« MagicMeets…what can I say? | Main | Lou Mongello’s Audio Guide to Walt Disney World - A Review »

Haunted Mansion Comes Alive!

All Ears® Team Member Jack Spence (accompanied by Anita Answer and friends) files this report:

The good news: it’s still the Haunted Mansion. It has been improved. Some changes are obvious, others would hardly be noticed. They come together to update a wonderful attraction. Somebody who had never been on the attraction wouldn’t have a clue of which effects are new, and which are the originals from 1969 / 1971. Even people familiar with the attraction might have trouble.

First, what hasn’t changed:

It’s still the Haunted Mansion.

The feeling of the attraction is the same.

The entire graveyard scene is the same.

The busts that turn to watch you pass are the same.

The hitchhiking ghosts still join you on the way out.

The ballroom dancers are still backwards.


Rumors that weren’t true:

There are no live bats

There is no new shop at the exit.

What is different outside:

Outside, the queue begins near the old fastpass structure. The line has a couple of switchbacks in this area before proceeding under the “13 minute” sign. (The line was long this morning, so all the queue was in use.) The awning over the queue area next to the Rivers of America is wider than it used to be. This provides enough space that they can divide it into thirds – so one line goes in front of the mansion toward the attraction entrance, then it switches back toward the 13-minute sign, then switches back toward the attraction entrance again. The line is narrower than it used to be, so people more naturally fill the available space without worrying about passing (or being passed by) somebody else.

The color of the building is subtly different.

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT AHEAD. DO NOT LOOK/READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED AT THE HAUNTED MANSION CHANGES. DETAILS OF THE CHANGES INSIDE OF THE ATTRACTION ARE BELOW THIS WARNING.


WARNING: SPOILER ALERT AHEAD. DO NOT LOOK/READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED AT THE HAUNTED MANSION CHANGES. DETAILS OF THE CHANGES INSIDE OF THE ATTRACTION ARE BELOW THIS WARNING.


WARNING: SPOILER ALERT AHEAD. DO NOT LOOK/READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED AT THE HAUNTED MANSION CHANGES. DETAILS OF THE CHANGES INSIDE OF THE ATTRACTION ARE BELOW THIS WARNING.


WARNING: SPOILER ALERT AHEAD. DO NOT LOOK/READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED AT THE HAUNTED MANSION CHANGES. DETAILS OF THE CHANGES INSIDE OF THE ATTRACTION ARE BELOW THIS WARNING.


WARNING: SPOILER ALERT AHEAD. DO NOT LOOK/READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED AT THE HAUNTED MANSION CHANGES. DETAILS OF THE CHANGES INSIDE OF THE ATTRACTION ARE BELOW THIS WARNING.


WARNING: SPOILER ALERT AHEAD. DO NOT LOOK/READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED AT THE HAUNTED MANSION CHANGES. DETAILS OF THE CHANGES INSIDE OF THE ATTRACTION ARE BELOW THIS WARNING.


What is different inside

The first improvement I noticed was the sound. In the stretch room, the ghost host doesn’t bounce from one location to another. Rather the voice moves smoothly around the room. Also, some new sounds have been added to improve effects – when the room stretches, it creaks.

The interior of the attraction has been spruced up. For example, the wallpaper in the stretch room is new. The old was looking rather shabby. The frames on the stretch pictures look better.

The lighting throughout has been improved. While the ambient lighting isn’t brighter, most anything of interest is better lit. The hanging body above the ceiling is more visible; the ballroom characters are brighter.

Some of the pictures with the eyes that follow you have been moved to the loading area. The hallway where these pictures used to be now has windows on the left side, with lightning outside and the appropriate thunder. On the other side, there are still pictures, some with the eyes that follow you, and some not. But all of the pictures change appearance with the flashes of lightning.

One of the most obvious changes is the area where giant spiders used to be on giant webs. Those are completely gone, replaced by stairways going up, down, and around at odd angles. Some room décor around the area (such as candelabra and small rugs) are also at odd angles, even upside down. You can even see the foot falls as a ghost is walking on the steps. I always thought the spider webs were put in because there just wasn’t enough space in this area for anything more. The Imagineers certainly overcame that limitation.

The séance room has more items floating around the outer edges (or are they just better lit?) Madame Leota’s crystal ball floats and moves above the table.

The other most obvious changes are in the attic room. The pop-up heads are gone. Similar to the Disneyland HM, there are several pictures, each with the same bride, but each with a different groom. At Disneyland, the faces of the grooms fade out. I believe the effect is supposed to be the same here, but it wasn’t working. Finally, you see the bride, holding an ax which appears and disappears.

One of the best effects is that there are eyes (bats’ eyes, I think) which watch you from the darkness. Some of the eyes even move. As you move along, the eyes transform into the wallpaper – the same wallpaper with eyes that has been on the walls since opening day.

If you're looking for more information on the Haunted Mansion, Jason Surrell has written a great book on this attraction. The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies fleshes out how the Mansion's 999 grim grinning ghosts were brought to life. Rare early sketches and story concepts, and stunning architectural drawings illustrate the Mansion's evolution as it was constructed at each Magic Kingdom Park around the globe.
The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies

The previous post in this blog was MagicMeets…what can I say?.

The next post in this blog is Lou Mongello’s Audio Guide to Walt Disney World - A Review.

Comments (2)

Wendy Koenigsmann:

I dislike the changes immensely. The entire atmosphere of Gothic Victorian creepiness is almost entirely gone now.

Zack Isbrandt:

Hi Jack. I was wondering what the name of the song that is played throughout the ride is called. Do you know it?

Return to Blog Central

About

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 15, 2007 7:45 AM.

The previous post in this blog was MagicMeets…what can I say?.

The next post in this blog is Lou Mongello’s Audio Guide to Walt Disney World - A Review.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.