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Welcome, Foolish Mortals

Hello, and thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and ideas.  In keeping with my goal of discussing Disney films and shows that need to be either re-released on Blu-Ray and DVDtoday I want to focus on a certain film based on a Disney attraction with a big name star.  Yes, I want to take a look at The Haunted Mansion, starring Eddie Murphy, which opened on November 26, 2003.

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Ok, enough with that…let’s now look at another Disneyland milestone!

On August 9, 1969 They Haunted Mansion opened its doors to park guests in New Orleans Square.  Home of 999 happy haunts, this attraction was one of the first opening after Walt passed, but was still an attraction Walt had been planning 14 years earlier.

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The exterior of the Haunted Mansion was erected in 1963, and was part of New Orleans Square when it was dedicated by Walt on July 24, 1966, although the gates remained shut.  Incidentally, this dedication was Walt’s final public appearance in Disneyland before his death on December 15, 1966.  The Mansion itself was considered well behind schedule, however.  Walt announced the ghostly manor would open in 1963, but plans were put on hold as Disney and his Imagineers began working on the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.

Guests begin their tour of the Haunted Mansion by winding through the courtyard/cemetery of the grounds, passing by a pet cemetery as well.  Once the queue winds it way into the foyer, guests are encouraged to move into the “dead center” of the room to make space for more guests, and they are also introduced to our host, our Ghost Host.  The distinctive voice of Paul Frees is our Ghost Host, and he shall journey with us for the duration of the ride.

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After learning the chamber we are standing in IS actually stretching and that there are no windows, or no doors, guests are released into a dark hallway, leading us ever closer to our “Doom Buggy.”  The Doom Buggy is the second attraction in the park to use the “omnimover” method of tracking, behind Adventures Through Inner Space.  This makes it easier for the pod to  twist and turn to enable us to see different parts of the ride as the Imagineers wanted us to.  The Haunted Mansion was at one point considered to be a walk through attraction, but Imagineers decided the guests would be too slow in completing the tour, making it difficult to meet the demand.

After taking a tour through the Mansion’s attic and then through the exterior again, the Doom Buggy takes the guests past a floating crystal sphere containing the image of Madame Leota, who is able to call upon the spirits, wherever they are at.  At this point the Ghost Host leaves and guests are led by a dining/ballroom where ghosts are seen dancing and feasting.  The ghost effect is created through audio-animatronics and mirrors directly below the Doom Buggy.  As a result of this effect, however, the women are leading the waltz and the men are following.

Guests then are lead through a graveyard scene and are serenaded with the song “Grim Grinning Ghosts” by Thurl Ravenscroft and the Mello Men.  The voice actor Ravenscroft can also be heard in the Enchanted Tiki Room, and is perhaps best known as being the voice of Tony the Tiger, the spokestiger of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.

Hitchhiking Ghosts

At the serenade, the Ghost Host returns to warn guests that as the journey is ending, they might be joined by hitchhiking ghosts.  Passing through a series of three mirrors, each Doom Buggy is joined by a hitch hiker, and the promise that shall haunt the guest until they return.  Upon exiting the omnimover, guests are lead up a slanted conveyor belt, past a Little Leota telling guests to hurry back…and outside, past a horse drawn hearse.

As the Haunted Mansion celebrates its 44th anniversary, I am glad I can say I’ve been on the attraction numerous times.  It remains one of the most popular attractions in the park to this day.

During the holiday season, the Haunted Mansion does receive a “holiday overlay” where it themed to “A Nightmare Before Christmas” the stop action film by Tim Burton.  During this period, almost every element of the ride is changed, and the experience is not the same.  Many fans think its an enjoyable switch, and I am admittedly in the minority.  Keep the classic as it was intended.  But I digress.

Happy Anniversary to the 999 happy haunts, and here is hoping they find their next haunt. I thank you for taking the time to read this today. I ask you would please leave comments.  You may contact me directly on Twitter @Quest4VaultDisn, and you may also subscribe to be alerted by email when new postings are published. Quest for Vault Disney is now on Facebook. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/questforvaultdisney. Have a great rest of your day. See ya real soon…

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2 Comments

  1. […] August 9 was the date of this challenge, and it also happened to be the 45th anniversary of the Haunted Mansion. Our group arranged to take the final Stretching Room down to the Doom Buggy to close the ride for […]

  2. […] the 60th anniversary. A quick history: the Hatbox Ghost is an audio-animatronic that debuted in the Haunted Mansion when it first opened, but as the special effects didn’t quite work properly, he was removed […]

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