Disneyland plans to build on the lore of the Haunted Mansion with an expanded backstory involving Madame Leota, Master Gracey, a prosperous sea captain and a one-eyed cat following the summer release of Disney’s new “Haunted Mansion” live-action movie.
Disneyland will close the Haunted Mansion in January to begin construction on the outdoor queue enhancements and will share more about the reopening of the attraction at a later date, according to Disneyland officials. The work will also include a new accessibility elevator for wheelchair users exiting the ride and a new retail shop at the attraction’s exit.
Disneyland’s announcement comes just a few days before the Haunted Mansion Holiday version of the attraction returns on Friday, Sept. 1. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” holiday overlay traditionally remains in place through early January — when construction will start on the Haunted Mansion queue.
Disneyland will share more Haunted Mansion construction details early next year. The Haunted Mansion backstory that guests know and love will remain the same, according to Disneyland officials.
Concept art of an expanded Haunted Mansion queue featuring a fountain, gazebo, statues, greenhouse and a garden inspired by Madame Leota’s incantation. (Disney)
The expanded Haunted Mansion queue will feature a fountain, gazebo, statues, greenhouse and a garden inspired by Madame Leota’s incantation. The existing pet cemetery and horse-drawn funeral hearse will remain on the attraction grounds.
The queue construction will affect the plaza between the Haunted Mansion and Tiana’s Palace — a new restaurant replacing the French Market in New Orleans Square on Sept. 7.
The new park between Tiana’s Palace and the Haunted Mansion will offer shaded seating to watch live music on the two-sided outdoor stage envisioned for the restaurant.
Concept art of a new park between Tiana’s Palace and the Haunted Mansion offering shaded seating to watch live music on the two-sided outdoor stage envisioned for the restaurant. (Disney)
The retail store at the Haunted Mansion’s exit will be themed as Madame Leota’s carriage house. Disney’s Magic Kingdom has a Memento Mori gift shop near the entrance to the Florida theme park’s version of the Haunted Mansion.
The new backstory for the expanded Haunted Mansion queue suggests a possible movie tie-in with the “Haunted Mansion” film that opened in theaters this summer and is expected to arrive on the Disney+ streaming service later this year.
“Local legend suggests the manor known today as the Haunted Mansion was first built by a prosperous sea captain,” according to the Disney Parks Blog. “The expanded queue will tie into these stories and more, including new gardens inspired by Master Gracey, Madame Leota and the one-eyed cat.”
The psychic medium Madame Leota, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, helps connect the living and the dead using her crystal ball in the new “Haunted Mansion” film.
Madame Leota’s spirit head appears in a crystal ball in the Seance Circle scene of the Haunted Mansion ride. She uses “sympathetic vibrations” to summon ghosts for a “swinging wake” in the mansion.
Returning a mariner ghost to the sea serves as a central plot point in the new “Haunted Mansion” film — and could serve as a storyline in any sequel.
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An early script for the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland created by Walt Disney Imagineer Ken Anderson that ultimately went unused involved a character known as Captain Gore or Captain Blood whose family met their demise in the mansion.
The sea captain storyline would have created a narrative link between the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean attractions at Disneyland.
A one-eyed cat statue was added to the Portrait Gallery of the Haunted Mansion interior queue during a recent refurbishment. A Master Gracey tombstone in the Haunted Mansion garden pays tribute to Imagineer Yale Gracey, a special effects wizard who was instrumental in the development of the attraction.
The new “Haunted Mansion” film has earned $92 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. The modest take by Hollywood standards might not warrant a sequel.