Disney plans to expand The Haunted Mansion beyond the mansion

On the "Disney Dish" podcast this week, hosts Len Testa and Jim Hill talked about Disneyland's new plan to expand and enhance the garden queue around its Haunted Mansion to include theming that will celebrate three Haunted Mansion characters: Master Gracey, Madam Leota, and the one-eyed cat. It will also open a new building near the attraction's exit that will house a Haunted Mansion-themed retail shop.

But in discussing these plans, Jim revealed two even more extensive, but as yet unused, plans to expand the footprint of Haunted Mansion lore.

Across the walkway from Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion (in Orlando, Florida) is a colonial New England-themed restaurant, the Columbia Harbour House. Apparently, Disney has investigated the possibility of transforming this innocuous restaurant into the Haunted Harbor Galley, a haunted nautically themed restaurant. Check out the skeleton in the diving suit.

And in the 1980s, there were plans for a nighttime show on the Rivers of America across from Disneyland's Haunted Mansion (in Anaheim, California) called "River Haunt." It would have used Tom Sawyer's Island and the waters in front of it, for a show of haunted ships and floats populated by the ghosts of the Haunted Mansion.

More concept illustrations for the River Haunt are in the podcast's show notes.

Len and Jim speculate that perhaps Disney didn't want to create an entire show around one attraction, and one that might be too scary for Disney's youngest guests.

Despite the under-performance of the Haunted Mansion movie this summer, enthusiasm for the ride among parkgoers only increases, and there's always a chance one of these ideas might be revived.