Haunted Mansion Will Expand at Disneyland in 2024
Disneyland Resort just announced an expansion project coming in 2024. Yes, one of the best attractions ever at Disneyland Park will add new space and a new store. Here’s what we know about the upcoming Haunted Mansion expansion.
Disney Confirms Haunted Mansion Enhancements
Several months ago, The Walt Disney Company’s CEO, Bob Iger, indicated that Disneyland Resort possessed more land than fans realized. At the time, Iger hinted that Imagineers would improve Disneyland Park soon.
We already know about two upcoming projects: the King Thanos attraction at Avengers Campus and the Avatar experience. Both of those attractions lack confirmed timelines yet, though.
Disney’s latest announcement states that Disneyland Park will improve next year. At some point in 2024, Haunted Mansion at New Orleans Square will close indefinitely as Imagineers add to this section.
Specifically, Disney will expand the Haunted Mansion campus so that it can enrich the lore surrounding this attraction. Once Haunted Mansion reopens, it’ll contain a modified attraction queue and an entirely new store.
The official announcement indicates that the unnamed shop will reside right beside the exit for Haunted Mansion. It’s part of an overhaul of the entirety of New Orleans Square, part of which starts next week.
On September 1st, the annual Haunted Mansion Holiday opens to the public. Then, the new Tiana’s Palace restaurant debuts a few days later on September 7th.
Some of the changes will involve this area. Here’s a description from Disney:
“We also will make enhancements to the plaza adjacent to Tiana’s Palace. This area is one that holds a lot of memories and history, and a new, elegant park-like setting will be a place to relax and enjoy the ambiance and live entertainment under the shade of new and historic trees.”
According to the Orange County Register, the conversion from Haunted Mansion Holiday to the new version will begin in January 2024. Haunted Mansion typically reverts to the non-holiday version at the start of the year. So, the expansion shouldn’t impact the standard closure time by much.
The Changes Coming to Haunted Mansion
Disney’s plan calls for an enhanced attraction queue. This sweeping change is similar to the improvements Disney made to Peter Pan’s Flight at Magic Kingdom a few years ago.
Park officials like to add staging elements in the line queue to start the immersive process the instant guests get in line. At Haunted Mansion, Imagineers will enrich the existing story by focusing on three characters: Master Gracey, Madame Leota, and a one-eyed cat.
The idea here is to leave most of the core characters of Haunted Mansion alone. Simultaneously, Disney will increase the lore for the owner of the Haunted Mansion and the mystic who lives in a crystal ball here.
The new store at the ride’s exit will apparently include a Madame Leota theme. Disney states that it’ll be a carriage house that the mystic owns. You can expect many otherworldly antiquities here.
The release makes mention of a “prosperous sea captain” as well, but that’s probably a reference to Master Gracey. We don’t know anything about the one-eyed cat yet, but I’m in love with the latter concept. My mother owns a one-eyed cat, and she’s the sweetest creature you could imagine.
Disney has stressed that the pet cemetery and horse-drawn funeral hearse will remain integral parts of the attraction. However, the expansion will include three new gardens, one each for Gracey, Leota, and the cat. Also, the updated queue will feature a new fountain, gazebo, greenhouse, and statues.
While Disney performs these enhancements, it’ll also make Haunted Mansion more accessible. Disney promises a new elevator for wheelchair users. It’ll help them exit the ride more easily and is frankly a long overdue addition. Hopefully, Disney makes this elevator stretch, too!
Other Notes about the Upcoming Changes
Disney made no direct reference to the July 2023 theatrical release of Haunted Mansion. However, some previous rumors had suggested connections between the film and changes coming to the attraction.
Since the film underperformed at the box office, park officials may have changed their minds. Alternatively, those rumors may have proven unfounded.
Something Disney has confirmed is that it’ll host a shaded section with seating in the area between Haunted Mansion and Tiana’s Palace. This setting should prove ideal for watching live music at Tiana’s Palace. Disney describes this place as an “elegant park-like setting.” Fans have expressed concern that the popular fountain here may not survive the changes, though.
Finally, dedicated Haunted Mansion fans may know about the one-eyed cat already. This character appeared in early concept art for Haunted Mansion. X. Atencio also wrote dialogue that would have made the cat an antagonist on the ride.
In 2021, Disney added a statue of a one-eyed cat in the loading area. A gem takes the place of its missing eye. Another version of it is visible in the line queue at Magic Kingdom’s version in the musical crypt section. Modern Imagineers are clearly paying tribute to the past with the intended 2024 updates.
You can probably expect the new version of Haunted Mansion to arrive during the first half of 2024. That’s speculation rather than a confirmed date, but these changes don’t sound like ones that should take a prolonged period to complete.