Here It Is: The ACTUAL Story Told in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion
While we all love the stories of the Bride and the Captain and the Eddie Murphy family (okay, so you can strike that last one from the record), in 2009 the Walt Disney Company actually released a book that described – in no uncertain terms – the actual tale being told in Disneyland’s magnificent Haunted Mansion ride.
In The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies, Jason Surrell explains:
“Though not as intricately constructed as a Shakespearean play, a story exists. In fact, Imagineering legend and Disneyland veteran Tony Baxter believes that, in the end, combining the seemingly divergent work of
[Imagineers] Marc Davis and Claude Coats inadvertently gave the Haunted
Mansion a fairly solid three-act structure.
"In Act One, which begins slowly and ominously in the Foyer, guests anticipate the appearance of the happy haunts, and experience poltergeist activity and unseen spirits.
"Madame Leota provides the curtain that separates Act One and Act Two. The medium conjures up the spirits and encourages them to materialize, which they promptly do in the swinging wake in the Grand Hall and the Attic.
"The descent from the attic window into the Graveyard takes guests into Act Three, in which they are completely surrounded by the ghosts who are enjoying the manic intensity of a graveyard jamboree. Finally, one of three Hitchhiking Ghosts materializes beside the guests in their Doom Buggy before the exit.”
And there you have it. The actual story being told in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion – and in the classical three-act structure, no less!