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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The Halloween Tree at Disneyland Park

posted on October 22nd, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


If you walk through Frontierland during Halloween Time at Disneyland park, you can’t miss the beautifully decorated oak tree near the Golden Horseshoe Saloon, with glowing orange lights and hand-painted jack-o’-lanterns hanging from its branches. The tree, which is inspired by Ray Bradbury’s 1972 fantasy novel “The Halloween Tree,” was dedicated to the author on Halloween night in 2007.

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Bradbury, a lifetime Disney fan and the author of classic American novels such as “Fahrenheit 451,” met Walt Disney in 1964. In the years that followed, Bradbury helped develop many attractions at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, most notably Spaceship Earth at Epcot. He also penned the screenplays for two Disney films, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” (1983) and “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit” (1999).

Bradbury’s novel “The Halloween Tree” tells the story of a group of trick-or-treaters who learn about the origins of Halloween while on an adventure to find their missing friend. Bradbury dreamed of having a Halloween Tree at Disneyland, and on the 35th anniversary of the novel, his dream was brought to life. “I belong here in Disneyland, ever since I came here 50 years ago. I’m glad I’m going to be a permanent part of the spirit of Halloween at Disneyland,” the author said at the tree’s dedication. Bradbury would visit the tree before he passed away in 2012.

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Today, the Halloween Tree delights guests of all ages and honors Bradbury’s many contributions to The Walt Disney Company. A plaque at the base of the tree commemorates the night of its dedication: “On the night of Halloween 2007, this stately oak officially became ‘The Halloween Tree,’ realizing famed author Ray Bradbury’s dream of having his symbol for the holiday become a part of Disneyland.”

Bradbury’s icon continues to be part of Disney Halloween magic even outside of Disneyland park. If you’re celebrating the Halloween season aboard one of the four ships of the Disney Cruise Line this year, don’t miss the Pumpkin Tree in the lobby that is inspired by “The Halloween Tree.”

Have you visited the Halloween Tree during Halloween Time this year?

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VIDEO: How to Make Pumpkin Twists from Disneyland Resort

posted on October 22nd, 2014 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Goblins and ghoulies from last Halloween … awaken the spirits with your pumpkin cuisine! Looking for a frightfully fun treat to serve at your Halloween party? Watch below as Chef Christina Orejel from Disneyland Resort demonstrates how to make Pumpkin Twists, a Halloween Time treat.

Pumpkin Twists
Available at Troubadour Tavern and Maurice’s Treats at Disneyland park, and Cozy Cone Motel at Disney California Adventure park.
Makes 6

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 tablespoon instant pectin
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 (17.3-ounce) boxes (6 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup sanding sugar

  1. Combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, and instant pectin in a medium bowl. Stir in pumpkin puree until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Place one sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured, movable, flat surface, such as a lightweight cutting board. Lightly dust surface of pastry with flour and roll lightly just to smooth creases.
  3. Spread with 1/3 cup of pumpkin mixture, stopping 1/4-inch from edges.
  4. Roll a second sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to smooth creases; place on top of first sheet and press down gently. Repeat process two more times with remaining pastry sheets and remaining filling. Refrigerate filled pastry 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicone mat.
  6. Working with one filled pastry at a time, cut into 1 1/2-inch strips.
  7. Place strips on baking sheet spacing about 1/2-inch apart. Carefully lift strips and twist each 3 times before laying down. (Leave remaining filled pastry in refrigerator until ready to bake.)
  8. Mix together coarse sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice.
  9. Beat egg and milk together in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush each twist with egg wash and evenly sprinkle evenly with coarse sugar mixture.
  10. Bake 22 to 24 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process two more times, cutting and baking one remaining filled pastry at a time.

Cook’s Notes: To make pumpkin pie spice at home, combine 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, and 1 teaspoon ground allspice.

Sanding sugar is larger, polished grains of sugar – about four times larger than those in granulated sugar. Because the sugar crystal grains are large and reflect light, they give off a “sparkling” effect. The large-grained sugar won’t melt and disappear as it bakes, giving a nice crunch to dessert topping.

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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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Pumpkin Carvers Show Their Disney Side During Halloween Time at Disneyland Park

posted on October 20th, 2014 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


From “it’s a small world” to “Frozen,” the pumpkin carvers design an elaborate display showing their Disney Side each day at the Halloween Carnival in Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree at Disneyland park. I recently caught up with one of the creative carvers and asked her about her colorful creations.

Which Disney character or attraction would you like to see produced on a pumpkin?

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‘This is Halloween’ at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on October 17th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


Disney Parks Blog authors have recently shared details about the Halloween tricks and treats taking place this year at Disney Parks & Resorts around the world. Today, I’m excited to “carry the banner” and pass along details about the festivities materializing at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai`i! And the best part? Like most activities during a vacation to Aulani, these special Halloween events are included with your stay!

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  • Keiki Halloween Party – On October 17, 24 and 31, the Halawai Lawn transforms into a frightfully fun party perfect for the entire family. Adults and keiki staying at Aulani are encouraged to dress up for craft activities, game stations and face painting. Be sure to bring your cameras and autograph books as well because some of your favorite Disney characters are making special appearances!
  • Hallow “Teen” – Teens ages 13-17 celebrate the Halloween season on October 24, 26 and 28 with their own exclusive party. They’ll meet up at Makiki Joe’s Beach Rental and then head to the beach for a pumpkin sand sculpting contest and other surprises.
  • Trick or Treat – If you are vacationing at Aulani on Halloween, don’t miss the chance to go trick-or-treating! A special map showcases all the treat locations and you can show your “Disney Side” by wearing a Halloween costume.

Be sure to check The Daily ‘Iwa upon your arrival for any more spooky surprises taking place during your vacation this October!

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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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No Turning Back Now! Ink & Paint Cel Debuts at the Disneyland Resort

posted on October 15th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


There’s “No Turning Back Now!” Not only is that the title of the newest Ink & Paint Cel from Disneyland park, featuring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in front of the Haunted Mansion, but I can pretty much guarantee once you see it, you won’t be able to resist getting it. See for yourself!

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This new piece, available now at Disneyana in Disneyland park is limited to an edition size of 1000. The cel will be available in a variety of formats including Unframed ($150), Framed ($240), Framed Cel with Postcard ($260) and Framed Cel with Postcard and Pin ($280). All framed pieces available with your choice of black or gold frames. For additional cel details please click here.

If you’re curious about the limited-edition pin (LE 750) that is only available if you choose the framed postcard and pin option, wonder no more. Here’s a sneak peek at what it will look like!

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Unable to make it to the Disneyland Resort? A limited number of cels will be available to purchase online for a limited time only. Applicable tax and shipping fees apply. Discounts available on framing only. Order yours today here!

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Fortune Teller Ivana Mystic Predicts Fun for Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort

posted on October 15th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Halloween Time is in full swing at the Disneyland Resort, and it seems that predictions about all the fun and spookiness have been true … namely those made by famous fortune teller, Ivana Mystic. Ivana has been appearing at the Halloween Carnival in the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree area of Disneyland park, and I stopped by earlier in the season to find out what she predicted to be in store this year.

Was she correct in her predictions for Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort? Come see for yourself, now through October 31!

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It’s Halloween Time at Mad T Party at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


What’s in the tea that makes Mad T Party so … well, mad … during Halloween Time at Disney California Adventure park? We talked to the show’s choreographer to find out!

Be sure to travel down the Rabbit Hole for yourself before Halloween Time ends on October 31 to see all the special Halloween-edition madness for yourself!

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