Haunted Mansion Holiday is a seasonal remodeling of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride. It blends the settings and characters of the original Haunted Mansion with those of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas film. The Haunted Mansion typically closes for two and half weeks in September so it can be converted into the Haunted Mansion Holiday. The overlaid attraction is then open to guests from late-September through early-January, before being closed again during January so the holiday theme can be removed. The idea to re theme for the ride for the holidays, came from 2 other re themed holiday attractions, The Country Bear Christmas Special, and It’s a Small World Holiday, which were always quite popular during the holidays. Both of these attractions had been opened in 1984, and 1997 respectively, and due to their success, The Haunted Mansion Holiday opened up in 2003. The outside of the building is covered with Jack O’ Lanterns, as Jack Skelington sits on the roof in his coffin sleigh, trying to figure Christmas through a long and advanced equation, as a clock strikes stating 0 days til Christmas. Guests enter the inside of the mansion, which is decorated with skull wreaths before entering the famous octagonal room featuring “no windows and no doors”. The room stretches as usual, but the stained glass portraits have been replaced with ones representing Christmas, but with a little something off, such as a candy cane shaped serpent, etc. A voice comes through reading a poem originally written by Tim Burton, titled “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. The suspense builds until lightening strikes and Jack’s head appears on the ceiling wishing everyone happy holidays, following a loud scream and then a blackout, as in the original ride. The inside of the ride isn’t changed in many ways, but just has added props. The changing portraits have been changed to fit the festive spirit, with a snowman turning into evil pumpkins, Jack turning into a character he calls Sandy Claws, etc. Riders board to a toon of young children singing Kidnap the Sandy Claws. As riders ascend up, a vampire teddy bear holds a fishing pole over them. The endless hallway features Jack’s ghost dog Zero floating instead of the traditional candelabra, and the suit of armor is wrapped in tinsel. The famous room of the glass ball mistress known as Leota is entered, as she chants her own version of the 13 days of Christmas. The riders then enter the famous ballroom of dancing ghosts. The ghosts remain to dance the same way, but , the table is set for a Christmas party, with a huge gingerbread manor in the center, thus the room is filled with the scent of gingerbread.
The riders begin their climactic finish with a trip through the graveyard, featuring projected snow. Jack welcomes you, replacing the old man and his dog in the original ride. The riders then pass singing jack o’ lanterns which replace the singing statues. Finally, the antagonist of the film Oogie Boogie appears, offering guests a gift before they leave, and as they pass the mirrors that usually depict the hitchhiking ghosts, they are instead given a “special gift”. This ride is definitely one of the best re themed rides in the a park for the holidays, and isn’t one to miss out on.