Originally planned to be part of the “Mickey Mouse Park” project in Burbank, The Haunted House idea was one of the original ideas that made its way south to Anaheim when Walt Disney began planning out DISNEYLAND. The house was originally supposed to be a stereotypically rundown shanty located down a windy path that would branch off from Main Street. That plan was scrapped after budgetary constraints and technology limitations prevented the attraction from being built the way Walt Disney envisioned.
The attraction was put on the back burner after Walt visited the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, 400 miles north of his Magic Kingdom. The house had been built by Sarah Winchester, who designed the sprawling house as a way to confuse the spirits of the dead people who had been killed by her husband’s rifles. The stately Mansion is immaculately maintained, yet is still considered to be one of the most haunted buildings in the country. Mr. Disney had always hated the idea of building a ramshackle building and the Winchester mansion convinced him that he could build a nice looking yet ominous mansion for DISNEYLAND.
By this time, the potential spot for the Haunted attraction was moved from an area near Main Street to a spot across the riverbend from Frontierland. The new spot had been sparsely landscapes and used as a nice little park where people could take a stroll or sit on one of the many benches and enjoy a snack. Walt Disney had an affinity for the city of New Orleans and had planned for the area to become an area themed after the city. In the early 1960’s, DISNEYLAND announced that it would build a New Orleans themed area complete with a pirate museum and a haunted house. Actual construction, however, would still be a long ways off.