5 Chilling Haunted Mansion Facts

by | Feb 14, 2020 | Disney History, Magic Kingdom, WDW Blog

It may scare you how much you don’t know about The Haunted Mansion. Here are 5 of our favorite facts about the Haunted Mansion to creep you out.

Like many attractions, The Haunted Mansion theme starts in the detailed queue, continuing to your ominous entrance into those double doors, and into the Stretching Room … there’s no turning back now.

Without further ado, grab a seat on your Doom Buggy and “look alive” as we explore five things you may not have known about Madame Leota’s chilling dwelling. 

1. Hoo-Hoo!…Boo..?

If you think the voice of the Ghost Host in both Disneyland and Disney World sound familiar… you’re right!

The Haunted Mansion Helms

Step inside the Haunted Mansion. Photo by Judd Helms

Although wildly different in character, Paul Frees, the same tour guide we know and love from the attic to the ballroom scene to the graveyard is not only the voice of Boris Badenov of Rocky and Bullwinkle but is also the sweet articulation of the Pilsbury doughboy– whoa! 

Pilsbury Doughboy_Paul-Frees

Hoo Hooo…. MuhaHAHAHA…

And speaking of epic voices… Walt Disney originally recorded the ghost host narration himself, but eventually scrapped it for Paul Frees’ rendition.

Want to know more about how Frees worked with Disney, including as the relative of a certain grouchy duck? Our Haunted Mansion attraction special has dedicated a corner to Frees’ work.

2. If at First, You Don’t Succeed, Make Another Movie!

Haunted Mansion Facts Judd Helms

Photo by Judd Helms

There was more than one attempt to bring Haunted Mansion to the silver screen.

In the early ’90s, Michael Eisner, the head of Disney Parks at the time, commissioned the ride for a screenplay, but alas it never came to fruition.

Once more in the late ’90s, the last attempt was made for a telefilm on the Wonderful World of Disney, but it wouldn’t be until 2003 that the Eddie Murphy version was brought to life.

Eddie Murphy Haunted Mansion Animated GIF

This movie was decades in the making?

Rotten Tomatoes ratings aside, this movie is a fun romp through the mansion, and worth a watch at least for Eddie Murphy’s reaction shots.


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3. Grrrrrrrrim Grinning Ghosts!

Another familiar voice haunts our beloved attraction in the graveyard scene.

haunted mansion 5 - judd helms

One of these Ghosts may sound familiar. Photo by Judd Helms

You may recognize Thurl Ravenscroft as Tony the Tiger and the vocalist who sings “You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch” (I can totally hear it now!) in the television classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas. A name as distinctive as his bellowing baritone voice.

Want to know how Thurl got involved in both Grinches and Ghosts? How about the 1600s origins of the song his disembodied head sings in the graveyard scene?

Discover the Grim Grinning history of your favorite ride song in our Haunted Mansion attraction special.

4. Madame Leota is the Real Deal

If you are a Haunted Mansion aficionado, this one may not come as a surprise to you, but it’s too fun not to mention. 

Haunted Mansion Madame Leota Cliff Wang

Madame Leota is played by, well, Leota! Photo by Cliff Wang

While the voice of Madame Leota was recorded by a separate voice actor (Eleanor Audley), an Imagineer by the name of Leota Toombs (yes, her actual name) was the vision of the disembodied chanting.

t’s her disembodied head that appeared in her crystal ball. 

Keeping it all in the family, Leota’s daughter, fellow Imagineer Kim Irvine took over after the passing of the beloved Mrs. Toombs. 

But there’s more to the story. Hear straight from Toombs on her experience in our Haunted Mansion attraction special.

5. What’s in a Name?

The Gracey family emblem is depicted throughout the Memento Mori gift shop found just around the corner from the attraction itself at Magic Kingdom. 

Memento Mori means “an object serving as a warning or reminder of death, such as a skull.” Very fitting for our favorite scary shop.

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Look closely in Memento Mori. Photo by Judd Helms

This is a gesture to yet another Imagineer and animator named Yale Gracey who had a hand in developing one of the coolest, chilling scenes in all of the attraction— Madame Leota’s Seance.

Haunted Mansion Facts

As an opening day attraction, The Haunted Mansion is an OG in the Magic Kingdom and continues to draw a cult following of sorts. As the kids say, if you get it, you get it. 

While each and every Disney park around the world brings its own bit of magic to the table, they all have one thing in common—from Florida to California, to Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo, they all have their own unique version of the Haunted Mansion. 

While each version may be distinct in its own right, the fact that this fun-loving haunting exists across the globe speaks volumes to its effect on Disney aficionados everywhere. 


Did you know any of these chilling Haunted Mansion Facts? Maybe we have room for one more… Tell us what you think over on our Facebook page!


Related: 

Download these FREE Haunted Mansion Wallpapers

Remembering Thurl Ravenscroft at Disney World

A Haunted Mansion Poem, Edgar Allen Poe Style

Written by Britta Stephens

Written by Britta Stephens

Britta Stephens is a contributing writer for WDW Magazine, Disney blogger, hairstylist, and dog mom x2. The first book she ever read was Hans Christan Anderson’s The Little Mermaid and she's been a fan of Disney endings ever since. When she’s not fostering kittens, she can be found reading literature from a dog’s perspective and singing the opening of The Lion King to her greenhouse plants.