Haunted Mansion is arguably one of the most popular attractions at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. This iconic attraction originally opened at the Disneyland Resort in 1969 and opened at Walt Disney World in 1971. It has even been replicated at the international Disney Parks with a version existing at Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland.
Nothing beats the original Haunted Mansion at the Disneyland Resort which has amassed a cult following of fans over the years that follow the lore of the attraction, often released in bits and pieces from Disney Parks news, along with comic books and now a total of three films on the story of the attraction. The most recent of these is the Haunted Mansion film Disney released this August which is still showing in theaters.
So it makes sense that Disneyland would take steps to expand this beloved lore and attraction of the ride into New Orleans Square! We just got exciting news about this new expansion that is going to thrill the Disney Haunted Mansion fans and new guests to the parks. The work on this expansion starts soon at Disneyland!
How is the Haunted Mansion Expanding at Disneyland?
Disney has announced that they will begin building additions to the Haunted Mansion that build on the story and lore of the attraction along with an expanded outdoor queue to immerse guests in the theming of the ride. It appears likely from the concept art that the expansion of this queue will extend the gates of the Haunted Mansion past the area that is often used as an extended queue on busy days which is just adjacent to the attraction.
In the above concept art, we can also see a visual representation of this outdoor queue which looks much preferably to the current outdoor extended queue which crowds guests into the extra space in New Orleans Square in a switchback style.
The expansion of the Haunted Mansion queue will tie in the stories of the Haunted Mansion being first built by a prosperous sea captain with the mansion’s staff faithfully maintaining the grounds. The queue will also include new gardens inspired by Master Gracey, Madame Leota, and the one-eyed cat.
Each of the gardens will include unique elements like a water fountain, and gazebo plus themed statuary and landscaping. Guests will be able to see the new greenhouse where the groundskeepers for the Haunted Mansion grow their plants.
The original queue will retain its iconic features like the pet cemetery and horse-drawn funeral hearse.
A new expanded outdoor queue is a welcome addition as currently on days with long lines the queue will often snake outside the entrance of the Haunted Mansion and take up considerable space in New Orleans Square. I was hoping to see more shade in this area as the outdoor queue can heat up considerably in the sun but this is still a major improvement.
Haunted Mansion New Retail Location
Disneyland is also expanding the Haunted Mansion with a new retail shop just adjacent to the attraction’s exit.
Currently, the only official retail store for the Haunted Mansion is a shared retail space with Pirates of the Caribbean merchandise called Port Royal Curios and Curiosities. Aside from this shop, there is also a small merchandise stand outside of the exit of the Haunted Mansion which only sells a few items like themed Minnie Mouse Ears, stuffed animals, and other small items.
According to Disney, the presence of Madame Leota will be a focal point of this new retail shop as the “carriage house of the mansion” which will belong to Madame Leota herself.
Disneyland fans have long been envious of the merchandise location at Walt Disney World dedicated solely to the Haunted Mansion which often includes collectible Haunted Mansion merchandise. The Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion retail store, Memento Mori, is themed as the former home of Madame Leota so we will likely see a similar concept carried over to this Disneyland retail location. By looking at the concept art above, this space already looks like it could be larger than Memento Mori at Walt Disney World so perhaps now Walt Disney World fans will become envious of this space at Disneyland!
We can only dream that we might see animatronics or other features on the level we have seen for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in shops like Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities in this new Haunted Mansion retail space. But it is more likely we’ll see similar shop effects like Memento Mori has like haunted music from the attraction or snippets from Madame Leota herself.
New Park-like Setting Next to Tiana’s Palace
Disney will also be bringing enhancements to the plaza adjacent to Tiana’s Palace. This area holds many memories and history for Disney fans. I myself have pictures of my family in this area from the 1990s as New Orleans Square was always a favorite land of ours.
Disney is taking the memories of Disney fans into consideration with these changes as they will create a new park-like setting in this space while keeping the shade of the “new and historic trees.” From the concept art above, we can see this area will be transformed to hold more guests and be a great location for the live music that is so central the atmosphere of New Orleans Square.
Looking at how the plaza looks now in the image above, you can see how this would be an improvement in this area. This part of New Orleans Square often becomes quite a pinch point on crowded days, especially with the popular Mint Julep Bar’s presence in this area, and will likely continue to increase with the newly redone Tiana’s Palace.
Disneyland is on a great run of placemaking additions to the parks that improve the general guest experience. Recently Gavin Doyle, the founder of Mickey Visit took his grandmother at Disneyland for the first time in 15 years. She shared that she thought the park felt the same yet brand new during her visit. Her comment illustrates the importance and success of changes like this one to keep the parks fresh and new.
The classic Haunted Mansion attraction isn’t going anywhere but the area will be refreshed and expanded. In addition to delivering a fun new store for Haunted Mansion fans, the expanded queue also solves one of the biggest issues of the area. The queue for Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion both spill out of their allotted queue space and take up much of the walkway area in this part of New Orleans Square. Adding in the expanded queue for Haunted Mansion should remove the need for taking over that park and give Disney the ability to make this a nice shaded space. A great win and a clear demonstration that there are planners there really thinking about improving the guest experience and making use of all the space in the area.
When Will the Haunted Mansion Expansion Open?
Construction will begin on the Haunted Mansion expansion in January 2024. No official opening date has been announced yet but the Disneyland announcement mentioned these new additions will be coming in 2024 so I anticipate we will see them towards the latter half of 2024.
We do not anticipate that the Haunted Mansion will close during this expansion as all the work takes place outside of the attraction itself. Since Disneyland specifically mentioned that the construction would begin in January 2024, I anticipate any construction that would impact access to the ride will take place during the regular refurbishment schedule when Disney removes the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay in January of each year.
Improved Access for Guests with Disabilities
This expansion will also help improve the accessibility of this space for guests with mobility disabilities which will include a new elevator exit from the Haunted Mansion. This is a welcome change as the current process for guests with disabilities to access the attraction can often be stressful on crowded days.
Haunted Mansion Holiday Increased Queue Decor?
With the expansion of the Haunted Mansion queue, it is likely we might see further exterior decorations incorporated into this additional queue space for the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.
Based on the placement of past queue decorations, as you can see in the image above, I imagine we’ll see additional decorations in this extended queue.
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