Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

10 Things To Know About The Haunted Mansion Theme ‘Grim Grinning Ghosts’

posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Of all the Disney Parks attractions with catchy theme songs, I sure don’t mind when this one gets stuck in my head. “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” the theme of The Haunted Mansion, is both merry and spooky at the same time, and is perfectly fitting for one of our guest-favorite attractions.

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As our Halloween celebration continues, here are 10 things you may not know about this tune.

  1. The success of the catchy theme song, “Yo Ho Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me),” at Pirates of the Caribbean spurred interest in creating a similarly compelling tune for the (then under-construction) Haunted Mansion attraction. Without “Pirates” we may never have had “Ghosts!”
  2. “Grim Grinning Ghosts” composers Buddy Baker and X. Atencio were proven to be Disney songwriting successes when put on the project. Atencio had penned lyrics to the song “Yo Ho Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)”, while Baker’s theme park contributions included scoring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the Carousel of Progress.
  3. Popular voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft sang baritone for the track. His voice can also be heard in “One Hundred and One Dalmatians,” “The Sword in the Stone,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book” and “Pete’s Dragon” among other Disney films.
  4. Thurl’s quartet, The Mellomen, also contributed harmony to “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” The group had previously lent their voices to “Alice In Wonderland,” “Peter Pan” and “The Jungle Book.”

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  1. The arrangement of the tune progresses throughout the attraction, starting off on an eerie piano in the library and funeral scenes, then bolder as organ music in the dining room and a whooping party in the graveyard scene.
  2. “Grim Grinning Ghosts” hits a high note in the graveyard scene, where a set of singing busts await “to shriek and harmonize.” Did you know that each of these busts has a name? They are: Rollo Rumkin, Uncle Theodore, Cousin Algernon, Ned Nub and Phineas P. Pock.
  3. The face of singer Thurl Ravenscroft appears on one of the singing busts – Uncle Theodore, which you can identify at Magic Kingdom Park attraction as the “broken” bust.
  4. Buddy Baker, X. Atencio and Thurl Ravenscroft have all been named Disney Legends in years past for their contributions to Disney Parks and films.
  5. The pop band Barenaked Ladies did a cover of “Grim-Grinning Ghosts” in 2003 for the film “The Haunted Mansion” which starred Eddie Murphy.
  6. A reference to a “Grim Grinning Ghost” (note “ghost” is singular, not plural) appears in the William Shakespeare poem “Venus and Adonis” which was completed in 1593.
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Finish that Disney Parks Sign: A Stop At The Confectionery at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on October 22nd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week we’re taking a sweet stop at the Confectionery on Main Street, U.S.A. I love so many of the treats inside – from the specialty apples and Mickey crispy treats to my personal favorite, the chocolate-covered pineapple skewers.

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According to this sign, the Confectionery is the home of ___. Do you remember the missing words? If so, tell us in the comments section below. We’ll post the answer later today.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Haunt Your Disney Side Contest, Week 3 (Pumpkin Carving Tips)

posted on October 20th, 2014 by Charles Stovall, Public Relations Manager


Halloween is almost upon us and “Grim, Grinning, Ghosts” are coming “Out to Socialize!”

Which means you only have a short time left to show your Halloween Disney Side by uploading photos of your Disney Parks-themed Halloween decor, food and drinks, carved pumpkins and costumes at DisneySideContest.com.

This week’s blog post focuses on our favorite orange Halloween decoration – jack-o-lanterns.

The Disney Parks Blog‘s John Graham caught up with Disney Channel star Olivia Holt (“I Didn’t Do It”), who has some experience with all things Halloween.

Olivia, along with an expert pumpkin carver from the Disneyland Resort, recently showed off their Halloween Disney sides at Disneyland park Big Thunder Ranch.

They have some great tips for that perfect Disney Parks-themed jack-o-lantern, as well as showcasing some spectacularly-carved pumpkins that YOU can use as inspiration for your Haunt Your Disney Side entries.

Don’t forget, we want to see your most frightfully-fun Disney Parks-themed Halloween photos. Check out DisneySideContest.com to enter for a chance to win some eerie, scary prizes, including that private “Midnight at the Haunted Mansion” party for you and three guests with a spooky overnight stay in Cinderella Castle.

And check back this month to the Disney Parks Blog for more tips on how to “Haunt Your Disney Side.”

NO PURCH NEC. Ends 11/4/14 at 11:59:59 PM ET. 50 US/DC/Canada (excl. QC), 18/age of majority +. Void where prohibited. Subject to Official Rules.


For more from the Haunt Your Disney Side contest, visit the post below:

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Glow With the Show Evolves Into Made With Magic This Fall at Disney Parks

posted on October 20th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I have exciting news to share about the next evolution of Glow With the Show. Introduced in 2012 at Disneyland Resort, this ear hat technology allowed guests to become a part of a show by lighting up in time with or in the same color scheme as a nighttime show or fireworks display. Last year, it was added to nighttime spectaculars at Walt Disney World Resort such as Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Wishes nighttime spectacular at Magic Kingdom Park. This fall, we are adding some new merchandise items that contain this interactive technology under a new name called “Made With Magic.”

Made With Magic items will excite, delight, light up and interact with select Disney experiences at Disney Parks. We will continue to offer the original ear hat first introduced a few years ago. New items will include a new Minnie Mouse-inspired headband, a Mickey Mouse glove and, my favorite, a magical wand that reminds me of Sorcerer Mickey.

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The Sorcerer Mickey wand will have multiple light-up functions and will give guests the ability to change the light patterns of other Made With Magic items. Guests can also place the Made With Magic items in a color-changing demo mode, when they aren’t present at “Made With Magic”-enabled entertainment.

As with the previously released ear hat, all Made With Magic items will interact with experiences at Disney Parks around the world regardless of where the items were originally purchased.

Each item will have a retail of $25.00.

Guests should look for the Minnie Mouse headband to arrive in late October and early November in select merchandise locations at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. The Mickey Mouse glove and the Sorcerer Mickey wand will be introduced in late November to early December at those same locations.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

New Disney Kingdoms Series to feature Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

posted on October 18th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


A reader favorite here on the Disney Parks Blog, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, will be the focus of a new Disney Kingdoms series and today we’re thrilled to share a first look at the spectacular cover artwork and details behind the adventure set in the wild Frontier.

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a five-part comic series driven by Walt Disney Imagineering storytelling that’ll include earthquakes, floods and, of course, dynamite-chewing goats. Disney Kingdoms editor Bill Rosemann says, “This action-packed story by writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Tigh Walker will feature the never-before-told saga of how the gold mine in Big Thunder Mountain became the haunted legend it is today.”

As readers explore the “wildest ride in the wilderness,” they’ll go back in time to a Gold Rush town where daring men and women were in a daily battle between man and mountain. There will be plenty of surprises and mystery along the way as the series uncovers why Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is more than a rumbling, tumbling train car attraction.

Disney Kingdoms Big Thunder Mountain Railroad series will be on sale in comic shops across the country in the spring of 2015.

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999 Happy Haunts: The Hitchhiking Ghosts

posted on October 17th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Our weekly series in which we take an in-depth look at the ghostly residents of The Haunted Mansion continues this week with a look at a fan-favorite: The Hitchhiking Ghosts.

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(Art by Mercedes Crespo)

The Hitchhiking Ghosts were actually some of the final ghoulish “residents” that were added into the plans for The Haunted Mansion. Not only that, but their look (designed by Imagineer Marc Davis) and their location within the attraction changed throughout the development process. According to Jason Surrell’s book “The Haunted Mansion: From The Magic Kingdom To The Movies,” some of the earlier ghosts designed to be in the hitchhiking trio were moved up to other scenes within the attraction.

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(Art by Kyle Olson)

In the end, the three hitchhikers were designed as a traveler with a top hat and carpetbag, a tall skeletal figure and a fuzzy bearded fellow carrying a ball and chain. The three were later dubbed Ezra, Gus and Phineas by fans.

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(Art by Richard Page)

Something that has made this trio a favorite of many Haunted Mansion fans is their unique ability to “follow you home,” which they appear to do by hopping into (or on top of) your Doom Buggie in the following scene.

The Hitchhiking Ghosts were enhanced at the attraction at Magic Kingdom Park in 2011 with additional special effects (watch a behind-the-scenes video on that here).


For more on the residents of The Haunted Mansion, check out the spooky good posts below:

America’s Cutest Pet – Howl-O-Ween Special Airing October 18

posted on October 16th, 2014 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


In my thirty years of working in television, the one thing I never wanted to hear anybody say is, “Well, his career has gone to the dogs.” But in this (one and only) instance, I’m really glad it did!

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After reviewing hundreds of pet clips, and experiencing a never-to-be-forgotten day at Magic Kingdom Park, when we were visited by 101 dogs, each showing their Disney Side … we’re excited to share a brand new special! Animal Planet’s “America’s Cutest: Disney Side Howl-O-Ween” comes chock full of pets disguised as your favorite Disney characters, promising animal fans one of the kookiest, spookiest hours of television — maybe ever.

Hosted by actor and pet aficionado John O’Hurley, the one-hour pet-acular premieres Saturday October 18 at 9 p.m. Eastern on Animal Planet.

Watch America’s Cutest Pet – Howl-o-Ween Special Airing October 18

This show was fantastic to work on. In addition to that magical Disney Side Dog Day at Magic Kingdom Park, during filming we had more than 30 of your favorite Disney characters drop in and get into the act. It seems they love cute pets just as much as you and I do – and they have a LOT to say about them!

It was great to work with long-time Disney fan John O’Hurley and his family. We shot with them in all four parks, so you’ll get to share in their Disney Side, as well. There are lots of other surprises in store – and with Halloween right around the corner, you might get a few costume ideas from these playful pets, too!

As you know, I always promise some good behind-the-scenes info – but this time, it’s show, not tell! Check out the cool behind the scenes video … and tune in on Saturday night for a howling good time! (See what I did there?)

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Happy Boss’s Day!

posted on October 16th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


He’s a mouse. He’s the leader of the club. And, he just happens to be my boss. Happy Boss’s Day, Mickey Mouse! Here’s the Big Cheese himself arriving in Mickey’s Birthdayland in 1988. Check out that awesome Florida license plate!

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Michael J. Fox, George Stephanopoulos and Families Share October Holiday at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 15th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Legendary actor Michael J. Fox and ABC News’ chief anchor George Stephanopoulos joined their wives — actresses Tracy Pollan and Alexandra Wentworth — and children last weekend for an October vacation at Walt Disney World Resort.

Michael J. Fox, George Stephanopoulos, Tracy Pollan, Alexandra Wentworth at Disney World in Florida

Stephanopoulos, who also anchors “Good Morning America” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” once made a cameo appearance on Fox’s hit TV show, “Spin City.” During their visit, Disney photographer David Roark was able to capture this photo of the two families on a picture-perfect day in Magic Kingdom Park.

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Southwest Airlines and Walt Disney World Resort Create an Unforgettable ‘Disney Side’ Flight from Dallas’ Love Field

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


When you hear the familiar harmony of the world-famous Dapper Dans, you instantly know you’re at a Disney Park on Main Street, U.S.A., right?

That’s why if you were in Dallas’ Love Field early Monday morning, you might have been puzzled to hear the barbershop quartet’s tunes echoing through the airport terminal.

Walt Disney World Resort joined with Southwest Airlines to help celebrate the addition of the airline’s first non-stop route from Dallas’ Love Field to Orlando International Airport.

The Heart of Southwest Airlines Combines with the Magic of Walt Disney World Resort for an Unforgettable Flight

Prior to boarding, passengers were able to commemorate the flight by posing in front of backdrop of Cinderella Castle that served as a “Disney Side” family photo opportunity.

Then, the Dapper Dans began singing a selection of tunes from their harmonious repertoire. The quartet even debuted its new arrangement of “Let It Go.”

Aboard Flight #887, passengers listened as Jungle Cruise Skipper “Jungle Jane” made flight announcements in the attraction’s famous style of humor. (And it is true: when the plane flew through a passing shower, passengers saw the backside of water.) Mouse Ears and Mickey Mouse-shaped treats were given to passengers, as well as complimentary tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party that evening in the Magic Kingdom. As the plane continued to Orlando International Airport, The Dapper Dans roamed the aisle of the airplane, providing one-of-a-kind, in-flight entertainment.

Take a look at this gallery of photos provided by Disney Parks photographer Ryan Wendler, as well as this video with host John Graham.

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort