At the very end of the 60's, in 1969 actually, Disneyland debuted the original, and some say best, version of the Haunted Mansion. In some ways, it was the capstone of the elegant New Orleans Square. Along with Pirates of the Caribbean, the Mansion attraction now showcased the absolute best work of Walt Disney Imagineering. It still does!
The beautiful manor house sits at the end of the area, but originally, the Imagineers had a much different plan in mind.
Can you picture a Haunted Mansion at the end of Main Street U.S.A.? They could and did. The concept art above is one of the earliest pieces drawn for the iconic adventure with "999 Happy Haunts".
When designing plans for the Magic Kingdom park in Florida, New Orleans Square would not be built as it was deemed too close to the original one in Louisiana. Instead, the attraction had a different facade as it was placed in Liberty Square. And so started an unintentional tradition.
Tokyo Disneyland's version found its home in Fantasyland; France's Disneyland Paris created its Phantom Manor as part of the story in Frontierland; and Mystic Manor, a Haunted Mansion derivative, ended up in Hong Kong Disneyland's mixed themed Adventureland.
I think it's about time the original concept "comes home" and the next Haunted Mansion makes it way to Main Street. Do you agree?
(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)