BAY LAKE, Fla. (WFLA) — The Hatbox Ghost is haunting Disney World's Haunted Mansion for the first time in the character's history.
The animatronic character had first appeared in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion in 1969, appearing as a ghost whose head would periodically vanish from his shoulders and appear in a hatbox held in his left hand. But the character was removed shortly after its debut due to technical issues.
Then, in 2015, Disneyland brought the Hatbox Ghost back to the Haunted Mansion, having recognized the continuing popularity of the character even in his long absence.
"Although brief, his presence sparked a decades-long following, and this reclusive resident of the Haunted Mansion was never forgotten," reads a 2015 entry from the Disney Parks Blog.
Disney World's version of the Haunted Mansion, however, had never been visited by the Hatbox Ghost until recently: On Thursday, the "grim grinning ghost" debuted at the Magic Kingdom.
"The 999 happy haunts of the Haunted Mansion are in high spirits, celebrating his appearance by being on their ghoulishly best behavior for this hauntingly grand affair," a representative for Disney's Imagineers wrote in a Thursday blog post.
The character largely appears the same as in the Disneyland version, albeit in a different section of the Haunted Mansion. (The original is located in the "attic" section of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, while Disney World's version places him next to the "Endless Hallway.")
The apparition's appearance wasn't a complete surprise to Disney's biggest fans: In 2022, Disney had announced that the Hatbox Ghost would "materialize" at Disney World by Nov. 2023.