Did you know that you don’t have to travel very far to get a piece of Walt Disney World?
Many travel the East Coast down to Walt Disney World each year from New York but what I didn’t realize is that one of my favorite rides is based on a building just south of Albany. According to Spectrum News, Joel Rathbone, a wealthy businessman, built his Kenwood estate south of Albany in 1841.
In 1863, Rathbone passed away and the building was sold to the Roman Catholic Sisters of the Sacred Heart and eventually torn down. Pieces of that building were reused to build a new structure around the same time and it “sits just north of the Albany County Rail Trail.”
100 years later, designers for Walt Disney World were looking for a “Hudson Valley gothic” kind of building to base their new attraction on. Along with the Harry Packer mansion in Pennsylvania, the Imagineers used the Rathbone estate to base their design of the Haunted Mansion on.
Next time you’re in Disney World, taking a ride on the Haunted Mansion, you can thank a building in Albany for part of that.