The Hatbox Ghost will finally materialize at the Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom in late November, the company announced at Destination D23 Saturday morning.
Hatbox Ghost Arriving at Magic Kingdom
Disney shared concept art of the Magic Kingdom version of the Hatbox Ghost on the Disney Parks blog. A light shines around and through the entity as he terrifies guests riding past in a doombuggy; his head, of course, appears inside his hatbox.
Disney confirmed that the Hatbox Ghost will not be the 1,000th Happy Haunt, leaving the number at 999 (with Disney Imagineer Daniel Joseph even describing the character as an “unhappy haunt”). The rationale given was that, because the Hatbox Ghost was briefly in the Haunted Mansion previously, he is not an addition, but more of a returning entity.
The Hatbox Ghost will appear in the Endless Hallway portion of the Magic Kingdom attraction. The placement announcement was initially meant with a bit of pushback from Disney Parks fans, as the Endless Hallway scene occurs before Madame Leota delivers her incantation, which is what actually summons the spirits inside the mansion. The placement was briefly addressed during Saturday’s panel, with it being stated that the Hatbox Ghost comes and goes whenever and wherever he pleases.
Hatbox Ghost History
A version of the Hatbox Ghost was present in the Disneyland version of the Haunted Mansion when it opened in 1969 but was quickly removed due to technological limitations and its physical placement within the attraction itself. The lighting within the Haunted Mansion prevented the spirit’s effect from working as intended, and thus, the Hatbox Ghost was removed entirely.
The character became folkloric amongst Disney Park fans, with many long calling for his reinstallation. The Hatbox Ghost made his highly-anticipated return to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland in 2015, appearing at the end of the attic scene.
The Hatbox Ghost has become an even larger part of the Haunted Mansion’s allure and branding since his return. In September 2022, Disney Parks announced that the Hatbox Ghost would be making his debut in the Magic Kingdom version of the Haunted Mansion in 2023, with the company announcing his location in the Endless Hallway in July of this year. Initial preparations for his arrival were made in August, with curtains going up in the Endless Hallway on August 1. The Haunted Mansion closed for refurbishment from August 7–10, and while the Hatbox Ghost was not present when the attraction re-opened, some minor changes were visible, such as an updated Madame Leota and the return of Prince Amenmose, the tea-sipping mummy, to the graveyard scene.
The Hatbox Ghost even appears in the recent “Haunted Mansion” film adaptation. He’s portrayed by Jared Leto in the film and serves as its primary antagonist.
Are you excited about the Hatbox Ghost’s upcoming debut inside the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom? Let us know in the comments.