UPDATE: Haunted Mansion Closure Marks Beginning of Hatbox Ghost Installation, But No Set Date for His Debut

Sources indicated to WDWNT that the August closure of The Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom is the beginning of the installation for the Hatbox Ghost. However, it won’t be completed during that time and will not be ready for the start of Halloween season at Walt Disney World.

Imagineers and crew are building the new audio-animatronic, which is expected to be found in the attic after the Bride, like the version at Disneyland.

Hatbox Ghost

The addition of the Hatbox Ghost was announced during the D23 Expo in September 2022. It was speculated that Disney would have him ready for either the premiere of the new movie or the start of the Halloween parties.

Disneyland 2015 Hatbox Ghost Photo

The Hatbox Ghost

The Hatbox Ghost was in the original Disneyland Haunted Mansion on opening day. Technology had not quite caught up to the ghost’s vanishing and appearing head, however, so the ghost only last a few weeks before disappearing for nearly 50 years.


The Hatbox Ghost returned to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland in 2015. He appears at the end of the attic scene, after the Bride. Disney recently shared a video about the Hatbox Ghost’s history, teasing his future appearance in Magic Kingdom.

Imagineer Daniel Joseph, who worked on the Hatbox Ghost in The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, is among the 2023 class of inductees for the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

Walt Disney Imagineering said on Instagram, “The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame announced that Disney Imagineer Daniel Joseph is among the 2023 class of inductees! Daniel’s been an inventor his whole life and holds more than 30 Disney patents. As a principal illusion integrator, he helps imagine, design, and install all sorts of special effects and illusions for Disney experiences around the globe, including the beloved Hatbox Ghost in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park… and soon to be at Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World. For anyone who has worked alongside Daniel, this may come as no surprise. Join us in congratulating Daniel on this prestigious honor. We can’t wait to see what’s next!”

Jared Leto portrays the Hatbox Ghost in the upcoming “Haunted Mansion” film directed by Justin Simien. The film follows a doctor (Rosario Dawson) and her 9-year-old son (Chase Dillon) moving into the Haunted Mansion in New Orleans. Dawson’s character ends up calling in a priest (Owen Wilson) to exorcise the mansion. They also get help from a widowed scientist-turned-failed-paranormal expert (LaKeith Stanfield), a French Quarter psychic (Tiffany Haddish), and a historian (Danny DeVito). Jamie Lee Curtis portrays Madame Leota.

Changes to The Haunted Mansion

The last major changes to The Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom took place between 2006-2007, with the updated attraction opening on September 13, 2007.

Among the changes were a new audio system that allowed the voice of the Ghost Host to move around the Stretching Room, the portraits of the Sinister 11 moved to the load station, and Madame Leota’s crystal ball began to float.

The portrait hall with paintings that change when the lightning strikes was added at that time, as well as the replacement of the old staircase scene with the M.C. Escher-style Grand Staircase.

The last major change was in the attic scene, which introduced Constance Hatchaway as the Bride. Projections were used to insinuate that she had decapitated her many husbands.

In 2021, Master Gracey’s portrait was changed to once again face left as it did when the ride opened in 1971.

Earlier this year, a red lighting effect was added to the hearse in the graveyard scene, but it has since been turned off or broken.

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion saw changes to the stretching room, seance scene, load area, and queue in 2021. Very briefly this past February, Marc Davis’ “Bat in a Birdcage” gag was added to the attraction and subsequently removed.

New The Haunted Mansion Merchandise

HM Merch Featured

As Walt Disney World prepares to welcome spooky season, new The Haunted Mansion merchandise has been arriving, including:


  • Katie Francis

    Katie is a lover of all theme parks and an avid reader. Her favorite rides are Spaceship Earth and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. You can find her daydreaming of the Florida sun, and you can reach her at kati[email protected].