“When the crypt doors creak and the tombstones quake, spooks come out for a swinging wake! Happy haunts materialize and begin to vocalize. Grim Grinning Ghosts come out to socialize!”
Happy anniversary to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion! It’s hard to believe that it has been 45 years since this classic attraction began spooking guests of all ages in sunny California. Complete with catchy tunes, creepy crawlies, and corny – yet smile-inducing – jokes, the Haunted Mansion has remained a fan favorite and continues to delight those who pass through its dusty doors. Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have their own unique versions of the attraction, and both are getting in on the fun of this milestone celebration.
Mansion fans are getting quite the treat in terms of merchandise this year. In addition to the collectibles and t-shirts I brought you news of in the spring, Disney Design Group and artists have been busy at work creating new items that are sure to please. And, perhaps even more exciting is Disney’s confirmation that the Yankee Trader shop at Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom in Florida is now being “re-imagined” into a permanent merchandise location for all things that go bump in the night. Set to open in the winter, this Madame Leota-inspired shop will offer apparel, souvenirs, home goods, and more. I’m definitely excited to see its transformation along with the merchandise it will house.
In the interim, guests can find Haunted Mansion items celebrating the attraction’s 45th anniversary and a few others as they become available. While some of them are limited in quantity, others will be around for an extended period of time. Robb LaFlamme, franchise and brand manager, said that the demand for Mansion merchandise is great. “Starting this fall, we will introduce about 100 new merchandise items based on this attraction. Disney Design Group artists have created a style guide containing many new pieces of original artwork. This art will be applied to numerous things including accessories, apparel, home goods, pins and much more,” he explained.
The artwork is grouped into four distinct styles most of which include popular characters such as Madame Leota and the ever popular Hitchhiking Ghosts:
- “Happy Haunts” artwork will have a vintage feel and feature designs that look similar to what one might find in a late 1800s newspaper.
- “Master Gracey’s Estate” celebrates that mysterious fellow whose spirit permeates throughout the mansion. Items with this theme will be formal, yet gothic.
- “Forever Haunted” artwork is a bit bolder in terms of graphic elements and incorporates some of my favorite touches that make this attraction enjoyable over and over again: stretching room portraits, the “Ghost Host” painting, bat eyed wallpaper, and more.
- “Afterlife Advertisements” is a play off of vintage ads from long ago. You’ll see lots of black and white images mixed with one liners from the attraction spiel here.
Cody Reynolds, Creative Design Manager with Disney Design Group, said that the team wanted to offer items that stay true to the Mansion in all of its glory. In order to do so, they looked carefully at the minute details that guests may not even see during their first visit along with those that have become fan favorites. The collection as a whole, including the artwork mentioned above, is being dubbed “Haunted Mansion Authentic” and is definitely true to what makes this attraction so well received.
While we don’t know all of what is expected to materialize on shelves, Disney has started bringing some of the collection into the shops. Like those that impressed me over at Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney, the home goods and decor are among my favorites. Taking a nod from the cake topper that is on the wedding cake in the attic scene, the team created a fantastic ceramic figurine of the infamous bride and her dearly departed groom. I think that it would be fun to display on a mantle or bookshelf.
Some of my other favorites include dinner plates that show the blueprint of the Mansion itself as well as bookends featuring the singing busts from the library area. There are also linens, bat ice cube trays, a dinner bell, mugs, a new desktop mirror, an antenna topper, and more. I’m just amazed at the attention to detail in these items. Disney Design Group really examined the attraction spiel and artifacts well when creating them.
Of course, what merchandise collection would be complete without apparel? I have to admit, I was pretty surprised to see just how many new shirts are coming out both for the 45th anniversary and merely honoring the Mansion. Once more, you’ll find them using the artwork described above. Many will include quotes from the attraction itself. There is also a limited edition anniversary shirt which would be fun to collect. Still, perhaps the most creative pieces of clothing for sale are the mock cast member costume shirts. You can prance around in a goth-inspired jacket or frilly, yet spooky maid’s costume complete with name badge. These will be very popular come Halloween time when guests are enjoying Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Accessories will also be available including new Dooney & Bourke bags, necklaces, hats, earrings, and even shoes.
Finally, those looking to purchase something that is more of a collectible than just a fun item will find plenty of options. Limited edition trading pins will first appear in Disneyland on August 21 and then make their way to Walt Disney World. Perhaps the most unique is one featuring all four Hitchhiking Ghosts in a suitcase-shaped box. Only 300 sets will be available for purchase, so I can imagine that these are going to sell out quickly. If you’re unlucky in grabbing one, you can find similar pins in a mystery set featuring Madame Leota, the Hatbox Ghost, the Bride, Dueling Portraits, and more. Still, my favorite is the re-imagined stretching room portraits featuring some of our favorite Disney villains.
Numerous prints by Disney Master Artists have also been created. Some are available now in both stores and through Disney’s website. Each one is different in how it takes the classic Mansion icons and puts them on canvas. I love how brightly colored they all are and yet still have that eerie feel.
This is only just a sampling of what you can expect to find from Haunted Mansion Authentic, and I hope that you have enjoyed taking a sneak peek. Be on the look out for more over the several weeks. Which new item are you looking forward to buying? Let us know in the comments section below!