Eerie Theming Brought Back to Disney World After Brief Controversy

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World


Credit: Disney

A missing feature has returned to one of Disney’s most beloved attractions.

A vibrant image of the haunted mansion at disneyland, showing the eerie, gothic architecture of the building surrounded by lush green landscaping under a cloudy sky.
Credit: Becky Burkett

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While fun and magic can be found everywhere at Walt Disney World, few rides or attractions have managed to become as iconic and legendary as Haunted Mansion. Other experiences like Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, and Expedition Everest all have their place at the resort, but Haunted Mansion is perhaps the essential Disney ride, featuring catchy music, immersive storytelling, and, of course, a plethora of audio-animatronics.

Simply put, Haunted Mansion is a classic dark ride that features some of Walt Disney Imagineering’s best work to date, even decades after its official opening. However, the ride has changed quite a bit over the years, with Haunted Mansion recently receiving some major upgrades.

Last year, Disney revealed that the Hatbox Ghost would be added to Magic Kingdom’s version of Haunted Mansion. This ghoulish character had become a Disney park legend, originally debuting, and then disappearing at Disneyland.

In order for Disney to add the character to the ride, Haunted Mansion closed for an extended period of time at Magic Kingdom. Work began quickly, with the ride reopening at the tail end of 2023. Unfortunately, the addition of this character meant the removal of another legendary part of the ride: the floating candelabra.

a disney world line for haunted mansion after three day refurbishment causes 10 hour prolonged delay in opening
Credit: Inside the Magic

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 This effect can be seen right at the start of the ride after guests pass by a series of photos. The floating candle can be spotted at the end of a hallway.

Shortly after Haunted Mansion reopened, it was uncovered that the iconic floating candle effect had been turned off and removed from the attraction entirely. This was incredibly disappointing and controversial, as the effect had become one of the more legendary practical effects at Walt Disney World. For months, fans feared the worst, assuming the effect had been removed permanently.

However, the effect has finally returned.

A man with dreadlocks and a beaded necklace holds a lit candle. He appears concerned, his face illuminated by the candlelight. The background is dimly lit, creating an eerie atmosphere reminiscent of a Disney ride's chilling effect returns.
Credit: Disney

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Per WDWNTthe floating candelabra has materialized once again at the end of the dark hallway. It’s unknown why the effect was turned off in the first place, but it’s likely it needed maintenance.

This effect is so iconic that it was recreated in Disney’s Haunted Mansion live-action film from 2023. The scene is similar to what guests experience in the ride, with Ben Matthias, played by Lakeith Stanfield, chasing a floating candle down during a scene from the movie.

While Haunted Mansion came in under box office expectations, the film was well received by fans and critics, proving once again that Disney’s long list of theme park attractions can sometimes be a great source of inspiration for live-action feature films.

What’s your favorite Disney dark ride?

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