Walt Disney World has completed its renovation of the Haunted Mansion attraction at the Magic Kingdom, opening an all-new "hitchhiking ghosts" finale to the public for the first time.
The cutting-edge effect employs motion-tracking technology to enable ghosts to interact with guests as they ride aboard their Doom Buggy vehicles. It will act as a permanent replacement for the previous static version of the effect, which was temporarily replaced by non-interactive projections while the update was installed.
The new hitchhiking ghosts can perform multiple routines, which appear to vary depending on the number of riders in each Doom Buggy. The ghosts can appear in multiple places on or around the vehicle, and the technology even allows effects such as the "inflation" of riders' heads. A video of the ghosts in action can be seen below (warning: this contains spoilers for those who wish keep the effects a surprise):
Disney had already added updated animatronic versions of the hitchhiking ghosts to the Haunted Mansion, which appear just prior to the finale "thumbing a lift" from riders.
Work has been ongoing for months to overhaul the Haunted Mansion's queuing area, adding interactive elements to entertain waiting guests. The updated graveyard area can be seen in an official video released by Disney to show off the new additions:
The debut of the the updated hitchhiking ghost effect appears to complete the overhaul of the Haunted Mansion, which first opened in 1971.