There may not be a more iconic attraction at Disneyland than the Haunted Mansion. At over 60 years old, it’s still one best rides at Disneyland, while also being one of the most nostalgic. It's undergone quality improvements over the years, but the attraction itself has remained largely untouched, except for the period from Halloween to Christmas when the Disneyland version of the ride transforms into the Nightmare Before Christmas-themed Haunted Mansion Holiday. This year, however, the ride got an extra special new addition a spirit that dates back to the earliest days of the ride’s development.
The Haunted Mansion recently reopened after its holiday facelift, and while it largely looks like it always does around this time of year, there's a brand new gingerbread house design in the dining room as always. Oh yeah, and there’s another new addition this year, as spied by MiceChat, in the form of Candle Man, with a small figure of the character now seen in the attic section. For those unaware, Candle Man is a character that was first conceived by Imagineer Rolly Crump, who passed away earlier this year.
The History of the Haunted Mansion attraction is perhaps the most interesting of all of Disneyland's rides. The concept of putting a haunted house at Disneyland existed in the park’s earliest designs, but how that would work was far from clear. There were two very different schools of thought: one that felt the Haunted Mansion needed to be scary, and one that thought it should be funny. Crump was a strong proponent that haunted houses should be scary, and Candle Man was part of that idea, as a figure who was literally on fire in various places.
Since Candle Man isn’t a part of The Nightmare Before Christmas, it’s all but certain that this small addition was made specifically to be a tribute to Rolly Crump, who died in March at the age of 93. While the final version of the Haunted Mansion wasn’t quite in the style he would have preferred, his influence on the final product cannot be understated.
Crump also had a strong hand in designing It’s a Small World, as well as the other Disney attractions that became part of the 1964 New York World’s Fair. One certainly hopes that when the test of the Haunted Mansion reverts to its traditional look in January, Candle Man will continue to burn bright
Candle Man isn’t the first character from the Haunted Mansion's early days to find its way back into the ride, either. The Hatbox Ghost was an opening-day element that was pulled after only a short time due to dissatisfaction with the effect. The character made his return to Disneyland in 2015, and it’s been announced he will be arriving at the Magic Kingdom Mansion later this year. Perhaps the Candle Man will also be joining him.