Haunted Mansion – An Abandoned Knock-off Attraction In Orlando

Haunted Mansion Abandoned Orlando

The Haunted Mansion attraction was located in Kissimmee, Florida, USA, just down the road from Disney’s Magic Kingdom and their Haunted Mansion. Don’t make the mistake of confusing the two. Both are vastly different! The Disney classic really can’t be compared to the short lived knock off nearby.

Disney's Haunted Mansion

Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom.

Located on West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway (US-192) in the tourist-centric Kissimmee area of Orlando, the Haunted Mansion was originally a plain warehouse-type building that had themed elements added to the facade to give the appearance of a medieval castle. It had served as a nightclub and t-shirt shop in previous guises but neither had been overly successful at the location.

At Halloween in 1997, Tom Goddard, originally from Ohio, opened the Haunted Mansion. The newly created haunt experience was joined by an oddity museum, a gift shop and an arcade. Not all of the building was used at the time as Goddard planned additional attractions. The expansion never happened.

Despite being called the Haunted Mansion, the attraction had elements that suited its castle theme. The rooms were all original creations designed to scare and disorient visitors. It even featured an encounter with Frankenstein’s monster. The walk-through lasted about 20 minutes.

The museum of oddities had an interesting collection, said to be worth in the region of $1 million. It featured real human skeletons, a funeral coach, a real electric chair, shrunken heads and more. There were rumours that the building was actually haunted because of the presence of an electric chair that was used for actual executions. It’s likely that these were spread by the owner in a attempt to drum up publicity. There have been no reports of paranormal activity in the building in its previous or latter guises.

Door of Haunted Mansion attraction in Orlando

The entrance to the Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion had to compete with a number of similar attractions in the area. Skull Kingdom on International Drive was quite popular at the time and the Haunted Grimm House of Old Town Kissimmee is still active. That’s not to even mention Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights which was growing massively in popularity in the 1990s.

The attraction remained open for just two years, before closing in August 1999, failing to make it to a third lucrative Halloween season. Using the name of its successful Magic Kingdom counterpart may have been its downfall as reports suggest that Disney were unhappy with another Haunted Mansion in the Orlando area. Walt Disney World was seeing increased visitor numbers at this time having just opened Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998.

The abandoned Haunted Mansion attraction in Orlando

The themed facade of the building

The Haunted Mansion remained closed for a number of years, joining the list of abandoned attractions in the Orlando area which included Disney’s River Country and Disney’s Discovery Island. It reopened some time later as Alligator Alley, a country music venue. Today, it is the Reborn Christian Academy, a Christian focused school created by the Centro Cristiano Casa de Misericordia. Despite the building’s new lease of life, the external castle theming remains.

Location: Orlando, Florida, USA 🇺🇸
Abandoned: August 1999

2 thoughts on “Haunted Mansion – An Abandoned Knock-off Attraction In Orlando”

  1. I was an employee of the haunted Mansion in Kissimmee. Worked with the owner for 6yrs. He had other attractions as well. He had a motorcycle built in 97-98 that won first place in Daytona bike week in 98.

    1. I am trying to find out more about Tom’s time in Wisconsin. I think that he had some Munster cars that were made from kits. They ended up being owned by a man in Wisconsin called Randy Landwehr. Did you know anything about these cars?

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