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Creep it real: Was the ‘Muppets Haunted Mansion’ filmed in an Actual House?

While there are quite a few haunted houses spread across Disney’s amusement parks, none of them served as filming locations for the ‘Muppets Haunted Mansion’ Halloween special.

Will Arnett in the Muppets Haunted Mansion movie
Photo credit: Disney/Mitch Haaseth

It’s not easy being green!

But when it comes to mansions with boo-tiful guests, turning green might be a given.

In the Muppets Haunted Mansion Disney+ Halloween special, Gonzo and Pepé face a series of spook-tacular challenges while staying in a haunted mansion for one night.

Is it witchful thinking to assume the haunted mansion is real? 

Gonzo in the Muppets Haunted Mansion
Gonzo in the Muppets Haunted Mansion. Photo credit: Disney/Mitch Haaseth

We’re going to lift your spirits and have some skele-fun as we do some digging for the grave details regarding this festive family film.

A quick recap of the “Muppets Haunted Mansion’ movie

Holy heck, Halloween is fun!

And in embracing the spooky season, Gonzo and Pepé decide to investigate the legendary disappearance of Gonzo’s favorite magician, The Great MacGuffin.

So instead of attending the Muppets’ annual Halloween party, they go to the same haunted mansion that The Great MacGuffin reportedly disappeared in one hundred years ago. 

Played by Will Arnett, the Ghost Host tells Gonzo that he must survive one night in the haunted mansion. But if he doesn’t, he and Pepé will be trapped there until the end of time. 

Soon after, Gonzo is informed that he must face his fears in Room 999 (with, of course, the room’s number sign turned upside down to read 666).

Gonzo and Pepe The King Prawn in the Muppets Haunted Mansion.
Gonzo and Pepe The King Prawn in the Muppets Haunted Mansion. Photo credit: Disney/Mitch Haaseth

A scare is born!

Next, Gonzo gets trapped inside the room and faces his biggest fear: that no one will approve of him should he shy away from dangerous stunts. 

Upon recalling a conversation he had with Kermit, Gonzo realizes he can be great just by being himself. Fa-boo-lous!

After a series of other spooky stunts, Gonzo and Pepé become privy to the greatest reveal of all: The Host is alive. In fact, he is the Great MacGuffin himself.

A trick or a treat? Is the mansion real?

Sure, the festive film is the pick of the patch. But is the Muppets Haunted Mansion real? 

We hate to break your bones, but the house in the Muppets Haunted Mansion is about as real as a ghost.

No real house was used to film the Halloween special, and none of the existing Haunted Houses in Disney’s amusement parks could be used to shoot the movie. Everything you see on screen is CGI, and the park attractions weren’t built for filming, according to the movie’s director.

The Haunted Mansion in the special is unlike any of the existing Haunted Mansion attractions in the world — and it’s also completely digital,” director Kirk Thatcher shares with Polygon.

Collaborating closely with production designer Darcy Prevost, Thatcher crafted a totally unique Haunted Mansion location that matches many of the Disney theme park staples. 

Regarding the park attractions, Thatcher adds, “They’re not built for filming.”

Gonzo, Pepe, and Frackles in the Muppets Haunted Mansion.
Gonzo, Pepe, and Frackles in the Muppets Haunted Mansion. Photo credit: Disney/Mitch Haaseth

Using virtual backdrops, the scenes for the Disney Halloween special were shot in layers. 

“We couldn’t shoot the ghosts and the people at the same time,” shares Thatcher. “So some of the musical numbers are like three or four layers, with background ghosts being shot separately.”

He adds: “Our actors had to do musical numbers with nobody there. They were signing and had an eyeline to somebody who wasn’t there. Like, ‘Kermit is gonna be here. But he’s not gonna be here now. But you have to be singing to him and looking at him.”

Taraji P. Henson and Pepe The King Prawn in the Muppets Haunted Mansion.
Taraji P. Henson and Pepe The King Prawn in the Muppets Haunted Mansion. Photo credit: Disney/Mitch Haaseth

Deja-Boo! The Haunted Mansions across Disney Parks

Last year, the Muppets Haunted Mansion debuted exclusively on Disney+.

But in real life, you can join the spook-tacular fun at the various Disney parks across the globe, where four different Haunted Mansions await thrill-seekers.

Located in Disneyland Anaheim at the park’s New Orleans Square, fans of the festive film can check out the attractions at the antebellum South-style manor.

At Disney World in Orlando, you can see exclusive content from Muppets Haunted Mansion in the pre-show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. 

Meanwhile, the Gothic revival Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom is located in Liberty Square at Tokyo Disney Resort.

And Disneyland Paris offers Phantom Manor in Frontierland, providing fans with a darker and scarier storyline evoking Second Empire-style architecture. 

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Written by Jenny Schafer

Jenny Schafer is the former senior editor of a high-profile celebrity blog she ran for 10+ years. A proud mom-of-three and resident of Vancouver, B.C., Jenny writes with a keen social consciousness and passion to keep things positive. She has been interviewed by various news sources such as CNN, Zimbio, Mom Spark and was a regular contributor for HerSay.

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