Book Reviews · Non-fiction

The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic

I know it’s still only August, but as we gradually get closer to the start of autumn (and the month of October), my attention has turned to prepping for the Halloween season. I’ve already gone to a couple of my favorite stores, searching for new Halloween decor, and it’s definitely put me in the mood for spooky reads.

While the book I’m reviewing today is non-fiction, rather than horror, it does focus on one of my favorite spooky Disney rides…The Haunted Mansion.

The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic is a behind-the-scenes look at one of Disneyland’s most popular rides. In the first part of the book, author Jason Surrell presents the history behind the mansion’s creation, shares original story concepts and character designs, and even discusses the impact of the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair on the development of the ride.

In addition to exploring the background of the original attraction at California’s Disneyland theme park, the first part of the book also includes information about later incarnations of the ride, including:

  • The Haunted Mansion (The Magic Kingdom/Disney World, in Florida; and Tokyo Disneyland)
  • Phantom Manor (Disneyland Paris)
  • Mystic Manor (Hong Kong Disneyland)

The second section of the book gives readers a tour of the mansion, highlighting elements that changed between the original attraction and the other versions that eventually followed it.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic. I’ve been a fan of The Haunted Mansion ever since the first time I rode it at Walt Disney World, so I was very excited to have a chance to learn more about how it was created. I especially enjoyed seeing how the ride’s overall design was changed in locations like Paris and Hong Kong, and thought the storylines for both of those versions were phenomenal.

I also enjoyed the fact that the book included a large number of full-color photographs, including pictures of the original concept art, as well as scenes from the various completed versions of the ride. There are even pictures of the ride’s The Nightmare Before Christmas holiday makeover, which happens each year at the California and Tokyo parks.

Whether you are a fan of The Haunted Mansion, or you’re interested in Disney’s imagineering process, The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic is definitely worth picking up. It’s a fascinating book, and one that really made me want to visit all of the Disney parks around the world.

If you have an opportunity to read this book for yourself, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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