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Monday, May 20, 2024

BREAKING: Hatbox Ghost Now Spooking Guests at Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion

BOO! After years of teasers, the Hatbox Ghost has finally materialized inside Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World. Disney previously told guests the character would make his first appearance in late November, a promise Disney made true the very last day of the month!

Walt Disney World’s just-unveiled Hatbox Ghost. (Source: @nakai_barnor)

Who is the Hatbox Ghost?

The Hatbox Ghost is an audio animatronic that had a brief stint on the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland when it opened in 1969. The animatronic is described as “an elderly [male] ghost in a cloak and top hat, leaning on a cane with a wavering hand and clutching a hatbox in the other.” After 45 years of absence, the character was returned to the Disneyland version of the attraction in 2015. Since then, some Haunted Mansion fans have hoped for his addition to the Walt Disney World version of the attraction in Florida.

Disneyland’s Hatbox Ghost in 2015. (Source: HarshLight)

A Day Many Years In The Making

According to sources of Mickey Views, the Hatbox Ghost coming to Walt Disney World was a “blue sky idea” for several years in the late 2010’s. The plan was hatched for the Hatbox Ghost to be one of the classic ride enhancements planned for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Still from a Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration TV advertisement. (©Disney)

An incomplete list of 50th anniversary attraction upgrades we believe were originally planned include:

  • Adding explosion effects to Big Thunder Mountain
  • Adding the Hatbox Ghost to the Haunted Mansion
  • Adding a Walt Hologram sequence to the Carousel of Progress
  • Adding Disney Characters to “it’s a small world”
  • Upgrading Country Bears Animatronics with Servo Motors
  • Bringing back the Country Bear Vacation Hoedown

Shortly before the closure of Walt Disney World in mid-March 2020, sources indicated the above attraction upgrades had been ‘green lit.’ This means that the President of Walt Disney World and VP at Magic Kingdom had given the go ahead for Imagineering to build and install these upgrades. Following the closure of Walt Disney World, all of the above projects were shelved indefinitely.

Years later, we are slowly seeing these small projects green-lit. Particularly, the upgrades which stand to benefit Disney with increased return-on-investment are finding funding. For example, the Hatbox Ghost will pay for itself in new merchandise sales. The now-announced upgrade to the Country Bears will reduce future maintenance costs for the show.

Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro announces the Hatbox Ghost is coming to Walt Disney World to large fan applause. This was announced on September 11, 2022. (©Disney)

In September 2022, Disney announced that the Hatbox Ghost would finally be added to the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World.

In September 2023, Disney told fans the Hatbox Ghost would materialize in late November.

On November 30th, 2023, the Hatbox Ghost debuted at Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom.

Views of Animatronic

Brayden produces quality Disney news commentary videos at Mickey Views. He is also working on feature-quality documentary films at "Address Unknown."


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