When hinges creak in doorless chambers, and strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls — that is the time when ghosts are present, and when our cast members guide us along the Haunted Mansion walls. We’re having happy haunts and ghoulish delights this week with our Halfway to Halloween celebration, and there’s always room to share more.
Our cast members at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort heard these sympathetic vibrations and were more than willing to share their unique stories in how they found family and love at the Haunted Mansion.
Kaylin Cooper at Walt Disney World says she found a family because of her family. You can say the Haunted Mansion runs in her blood because 30 years ago, both of Kaylin’s parents worked at the Haunted Mansion. They were just as surprised as Kaylin when she was told she’d be working the same attraction they once did. “Growing up, [my mom] told me that [the Haunted] Mansion has been her favorite attraction to work at. She used to talk about everything she used to do with her coworkers and now asks me what I currently do, comparing the changes over the course of the years.”
Kaylin recalls the day she found out she’d work at the Haunted Mansion and calls herself extremely lucky; that it was meant to be. Since both of Kaylin’s parents have been with the company all her life, she wasn’t sure if working at The Walt Disney Company would be the right choice. Looking back, she wouldn’t change a thing.
After two years with the company, Kaylin is now a trainer and a tour guide, giving backstage tours to other cast members and telling the stories of the Haunted Mansion. “There were stories my trainer would recite that I first heard from my mom, and now I get to pass those stories on.”
You can see the passion and love that carries through Kaylin, and it’s all because of the community that the Haunted Mansion has helped create. “The cast are truly the magic,” said Kaylin. “I’ve always loved the Haunted Mansion, and working here has really deepened that love for me.”
Over at Disneyland Resort, two more cast members found a bond through the Haunted Mansion. Ashlyn and Andrew Corl first met six years ago at the Haunted Mansion when they were hired and trained at the same time. Although with different trainers, Ashlyn caught Andrew’s eye the first day of training. “It took a while before we talked one-on-one. He thought my name was ‘Ashley’, but I get that a lot,” laughed Ashlyn. Over time the two grew closer, and the rest is history.
“Because we met at the Haunted Mansion and it became such a large part of who we were, I wanted to propose right in front of the attraction,” said Andrew. He coordinated a Disney day with a group of friends they’d met through working at the park and planned the proposal on the steps. Andrew’s trainer from day one even brought out bridal Mickey ears, which were also featured on their wedding day. Spoiler: She said yes. “It was a big Disney moment,” recalled Ashlyn.
“The number one reason I enjoy coming into work is because of the people I’m surrounded by,” stated Andrew. “Before working here, [the Haunted Mansion] was not one of my favorite attractions. Now after spending time and meeting Ashlyn here, it means a lot since it represents a big part of my life. It’s a home away from home.”
Have you ever called the Haunted Mansion home? Tell us on Disney Parks social using the hashtag #HalfwaytoHalloween and be sure to stay tuned on the Disney Parks Blog for more spellbinding announcements and fun!