One press release read "The world’s greatest collection of actively retired ghosts will soon call this Haunted Mansion home." The Haunted Mansion building had been completed for years, remaining unoccupied along the Rivers of America.
Walt’s obligations for the 1964 New York World's Fair had forced him to put the Mansion’s design on hold. Then over the next few years many other projects took priority. But that changed in 1968 when the design kicked into high gear.
Like Pirates, the Haunted Mansion was at first going to be a walk through attraction. But the ever pressing need for high capacity attractions led to an adaptation of the Omni Mover system that had been used for the "Adventures Through Inner Space" attraction. For the Mansion, the Omni Mover cars were dubbed "Doom Buggies".
During the design phase, there were arguments back and forth on whether the ghosts should be scary or more lighthearted. Which would Walt prefer? Nearly every person working on the Mansion thought the building should look old and dilapidated. Walt wanted it to look fresh and new.
These are just a couple of the challenges the Imagineers faced. The debate went on for a few years before the lighter side won out and the immaculate, friendly-looking Southern mansion became a "happy haunting ground" for the grim grinning ghosts.
The Haunted Mansion is still today among the park's most beloved attractions, and remains a "gold standard" in the haunted attraction industry. It is one of the few attractions to appear in all four Disney parks, and the only one to appear in a different "land" in each. Now grab a hold of your loved ones and stick close as we bravely venture through Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.