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Doom Buggies of The Haunted Mansion

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Black Loop. Today we are sharing some the best attraction ride vehicles at Disney.


Even from the very first sketches of plans for Disneyland, Walt Disney always wanted to include a haunted house attraction in his park. Unlike haunted houses at other amusement parks, Walt’s haunted house would have a lighter, friendlier, comedic feel to the attraction. He originally planned to make his haunted house a walk-through attraction. Guests would stroll through at their own pace, taking in the sights and sounds of Walt’s haunted house. After further research, this walk-through attraction posed a few problems; How would the imagineers ensure a high enough capacity to allow each guest a chance to experience the attraction? How you the direct the guests’ attention to certain the elements of the attraction?

Doom Buggies

In their search for an efficient way to guide guests through Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion attraction, the imagineers turned to a ride system which had previously proven itself on Adventure Through Space – the omnimover. This type of attraction vehicle consisted of a continuous chain of ride vehicles which would move throughout the attraction as one unit. The individual vehicles would be able to turn in any direction.  The Haunted Mansion’s onmimover vehicles, affectionately called Doom Buggies, are the perfect ride vehicle for directing guests’ attention throughout the attraction and enhancing the eeriness of the Haunted Mansion.

Capacity

A walk-through attraction would not be able to ensure a set length of time each guest would visit Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. The imagineers brainstormed several ideas to combat the capacity issue; At one point, they even considered building two Haunted Mansion attractions in order to double the number of guests who could experience the attraction at one time. Ultimately, the imagineers found the perfect solution to increasing guest capacity for the Haunted Mansion in the onmimover ride vehicles. In addition to 999 Happy Haunts, Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is home to 131 Doom Buggies. Each Doom Buggy can hold 2 – 3 guests, allowing for an hourly capacity of 2,000 – 2,400 guests, a much higher number than a walk-through attraction would have allowed.

Direct Attention

The usage of Doom Buggies didn’t just solve the capacity issue; These ride vehicles also allowed the imagineers the ability to tell guests exactly where to look and which show elements to focus on throughout the attraction. By turning in a variety of directions, the Doom Buggies are able to direct guests’ attention to the endless corridor, to the ghost just dying to escape from his coffin, and to Madame Leota in the seance room. In the graveyard scene, where there is so much taking place it’s hard to take it all in, the Doom Buggies turn to direct guests’ attention to the ghostly band, as well as, to the singing busts. The ride vehicles are also an essential part of ensuring guests direct their attention to the famous Hitchhiking Ghosts scene at the end of the Haunted Mansion.

Ghost Host

The on-board sound system is another capability which makes the Doom Buggies one of the best ride vehicles in Disney parks. Because each Doom Buggy has it’s own set of speakers, the Ghost Host is able to travel throughout the Haunted Mansion with you. In fact, you may feel as if he is riding in the Doom Buggy with you! As you climb aboard,  the Ghost Host will lower the safety bar for you. Then he will proceed to give you a personal guided tour throughout the rooms and corridors of the Haunted Mansion. For many guests, the Ghost Host is as beloved a character as Madame Leota or the Hitchhiking Ghosts.

 

The Perfect Ride Vehicle

The imagineers were able to overcome the obstacles of capacity, directing guests’ attention, and providing a tour guide for the attraction all with the use of the perfect omnimover ride vehicle, the Doom Buggy. While Walt’s Haunted Mansion has evolved quite a bit from those first sketches, it has also become a family favorite for guests of Disney parks around the world. In fact, each Disney resort around the world is home to a Haunted Mansion style attraction.

For more info on the best attraction ride vehicles at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


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Kimberly's love of Disney began at an early age and grew even more when her family won a Walt Disney World vacation from a local radio station. She grew up visiting the parks every one to two years and is fascinated by Disney history and trivia. Whether at the parks or at home, Kimberly is constantly looking for hidden Mickeys. She enjoys sharing tips and helping others plan their Disney vacations. In addition to Frontierland Station, her writing can also be found at The Magical Blogorail, Sand 'n Sea Adventures, and Blogsprout.


  • Lee Beatens

    I remember the doom buggies used to add a ghost between riders. It really freaked me out when I was a kid! Does it still do that?

    • They sure do! The actually refurbished that effect a few years ago. It is so much cooler now. I believe at one point, the ghost pulled my head off and popped it (in a comical, not creepy way). Although I’m pretty sure that would freak a kid out!

      • The one swaps the two riders heads and puts them on each other!

  • Rosanne Mottola

    Love this attraction. The omnimover was brilliant and I never really thought how it could be moved to draw your attention to certain features. When we were in Disneyland we went on the Walking in Walt’s Footsteps tour and it was such a thrill listening to him talk about Haunted Mansion. Thanks for sharing.

    • I would love to go on that tour someday!

  • Did you read the book about the Haunted Mansion from Theme Park Press? It was fascinating to read about how long it took to actually come up with the attraction as we see it today, along with all the many changes they made along the way. Of course, that’s the original DisneyLAND attraction, but much of it applies to the one at WDW as well.

    The omnimover really is a great invention and it’s just perfect for the Haunted Mansion. I just rode it a few weeks ago – it never gets old. It’s seriously the only haunted house I’ll go in.

    • I did! It was such a great book! Haunted Mansion is about the only haunted house I’ll go in too. I’m not a big fan of the creepy, pop out and scare you stuff in other haunted houses.

      • Me either! Plus, I’m always afraid there are real people in there (I’ve encountered that a time or two!)

  • Patricia Mickus

    I love this ride. It really immerses you into the Magic of Disney. I can’t imagine walking through this attraction.

    • I just don’t think it would be the same as a walk-through. The imagineers did a great job with the omnimover in the Haunted Mansion!

  • Pam

    I love the Haunted Mansion and the Doom Buggies are awesome! Thanks for sharing the history behind them. It’s amazing to know that over 2,000 guests go through there per hour!

    • It certainly is a lot of guests…and a lot of happy haunts too!

  • Kimberly Kahl

    I just love the fact that they are called Doom Buggies. LOL

  • The Haunted Mansion is one of my all-time favorite attractions at Walt Disney World! It’s amazing how many guests they can accommodate in an hour.

    • It’s a wonderful atrraction! We usually have to ride it at least a few times on every trip to the Magic Kingdom.

  • I really liked the upgrades a couple of years ago so your Ghost Host now moves around within your Doom Buggie. What a great Imagineering improvement on an already great ride.

    • How cool! I’m not sure that I’ve ridden since that change, but that would definitely add to the atmosphere of the attraction!

  • The Doom Buggies are just the perfect ride vehicle for the haunted mansion! Disney couldn’t have accomplished half of the special effects they did if it was a walk through. The omnimover was definitely the best way to go for the Haunted Mansion. Great post! Thanks for taking us along to visit the 999 happy haunts! :)

    • Thanks! It definitely is the perfect vehicle for the Haunted Mansion!

  • Jojams

    How interesting! The Haunted Mansion ride is one of my absolute favorites. Awesome blog post!

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