Do You Know? Is This Haunted Room Actually Stretching…

May 2, 2020

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about my favorite Disney attraction, the Haunted Mansion and the Pepper’s Ghost effect used in the ballroom scene.  The Mansion has so many elements all going at once that I thought I would talk about another part that I really love, the Stretching Room.

As you enter the mansion’s doors you are ushered into a new, octagon-shaped room to wait your turn to enter the loading area of the Doom Buggies.  There are 4 portraits hanging in this room, which you learn these are paintings of previous guests.  It’s at this point you hear a voice from beyond, your Ghost Host…

“Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Mansion. I am your host, your ghost host. Kindly step all the way in please and make room for everyone. There’s no turning back now. “

At this point, the butler or maid of the Haunted Mansion reminds you to step away from the walls and drag your body to the DEAD center of the room.  If you look around, you realize that you are trapped. There is no way to leave this room and then the voice begins again…

“Our tour begins here in this gallery, where you see paintings of some of our guests as they appeared in their corruptible, mortal state.

Your cadaverous pallor betrays an aura of foreboding, almost as though you sense a disquieting metamorphosis. Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it your imagination — hmm? And consider this dismaying observation: this chamber has no windows and no doors… which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out! (Laughs.) Of course, there’s always my way.”

Next, the lights go out and a loud clap of thunder draws your attention to the ceiling where you see the Ghost Hosts body hanging and now you realize he is the spirit talking to you.

“Oh, I didn’t mean to frighten you prematurely. The real chills come later. Now, as they say, “look alive,” and we’ll continue our little tour. And let’s all stay together, please.”

So at the end of the speech, a door opens and you can escape this room, but why do they call it the Stretching Room?  While standing in the room and the speech begins the ceiling starts to expand. Those portraits that were hanging on the wall and mentioned by the Ghost Host are a lot larger than they appeared, and the bottom of the portraits explain some disturbing scenes for those guests.

The question you may be asking yourself, did the ceiling go up or did we go down?  The answer to that questions lies with what Haunted Mansion you are in.  If you are in the Disneyland version of the Haunted Mansion, your room went down and if you were in the Walt Disney World version, the ceiling went up.

Besides the effect to show the portraits fully expanded, does this room have a purpose?  It does, and now I’m going to tell you what that is.

In the Disneyland version, the attraction’s building where the ride is housed is actually outside of the park’s berm.  The Disneyland Railroad tracks that set the boundary for the park are directly behind the Haunted Mansion. In order to reach the actual ride, on the other side of the tracks, the Imagineers came up with the idea to have guests go below ground in an elevator cleverly disguised as the stretching room.  When the stretching room doors open, you are now in a tunnel and you are walking under the railroad tracks toward the Doom Buggies boarding area.

Tunnel under the railroad
Aerial overview of the Haunted Mansion

When they were constructing Walt Disney World, there were no land issues and the attraction didn’t have a purpose for the elevator to a tunnel.  Since the stretching room had become such a fan favorite of the attraction, they left the stretching room in and to give the effect and had the ceiling rise, stretching the portraits to display the full pictures.

Like the Disneyland version, Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris is also an elevator to take the guests to the loading area.  The Tokyo Disneyland version is almost an exact replica of the Walt Disney World attraction.  Mystic Manor, in Hong Kong Disneyland, doesn’t have a stretching room. All fun facts to know!

Thank you for reading and Hurry Back next Saturday for another “did you know” article…

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