Tag Archives: The Haunted Mansion

Hatbox Ghost Comes Home to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion

Marc-Davis-Hatbox-Ghost“He was a cloaked figure, with an evil, grinning face. A hatbox hung from his hand. With each beat of his bride’s heart, his head disappeared from his body, and appeared in the hatbox.” The Haunted Mansion record, narrated brilliantly by Thurl Ravenscroft, was the first exposure I ever had to the Hatbox Ghost, a sinister character created by the late Disney Legend, Marc Davis.

I was born in 1970, about half a year after The Haunted Mansion opened at Disneyland. My own memories of the attraction wouldn’t begin until later visits in the late ’70s. Those fortunate enough to already be alive for the opening of the attraction may have also been fortunate enough to come face-to-face with the most elusive character in Disney attraction history – the Hatbox Ghost.

Developed by Marc Davis and Yale Gracey at WED in Glendale for the Mansion, the Hatbox Ghost was initially installed in the ride’s attic scene, within close proximity to the Bride, who used to have a loudly-beating heart. As stated in the narration of the record, with each heartbeat of his bride, the male specter’s head would vanish, reappearing below in a large hatbox hanging from his skeletal hand. There are several historical images of Disney’s master illusionist, Yale Gracey, working on the mock-up of the figure at their WED facility (now Walt Disney Imagineering) in Glendale, California.

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New Thrills and Chills Coming Soon to Disneyland

Haunted-Mansion-DisneylandWith Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary right around the corner, the folks that make the magic are in a mad rush to get everything ready for the massive influx of guests that are going to be making their way from all corners of the world as the Diamond Celebration officially kicks off on Friday, May 22nd.

In the past several months, there has been much attention focused on the major aspects of Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary, from a new World of Color show next door at Disney California Adventure, to an all-new nighttime parade and fireworks show at Disneyland. For the most part, it appears that the Diamond Celebration is pretty much all entertainment-based. However, there are a few thrills and chills creeping up under the radar that have hard core Disneylanders very excited, and with good reason!

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Hatbox Ghost Returns to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion in May

Hatbox-Ghost-Rendering-DisneylandThe Disneyland Resort has announced something that there has been major speculation about over the past several months, and something that has been rumored for years… the return of the infamous Hatbox Ghost character to The Haunted Mansion!

When the attraction opened in 1969 in New Orleans Square, one of the 999 Happy Haunts in the foreboding mansion was a ghoulish character – a specter with a walking cane holding a large hat box. As riders would pass by in their Doombuggies, the apparition’s head would vanish – and reappear inside the box it was holding!

Conceived by Marc Davis and Yale Gracey at WED, the Hatbox Ghost worked well enough when mocked up in Glendale. However, when it was transported to Disneyland, the effect didn’t work as well, and disappointed the Imagineering team. Lighting was adjusted, but to no avail – the spirit was removed from the Haunted Mansion just weeks after the attraction’s debut, setting off a legend that would last decades. Indeed, the Hatbox Ghost is arguably the most famous character from The Haunted Mansion, despite the fact that most fans have never actually seen it, aside from concept art, a few very rare photos, and a brief home movie clip that can be found on YouTube.

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Alice Davis Announced for ScareLA!

alicedavisslaDisneyland fans, hang on to your lap bars! ScareLA is thrilled to announce the addition of Disney Legend Alice Davis to its special presentation, When Hinges Creak: Celebrating 45 Years of The Haunted Mansion!

Representing her late husband, Marc Davis, Alice will join Disney Legend Bob Gurr and Doombuggies.com’s Jeff Baham on August 9, 2014 at ScareLA as fans celebrate the iconic Disneyland attraction on its actual 45th Anniversary! The group will reminisce about the Mansion’s design and development, as well as take questions from audience members.

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