Disneyland Haunted Mansion - New Orleans Square
Hatbox Ghost History
The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland opened its doors for the first time on August 9, 1969. The Haunted Mansion boasts 999 happy haunts, but were there 1,000 haunts when it first opened. If you were lucky enough to ride the Haunted Mansion in 1969, you may have seen a ghost whose stay in the mansion was brief: the infamous Hatbox Ghost. Ol' Hatty would have lived in the attic, and was positioned just right of the exit of the attic. The effect was that his head would disappear and then re-appear inside of the hatbox he was holding, while his cane holding hand trembled.
So what happened? Where did this haunted resident go? The mechanics of the disappearing/reappearing head effect just didn't work well enough. Disney Imagineers tinkered with his effect over the course of a few months, but could never achieve their desired result. Because of this, the Hatbox Ghost was taken out of the mansion.
The Return of the Hatbox Ghost
In April 2015, it was officially confirmed that the Hatbox Ghost figure would return to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion on May 9, 2015. The 2015 installation of the Hatbox Ghost figure is a new animatronic, designed to resemble the original. The new version's face is an animation that is projected onto the figure, similarly to the "Constance the Bride" figure. Illuminated with LSI's UV8 and UV90 LED Blacklight fixtures, the character looks back and forth and narrows his eyes before his head dissolves into mist and vanishes. As the head vanishes, a chuckle can be heard. The head then appears inside the hatbox before disappearing again, but without an accompanying chuckle, and the head vanishes into the shadows without any mist.