15 Little Known Facts About Disney’s Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion

In honor of the scariest holiday of the year, I thought it would be interesting to take a deeper look at Disney’s spookiest attraction: Haunted Mansion. Growing up I was always scared of anything having to do with ghosts and to this day I still try to avoid all things paranormal. My kids laugh every time I tell them the story about how I worked as a Scare Actor at a Haunted House in Kansas City one Halloween and that many of the visitors ending up scaring me instead of the other way around! I am truly a big chicken when it comes to scary stuff. However, I love the Haunted Mansion. Something about its perfect mix of supernatural with a touch of Disney magic and humor makes it more fun than terrifying. Here are 15 little known facts about Disney’s Haunted Mansion:

  • The Haunted Mansion was originally imagined as a walk through attraction.
  • Several times a year people are caught trying to spread their loved-one’s remains in the Haunted Mansion.
  • For years there were rumors that someone died of fright on a test ride of the Disneyland version and that is why it took so many years for it to open to the public.
  • In one of the versions considered, it was the bride that was to have “lost her head” instead of her many grooms.
  • The hitch-hiking ghosts, Ezra, Gus and Phineas, were given their names by fans.
  • Madame Leota in the Séance Scene is actually the face of the late Model Builder and Imagineer, Leota Toombs, whose face fit perfectly the dimensions for the crystal ball.
  • In the stretching room, the ceiling rises in Walt Disney World while in Disneyland you are in an elevator that is being lowered.
  • Fake dust and cobwebs are added inside the Haunted Mansion to make it look old.
  • On Madame Leota’s tombstone in the queue area, her eyes open and close and her face moves as guests walk by.
  • The raven that is seen several times throughout the attraction was originally going to be the narrator.
  • There are 13 candles on the birthday cake in the Grand Ballroom Scene.
  • The ghosts in the Grand Ballroom Scene are actually reflections of animatronics located above and below the Doom Buggy track. This is a variation of the “Pepper’s Ghost” illusion.
  • There are really only 107 ghosts in the Haunted Mansion not 999.
  • The caretaker and dog in the Graveyard Scene are lit differently to denote that they are living not dead.
  • With Walt Disney growing up in Kansas City and being friends with the Sauer family, it is thought that the Sauer Castle may have been an early inspiration for Walt Disney’s idea to add a Haunted Mansion to his theme parks. (I grew up in Kansas City as well. We referred to the Sauer Castle as Igor’s in my day and often drove past it during the Halloween season to see if we could witness anything creepy happening through the windows!)
Sauer Castle

Sauer Castle In Kansas City

In the spirit of Halloween, if you would like to “ride through” the Disney World version of Haunted Mansion, just check out this video!

“Dying” to know more about the Haunted Mansion? Please check out the haunting website DoomBuggies or purchase The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion written by Jeff Baham and published by my friend, Bob McLain, of Theme Park Press!


Disney World News – Early Release Of Infinity 2.0

Infinity 2.0

If your kids are anything like mine, they are obsessed with video games and with Infinity specifically. My boys actually each have their own Infinity sets, because they are just that into it. When they heard that a new Disney Infinity 2.0 version was coming out with Stitch in it, they immediately had their sights set on getting it. My boys will have to wait for the national release on Tuesday, November 4, but good news for fans in the Orlando area! This weekend on November 1 and 2, there will be an early release of one of the Disney Infinity 2.0 Starter Packs at the Once Upon A Toy store in Downtown Disney. This Disney Infinity 2.0 Starter Pack contains Merida and Stitch and will cost $59.99 plus tax. A limited number of guests will also get the added bonus of one complimentary Disney figure with the purchase of the starter pack at Once Upon a Toy this weekend. Plus there will be Game Developers on hand throughout the weekend providing game demonstrations. Arrive early to be one of the first to get Disney Infinity 2.0 and a free Disney Interactive Game Piece! (supplies are limited)

Early 2016 Disney Cruise Line New Itineraries And Ports

Tortola Port

Beginning today you can book your early 2016 cruise on the Disney Cruise Line. The popular Caribbean ports of Tortola and Martinique are being added to some of the itineraries. Here’s the scoop from Disney Cruise Line:

Sail January through April in 2016 and discover spectacular itineraries, magical experiences and breathtaking ports-of-call. Enchanting destinations include the Caribbean islands of Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and the charming French island of Martinique.

New for 2016

Choose from an array of dazzling destinations and itineraries in 2016:


  • Southern Caribbean Itineraries — Back by popular demand, Disney Cruise Line returns to San Juan, Puerto Rico in early 2016 as the Disney Wonder sails four cruises to the Southern Caribbean, including to the French island of Martinique, a new port of call.
  • Western Caribbean Itineraries — Explore glorious Western Caribbean stops on cruises from Miami and Port Canaveral.
  • Eastern Caribbean Itineraries — Disney Fantasy will sail from Port Canaveral, Florida to the Eastern Caribbean with stops in—Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
  • Bahamian Itineraries — Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas on a variety of itineraries. All of these cruises include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

New Ports:

  • Port of Tortola — The British Virgin Islands are an idyllic escape for guests of all ages, from tranquil beaches and stunning scenery to exhilarating activities and authentic Caribbean fare. Guests can swim with dolphins, explore centuries-old ruins, sample local spices on Main Street and revel in the natural beauty of Sage Mountain National Park aboard most Eastern Caribbean sailings.
  • Port of Martinique — Known as the “Flower of the Caribbean,” Martinique offers breathtaking natural beauty and a cosmopolitan blend of French and Creole cultures. Nature lovers can explore lush rainforests, waterfalls and volcanos, while Guests looking for a more upscale experience can savor superb French cuisine and excellent shopping aboard four limited Southern Caribbean sailings.

Make your reservation today, online by clicking here, by calling 888-325-2500 or by clicking the image below and filling out the quote form with my friends at Destinations in Florida!
Don’t delay – these itineraries may fill up quickly!

Disney Discounts For The Week Of October 27, 2014

Please check out this week’s amazing Disney discounts!

Walt Disney World® Resort

  • Stay Play & Dine: Save up to 30% off your hotel accommodations for a 2015 Disney World vacation.  Select dates from January 5 – March 28, 2015.
  • Free Dining Bounce Back Specials: During your Disney vacation, you can book your next Disney vacation at huge savings! The current bounce back special includes the Disney Dining Plan for free. Book your Disney package before you check out and then contact Jennifer Hardy at Destinations in Florida for details on transferring your reservation.
  • Active/Retired Military Rates: For US active and retired military, save money on tickets and resort accommodations through October 2015.
  • Florida Resident & Annual Passholder Rates: Florida Residents and Annual Passholders can take advantage of great rates on rooms at select Disney Resort Hotels up to 35% off.
  • RunDisney Group Rates: Are you a runner?  Do you want to run a race with Mickey Mouse? Join our VIP runners at Destinations in Florida for some of the favorite races including Disney Marathon and Disney Princess Run. These exclusive rates are only with Destinations in Florida.

Click the banner below and fill out the quote form to take advantage of these great offers!

Disneyland® Resort

  • Save up to 25% Off Spring 2015 Vacations: Save up to 25% on Disneyland® Resort Hotel stays January 4 – February 12, 2015 and save up to 20% on stays February 13 -March 26, 2015.
  • Save up 20% on Premium Rooms Sunday-Thursday: If you always wanted to try a premium room at the Disneyland® Resort hotels, now is the time. Save up to 20% off the room rates, when you visit during the week days!
  • Active/Retired Military Rates: For US active and retired military, save money on tickets and resort accommodations through October 2015.
  • Book a Package for as Little as $89 Per Person/Per Day: Stay right down the road from the Disney Magic at a Good Neighbor Hotel from now through November 21 for as little as $89 per person/per day.
  • 3rd, 4th or 5th Night Free at Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels:  Visit Anaheim during select nights through December 2014. Stay at a select Disney Good Neighbor Hotels and enjoy a 3rd night, 4th night or 5th night free. Contact Jennifer Hardy at Destinations in Florida for details.

Click the banner below and fill out the quote form to take advantage of these great offers!

Disney Cruise Line®

  • Canadian Residents Save up to 20% Off: From November 2014 – January 2015, Canadian Residents can save up to 20% off Disney Cruise prices on select cruises.
  • Special Rates for Florida Residents and US Military: Take advantage of special deals for Florida Residents and active/retired United States Military.

Click the banner below and fill out the quote form to take advantage of these great offers!

Disney World News – New Restaurants Announced For Disney Springs

Disney Springs

Earlier this week the details of two new restaurants located in the reimagined Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) were released. The first location, opening in the spring of 2015, will be the BOATHOUSE featuring steak and seafood. The second location, opening in summer of 2015, will be Morimoto Asia offering pan-Asian cuisine. Here are the latest details from Disney Parks Blog:

It was just announced that Chef Masaharu Morimoto, who many of you know from his appearances on Iron Chef America, is opening a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the heart of Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort. Morimoto Asia will be the Japanese master chef’s first-ever pan-Asian restaurant featuring flavors from across the continent. This Disney Springs dining destination will include unique exhibition kitchens showcasing traditions like Peking duck carving, and dim sum. “I’m very excited to bring this new concept to Disney, something I’ve always dreamed of,” said Chef Morimoto. “It’s a wonderful chance to share some of my favorite foods from across the Asian continent.” The two-story restaurant is scheduled to open in the Summer 2015 at The Landing (formerly Pleasure Island) in Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia will feature waterside seating, terraces, a grand hall and a cocktail lounge.

Also today, another new concept dining experience, The BOATHOUSE, was announced for The Landing in Disney Springs. The BOATHOUSE will be an upscale, waterfront dining experience that’ll immerse guests both on land and on water with live music, guided tours aboard the Captain’s piloted 40-foot Italian Water Taxi with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries and guided Amphicar rides that launch from land, enter the water, and take guests on a 20-minute tour of the landmarks of Disney Springs. “We are very excited that the BOATHOUSE is joining the Walt Disney World family at Disney Springs,” says creator Steven Schussler. “Walt Disney Imagineering has created a wonderful, interactive, culinary and entertainment experience at Disney Springs. We are proud to be part of this magical experience.” The BOATHOUSE will open in the Spring of 2015 in Disney Springs. The restaurant’s gourmet menu (served daily until 2 a.m.) will feature steaks, chops, seafood and a raw bar. The BOATHOUSE is the latest project of Schussler Creative, the creators of Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex and Yak & Yeti at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Are you excited about all of the changes and additions to the newly reimagined Disney Springs? Please leave a comment!

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Disney World News – Move It! Shake It! Reimagined At Magic Kingdom

Move It Shake It Dance & Play It

The Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Parade at Magic Kingdom has been reimagined. Beginning last Friday, the parade has taken on a new name and more of a dance party style. Now called the Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party, this updated experience is even more interactive and is filled with upbeat music and favorite characters. Here’s the scoop from the Disney Parks Blog:

The fun starts as a parade of giant gift boxes make their way down Main Street, U.S.A. toward the Central Plaza in front of Cinderella Castle. Everyone’s invited to follow the procession and dance along to the original song, “Party Up!” Once party hosts Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy pop up, it’s time to join in and dance with our party peeps and favorite Disney pals like Stitch and Phineas and Ferb.

You’ll “Move It!” You’ll “Shake It!” And when it comes time to “Play It,” you’ll even get to vote for the next song on the party playlist!

This street party promises to be so much fun, you’re going to want to share the excitement with all your family and friends. When you post those awesome selfies to Twitter and Instagram, be sure to tag them with #MoveItShakeItPics. They may just show up on the floats as part of a special finale moment!

Check out this video for more information about the exciting update!

Have you seen the newly reimagined Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party yet? What did you think? Please leave a comment!

Destinations in Florida - Florida Travel Specialists

Disney World News – Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post Returns

Wandering Oaken's Trading Post

Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, one of the most popular parts of last summer’s Frozen Summer Fun event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is back and staying put through the holidays! Oaken’s has reopened in a new space on Streets of America near Studio Catering Co. and the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show. The new Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Frozen Snowground feature a larger-than-ever play area with real snow, plenty of Frozen merchandise, and those yummy Frozen-inspired cupcakes and other treats. Plus every 30 minutes or so, you may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights shimmering in the night sky!

Disney World News – Canadian Lumberjacks Show Now Appearing At Epcot

Canadian Lumberjack Show Epcot

Throughout Epcot, Walt Disney World presents world-class performers who immerse guests in a unique cultural experience through a rich mix of live show atmosphere entertainment. The Canadian Lumberjacks show is one of several new World Showcase entertainment offerings now at Epcot. You can enjoy the excitement of axe throwing, chopping, sawing and lots more, as you cheer and applaud for the Canadian Lumberjacks. These lumbermen, representing Canada’s great timber and logging areas, demonstrate their skills in time-honored games of the great forest. The Canadian Lumberjacks hold competitions daily on the Mill Stage in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot.

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Disney World News – Frozen Characters Magic Kingdom Presence Expanded

Cinderella Castle Icicles

Frozen’s popular characters will have a bigger presence at Magic Kingdom this holiday season. In addition to the ongoing character appearances, Queen Elsa will use her powers to transform Cinderella Castle into an ice palace every night starting November 5, 2014. Plus Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party-goers can see Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.

Tickets are on sale for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

The dates this year are:

November 7, 10, 13, 14, 16, 20, 21 and 30
December 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 19

The party is held at the Magic Kingdom from 7pm to 12am.

Ticket prices range from about $66 to $79 for an adult and from about $61 to $74 for children ages 3 to 9. Pricing depends on the night you attend and if you have any type of discount.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a festive and heart warming experience for the entire family. There is a special holiday parade, entertaining shows, spectacular fireworks, hot chocolate and cookies, character dance parties and even snow on Main Street! Click here to get your tickets as soon as possible, because they do sell out.

For even more Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party information including pricing, maps, photos and videos, please check out this link.

Missing Disney

Magic Kingdom Halloween

Two weeks ago today I was so excited. I was busily packing for a long anticipated Disney World vacation. My two boys were off for Fall Break and the next day we would be heading for a week-long trip to Walt Disney World! Now just two short weeks later our wonderful vacation has come and gone and my kiddos are right back at school working away as I sit here home alone missing them and missing Disney. Does anyone else ever feel this way when returning from a Disney World vacation? I always find Fall Break the hardest vacation to return from. Since my boys are school-age now, our trips are limited to the traditional Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter breaks. We never really travel during winter break, because of the holidays and our unpredictable Colorado weather. When we return from spring break, I know that our weather will be improving in a couple of months and my boys will soon be out of school for the summer. When we return from a summer vacation, we still have lots of beautiful days and fun times planned. But when we return from fall break, a long, cold, snowy winter and several months of school still loom large ahead of us. So what is a person to do to get themselves out of the “Disney Blues?” Well, here’s what I am going to try:

  • Listen To Disney Music - I have my favorite Disney CD called Four Parks One World in my CD player right now. I also like to listen to MouseWorldRadio.com while I’m writing. Both have music from the parks that make me feel like I’m right back there!Four Parks
  • Watch Disney Movies – There’s nothing like watching a funny movie to lift your spirits! This weekend, it’s time for a Disney movie night. I’m thinking a little Monsters University will be perfect!Monsters University
  • Look At Photos – Since we returned a few days ago, I’ve been spending a little time each day looking through the hundreds (sorry, boys!) of photos that I took during our trip. It is so much fun remembering all of the great times that we had during our trip.Hollywood Studios Snowman
  • Make A Disney Treat - Also on the plans for this weekend is making some Disney cupcakes. A sweet treat like Mickey Mouse or Frozen cupcakes is sure to brighten our day!
  • Plan Another Trip - Getting my mind off the trip that is over and on to planning the next one is always very helpful to me! I’m starting to review menus and think about where to make dining reservations and which parks we will want to visit each day. Not to mention, the countdown for the next trip is already on the refrigerator and my phone!

Do you have any great ways to beat the “Disney Blues?” Please leave a comment!