How the new Haunted Mansion hitchhiking ghosts work

Disney has posted a tantalizing behind-the-scenes look at the technology behind the new Hitchhiking Ghosts finale at the Haunted Mansion in Walt Disney World, in which ghosts in the mirror playfully swap heads with your reflection and play other pranks.

There's not a ton of technical info here, but the sharper pictures really show how great this effect must be in person. On the other hand, I still worry that once everyone can do this in their living room with something like this via Kinect-style systems, it will lose its lustre. Of course, Disney can continue to try to come up with stuff that's two years ahead of the state-of-the-art to continue surprising, but that's an expensive and fraught treadmill to get aboard.

Behind The Scenes: New Ways to Experience the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World


  1. We just came back from a family weekend and I ahve to say the Haunted Mansion was Fantastic!

  2. Lies! I’ll tell ya how it works. There are ghosts in the cars with you. Shut up Shut up Shut UP!

  3. How would the old ride with the ghost just sitting next to you be more interesting and last longer then the new one?

    Sure, it’s a nice little trick using mirrors, but when you are in the ride it’s about the experience and static ghost, no matter how interestingly or clever the mirror trick is, isn’t as fun as ghost that interact with you.
    If you can do this in your living room the ride will loose it’s “wow factor” no matter how the trick is done, wether it’s analog or digital.

  4. That ride scared the living shit out of me when I was a kid. Thanks for the nightmares, Disney!

  5. A fascinating study (And if it already exists, link me to it please!) would be to chart the progress of “state of the art” at Disneyland versus its progress in customer’s homes.

    What was mind-blowing back in, say, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990…?

    Does Disneyland always have to be the same % more impressive than the experience available at home? Or does the gap widen / shrink through time?

    1. The point of the Disney rides isn’t to impress you with technology, it’s to create an experience you wouldn’t have anywhere else. The latest technology may or may not be required to accomplish this. After all, “It’s a Small World” is still around. Over the last 50 years or so, they’ve gotten very good at using appropriate technology to tell a story and create a memorable experience. Even with a Kinect II running on an XBox 720, you won’t be replicating the Haunted Mansion in your family room.

  6. I can’t believe it. I can’t really believe it. Get to 1:18 – you’ll see a piece of paper printed in COMIC SANS!

Comments are closed.