I’m on record in believing that the Haunted Mansion is the best attraction at Disneyland. It’s an absolute classic that has stood the test of time, and an incredible blend of the spooky and the humorous in a way that shouldn’t work, but somehow does. The Haunted Mansion has a history unlike most theme park attractions that makes it truly unique. This is why I’m excited that it is closed right now, because when things reopen, they should be better than ever.
The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland is now closed for a lengthy refurbishment to its exterior. It should improve the attraction overall, but it will also potentially lead to at least one less-than-wonderful side effect, as classic Haunted Mansion fans may actually find themselves without their favorite attraction not for a few months, but for well over a year.
Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Is Getting A Much Needed Update
Last year, Disneyland Resort announced plans to make the most significant update to the Haunted Mansion in years. An area in New Orleans Square is being completely overhauled to create a new exterior queue for the attraction. In addition, a new gift shop is being added to the attraction exit.
This is a desperately needed update. The queue for Haunted Mansion routinely spills out of the gate from the show building, and a large portion of what should be open walking space in New Orleans Square has been used as additional queue. It just ends up with a mass of humanity standing in New Orleans Square. It’s not nice to look at and it just makes navigating the space more difficult.
With Tiana’s Bayou Adventure set to open later this year, there's going to be even more people venturing into and through New Orleans Square to get to the new log flume attraction. Moving the crowd around the Haunted Mansion into a more manageable space is going to make it a lot easier for everybody.
Unfortunately, while I’m excited to see how the new Haunted Mansion area looks when it reopens, we don’t know when that’s going to be. No estimation for when the work will be done has been given. All we know for sure is we’re talking months, not weeks. And that’s where our problem arises, because if the Haunted Mansion is closed for even just a few months, it could mean we won’t see the “real” Haunted Mansion for even longer
The Extended Closure Could Mean We Won’t See The Classic Haunted Mansion For Over A Year
As Disneyland fans know well at this point, there are two Haunted Mansions. There’s the one that’s open from late January to mid-August, and the one that’s open from late August to early January. Since 2001, the Haunted Mansion has closed in late summer to be transformed into Haunted Mansion Holiday, a Nightmare Before Christmas-themed version of the attraction. This version traditionally opens in late August or early September to coincide with the Halloween season and runs through Christmas. The attraction then closes again in early to mid-January, before reopening a couple of weeks later as the classic ride.
But this year, that transition isn’t happening. The Haunted Mansion remained in its Nightmare Before Christmas theme a little later than usual, through to January 21, and the next day, the Haunted Mansion closed and the current work began. So when the Haunted Mansion reopens, which version of the attraction will it be?
It’s not inconceivable that the work that just began will take eight months to complete. If that’s the case, then we would assume that the Haunted Mansion will just skip its traditional look entirely for a year, and then reopen as Haunted Mansion Holiday once again. Even if the work doesn’t last quite that long, is it worth it to open the classic Haunted Mansion for only a few weeks or a couple of months before closing it again for another two weeks to change it into the holiday version? It seems like a waste of energy and manpower. At that point, you might as well just leave Haunted Mansion Holiday intact and reopen it early if the construction is done before August.
The Haunted Mansion Should Skip It’s Nightmare Before Christmas Theme In 2024
But there is, of course, another option. Instead of skipping the classic Haunted Mansion, let’s skip the Haunted Mansion Holiday this year. Barring the year Disneyland was closed from the pandemic, we’ve seen the Haunted Mansion Holiday every year for nearly a quarter of a century. When you consider that between the Nightmare version running and the Haunted Mansion being closed on either side of it, the classic Mansion is barely open for half of every year now anyway.
I don’t dislike Haunted Mansion Holiday, but a lot of Haunted Mansion fans really get annoyed when Jack Skellington and friends invade the attraction. Not having the more traditional version of the ride really bothers some people, and whether the work being done takes four months or eight months, by the time it’s done, those fans will have been without the classic Mansion for the better part of a year, if not a whole year.
What better way to celebrate the reopening of The Haunted Mansion when it happens than by giving it more time to shine? Give Haunted Mansion Holiday a year off and let the original attraction enjoy its new exterior. We’re talking about the classic mansion running for maybe a little over a year. Then, go ahead and bring back Haunted Mansion Holiday in 2025. It will have been gone for a year by then and people can really celebrate its return. Perhaps the extra time can be used to work on some new ideas that will make Haunted Mansion Holiday even better when it comes back. We can’t miss you if you never leave.
I’m excited to see the Haunted Mansion’s new queue. If we must stand in line, doing it in a nice-looking place is certainly preferable, but let's also let it be for the classic Haunted Mansion.