There’s a new resident at the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom: the Hatbox Ghost.
Announced earlier this year, the new animatronic character debuted in the attraction Thursday, appearing next to the so-called “endless hallway” scene.
Here’s a video of the animatronic in action from WDWMagic:
The Hatbox Ghost’s history dates back to the original Disneyland attraction which opened in 1969. The same special effect — where the figure’s head would seem to disappear from his shoulder and rematerialize inside the hatbox — supposedly didn’t work well at the time “due to the proximity of the animatronic to the ride vehicles and the ambient lighting in the area,” WDWMagic says.
Some Disney theme park veterans disagree. “The gag worked well, but it was a maintenance problem” Wayne Jackson, an installation supervisor at Walt Disney Imagineering, said in the book “Mark Davis: In His Own Words.”
Jack Taylor, a design director at Imagineering, said, “It didn’t work because people didn’t like it,” saying the “biggest complaint” was that guests thought the effect was “gross.”
Whatever the reason, the end result was the animatronic being removed after only a few months. It was also cut from Magic Kingdom’s version of the Haunted Mansion, which opened with the park in 1971.
A new version of the character was installed in the Disneyland attraction in 2015.