The Free Disney World Experience That Most Guests Have Never Done

With Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration in full swing at the Lake Buena Vista Resort, Guests have so much to look forward to on their next Disney vacation.

From new attractions like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Avatar: Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, to new shows like Disney Enchantment and Harmonious, Disney Parks include many magical experiences in Guests’ Park Ticket price.

But, did you know there is a free Walt Disney World experience created by Imagineers that is actually right in front of you when in line for a famous Walt Disney World Resort ride?


Credit: Disney

The Haunted Mansion is one of Disney’s most popular and iconic attractions. Inspiring creative merchandise, Halloween parade floats, movies (starring Eddie Murphy and now Owen Wilson), and even The Muppets Haunted Mansion Disney+ version, the dark ride attraction features a ride-through tour in Omnimover vehicles called “Doom Buggies”.

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.

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.

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 mystery waiting for Guests to solve!


Credit: Disney Tips

The Haunted Mansion version in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World features a free Disney game that will definitely entertain Guests young and old. Located in the queue area of the Liberty Square attraction are five sculptures that you may have walked past unknowingly on your last Disney vacation.

Each of the five busts features an epithet that informs how they died and a small item that could be taken for mere decoration. When examined closely, however, this item and poem provide clues to unraveling a tale of murder and greed in the aptly named Dread family.

According to Imagineers, the Dread family was made up of six greedy family members who all murdered one another to gain the family fortune through inheritance. The game at hand for Guests is to figure out who killed who!


Credit: Disney Tips

As part of the 2010 interactive queue installation, each member of the family’s plaque is decorated with symbols that represent their murder weapon (all but Jacob who died before he had the chance to murder).

The twins have a dead bird, Bertie has a bottle, Florence has a pistol and Maude has a mallet. There are also items hidden on the busts to help figure out who killed who: Bertie has a serpent wrapped around his neck that he would have used for the poison, the twins have a bag of canary seed behind them, and Maude has matches holding her hair in a bun.

These symbols, along with the epithets, help Guests in line work out the riddle of which Dread family member killed another for their wealth. What a messed-up family!


Credit: Disney Tips

Stop reading below if you don’t want SPOILERS! The Haunted Mansion mystery’s solution is as follows, in order of death:

Uncle Jacob Dread

“Greed was the poison he had swallowed. He went first, the others followed. His killer’s face he surely knew. Now try to discover who killed who”. A wealthy aristocrat, Uncle Jacob was poisoned by Bertie for his wealth.

Bertie Dread

“Avid hunter and expert shot, in the end that’s what he got”. A big game hunter and expert marksman, Bertie was shot by Florence with a pistol as revenge for killing Jacob. He used the venom of his pet snake to kill Jacob previously.

Aunt Florence McGriffin Dread

“Never did a dishonorable deed, yet found face down in canary seed”. Jacob’s honorable wife was suffocated in canary seed by the mischievous twins for her inheritance.

Wellington and Forsythia Dread

“Departed life while in their beds, with identical bumps on their heads”. The twins were killed in their sleep by Maude with a mallet for the inheritance.

Cousin Maude Dread

“Our sleeping beauty, who never awoke the night her dreams went up in smoke”. Maude was the last living member of the family and sole heir to the Dread fortune, bur burned to death as she slept due to her use of matches as hairpins.


credit: Disney Tips

In the Exit Crypt of the Magic Kingdom Park attraction, the Traveller Hitchhiking Ghost has an open case that contains a portrait of Cousin Maude holding a match as a fire burns behind her. This portrait provides the final answer for Guests in their Doom Buggy who participated in the free Disney experience.

So, there you have it! The Dread family riddle that is full of murder, greed, and an accidental fire. Next time you’re in line for the famous Haunted Mansion ride, remember to get your party involved in the fun mystery game.

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who loves to enjoy Disney's theme parks with a Mickey Premium Bar in hand! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her Air Force pilot husband. Find her children's book at @thebearandthehug_book