Celebrating Forty Years of Foolish Mortals and Grim Grinning Ghosts

Photo courtesy of Disneyland

On August 9th, 1969, the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland made its much anticipated, long-awaited "soft" opening much to the delight of fans who had seen the antebellum mansion looming over New Orleans Square since 1963 with promise of fright that awaited inside. But the ghost host denied entry for years. (The delay was only partially due to imagineering changes, and mostly because Disney focused a lot of its attention on their famed exhibits at the New York World's Fair in 1964-1965). Sadly, shortly after the Fair, Walt himself passed on before seeing projects, particularly two so closely associated with him, open to the masses. (Walt's presentations on TV helped hype the opening of the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.) To this day, the Haunted Mansion continues as one of Disney's most iconic and beloved rides.

In my only trip to Disneyland, the Haunted Mansion was sadly closed for renovations which was a major letdown for me as this was one of my most anticipated ventures. I have always loved the Walt Disney World version and loved enjoyed checking out the flagship versions of all the attractions shared by both parks. Alas, I'll have to "hurry back" to the old haunt in the future.

The attraction would officially open on August 12, 1969, which also happens to be the day my brother was born! So a Happy 40th birthday from one foolish mortal to another, and a Scary Birthday to Disney's Haunted Mansion. (Cue the evil laughter.)