Filled with grim grinning ghosts, singing busts, wall-to-wall creeps, hot and cold running chills, and of course, the Ghost Host, the Haunted Mansion draws in Disney Guests as they visit the 999 happy haunts at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
One of the most iconic aspects of the Haunted Mansion is the stretching room, which acts as the pre-show and sets the tone for Guests as they enter the mansion. But as with any Disney Parks attraction, the backstory and small hidden details are what interests many. So what exactly is the backstory to the stretching room? Who is featured in the stretching room portraits?
Here is a complete guide to everything you should know about the stretching room and the portraits prior to your next visit to the Haunted Mansion.
Haunted Mansion Stretching Room
The Haunted Mansion is a popular attraction located in both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland. The popular dark ride takes Guests through a mansion of haunted characters while riding aboard a Doom Buggy. But prior to entering the Doom Buggy, Guests will be immersed into the storyline thanks to the pre-show, also known as the stretching room.
What is the Haunted Mansion stretching room?
“Our tour begins here in this gallery, here where you see paintings of some of our guests as they appeared in their corruptible mortal state. Kindly step all the way in, please, and make room for everyone. There’s no turning back now.”
When visiting Haunted Mansion, prior to boarding your Doom Buggy, you will enter the stretching room — filled with the iconic portraits and gargoyles as the Ghost Host welcomes you into the Mansion. Once this scene is over, Guests leave and head to the loading area to take the tour of the Haunted Mansion.
What can be seen inside the stretching room?
The stretching room is filled with iconic gargoyles, “wall to wall creeps” and, of course, the four stretching room portraits.
Should Disney remove the hanging body scene from Haunted Mansion?
The stretching room in Haunted Mansion has been gathering a lot of conversation due to the hanging body scene. On a Reddit thread, one Disney fan sparked the conversation of this scene which takes place in the stretching room inside the Haunted Mansion at both Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World and in New Orleans Square in Disneyland Park:
No seriously. If we’re talking about the most overtly offensive scene in a Park attraction that could pretty easily be changed, it’s this scene in the stretching room. You all know it. The one where the ghost host says “Of course, there’s always my way” and flashes to a hanging body.
Why is this problematic?
A) It trivializes Suicide as a joke.
B) It’s gruesome
C) It features a noose, which ties in to lynching.
I’m not joking here. I do think this should at least be up for consideration, as it would only take a small script rework and a removal of the lighting flash that makes the body visible.
Fans quickly came to its defense saying that is is an iconic part of the ride and they would hate to see it go. And though Disney has heard these complaints, they confirmed that the scene will remain unchanged, for now.
Haunted Mansion Stretching Room Portraits
How many stretching room portraits are there?
There are a total of four stretching room portraits, which you can see in the photo above. When the Haunted Mansion room stretches, the walls reveal the rest of the portrait, such as the alligator or the tombstone as seen in the two middle portraits above.
Who is included in the stretching room portraits?
There are a few fan theories regarding the backstory for the stretching room portraits, but per Haunted Mansion Fandom, The Ghost Gallery was the unofficial backstory created by Walt Disney World Cast Members. This. backstory states that the four portraits are titled The Dynamite Gentleman, The Tightrope Walker, The Black Widow, and The Quicksand Men.
Here is a bit more about each portrait, according to Haunted Mansion Fandom:
The Dynamite Gentleman: This character was given the name of Ambassador Edward Gracey, a wealthy diplomat in Burma who was the paternal uncle to the mansion’s Ghost Host (made into a composite character with Master Gracey), George Gracey Jr. Edward died during a revolutionary attack in Rangoon where the embassy he was in got blown up.
The Tightrope Walker: The Tightrope Walker is given the name of Mistress Lillian Gracey (née O’Malley) and is identified as the Ghost Host’s first wife. Lillian was born into a wealthy and doting family but ran away from home at the age of 15 to pursue a relationship with her true love, who was a circus performer. Before she could reunite with him, Lillian’s lover died in a freak accident involving a lion and Lillian joined the circus as a tightrope walker as it made her feel closer to her lost love. Despite still being consumed by grief, Lillian married the wealthy George Gracey Jr. only for him to frequently cheat on her with his clairvoyant Madame Leota who killed Lillian out of jealousy by convincing the woman to do a tightrope act for the family then summoning an alligator to kill her.
The Black Widow: The black widow was made into the Ghost Host’s mother Mary Gracey née Gilbert who was manipulated into marrying his father George Gracey Sr., who was a lackluster lover and absent husband that left his wife to effectively be a single parent. Eventually Mary sent George Jr. away to Yale and George Sr. returned to their home. George Sr. revealed to Mary that he had cheated on her with a woman named Mrs. Patterson, which Mary happily took as an opportunity to murder her husband with a hatchet and legally get away with it by claiming it was a crime of passion. Using her inheritance, Mary fled the country to never be heard from again, leaving George Jr. as the new master of the Gracey Estate.
The Quicksand Men: Each of the three quicksand men in this story is revealed to be an illegitimate member of the Gracey Family who was kept around as a servant by the Ghost Host but who prior to that worked as a cast member at the same circus as Lillian O’Malley. The man on top was the mansion’s liveryman Daniel Patterson and was the illegitimate half-brother of the Ghost Host, born to the Host’s late father and his mistress. The man in the middle was mansion handyman Asa Gilbert who was the half-brother of the Ghost Host’s mother, the Black Widow, who had chased him away with death threats. The man at the bottom was mansion gardner Eddie Foster, the illegitimate son of the Ghost Host’s uncle Ambassador Edward Gracey. All three men were in love with Mistress Gracey and after her death they all became melancholy. George Jr.’s illegitimate daughter with Madame Leota, Little Leota, attempted to seduce the men, but after they rebuked her affections she tricked them into getting trapped in the mansion’s “quicksand” pit where they all died.
More on Haunted Mansion
The spirited Haunted Mansion adventure will be guided by the “disembodied voice of the Ghost Host” as he is your private tour guide “through the cadaverous realm of an eerie haunted estate, home to ghosts, ghouls and supernatural surprises.” Beware of hitchhiking ghosts!
The disembodied voice of the Ghost Host is your private guide through the cadaverous realm of an eerie haunted estate, home to ghosts, ghouls and supernatural surprises.
Glide past a casket-filled conservatory, Madame Leota’s chilling séance room and a ghostly graveyard of singing specters as you attempt to find your way out. Beware of hitchhikers—these phantom pranksters may follow you home.
The official description of the Disneyland ride reads:
Dearly depart into a foreboding estate, drag your body to the dead center of the Portrait Chamber and watch as the walls begin to stretch before your eyes. Climb into your waiting Doom Buggy and embark on a shivering journey into an unearthly realm.
The disembodied voice of the Ghost Host is your private guide through the cadaverous dwelling—home to grinning ghosts and other spectral surprises.
Glide past a rattling casket in the conservatory. Head off to Madame Leota’s spooky séance room. Float by the Grand Ballroom and its waltzing apparitions. Take a spin through a cemetery where the spirited residents regale you with song.
Beware of lurking hitchhikers—these phantom pranksters may try to follow you home!
Ready to visit the Disney Parks and ride Haunted Mansion?
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