For the past four years in Southern California, the beginning of the spooky season has been officially marked by Midsummer Scream, the Halloween and horror convention that draws thousands of fright-seeking fans to Long Beach each August.
Of course, Midsummer Scream 2019 couldn’t expire without paying tribute to the most famous haunted house in the world on its 50th anniversary: The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. The ghostly retreat in New Orleans Square at the Happiest Place On Earth first opened its doors to guests on August 9, 1969. And this year’s event held not one, but two panel presentations discussing the history and legacy of this beloved attraction.
Watch The Haunted Mansion 50th Anniversary panel at Midsummer Scream 2019:
For “A Chilling Legacy: 50 Years of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion” on Saturday at Midsummer Scream, Season Pass podcast host Doug Barnes was joined onstage by an astounding lineup of Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Studios icons: ride vehicle designer Bob Gurr, who created the attraction’s infamous Doom Buggies (and helped implement the industry-defining Omnimover ride system), The Haunted Mansion movie producer Don Hahn, legendary Imagineers Tony Baxter and Tom Morris, and the Haunted Mansion’s interior decorator Tania Norris, who received the biggest ovation of them all.
Together, the group brought their collective knowledge and experience together for a fascinating and often hilarious hour-long tribute to one of the most enduring and influential theme park attractions of all time.
Watch Archaeology of The Haunted Mansion presentation with Tom Morris at Midsummer Scream 2019:
Then, on Sunday afternoon at the event, Tom Morris returns with a half-hour presentation of his own. “Archaeology of The Haunted Mansion” saw Morris unearthing some amazing never-before-seen photographs from the construction of the ride, its facade, and its show building. The former Imagineer told some captivating stories and also hinted that he may be thinking about putting together a before-and-after coffee table book about the history of Disneyland using these and other similar photographs.
This week at Disneyland, The Haunted Mansion will celebrate its 50th anniversary in style with two after-hours events. For more information about (or to purchase tickets to) “Celebrating 50 Years of Retirement Unliving,” be sure to visit the Disney Parks Blog. For additional info on Midsummer Scream and to plan your attendance at next year’s event, please visit their website as well.
Mike has been fascinated by theme parks and Disney all his life. He has worked in the entertainment journalism field since 2015, after spending a decade as a film projectionist at one of Hollywood’s most prestigious movie theaters. He resides in Burbank, California with his wife and cat.