While many choose the big ones, such as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Tower of Terror, or the ones-you-can-go-the-rest-of-your-life-without, like It’s a Small World or the Enchanted Tiki Room, mine is a somewhat untraditional choice. I absolutely, positively, one hundred percent vehemently refuse to ride the Haunted Mansion.
Now, that´s not to say I haven’t ridden it multiple times. After all, perhaps the most prominent memory of my eighth birthday, spent in Walt Disney World, was getting dragged kicking and screaming into a Doom Buggy. (To my parent’s credit, however, I did have a wonderful time if you exclude that little experience). Don’t ask me why, but although I can take Mission: Space and the Mountains in stride, there’s something about the eerie effects in the Haunted Mansion that sends me into a hysterical breakdown.
Perhaps it’s the giant spiders. Goodness knows, while I don´t suffer from arachnophobia, I do draw the line at spiders that are bigger than me. Of course, there´s also the graveyard (or is it the attic?), where no matter where my head is turned, something pops out. Then there is the floating head in ball, the bride with glowing eyes, and the numerous ghosts that "hitchhike" out on your lap. This might not bother me so much if it wasn’t for the blood chilling soundtrack that is piped in right next to your ears. Birnbaum’s Official Guide calls the narration a "good-spirited voice-over." I call it "the voice that haunts my nightmares for weeks." And let’s not forget the screams and the unnatural organ that lies underneath it all.
Okay, so yes, a fifteen year-old that is terrified of the Haunted Mansion might sound a little strange. But in my defense, I don’t see why it´s such a classic. I mean, aren´t there multiple haunted rides at every carnival or fair that comes to town? What’s so special about this one? Maybe it’s the uncanny ability to reduce even the most macho person into tears. Maybe it’s the state-of-the-art Audio-Animatronics. Whatever it is, I find myself asking the same question as I wipe the tears from my face and try to compose myself: "Why oh why don’t I ever take the chicken exit?"