Let me take you back in time to 1976, or maybe it was 1975. I had just received a gift from my parents that I could never have expected in my wildest dreams because – like many of you reading this – I had never even heard of the Lakeside Haunted Mansion board game. I was never much of a Barbie sort of girl – something they probably realised after Barbie number one got decapitated – so this Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion board game was ideal for me with it scary characters and setting. On the box, a gravestone next to some scary, beckoning ghouls asks “do you dare enter this ghostly retreat h-m-m-m?”. There was no need to ask; I was sold and it soon became my favourite ever game! The game play was fantastic but you cannot beat the artwork! This may have been a Disney game but if you are expecting the usual cute animation then you are in for an even bigger shock. This is the creepy Disney of old from the days of Snow White and the details and colors on the backdrop are sinister and authentic – ideal for any fan of the ride and all things spooky. The backdrop may be purely decorative but it was the coolest feature for me, that and amazing characters. Where else will you find such detail on character tokens as these individual ghosts and the raven! Perhaps it is the nostalgia taking over here but I think it is probably the best board game artwork I have ever seen. As an adult I can look at this box, appreciate the beautiful designs and take the time to look at the details but my 7 year old self was far more inclined to get the piece together and start playing – or rather have my father build it as fast as possible for me.
As stated on the box, the game is “inspired by the actual haunted mansion at Walt Disney World and Disneyland” and this is clear from the authentic tokens to the features. The colorful “doombuggy” tokens are moved by a roll of the dice but this is far more interesting and intricate than your standard board game because there are features in place to disrupt your journey. A pesky raven tries to halt your progress, spooky ghosts spin around with you on the rotating disks and try to send you to the ghoul’s graveyard – this really is not for the faint hearted. It really is like no other toy and is highly recommended to all parents and Disney geeks. Unfortunately, the story of my own Haunted Mansion did not have a happy ending. Like many of my toys it was passed on to younger cousins and eventually lost. I have, however, been considering replacing it through an eBay auction. The more I think about it the more appealing it sounds and I urge others to do the same because not only will you get to enjoy an old classic again, you can have a toy for your own children that is highly entertaining and like nothing their friends will own. I loved this Haunted mansion and I know you and your kids will too because it is so cool. If you don’t mind paying a higher price for a classic toy then it is completely worth it and you will receive a truly collectible item that can last for years – if your kids are careful with it. Whether you want to keep it on the shelf as Disney memorabilia or invite the neighborhood kids round for a spooky afternoon, this is a highly recommended purchase – just be sure to get hold of a complete set for the full effect! Price wise for a complete game in nice condition be ready to pay at least 200$. The Haunted Mansion board game by Lakeside is extremely collectible. Best chance to find it: eBay (be prepare to fight for it).