I have an obsession.
I love everything having to do with the classic Disney Parks ride, The Haunted Mansion. I positively adore it. I think it is one of the most fun, imaginative, memorable experiences I’ve ever had. And I’ve had the great fortune to experience it more than a few times.
Much like a beloved Star Wars film, I’ve never tired of it. I know each beat by heart.
I’ve listened to the promotional story album recorded with “Ronny” Howard as one of the ill-fated teens who winds up in the fabled mansion, released as a promotional gimmick to hype up the ride. I have a framed recreation of the famous poster from the original attraction in Disneyland.
I have yet to experience the ride at Disneyland, but I will one day, even if it means climbing into a hurtling aluminum death canister.
I have the book about the making of it, and the album that features the entire start-to-finish track for the ride. I remember the first time I rode it as if it were yesterday.
PICTURED: Hurtling aluminum death canister.
But That’s Not All
I listen to the music to relax. I’ve written about the attraction for work. I own a bowling shirt that’s decorated like wallpaper from a part of the Haunted Mansion.
In short, I’m a bit overboard in terms of my fandom. It happens.
And I think I know why.
The Haunted Mansion taps into that wonderful part of us that remembers childhood, when we enjoyed the thrills of the unknown. We let our imaginations run wild, instead of letting our world force us to accept explanations that make us comfortable.
When we were kids, we knew we weren’t in control. Embracing the macabre and the bizarre was a way of celebrating that lack of control. The world was full of fear, but instead of trying to lock the world away into immortality, our developing minds were telling us to accept and explore those things that thrilled us.
The Haunted Mansion is a fun way to tap back into that.
I’m also aware how lucky I am to have experienced The Haunted Mansion so many times in my life. Somehow, the ride acts as a reminder of the good times I’ve had in my life, as much as people want to encourage everyone to think of the bad and trumpet on social media the hard times. I’d rather focus on the fun anyway.
I also know it’s a way for me to feel connected again to my dad, who loved those sorts of silly-scary experiences. I used to think it was a bad thing that he had such a childish streak, but I’m grateful he showed me the value of loving that part of myself and how to keep it alive.
So when I settle into that Doom Buggy, it’s an excuse to feel like a kid again, amazed at the mystery of it all and enjoying the show. I could, and have figured out how many of the tricks are done. But when I’m there I can forget about that, and maybe even catch a secret wink with a padawan when they figure it out for themselves.
So let’s all celebrate The Haunted Mansion, and what it represents. It’s a testament to the time in our life when the “how” and the “why” were less important than just enjoying the ride and letting it thrill us.
If I ever win the lottery, I’m building a house that looks just like this. I might have to vacation in it only, but then I’d have won the lottery so that’s fine, I’m allowed to do that.