Claustrophobic? Fear of the unknown? Afraid of the dark? Scared of being trapped?
Welcome to the Haunted Mansion where your phobic nightmares come to life just minutes upon entering this spooky attraction in the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World resort.
Enter through the double doors with other mortals a few moments prior to being herded into an octagon-shaped chamber with no windows and no doors. Listen to your ghost host as the room appears to stretch and you are left with the challenge of finding a way out. Of course, there’s always your host’s way…
If being in a crowded environment like this is enough to make you hyperventilate, and hold onto your hat, it isn’t all doom and gloom. There is an almost comedic or tongue-in-cheek type element to this beloved Disney attraction offering. Along with the cool scenery and timeless dancing haunts, the familiar theme song is enough to get your bones moving whilst coasting through the cemetery in your little doom buggy.
But wait, did I frighten you prematurely? Not to worry, I am here to offer you an alternative way around the stretching paintings’ room, if that is what you fear most. This room, as mentioned above, is enough to keep guests from entering this classic attraction due to its closed-in environment and frightening opening scene. If you have pondered over not bringing your children through this attraction due to the reasons above, or if your claustrophobic Uncle Charlie refuses to stand in an overcrowded room with no windows and no doors, I may just have a resolution for your family.
Years ago I was expressing my concerns about the stretching paintings room to a coworker. I was pregnant at the time and planning on taking my baby to Walt Disney World when she turned a year old and we also had a family member that had extreme claustrophobia and could not partake in this haunted attraction during our 2013 stay. My co-worker explained to me that there is a way that you could “skip the room”. I stared at her blankly for a few moments, not knowing how skipping the stretching paintings room was even possible. She laughed and explained the following:
After waiting in line, when you approach the double-door entrance to the Haunted Mansion, approach a Cast Member and nicely state to them that you would like to “skip the room”. They will ask you to step aside and allow the other guests to pass while you wait toward the back of the parlor. You will then be guided, by a Cast Member, through secret spooky corridors that ultimately bring you to the infamous doom buggies.
Still in disbelief, thinking this must only be done on special occasions because I’ve never seen guests skipping the room, I decided to give it a whirl when we took our 1-year-old daughter to Walt Disney World for the first time and figured that the stretching paintings room would probably scare her, and this is what happened.
Once we had arrived at the double doors, I approached the first Cast Member I saw. I was pretty nervous as the Cast Members are in creepy character at this attraction, but quietly asked, “Can we…. skip the room?” She, while remaining in character, motioned for me to speak to another Cast Member who was standing at the door greeting guests as they entered the parlor. Once more, I shyly approached this Cast Member and said, “I was told to ask you if we could skip the room?” He pointed to the back wall of the parlor and asked us to “wait there” while the other guests made their way inside.
Quite honestly, I felt like a VIP. Our new Cast Member friend (whose name I forgot to look at because I was so nervous) picked up the rotary phone and made a secretive call. The moment he hung up a door swung open behind us and we were pointed down a hall and told to go all the way to the end and say out loud that we were skipping the room. I looked at him like he was a little crazy because there was nothing but a dead end (pun intended) but he shut the door and before I knew it we were walking down this creepy mansion corridor with our baby, unsure of what was next.
Before saying a word another door swung open and a Cast Member approached us and said, “are you skipping the room?” We nodded cautiously and he motioned for us to follow him, mind you, all the while never falling out of character. He brought us through a haunted maze of corridors before we wound up in the room with the moving sidewalk ready to board our doom buggy. It was so easy and it didn’t ruin the theme of the ride at all! I can’t wait to do it again!
This tip works great if you are traveling with young kids who are scared easily, someone who is claustrophobic, or if you really just don’t want to wait in the stretching painting room before the ride.
Please note: I’ve never tried this in Disneyland so I don’t know for sure if this same tip will work there.
So there you have it, foolish mortals, hurry now, to the Haunted Mansion where you can skip the room and meet 999 happy haunts… And don’t forget your death certificate, there’s room for 1000 and… They’re all just dying to meet you!
Written by: Karli Elizabeth
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