The Haunted Mansion is known the world over for its 999 Happy Haunts, but recent developments surrounding the manor revealed a massive change in the lore. It would seem that the new update leaves Disney’s greatest ghost story with someone missing.
Constance Hatchaway, Madame Leota, and the infamous Hatbox Ghost are just a few of the lively personalities that roam the halls of Gracey Manor, and most seasoned Disney fans can instantly identify them. That said, this level of dedication also comes as a double-edged sword, especially when they notice that Disney has tampered with their beloved attraction.
It would be an understatement to say that the attraction has a massive fanbase, as the Haunted Mansion has spawned its own merchandise line, book series, podcast, and two feature films. A recent news report from Disney shared that a new experience surrounding the ride will soon debut, but not without one major change to the story.
Haunted Mansion Sinks the Sea Captain
If you are one of the many fans well-versed in the background of Disney’s Haunted Mansion, you’ll already know about this sorted history surrounding the sea captain character. Whether he’s known as Captain Gore, Captain Clyne, the Mariner, or simply the Captain, the attraction has always had a mysterious and sinister sea-faring specter in its backstory.
Although the Disney Imagineers took him from a starring role to a background character, he’s something that the manor has never been without. From the original in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square to the Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris, some variation of the sea captain has existed in one way or another.
The character has always had an ominous air about him, steeped in mystery, and that’s part of what makes him so memorable. However, Disney’s latest Haunted Mansion endeavor completely removes those elements entirely as they bring him aboard the cruise ship.
As stated before, almost every incarnation of the Haunted Mansion has had some form of sea captain, whether that was as a murderous pirate, a pickled sailor in a briny casket, or even a steamboat driver. However, the new Haunted Mansion bar on the Disney Treasure does away with the character, and his replacement is a different sort of seaman.
The Disney Treasure is the newest addition to the Disney Cruise Line, and it’s certainly one that was made for hardcore Disney fans. One of the most remarkable factors about the ship is how many of its features and activities are made for adults, including a Haunted-Mansion-themed bar.
The Haunted Mansion Parlor will feature many familiar sights, sounds, and scenes from the famous ride, but one of the most prominent fixtures in this new story is the spectral sea captain character that takes center stage.
Disney describes the venue with the following,
“From inspired craft cocktails and an exclusive onboard merchandise collection to nostalgic décor and beloved characters, the Haunted Mansion Parlor will immerse guests in the next chapter of the Haunted Mansion saga, bringing this fan-favorite lore to life in a whole new way. The one-of-a-kind experience will be a swinging wake unlike any other, that of a jovial captain who entered the ghostly realm after a disastrous dinner with his beloved fiancé.”
A “jovial” captain is far from the version most Disney fans are familiar with, and this writer can’t help that some might feel a little cheated. Of all the places for the Imagineers to expand on a classic idea from the developmental days of the Haunted Mansion, a cruise ship is the perfect ground to resurrect and expand on the mysterious mariner.
Although it can still be said that the Haunted Mansion isn’t without a captain-inspired character and that Disney has elevated him to the level of a Ghost Host figure (especially if the portrait is to be believed), it still feels like a missed opportunity. That said, fans of the Manor might also be just as likely to find favor with this new spirit and raise a ghoulish glass to his career as the Disney Treasure sets sail.
Do you think Disney missed a grand and ghoulish opportunity?
This post originally appeared on Inside the Magic.