A five year old and the Haunted Mansion


Note the bat on the weathervane!

You walk past the iron fence, staring at the realty for the dead, reading the amusing epitaphs.  Once greeted by women in eerie old styled outfits befitting of the finest mansion’s servants, be it a haunted one at that, you enter inside the doors.  Crammed in like sardines you await, until eventually a voice, a deep voice, greets you, “Welcome foolish mortals”.  The walls start to rise, revealing the horrifying pictures above and then you are pushed along to the conveyor belt of Doom Buggies (the terminology for the actual ride movers).  That is when your journey into the house of 999 ghosts begins!


The Sampire's first Halloween costume!

For most of us, this is also where the bone chilling fun sets in.  Not so for a then 3 year old Samuel Haberer, nephew of yours truly.  This is the part where he insists he has to get out of there and the waterworks begin.  Yes, his first ever trip to Disney World was somewhat hit or miss.  He was terrified of anything dark.  I can’t say I was surprised, although he has been surrounded by eeriness since he was just a baby (see photo right).  “I will come back when I am 4.  I will be brave”.  Big words from a small boy.

Bat Baby!

Unfortunately we never made it back there the next year, but alas this past March the family packed up our bags, along with the newest member, Rose (inset left), Sam’s little sister, and headed to Disney.  Not being one to forget his own words, Sam insisted we ride The Haunted Mansion, so we stood in the 45 minute line and Sam and I, along with my fiancé Mike, boarded our buggy. 

I had been on the ride before numerous times, but this was different because this time I was seeing it through the wide eyes of a five year old.  He was entranced by everything he saw.  Mostly, he was just proud that he was brave.  In fact, if you ask him what his favourite part of Disney was, he will gladly shout, “The Haunted Mansion” along with, “and Mike was soooo scared!”  I couldn’t be more proud!

Oh and after our ride my life became one step closer to complete when I snagged myself a pair of Jack Skellington mouse ears!

Jack ears

My Jack Skellington Mouse ears!

Do you recall your first Haunted Mansion ride?  I vaguely remember mine, but mostly I remember my young cousin Emma hiding her head in her mother’s chest, not opening them even once!


4 Responses to “A five year old and the Haunted Mansion”

  • Mike:

    I remember the heat coming down as I looked over a sea of people all waiting patiently to see the haunted mansion that had been closed all morning and had only just recently re-opened. As we marched in double formation through the winding man-made rope paths that directed us north, south, down a flight of stairs, up a ramp, over a bridge, into a tunnel, west, east, and then back north again, I began to lose my urge to see the inside of the haunted mansion but I forced myself to carry on.

    At the midway point of the line, people were moving east and passing the people further ahead who were now travelling west, and the people travelling north were now passing those travelling south I could see the hate in the eyes of those walking past each other knowing that the people walking in the other direction were half an hour ahead of them in line. It became a very tense situation as some eyes met while other eyes looked at the ground to avoid confrontation.

    It was at this moment, the center of the line where people were going in all directions where the 12 year old boy started violently throwing up. As he continued to puke over and over again, it was amazing to see the line keep moving in formation as if nothing was going on and even more amazing to see how quickly the Disney staff rushed to clean up the area.

    Twenty minutes later as we passed the same spot in the line going the opposite direction, I watched as people walked over where the puke had been, non of them knowing what had happened in that exact spot twenty minutes earlier, but we all knew and it was our little inside joke between those of us now passing the same spot again.

    The heat and the walking had started to affect my legs and I felt like I could not carry on anymore yet again. My second wind had passed and I was in desperate search of my third wind. With nowhere to lean and my bottle of water nearing empty, I found the strength to carry on. It’s amazing what people can endure when faced with adversity and when the end goal of the haunted mansion ride is getting closer and closer with every step we take.

    I had not eaten all day and I could now smell all the different great theme park foods all around, from cotton candy to hot dogs to what smelled like funnel cake, it was all hitting me at once and I could see the same feeling in the eyes of everyone else who had been in line with us through our journey, we were all stuck in line, with no food or water, but we had to keep carrying on, we had come too far to turn back.

    Sweat running down my forehead, an empty plastic water bottle in my hand, legs feeling so much like Jell-O I half expected them to give in at any moment, my stomach growling as it let me know just how empty it had become, I looked up like I had just finished fighting 12 rounds and had made it through to the end, and there it was, right in front of me…… The sign that said “60 minutes from this point”

  • My wife had the best experience . This was when the Mansion was first open and she and her brother where there as teenagers. They waited till late and found they were the only ones in the stretching room. They said the employees really went into extra creepy mode and that made the rest of the ride that much better.

  • Rachel:

    Spider Rider, sounds amazing! It would be so creepy to be the only ones in the stretching room! And Mike when I get finished reading your novel about puke, I’ll let you know what I think.

  • A couple of notes after hearing a retelling of my wife’s story. This was Disneyland and back when there was the Tiki Room full of talking birds. She and her brother were with their family near closing. “This Sucks” her brother said so off they ran to the Haunted Mansion before it closed. Probably why I married her, obviously having such good taste.
    We have a more recent vomit story with our niece and involving chocolate cake but since that happened while in the wait line for the Jungle Cruise I’ll save it for a different site.

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