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Credit: Disney

The Behind-the-Scenes Haunted Mansion Tour You Can Do For Free

“Welcome, Foolish Mortals!”

The Haunted Mansion is a classic Disney ride, one sure to conjure plenty of smiles, frights, and nostalgia. Inspiring Disney Park merchandise, Halloween parade floats, movies (starring Eddie Murphy and now Owen Wilson), and even The Muppets Haunted Mansion Disney+ show, the dark ride attraction features a ride-through tour in Omnimover vehicles called “Doom Buggies”.

Featuring classic Disney Park characters such as the Hitchhiking Ghosts, the bride Constance Hatchaway, and Madame Leota, the Haunted Mansion has become synonymous with “silly spooks” and Disney theme park magic.

But did you know there is more than one entrance to the haunted Disney attraction? Read on, Foolish Mortals, and we will tell you more!

haunted-mansion-halloween

Credit: V Mills

Located at Disneyland in New Orleans Square, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris (Phantom Manor), and Hong Kong Disneyland (Mystic Manor), Disney’s haunted house uses a range of clever technology tricks to create its famous 999 happy haunts, including spectral Audio-Animatronics and optical illusions like Pepper’s Ghost.

And not only does the ghost host encourage you to join the afterlife with the ride’s catchy song “Grim Grinning Ghosts”, but it also holds a secret entrance that many Park Guests are not aware of!

We all know the major narrative points of the Haunted Mansion. There’s the whimsical sĂ©ance room with Madame Leota, the creepy attic with the Hatbox Ghost, the infamous ballroom scene, the graveyard, and, of course, the stretching room.

As many Disney fans know, the famous stretching room of the Haunted Mansion features four paintings, each depicting a person from the chest up that, when the room “stretches,” elongate to reveal their grim fates in a humorous fashion.

This stretching room, however, can be too scary or sensitive for young children and Guests with issues like claustrophobia, so there is another secret entrance into both versions of the Haunted Mansion.

stretching room disney haunted mansion

Credit: Disney

So, interested in skipping this pre-show stretching room and finding that alternate entrance? Well, simply ask the Haunted Mansion Cast Member as you enter the Mansion if you can use the bypass, and they will guide you through.

In Walt Disney World, you’ll end up in the hallway where the Ghost Host will continue his soliloquy and lead you to the Omnimover system. It’s here that you will see the lightning portraits and get into your personal Doom Buggy.

In Disneyland, the lesser-used alternative entrance to the Haunted Mansion allows Guests to walk through a passageway that takes them underneath the Mansion and drops them off just before they board a Doom Buggy.

“Why is the alternative entrance different in Disneyland and the Walt Disney World Resort?”, you ask. It all comes down to Disney ride design. 

haunted mansion

Credit: Disney

Originally, the spooky room in Disneyland’s version was designed as an elevator to lower Guests to the floor below the entrance level. Guests then walk under the Disneyland Railroad tracks and into the Haunted Mansion show building, which was built outside Disneyland Park.

When Disney Imagineers built the Magic Kingdom version, they duplicated the famous stretching room for Walt Disney World visitors – with a major difference. The Florida version does not actually lower Guests, it is just an “effect.”

For that reason, the alternate entrance at the Disneyland Park version is longer and more interesting. If you are in the outdoor queue of the Haunted Mansion and you are all the way on the left, you can take a peek through the fence and see the “secret entrance” door on the lower level of the cemetery area.

Guests who want to skip the stretching room are instructed to knock on the crypt door if it’s not open. This typically off-limits Haunted Mansion servants’ entrance is also occasionally used by escorted VIPs and Cast Members.

haunted mansion alternate entrance

Credit: Attractions 360 via Twitter

Once the crypt door opens, visitors are directed down a flight of stairs and through a utility passageway. During the pandemic, Walt Disney Imagineering lightly themed the temporary secret passage with props and decor. Those four famous stretching room portraits now line what many call the “chicken exit.”

A ramp at the foot of the stairs leads Guests deeper into the haunted Disney attraction. A Haunted Mansion host then directs Guests through a door and into the portrait gallery, located halfway between the stretching room elevators and the Doom Buggy loading area.

So, all in all, a very exciting behind-the-scenes entrance that definitely helps those with claustrophobia, a fear of elevators, or children who find the scene too scary.

Disney Parks even posted a video to TikTok to share this exciting secret entrance, calling it the Haunted Mansion service quarters!

@disneyparks

Welcome foolish mortals to the Haunted Mansion service quarters đź‘» #Disney #DisneyParks #Disneyland #HauntedMansion #CastMember #HalfwayToHalloween

♬ original sound – Disney Parks

Attractions 360 took to Twitter back in 2021 to share their experience along the secret Haunted Mansion entrance, writing:

If you are given the option to take the stair for Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, take it! It’s an unique experience. Takes you straight to the ride. Waited 5 mins instead of 30 mins. #Disneyland

In 2021, of course, COVID-19 rules limited the capacity of the twin stretching room elevators, with the lifts only capable of accommodating about six or seven socially distanced parties at a time.

On April 30, 2021, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure reopened to Guests after being closed for over a year due to restrictions in place for theme parks during the pandemic. Along with the reopening of the theme parks also came social distancing, capacity limits, and alternate experiences on Disney Park rides.

This meant that the reduced-capacity elevators allowed fewer Guests into the portrait gallery with much less frequency – therefore, rows of Doom Buggies were empty, reducing the ride’s efficiency. To alleviate those issues, Disneyland Resort started using the Haunted Mansion servants’ entrance, giving more Guests a chance to see the alternate entrance.

So, next time you feel like skipping the stretching room, remember to ask for the servants’ entrance or service quarters – you’ll get a new perspective on Disney’s Haunted Mansion attraction!

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who has worked at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Adventures by Disney! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her husband, an Air Force pilot. Find her children's book at @bear.hug.book