness overall is pretty much the same as always.

I’ll echo what has been said about the jump scares. I’ve always hated that kind of thing and as a kid in the early 70s when it was really loud and in your face I dreaded that part of what was otherwise my favorite ride at Disneyland. Anyway, they definitely toned it down and that to me is a plus. What I don’t remember from the old days is all the day glo paint. Maybe it’s a CA v FL thing but the one in Disneyworld has a lot of cheesy flourescent paint effects that really detract from the whole motif. The part that creeped me out and still kind of disturbs me is the green lady’s head in the crystal ball. I’ll shake your tambourine for you, beotch . . .

I never realized the ‘E’ tickets were the pricey ones and ‘A’ tickets the cheap ones. ApparentlyThe Haunted Mansion was an ‘E’ ticket ride at both parks.

My wife was on the Haunted Mansion ride in Disney World around 1972 and she reports as everyone else, it was never meant to be scary, just fun and showing off 3D ghosts and the like.

Last time I went to Disneyland was with my Mom, whom I pushed around in a wheelchair throughout the park. This meant that when we got off the Haunted Mansion ride, we had to wheel out the way we wheeled in, which meant we went into the elongation room and saw it move in reverse (starting tall and then watching the pictures contract)! Something very few park patrons have ever seen.