Every Haunted Mansion attraction around the world is different, but some things point toward them existing in the same universe. Here’s is a theory on how all the Haunted Mansions are connected.

Most people have heard of the Pixar Theory, which proposes that every Pixar movie ever made exists in the same universe but several centuries/generations apart. Our theory is similar, but instead of Pixar films, it is Haunted Mansion attractions, and the 2003 Eddie Murphy film. That includes all “Haunted Mansion” attractions in Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland California, and Walt Disney World, and Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris, Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland, and the 2003 movie adaption called The Haunted Mansion.

Haunted Mansion's in California, Florida, and Japan

Overall, these attractions are all very similar. Florida and Japan’s versions are almost identical, with a few minor tweaks. Each of these three attractions tells a similar story of 999 “happy haunts” as they celebrate their afterlife. A Ghost Host narrator takes guests on a tour through the mansion before we depart with the warning that a ghost will follow us home. Most of you reading this are likely already familiar with them so I won’t go into much detail.

Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris

The tour of Phantom Manor ceners around Melanie Ravenswood. She comes from a wealthy family, as her father owned the mining company on the nearby Big Thunder Mountain. She falls in love with a man her father does not approve of, but her parents are killed in a mining accident soon after. Therefore, she is free to marry the man she loves. Unfortunately though, her fiance is killed by a mysterious “phantom.” Until the recent changes to the ride, the identity of the Phantom was unknown. However, we now know that the Phantom is Henry Ravenswood–Melanie’s father–come back to haunt her forever. He has killed three more of her potential suitors before the ride ends.

Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland

Henry Mystic, a renowned explorer, lives at Mystic Manor with his pet monkey named Albert. Mystic Manor also functions as a museum to display their most interesting artifacts found over the years. Henry has recently come into possession of a music box. He warns Albert not to open it, as it has been known to bring inanimate objects to life–according to legend. Of course, Albert doesn’t listen and opens the music box. Chaos ensues, and guests and Albert have to figure out a way to close the music box while remaining in one piece.

The Haunted Mansion (movie)

A workaholic real estate agent–played by Eddie Murphy–and his business partner/wife take their kids to see a mansion up for sale. Turns out the mansion is haunted, and all the people living there are actually ghosts. Master Gracey, owner of the house, lost his fiance Elizabeth to suicide and he hung himself out of grief. We later learn she was instead murdered by the butler, Ramsley, for some weird reason.

Master Gracey believes Sarah–mom/wife of the visiting family–is a reincarnated Elizabeth and he is trying to get her to marry him. The house is not actually up for sale. Once the truth is out about the past, Ramsley is sent to Hell and the real Elizabeth reunites with Master Gracey. They and all the other ghosts are sent to heaven for eternity.

The Timeline:

  • Tokyo Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion: Taking place during the 1700’s, sometime before the American Revolution, this version of the Mansion started a our whole story.
  • Disney World’s Haunted Mansion: This version takes place during and immediately after the American Revolution, around 1770’s-early 1800’s. We believe it to have come right after the Tokyo version because they are almost identical, but Disney World’s version has Constance Hatchaway while Tokyo does not. Since Constance is also featured in the California version, which officially takes place later, Tokyo must be first and Disney World must be second. Haunted Mansion is located in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, which is specifically set in Colonial America.
  • Disneyland California’s Haunted Mansion: California’s Haunted Mansion is set just before the United States Civil War, early 1800’s-mid 1800’s. We know this based on its placement in New Orleans Square and the exterior design being inspired by other buildings constructed at that time.
  • Disneyland Paris Phantom Manor: Phantom Manor is set during the “Gold Rush” era in America, mid 1800’s-late 1800’s. We know this because of its connection to Disneyland Paris’ Big Thunder Mountain. According to the official story line, the owners of the manor gained their wealth from mining there.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland’s Mystic Manor: This attraction is set in Mystic Point, New Guinea, in the year 1909.
  • Haunted Mansion Movie: Set somewhere in the United States during 2003, this is when the “cycle” ends forever.

Important Things to Note

Some of the Haunted Mansion attractions around the world may be similar in a lot of ways. However, there are some things that either subtly or blatantly exist in every single one that are important to this theory. Consider these dismaying observations:

A Bride Scorned

In Tokyo, our token bride is known simply as the “beating heart bride.” Her backstory is not as well-known as some of her counterparts, but we do know that hear beating heart represents a broken heart of some kind. In both California and Florida, the bride’s name is Constance Hatchaway. She is also known as “The Black Widow Bride” because she has killed at least five people: her husbands! For the plot of Phantom Manor, our bride takes centre stage. Melanie Ravenswood (also known as Mélanie Ravenswood) is a perpetual bride-to-be but her four fiances never seem to make it to the alter before the end of their lives.

Unfortunately, we could not find an obvious bride inside Mystic Manor, but that doesn’t change anything with this theory. Finally, in the 2003 film, we have Elizabeth. She is murdered before her wedding day, with her groom believing she took her own life.

Trapped Characters

This idea is pretty self-explanatory, the whole idea behind the existence of “ghosts” is that they are “trapped” here, right? So it is safe to assume that each of these characters is stuck in their respective “retirement homes” for eternity, or until something/someone releases them. Melanie Ravenswood is trapped in her own home by the Phantom , and in the 2003 Haunted Mansion movie, the entire plot revolves around getting the truth out. Once that is accomplished, all 999 ghosts finally “find the light” and presumably go to heaven (except Ramsley, obviously). More on all that later.

Evil Narrator/Ghost Host

In each story, there is a seen or unseen force of evil at work. For the three Haunted Mansion rides, it is the Ghost Host. In Phantom Manor, it’s obviously the Phantom. The movie’s host/villain is Ramsley the butler. For Mystic Manor, the villain is likely the music box itself. Again, more on all of that and how it proves all the Haunted Mansions are connected later.

A Ghostly Music Box

With the exception of Mystic Manor, this element is the most subtle. However, it is actually a crucial part of every single Haunted Mansion-style attraction around the world. First of all, Melanie Ravenswood–bride and main character of Phantom Manor–has a music box that plays outside the queue. In fact, there is an entire section of the queue focused on it. The same song that plays while you wait in line for Phantom Manor, also occasionally plays in the Haunted Mansion outdoor queues of California, Florida, and Japan. So, we know those are connected based on that song alone.

For Mystic Manor and the 2003 movie adaptation, the plots more obviously revolve around a music box. At Mystic Manor, the music box is what brings the supernatural events upon the manor. In the 2003 movie, the “ghost ball” of the deceased Elizabeth appears immediately after Michael opens the music box for the first time. It is only then that Madam Leota reveals that “Elizabeth walks these halls.” More on all that later.

How Do These Things Tie Them All Together

First of all, the music box must be a family heirloom of some sort that is passed down to different generations of wealthy families through the years. That is, until Henry Mystic discovers it and takes possession of it himself for the museum. By then, the legend of the music box bringing things to life and causing paranormal activity is well-known and popular. And thanks to Albert, we learn that the legend is true. Since there is a literal music box just like this one in every version of the Haunted Mansion, We think this same music box is the cause of all the mayhem.

Think of it like Jumanji. Once the game is started, somebody has to win it before all the chaos ends. Also, regardless of many efforts to dispose of the game, somebody always finds it and plays it. Our Haunted Mansion theory is just like that. Once the music box is played, it must be stopped somehow before things go back to “normal.” But until whatever needs to be accomplished is accomplished, these large houses are full of swinging wakes and hitchhiking ghosts. And with each new location of the music box, the cycle just continues. What we see on the rides is the chaos caused by the music box before it is stopped. That’s how all the Haunted Mansions are connected, through the Jumanji-like music box.

How Does “The Cycle” End?

For this answer, we can look at the 2003 Haunted Mansion film. The ghosts weren’t released until the truth about Ramsley’s evil plan was revealed. That’s where the evil force/ghost host comes into play here. While the music box brings funny and happy things back to life, it also brings back an evil force that must be defeated. Once good conquers evil, the mansion and all its inhabitants are saved. They are no longer trapped.