Ghostly Digital Experiences for Disney’s Haunted Mansion

Monthly Subscriptions and Digital Experiences Drive New Revenue Streams

The Brief

Walt Disney’s original vision for the Haunted Mansion was for the ghosts to follow you home. Through the magic of technology, and an innovative monthly retail subscription model, we helped Disney Imagineering realize his vision. The ghosts had a problem: Not enough people believed in them, and their power to leave the mansion and follow guests home had been diminished. They wanted that power back. The storyline was designed to turn skeptics into believers. The subscription allowed guests to purchase a three month series of haunted objects to be delivered to their door. The subscriptions were purchased in the park, at Disney stores nationwide, and online. They sold out in less than an hour.

The Guest Experience

We wanted to give fans and families a great experience both at home and at Disneyland. At the center of everything was an innovative mobile application, which was dubbed the “Phantom Radio”. The app communicated with haunted objects and turned subscribers into Mediums with a mission to help the ghosts escape from the Haunted Mansion. The app used augmented reality image recognition on the objects, which then unlocked digital experiences, such as the radio, a music box for sing-alongs, magic tricks, blueprints of hidden rooms at the Mansion, and more. Each month, guests got a new box of haunted objects to be scanned with their phone, unlocking more of the story as time went on.

Guests created a ghostly profile to customize their experience both in the app and in the parks. They could also visit the “Ghost Relations Department” website to share ghost stories with others and discovery other haunted clues.


While in the park, the Phantom Radio mobile application unlocked unique experiences for subscribers. The first surprise was a “Fastpass” that allowed guests with the app immediate, escorted entry to the Haunted Mansion. From there, the “Doom Buggies” in the attraction were outfitted with Bluetooth beacons that recognized the app. Guests got a customized audio track during their ride, that also changed depending on how many haunted objects they had interacted with to-date. The ride changed over time, which kept people coming back for more. 


Another fun adventure awaited guest in Disneyland. As they entered the park, we used geolocation to send guests a notification on their phone that told them where to start a scavenger hunt. This unlocked another layer of the story for lucky in-park guests. Starting on Main Street at Esmerelda’s fortune telling machine, beacons were used to identify guests and the machine printed them a special fortune card. This led them to the next location, The Silver Spur. Here beacon technology created a unique experience where the self-playing piano used motion sensors to “watch” guests for certain gestures and then played a special song for them, eventually sending them on to the next location. This continued through multiple once-in-a-parktime experiences.

Business Strategy

  • We created an omni-channel and omni-sensory strategy with a physical subscription box, interactive “haunted” objects, a mobile app, website, commerce, in-park activations and social tie ins.
  • A new monthly subscription revenue model with digital tie-ins was created.
  • An engaging and entertaining branded experience was designed that brought the whole family together.
  • Integration was built with Disney Guest ID, which allowed single-sign-on and more advanced guest measurement and analytics across digital touch points at home and in the park.
  • Design elements were created that aligned the history and story of the Haunted Mansion brand.
  • Advanced, creative technology was integrated with Vuforia image recognition, proximity beacons, the mobile app, the website and analytics.


  • Sold out 999 $200 box subscriptions in less than 30 minutes!  
  • Tremendous social media buzz. More than 300k Ghost Post YouTube video views
  • Brought families together to enjoy a fun Disney branded experience 
  • Drove guests back to the park to enjoy the full experience
  • Successfully tested a new, engaging omni-channel experience

“How amazing was this experience? On a scale of 1 to 10, it was 999!”

Dizneyland Dude

“Anytime we can use story, technology and incredible digital experiences to delight our client’s customers, we have checked all the boxes for what we love to do at MJD.”

Jeremy Duimstra, Co-Founder and CEO, MJD

That was pretty amazing… we were getting custom audio in our Doombuggy, that only we could hear. They were characters from the app, thanking us for helping them!”

Steve Peters, StoryForward

Ghostly Digital Experiences for Disney’s Haunted Mansion

Meaningful Connections

At MJD we are striving to give meaning to the digital connections between people. We aim to elicit emotion when someone uses a digital product, experience or platform that we’ve designed and built. It could be something simple like a beautifully designed user interface that makes working with a smartphone exceptionally easy. It could be something hard like creating a Store of the Future where little girls can fall in love with a doll and be inspired to create their own strong path in this big world.

Digital Innovation Agency

Digital innovation is disrupting entire industries, transforming consumer behavior and influencing the way people interact with brands and products. In our 24/7 world, companies are leveraging digital technologies to create tremendous value, efficiencies and new revenue models while their customers expect ever more personalized and engaging experiences.