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Just in case anyone was interested, I am posting my version of the old HM FAQ here...

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(Old) Haunted Mansion FAQ
modifyed by Allen Huffman, Staff Writer

December 20, 2001

NOTE: This FAQ was originally done by Don Bertino. In 1996 I reformatted and updated the FAQ (mostly to reflect things in the WDW version which wasn't mentioned in the original hardly at all). I present it here just for anyone interested...

Archive-name: disney-faq/haunted-mansion
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1996/08/29
Version: 1.4
Disney's Haunted Mansion Attraction FAQ


This list of "Frequently Asked Questions" currently covers the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland in California, and The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida. Descriptions may also be similar to the version at Tokyo Disneyland, but Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris has significant changes and will not be covered in this document.


TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  • Credits
  • What? Attraction description and information
  • Who? Information on those in the attraction
  • How? Special effects and spoilers
  • Why? Things that make you go "hmmm..."
  • Other Question. Everything else...
  • Rehabs. All things must change

This document is Copyright (c) 1996, by Don Bertino, all rights reserved. It is intended for public use, and may be redistributed freely printed or electronically in its complete and unaltered form provided distribution is done at no charge to the receiver. Partial and other distribution means require the permission of the author. Send comments, suggestions, corrections to bertino@netcom.com. Portions of this FAQ have been updated, altered, changed, edited, and messed with by Allen Huffman (allen@disneyfans_REMOVE_THIS.com), mainly to add missing information and, specifically, more details about the version at Walt Disney World.


*** SPOILER WARNING ***

I do believe in Santa Claus, Tooth Faire and the Easter Bunny etc.. 8(:-) The following document is describing what is done when some of the 999 ghosts go on vacation and some of the effects have to be done with machines, smoke and mirrors....


Comments from the maintainer, and credits:

I just wanted to thank the people below, for without their help, this FAQ would not have been possible:

  • How Bowers (howbowers@eworld.com)
  • Russell Brower
  • Roberta Brubaker (robertab@deltanet.com)
  • Tim Castro (timc@uclink.berkeley.edu)
  • David C. Cobb (pookman@aol.com)
  • Kimberly Dahl
  • Michael A. Deforest (deforest@girtab.usc.edu)
  • Allen Huffman (allen@disneyfans_REMOVE_THIS.com)
  • Mark Keiser (Mark.Keiser@eng.sun.com)
  • Mark Marcuse (mahoney@nevada.edu)
  • Regan B. Pederson (xzfr@xmission.com)
  • David Tomita (david@pharm.medsch.ucla.edu)
  • Rev Vandervort (revv@aol.com)
  • Loren Wilton (lwilton@bix.com)
  • Steve Ziolkowski (stevez@rhythm.com)

WHAT?

Just what is the Haunted Mansion.


What is the Haunted Mansion?

The Haunted Mansion is an audio-animatronic ride-through attraction which opened in 1969 at Disneyland. Another version was constructed for the 1971 opening of The Magic Kingdom in Florida. The ride takes place in vehicles known as Doom Buggies (which resemble Tilt-a-Whirl cars). Each vehicle sits up to three people and has an onboard speaker system which provides narration during the slow journey through the Mansion. The vehicles are designed in such a way to restrict vision and to rotate in order to move the rider through the scenes much as a camera in a movie would "pan" from scene to scene.

The ride taking guests through rooms in the mansion and then finally out through the cemetery. Ride time is approximately ___ minutes at Disneyland, and ___ minutes at The Magic Kingdom.


What does the Haunted Mansion look like?

In Disneyland, it's a non-scary building in New Orleans Square. Similar to the style a lot of college campuses in New Orleans, which offer, like many colleges in the U.S., an online criminal justice degree. Walt Disney rejected the original proposal for it to look dilapidated since he didn't want anything at Disneyland to look run down. At The Magic Kingdom it is a stone mansion near the riverfront of Liberty Square and looks much more "haunted". Haunted Mansion ASCII art (Disneyland) by Don Bertino:


* |
* // \\
|| / / \ \
== ===============
== |()| (_) |()|
-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^
========================================
__________| ___ __--^--__ ___ |
| | [_+_] __-- ___ --__ [_+_] |
| ==================================================
====||/\||/\||/\|| |================| ||/\||/\||/\||
| || || || || ** **/--\** ** || || || ||
| || || || || ** **| |** ** || || || ||
| ||++||++||++|| **---**----**---** ||++||++||++||
|==||==||==||==||_**===**====**===**_||==||==||==||
| ||/\||/\||/\|| ** **____** ** ||/\_|/\_|/\||
| || || || || ** **| |** ** || || || ||
| || || || || ** **| o|** ** || || || ||
| ||++||++||++|| **---**----**---** ||++||++||++||
|==||==||==||==||_**===**====**===**_||==||==||==||

Haunted Mansion ASCII art (The Magic Kingdom) by ________:

...any volunteers? :)


The following is the official attraction description from the Disneyland tour book for guests with hearing impairments:

THE HAUNTED MANSION

Filled from basement to attic with ghouls, and apparitions, and featuring "delightfully unlivable" conditions, the Haunted Mansion opened August 9, 1969. Latest population figures show that there are 999 residents at home in the Haunted Mansion, but they are looking for number 1000 -- which *might* be any human volunteer foolish enough to enter. Ghost residents are a potpourri of supernatural, occult, psychic, and historical types, ranging from Egyptian and Roman to the Napoleonic and Dickens eras. There is also an assortment of fluttering bats, talking ravens, screaming banshees, screeching owls and cats, and baying hounds. On the outside, an ominous cemetery rises just outside the Mansion's courtyard, and a mysterious orange "glow" drifts past the upper floor windows.

Our Haunted Mansion is inhabited by the most fun-loving ghosts ever to materialize. Featured are not only its floating, jumping, dancing residents, but also stretching rooms, creaking doors and other little surprises guaranteed to send shivers up the spine of the bravest guest. Disneyland supplies an official "Ghost Host" to keep you company during your trip. From the moment you enter the mansion's icy parlor to the conclusion of this chilling journey, his haunting commentary will follow you wherever you go.

Your tour begins in the gallery, a large, wood-paneled room that has no windows and no doors. Suddenly, the room begins stretching and then...a loud thunder crack and scream!

You venture down a long hallway lined with eerie paintings, and just outside can be heard the cracks of thunder from a violent storm. From here, you're silently ushered into your hooded "doom buggy" that will transport you into a world of unearthly delights never before imagined. Here, amidst creaks, groans, moans and occasional terror filled screams, you'll pass down a hallway lined with doors that seem almost alive, and then move into a seance where things really start hopping! Spirits are commanded to materialize by Madame Leota, who, strangely enough, looks not *into*, but *out of* a crystal ball! Tambourines, drums, trumpets and other musical instruments float aimlessly about the room awaiting her commands.

The party really gets under way in a Victorian grand ballroom, where ghost who have missed the passing of time are still enjoying a banquet...still performing graceful waltzes...still celebrating as they did in a prior life. You'll visit other happy haunting grounds too, from musty old attics to a very lively graveyard, where our fun-loving ghosts are engaged in a song-filled celebration.

As mentioned earlier, the inhabitants of the Haunted Mansion are always on the lookout for new residents, and Little Leota, the small "ghostess" at the exit of the Haunted Mansion, extends this cordial invitation:

"Hurry back...hurry back! Be sure to bring your Death Certificate if you decide to join us...make final arrangements now...we've been DYING to have you..."


What are the differences between Disneyland's and The Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansions?

Most will be pointed out in the FAQ where appropriate.

Basically, The Magic Kingdom contains a few extra scenes (the hallway of paintings with eyes that follow you, the library, passing through the tomb with Little Leota on the ledge). Disneyland has the hallway you walk through before boarding the ride vehicles (with changing paintings and windows showing a storm outside), a revamped attic, unabridged soundtrack, and Little Leota by the exit ramp. Which one is better is up to debate, but it is easy to see that Disneyland has more enhancements overall. Those who have visited Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris seem to think it's reworking of the attraction to be better than either of the U.S. originals. Here is a more detailed list of differences:

The Disneyland Mansion looks like a nice grand scale manor in Louisiana due to it's location in New Orleans Square. It's not scary on the outside at all. You enter the mansion through doors at ground level after, during crowd season, queuing around the side of the Mansion past a pet cemetery and, near the back, some gravestones up on a hillside. The foyer is a small and plain room where the first narration is heard, the a door opens into the familiar stretch room. From this point on, the only real difference is the loading area. You go down a corridor with "windows" to the left with rain and lightning effects outside, and changing pictures on the right. At the end of the hallway are two busts in the wall (one male, one female) that follow you. Then, where the Doom Buggies roll out is a background of moving clouds (which is a very neat effect but doesn't seem to make sense in a house).

At The Magic Kingdom in Florida the mansion is off on it's own near Liberty Square and has a much more menacing appearance. It's stone and up on a hillside. You enter around near a graveyard and go through doors which would seem to lead into a basement level. The foyer area is a room with a fireplace and changing (aging) photograph above it. Doors lead into the stretch room from here. The loading area is a hallway and the Doom Buggies ride past a mansion wall.

TMK goes under the stairway with floating candles, then through a short hallway with pictures on both sides. They eyes follow you. Then it goes past a library room with a bit of narration about the books being by the greatest "ghost writers" who ever lived, and mentions that they are all "ghost stories" (of course). There are a number of busts on the wall that follow you as you pass. The male and female ones (from DL) are seen duplicated, with a few others.

The attic scene is much different at DL. DL's was recently rethemed with a phantom piano player with a morbid version of the wedding march being played by a shadow. The heads scream "I Do!" and the Bride is now more spooky looking. At TMK it's the "classic" screaming head room, and a photograph now stands next to the Bride. The photo is of the Bride when she was young, with her father (a picture from Euro's Phantom Manor).

After exiting the attic, the raven is directly above you at DL, and off to the right at TMK.
Little Leota is a bit different in location. At Disneyland, you pass her on the moving belt after you've exited the Buggies. In Florida, you pass under here (in a tomb-like room) right before you get off of the ride.

Most everything else is very close from DL to TMK.


What resources are there detailing the differences in various Mansions?

Steve Ziolkowski has put together two great web pages at:

  • http://www.rhythm.com/~stevez/hauntedMansion.html
  • http://www.rhythm.com/~stevez/phantomManor.html

It includes a complete walk-through description of Phantom Manor. Hopefully, he (or someone else) will do the same for the other versions.


What is a doom buggy and what is the capacity per hour?

Doom Buggy is the show name for Disney's OmniMover system. It was initially developed for the "Adventures in Inner Space" attraction by a team led by Bob Gurr. (They resemble Tilt-a-Whirl cars.) The cars, linked together, move forward via a 12-volt electric drive train. The vehicles themselves have no means of locomotion. They are driven by a series of ten motors located throughout the ride. Each car can also be rotated 180 degrees--from facing forward to facing backward. This rotation, combined with scalloped design of the car, allows the designers to control what the guests see at any given time. Each car is also equipped with 3 speakers. The sound (which is not stereo, as commonly reported) is transmitted to odd-numbered cars via a narrow band transmitter. The signal (once received) is then passed on to the even-numbered car behind it.

At DL, they are changing out the old Radio Frequency receivers on the cars to new digital chips and adding the "missing script" back in. TMK in Florida still uses the radio transmitters.

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion has 131 cars, with a guest capacity of 2,618 guests per hour, granting 2.25 guests per car, assuming no ride stops (wheelchairs or slow guests). A typical hour at full capacity is 2000-2400.

WDW's Haunted Mansion has 160 cars, due to its longer track, with a guest capacity of 3,200 guests per hour.


What is the script and who wrote it?

The original script was written by Xavier Atencio, and goes as follows:

// in the lobby at Disneyland, and the changing picture/fireplace room at
// The Magic Kingdom

GHOST HOST:

When hinges creak in doorless chambers and strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls, whenever candlelights flicker where the air is deathly still, that is the time when ghosts are present, practicing their terror with ghoulish delight. Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Mansion. I am your host, your Ghost Host. Kindly step all the way in please, and make room for everyone. There's no turning back now.

// sliding doors open and guests are led into a round room with four
// portraits on the walls. Gargoyle statues lean over peering down each
// holding two flickering candles)

Our tour begins here in this gallery, where you see paintings of some of our guests as they appeared in their corruptible, mortal state.

// the room begins to "stretch", revealing humorous portions of the
// portraits that were previously hidden

Your cadaverous pallor betrays an aura of foreboding, almost as though you sense a disquieting metamorphosis. Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it your imagination? And consider this dismaying observation: this chamber has no windows, and no doors. Which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out! Of course, there's always my way.

// lights go out and a flash of lightning reveals an attic up above where
// the ceiling formerly was. from the rafter hangs a body which sways in
// the flashes. the lights go out and a scream is heard followed by a
// "crash" as if the body has fallen to the floor
// at Disneyland, after the strech room opens you walk down a hallway with
// windows on the left which reveal a storm complete with rain and
// lighting. to the right are changing portraits. directly in front are
// two busts which seem to turn and face you as you pass them. at The
// Magic Kingdom you walk through a plain hallway with none of this, and a
// portion of the narration comes from a speaker hidden under a vase near
// where the Doom Buggies enter. the volume is often quite low so this
// dialog may not be audible

Oh, I didn't mean to frighten you prematurely. The real chills come later. Now, as they say, "look alive," and we'll continue our little tour. And let's all stay together, please. There are several prominent ghosts who have retired here from creepy old crypts all over the world. Actually, we have 999 happy haunts here, but there's room for a thousand. Any volunteers? If you insist on lagging behind, you may not need to volunteer.

// The following two paragraphs alternate, depending on which expanding room
// you can down in. If you linger and wait for the next expanding
// room you can hear both spiels.

(Version #1)

The carriage that will carry you into the moldering sanctum of the spirit world will accommodate you and one or two loved ones. Kindly watch your step as you board, please. We spirits haunt our best in gloomy darkness, so remember, no flash pictures, please.

(Version #2)

And now a carriage approaches to take you into the boundless realm of the supernatural. Take your loved ones by the hand, please, and kindly watch your step. Oh yes, and no flash pictures, please. We spirits are frightfully sensitive to bright lights.

// you are escorted to your Doom Buggie

Do not pull down on the safety bar, please; I will lower it for you. And heed this warning: the spirits will materialize only if you remain quietly seated at all times.

// at The Magic Kingdom, you pass under some stairs where a floating
// candlestick drifts over the railing above you. you also pass through
// an extra sceen not at Disneyland: a library with some of the busts
// that are in the walkway at Disneyland. there is a bit of dialog for
// this room concerning it being stocked with works of the greatest ghost
// writers who ever lived. [exact dialog requested!]

We find it delightfully unlivable here in this ghostly retreat. Every room has wall-to-wall creeps and hot and cold running chills. Shhh, listen.

// during the last rehab in Sept 1995, these two paragraphs where added back
// in at Disneyland. you pass through hallways with doors on both sides.
// the knockers knock, some doors buldge, and one even has a hand pushing
// it open, or at least trying to

All our ghosts have been dying to meet you. This one can hardly contain himself. Unfortunately, they all seem to have trouble getting through. Perhaps Madam Leota can establish contact. She has a remarkable head for materializing the disembodied.

// you enter the seance room. musical instruments, tables, lamps, and
// other items float around above you. as you circle around the room,
// there is a table on the rug with a chair behind it and a large crystal
// ball with a woman's head inside. she speaks:

MADAM LEOTA:

Serpents and spiders, tail of a rat.
Call in the spirits wherever they're at.
Rap on a table, it's time to respond,
send us a message from somewhere beyond.
Goblins and ghoulies from last Halloween
awaken the spirits with your tambourine. (sound of tamborine)
Creepies and crawlies, toads in a pond
let there be music from regions beyond.
Wizards and witches wherever you dwell
give us a hint by ringing a bell. (sound of a bell)

GHOST HOST:

The happy haunts have received your sympathetic vibrations and are beginning to materialize. They're assembling for a swinging wake. And they'll be expecting me. I'll see you all a little later.

// you enter a balcony area overlooking a large banquet room down below.
// ghosts dance, fly around, and vanish and reappear. at the table is a
// birthday party where the guests vanish as the candles are blown out. on
// the wall are two portraits of gentlemen facing back to back. ghostly
// images appear then turn to face and shoot each other. the cycle
// repeats. a large organ at the end of the room is played by a phantom and
// ghostly skulls float out of the pipes. Note: at Disneyland this organ
// is the original prop used in the movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea).
// also not that there is a plate arrangement at both parks with a large
// plate and two smaller saucers above it, forming a "Hidden Mickey" shape.
// the next sequence is an attic. during the 95 rehab the Disneyland
// version was dramatically changed. you pass through the attic and
// disembodied heads jump up and scream "I do!". a piano is playing an
// eerie version of the Wedding March and you can see the shadow of the
// invisible pianist on the wall. near the exit of the attic is a bride
// holding a candle, glowing eerily. at The Magic Kingdom, the original
// attic is still in place. the heads just yell, and the bride is the
// older, less frightening version and there is no pianist. a painting
// stands next to her, which is one of the bride as a girl with her dad.
// you exit the attic and turn around going down towards the graveyard.
// as your buggy tilts back you pass under some trees which are painted
// with highlights at Disneyland with the raven directly above. at The
// Magic Kingdom, the raven is off to the right hand side
// many different scenes are here with the key one being the five singing
// busts who sing along to the soundtrack that can be heard throughout the
// graveyard sequence

GRIM GRINNING GHOSTS:

When the crypt doors creak and the tombstones quake
(Spooks come out for a swinging wake)
Happy haunts materialize
(And begin to vocalize)
Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize
Now don't close your eyes and don't try to hide
(Or a silly spook may sit by your side)
Shrouded in a daft disguise
(They pretend to terrorize)
Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize
As the moon climbs high over the dead oak tree
(Spooks arrive for the midnight spree)
Creepy creeps with eerie eyes
(Start to shriek and harmonize)
Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize
When you hear the knell of a requiem bell
(Weird glows gleam where spirits dwell)
Restless bones etherealize
(Rises spooks of every size)
<villainous laugh>

GHOST HOST:

Ah, there you are. And just in time. There's a little matter I forgot to mention: Beware of hitchhiking ghosts!

// as you exit the graveyard, three hitchhiking ghosts are in front of you

They have selected you to fill our quota, and they'll haunt you until you return.

// you pass in front of a series of mirrors and one of the three
// hitchhikers is shown in the reflection sitting in your car along
// with you

Now I will raise the safety bar, and a ghost will follow you home.

// and eerie version of Grim Grinning Ghosts plays, very slowly, as you
// exit the attraction on foot

GRIM GRINNING GHOSTS:

If you would like to join our jamboree
There's a simple rule that's compulsory
Mortals pay a token fee
Rest in peace; the haunting's free
So hurry back we would like your company

// at The Magic Kingdom you pass under a Little Leota statue while you are
// in your vehicle. at Disneyland, she is off to the left as you walk up
// the exit ramp

LITTLE LEOTA:

Hurry back, hurry back. Be sure to bring your death certificate if you decide to join us. Make final arrangements now. We've been dying to have you.


What are some of the lines cast members use?

  • "Come along, bodies..."
  • "Drag your bodies to the _dead_ center of the room..."
  • "Make room for every body..."

You will note, at least at TMK, the cast member name badges often have home towns such as "Tombstone, AZ" and sometimes even the names are more "show" than, likely, real.


WHO?

Credit where credit is due... Who is who and who did what?


Who is Master Gracey?

Cast Members will often greet you (at The Magic Kingdom) with "Master Gracey will see you now..." or similar. If anyone knows the story of Master Gracey, it would be a nice addition here. There is a tombstone at TMK before entering the Mansion about Master Gracey.


Who does the voice of the "Ghost Host"?

The narrator's name is the late (and much lamented) Paul Frees. He was not only a well know Voice Over artist in the industry, but had also done several jobs for Glenn Larson (creator of Knight Rider, Battlestar Galactica, and Buck Rogers.) His distinctive voice can also be heard in several other Disney attractions such as "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" (narrator), and the now defunct "Adventure thru Inner Space" (narrator). Frees is perhaps best known for providing the voice of Boris Badanov, the villain of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. You can actually see him in "The Thing", the original.


Who is the head in the crystal ball and the small woman at the end?

Both "Madam Leota" and "Little Leota" use the face of Disney Imagineer Leota Thomas. Leota Thomas (her maiden name was Leota Toombs) mainly worked in the model shop and could be seen in the Small World pictorial guide, now out of print, which showed several "making of" photos. Thomas is the voice of "Little Leota" at the end of the attraction. Unfortunately, she passed away two or three years ago. (1992/1993)

Eleanor Audley is the voice of Madam Leota (also Maleficent and Lady Tremain). Leota Thomas's daughter, Kim Irvine, is also an Imagineer and works in Show Quality at Disneyland.


Who are the five singing busts?

Firstly, Leslie Nelson is NOT one of the singing busts. Neither is Walt Disney. "Grim Grinning Ghosts" is sung by the Mell-O Men, a barbershop-type Quartet (Max Smith, Bill Cole Stevens, Bill Lee and Thurl Ravenscroft).

The 5 Singing Busts were rumored to be the Mell-O Men also, but at this time, we are not sure who they are... Except for the broken head is Thurl Ravenscroft, also known as the voice of Tony the Tiger. We will try to straighten it who is who in future versions.


HOW?

The secrets of the Haunted Mansion ...


How does the ceiling disappear in the stretch room?

The ceiling is actually painted on a thin cloth, called a scrim. The area above the ceiling is dark, so all light reflects back from the scrim giving the appearance of a ceiling. When the lower room lights are turned out and the scene above lights up from the lightning, the scrim isn't visible. (The same technique is used at the Disney/MGM Studios presentation of Muppet Vision 3-D to make "holes" in the walls appear near the end of the show.)


How are the images of Leota and the singing busts done?

These effects were originally done through 16mm projections onto the blank busts. A special company creates lenses which are "warped" at ertain angles to keep the image in focus around the edges of the surface, giving a three dimensional effect when viewed from the sides. During a rehab at Disneyland, all the projections were replaced with laserdisc imaging. Madam Leota (in the crystal ball) was changed from front projection to a rear projection system involving fiber optics to get the image up to the face mask. This effect isn't quite as clear as the original, but it did allow the seance table to be made to mysteriously wobble.

At The Magic Kingdom, the images were still 16mm film, but during a rehab early in 1996 the singing busts were changed to laserdisc. Unfortunately, the images don't quite line up as well as the originals do, possibly due to no longer being able to use the special custom designed projection lenses to "smooth" out the image on the non-flat surface. Also, after a few months of this rehab, the lyrics audio STILL doesn't sync with the background music. :(


How does sound get transmitted to the Doom Buggies?

The original system, which is still in use at the Magic Kingdom, involves a series of short range transmitters throughout the ride. The narration is transmitted to an even numbered buggy which is also wired into the speakers of the odd numbered buggy behind it. This system is very out of date and is potentially going to be replaced by a digital chip based system. At least one group of vehicles at Disneyland now uses this system.


How do they get the busts to follow you? (as seen at the end of the hallway after exiting the stretch room at Disneyland, and as they appear on the walls of the library at The Magic Kingdom)

The busts are actually inverted. Like they actually took a mold of a bust, made a thin material that lets light through. They sold under the name Living Image. I have only found the small one (the box being 4 x 5 inches and the bust being 1"x1 1/2". There is a small mirror in front near the bottom that you need to use to reflect as much light as you can on the face. There is a male face (Lincoln's) and a female face (??).

They sell for $7.99 and can be shipped. Their address is:

  • Dapy (A division of Spencer)
    Downtown Plaza #919
    545 Downtown Plaza Space #2089
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    (916) 441-DAPY

They sell this effect in the Toontown Gag Factory around Halloween.


How do they do the ballroom?

The ghosts in the ballroom is probably the nicest (and simplest) effect known as "Pepper's Ghost" and has been popular since the turn-of-the-century.

All you are looking at is a reflection in the clear reflective "windows" that cover the entire balcony that you are looking through. (You can see the windows if you look closely enough.) Both above and below you, there is a reproduction of the space you are looking forward into; so the actual audioanimatronics are going through their motions ABOVE, BELOW AND BESIDE you. Since the space you are in is dark, you can see both what is lit through the window (the ballroom set) and what is REFLECTED in the window (the audioanimatronics.) To give you an example: when you walk toward a sliding glass door at night, you see yourself as well as what is outside. The amount you see of either depends on how much light is falling on you or what is outside. Disney makes the ghosts appear to fade in and out by simply dimming and fading the lights on the actual audioanimatronics above and below your "doom buggy".


How do they make the graveyard look so spooky?

Throughout the graveyard are strung long thin mesh drapes from the ceiling. These give everything a more spooky appearance, and also gives the projectors something to show "flying ghosts" on.


How do they project a ghost into your doom buggy to "follow you home?"

The mirrors that you are looking into are one-way mirrors or 50% mirrors. They are the ones security use to check shop lifters or police use in interrogation rooms (I know I have been watching too much TV :-) The ghosts are in sync with the doom buggy going by and have a weak light put on them. This allows you to see both your reflection and the ghosts through the mirror.


WHY?

Things that make you go ... huh?


Why is there a spider web on the ballroom "glass" at Disneyland?

As you're going through it look and you'll notice what's supposed to look like a spider web on one of the sheets of glass. (It's on one of the last ones you see) The story I heard behind this (from a HM Cast Member and a good friend of mine) is that one night somebody actually shot through the glass, leaving a bullet hole.

This was confirmed by Mark Keiser (Retlaw 72-76 Security 77-81) Summer 1974 "The guy that shot there presumably also shot the hole in the last or second to last window of the Primeval World diorama. Later investigation determined the hole to be .22 caliber (in both places), and bullet fragments matched (courtesy of Anaheim PD) the holes in Adventures in Inner Space (he shot up the snow flakes)."

There is another bullet sized hole beneath the duelist on the right, so perhaps a deranged guest was shooting at "the man with the gun". They knew that to replace the glass they'd have to take the roof off the building first, so they decided to simply disguise it as a spider web. BTW, there is a spare pane in the back lot.


Why is there a bride in the attic?

The bride was a character from one of the earliest treatments for the mansion who "made the cut." At one point, the whole ride was going to revolve around the bride's story. This idea was revamped for EDL's Phantom Manor.

Regan B. Pederson (xzfr@xmission.com) posted about the Phantom Manor:

The Groom (I'll call them the Groom, the Bride and the Phantom because I don't know what their real names are supposed to be) owns most of Frontierland. He falls in love with the Bride, and they are engaged. Before they are married, though, she wants to return back east to visit with her family. While she is gone the Groom has a lavish, extravagant, beautiful house built on a hill at the edge of the Rivers of the Far West. The site overlooked Frontierland and could be seen from all around.

The house is no sooner built than it is haunted - by the Phantom. Unfortunately for the Groom, the Phantom has fallen in love with the Bride as well. The Groom plans a magnificent wedding party for the night the bride would return. She promised him she would arrive in her wedding gown, ready to go. The magical night arrives. The Groom dresses up, the guests arrive, the cake is made, and the Phantom was there. Just before the Bride arrived the Phantom hung the groom from the tower of the house.

The Bride arrived at the house and couldn't find her fiancee. After searching the entire place (but never looking up) she sits at the edge of the ballroom and cries as she watches what should have been her wedding party go on. Then, she looks behind her, and outside the Phantom is there laughing. She realizes what he has done but there is nothing she can do about it, and the Phantom condemns the Bride to live with him for the rest of their eternal lives in the house.

Okay, well, that's pretty much the story as I know it. One of the disadvantages of Phantom Manor is that due to budget constraints the Imagineers had to work the story into scenes that have existed at the storyless Haunted Mansion for years. Everything has been updated and improved and worked into the story as much as possible, but it's obvious that the Imagineers struggled here. Another problem is that the story had to be made visually apparent so that you could understand it no matter which language you speak. There is no narration in the "doom buggies", the Phantom only speaks to you in the foyer and stretch room. It's in French anyway, so if you don't understand it you're out of luck. Incidentally, Vincent Price did the original Phantom narration.

THe floor plan of Phantom Manor is almost identical to the Haunted Mansion. The intercoms, emergency exits, break area, etc.. The vehicles were modified so that there instead of the front of the "clamshell" lowering down, there is just a bar. There must be some minor modifications, though; because there are only 130 vehicles in Phantom Manor.

At TMK, there is a wedding ring embedded in the concrete where the exit gates are. It's worn down and barely resembles the ring it was, but it's still there. The significance of this is unclear.


Why do they ask you to step away from the walls in the stretch room?

At Disneyland, it is likely that they don't want anyone leaning against the sliding elevator doors. At The Magic Kingdom, which doesn't use an elevator, it's probably just so everyone can see things better and so that the cast member can make his way around the room. Anyone know for sure?


OTHER QUESTIONS


Is the ride contained in the "Haunted Mansion Building"?

No. The actual house is right next to the edge of the park. The loading area and subsequent ride are actually "outside" the park in a big warehouse-style building.

In CA, you go down so that they can get you under the railroad tracks that circumscribe the park's perimeter. In Florida you can see the ride building easily by taking the train. It's very large and grey. It can also be seen from the outside queue area just before entering the Mansion (by looking behind the Mansion, over the cemetery).


Do the ceilings go up or do the floors go down in the stretching room?

Okay, first of all, the stretch room was designed out of necessity. When the Disneyland's Mansion (just the building, not the ride) was built in 1963 it was still planned to be a walk-through attraction. For many years the building was just an empty skeleton while it waited for the Imagineers to finish up with their World's Fair business and start working on it again. They knew they could never fit the entire attraction inside the mansion you see, so they dug a very deep "basement" and then a tunnel from the basement under the berm and the railroad. When the attraction finally resumed construction in 1967 (I think) it had changed to become a ride-through. The stretch room takes you to the bottom of the basement, then you walk down the tunnel (as you pass the changing pictures and the "windows" with the storm outside. You don't get on the ride itself until you reach the exterior show building which is hidden behind the berm from guest view. If you really want to see the show building, try the monorail.

Anyway, the stretch rooms (there are two of them) serve very nicely the purpose of getting guests down to the tunnel. The DL Mansion opened in 1969 and was a tremendous success.

Now, Walt Disney World was opened in 1971, two years later. And they did of course want a Mansion in it. However, this time they were able to start from scratch. They did not need the stretch room and tunnel because they were able to design it so guests would never have to go underground. But the stretch room was such a popular effect at Disneyland they wanted to keep it. This was accomplished by placing the entrance door in the hill that the Mansion stands on (this doesn't make any sense, but they did it anyway) The hill, which you're not supposed to be able to see behind but can anyway, houses a jutting segment of the Mansion show building. You walk into the hill into what we have to assume they meant to be the basement of the Mansion. The Mansion does have a front door but nobody ever uses it. Instead, you walk into the basement and the foyer's right there, in the basement. Like at Disneyland the foyer leads into two stretch rooms. In these, however, you don't go down at all. The ceiling instead extends up into the Mansion, and when the exit doors open you don't have to go through the tunnel, the loading area's right there (because you're already in the show building).


Was text removed from the original script?

Yes, but at Disneyland during the last rehab it was added back in. At The Magic Kingdom, the removed text is still removed :(


Was there ever a hat box in the attic?

Yes. More specifically, there was a "Hat Box Ghost." But he didn'tlast very long. Here's how the attic scene was to work: after making the right turn in the attic, the bride would appear on the left. Then you would see the groom (the Hat Box Ghost) on the right, holding a hat box. (He was located in the exact position that the bride is now.) The groom's head would slowly disappear, then reappear inside the hat box. Then the cycle would reverse. This effect was achieved much the same way as the ballroom ghosts, using reflective glass. Apparently, the effect didn't work well in this location, so the figure was removed and the bride repositioned in its place.


As you leave the attic and enter the graveyard, are the trees supposes to move?

No. According to blueprints that are in the Haunted Mansion Office, the trees as you go down into the graveyard are listed as "Mechanical Trees", but there is nothing mechanical about them. These trees were recently gone over with a flashlight and a fine toothed comb. 8(;-) There was NO mechanisms inside, only steel framework covered with heavy foil, then painted.


Why is there a raven and why does he show up so often?

The raven was originally going to be the narrator, and a raven would have been installed in the stretch room. This idea was dropped but the raven still made his way into the actual attraction. There are five raven appearances:

1. Near the end of the coffin in the conservatory
2. On the chair in the seance room behind Madam Leota
3. Near the back wall in the ballroom
4. Over the tree in the graveyard as you exit the attic
5. On top of the arches as you exit the graveyard

There are reportedly only four appearances at TMK...?


What are some of the graveyard tombstone sayings at The Magic Kingdom?

Here is a complete list of WDW's Haunted Mansion tombstones, and in some cases, which Imagineer they reference to:

  • RIP GOOD FRIEND GORDON now you've crossed the river jordan
  • RIP in memorium uncle myall HERE YOU'LL REST FOR QUITE A WHILE
    (Chuck Myall - Art Director)
  • REST IN PEACE COUSIN HUET we all know you didn't do it
  • HERE RESTS WATHEL R. BENDER he rode to glory on a fender
    (Wathel Rodgers - illusionist, mechanical genius)
  • HERE LIES GOOD OLD FRED a great big rock fell on his head
  • AT PEACEFUL REST LIES BROTHER CLAUDE planted here beneath this sod
    (Claude Coates - Art Director, Master of Paint Effects and Lighting)
  • RIP MR. SEWELL the victim of a dirty duel
    (Ted(?) Sewell - Engineer/Draughtsman(?))
  • IN MEMORY OF OUR PATRIARCH dear departed grandpa marc
    (Marc Davis illustrator, idea man, funniest Imagineer)
  • REQUIESCAT FRANCIS XAVIER no time off for good behavior RIP
    (Xavier Atencio - scriptwriter, and lyricist, Grim Grinning Ghosts
  • DEAR DEPARTED BROTHER DAVE he chased a bear into a cave
  • MASTER GRACEY LAID TO REST no mourning please at his request
    (Yale Gracey - illusionist)
  • HERE LIES A MAN NAMED MARTIN the lights went out on this old spartan
    (Bill Martin - Art Director)

One other stone has set in the area. After John Sullivan retired as President of the Magic Kingdom, a tombstone was erected for approximately two weeks.


What are the sayings on the Pet Cemetery gravestones at Disneyland?

<bat>
FREDDIE
the Bat 1847
<upside down>
We'll Miss You

<frog>
OLD
FLYBAIT
He Croaked
August 9
1869

<pig>
ROSIE
She was a poor little
Pig but she bought
the Farm
1849

<dog>
BUDDY
OUR
FRIEND
UNTIL
THE END

<skunk>
Beloved Lilac
Long on Curiosity...
Short on
Common Scents
1847

There is a cat surrounded by little mouse grave markers.
One that says "Fi Fi"
Those below are found on the red brick wall.

<rat>
In Memory My Rat
Whom I Loved
Now He Resides
in the Realms Up Above

<spider>
Here
lies
Long Legged
Jeb
Got tangled
up in his
very own web

<fish>
October 10
1867

<snake>
(long snakey grave marker)
Here lies my snake who's fatal mistake was frightening the gardener who carried a rake

<eagle?>
July 11
1864

Over on the wall near the railroad:

Theo Later
U.R. Gone
Ray N. Carnation
Dustin T. Dust
Lev Itation
G.I. Miss You
I Trudy Departed
Rust in Peece
I.L. Beback
M.T. Tomb


Was the Disneyland pet graveyard moved?

No, copied!

Actually the old graveyard was not moved or changed, you can still see it if you take the wheelchair entrance into the Foyer, see for yourself!. They did pull molds off some of the animals to create a new graveyard out front. This is just one of many "Show Enhancements" that Show Quality Imagineers (like Kim Irvine) are continually doing. Like the Little Mermaid and Aladdin scenes in Storybook, the Apple and Book in front of Snow White, Music in New Orleans Square, penny pressing elephant and Shrunken Ned in Adventureland Bazaar.


Did the Haunted Mansion recently celebrates its 25th Anniversary?

(robertab@deltanet.com)

On a hot Tuesday, August 9, Disneyland celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Haunted Mansion opening. The day started with Veteran Imagineers "X" Atencio, John Hench, Sam McKim, Bill Justice, as well as current Imagineers Dave Mumford, Russell Brower, and Archivist Dave Smith being escorted to chairs set up in front of the Mansion gates.

The gates were closed and shrouded in spider webs and drapery. Deadleaves were scattered in front and several big oval signs declared the event. The Make-Believe-Brass was costumed in Mansion Host green butler garb and began to play some dirgefull tunes. An "Undertaker"-looking M.C. took the podium and proceeded thru some ghoulish pater with 2 cutsie Mansion Maids. The Undertaker introduced "X" Atencio, who talked briefly about designing and building the Mansion. The Undertaker then brought out Mickey in a snappy tux. Mickey and the Undertaker opened the locked gates and invited all to join them in a ride thru the Mansion.

I sat with "X", Sam and John as they reminisced about the early days, the changes, the old stories. Moments of pure gold for me!

Roberta Brubaker
Disneyland Facilities Maintenance


Was there a CM in a suit of armor that walked around the HM?

Yes.

In 1986, a live person walked around the HM. He was in the area between the coffin and Madam Leota's room. It was a great effect but one, it was not cost effective and two, people were hitting and doing other things to the CM and three, guest complaints. The CM had a remote to stop the ride when this happened and it became such a problem it was discontinued.


Can I get a copy of the music from the Haunted Mansion and where was it recorded?

There are a few Haunted Mansion records out there. The best by far, is ST3947, an LP w/ 12 page book. It features Thurl Ravenscroft as the narrator Pete Rendouet as the Ghost Host, and Ron Howard as a teenager who (along with his girlfriend) are forced to spend a night in the Haunted Mansion. This does not have an orange cover though, it is bluish, with lots of ghosts and the mansion on it. One big plus about this album is you get to hear Madame Leota's complete poem.

The only thing you will find on CD is the Haunted Mansion song "Grim Grinning Ghosts". It's on various Disney CDs.

  • DQ1257 Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of a Haunted House
    1964 Disneyland Records Format: LP
  • ST3947 The Haunted Mansion
    1969 Disneyland Records Format: LP, gatefold cover, 12 page book
    (featuring Thurl Ravenscroft and Ron Howard)
  • LLP339 Walt Disney presents The Haunted Mansion
    19?? Disneyland Records Format: 45 and book

Also, a couple of possibly interesting bits of info:

According to Russell Brower, Buddy Baker told him that the actual pipe organ used for the recording of the HM music was located at MCA Whitney studios in Glendale, CA (right around the corner from WED) but the building is now gone. (Russell remembers seeing it once, but did not know at the time it was THE organ :( ....) It was a huge theater organ with lots of stops and effects. Buddy Baker went on to say that the Grand Hall organ solo (ballroom) was an improvisation, and he told the organist to get wilder and wilder with it each time he played it.


What did the sign say that was at the Mansion before it opened?

From riffraff@fornext.com
Fri Oct 21 07:57:45 PDT 1994

"Notice! All ghosts and Restless Spirits...post lifetime leases are now available in the Haunted Mansion! Don't be left out in the sunshine. Enjoy active retirement in this country club atmosphere -- the fashionable address for famous ghosts, ghosts trying to make a name for themselves...and ghosts afraid to live by themselves! Leases include licenses to scare the daylights out of guests visiting these happy haunting grounds."

For reservations, send resume of past experience to:

Ghost Relations Dept., Disneyland. Please! Do not apply in person!


REHABS


What was upgraded at Disneyland during the Sept 1995 rehab?

Loren Wilton (lwilton@BIX.com) wrote:

  • The seance table was changed to float about 2 (or maybe more) years ago when the head was changed from a front film projection to an internal video projector. That was the same time Little Leota turned very green, when they replaced her film projector with a video projector too. However, I think the table has been broken for at least a year now.
  • Thankfully they have redone the LL video to change her face back to more natural colors, which really does play better in that scene. As others have mentioned, they also added long while hair, that practically forms a bridal veil for her.
  • A non-inclusive list of the things I noticed being changed (and NOT changed) when I went thru once a few days ago:
  • The new old hearse on the walkway outside. (Which according to the CM newsletter, carried Brigham Young)
  • The bunny graveyard is the same from the previous refurb.
  • A missing light fixture by the East door of the house.
  • Possibly new (and more appropriate!) wallpaper in the foyer. (Much better than the last wallpaper, but still not as good as the original custom flocked wallpaper.)
  • The scrim at the top of the elevator has been repainted. Not as good as the original scrim; VASTLY better done than the previous attempt.
  • Newly done stretching paintings on the walls.
  • The obvious sound system improvements.
  • Possibly a new wig on the corpse?
  • I did not see any sign that the corpse *physically* starts to fall just before the lights cut, but since I was right under it I could have missed this.
  • The screens for the paintings in the hall have been redone. I wish though they would go back to the original effect where the paintings *flashed* from new to old each time the lightning struck outside the windows!
  • The path right at the entrance to the loading belt has been redone slightly to make it wider and possibly easier for people to get on. The collector rails and brushes for the doombuggy audio have been refurbished, and the tracks have probably been moved to digital repeaters from the old carts. I couldn't tell if the amps had been replaced or not.
  • Not all of the cars have been sufficiently refurbished; of the three speakers in the car I had, the right one was dead.
  • The audio tracks for the first segments up to the ballroom have been remastered and probably moved to digital repeaters. I suspect that the speakers in the doors have also been replaced.
  • There are no substantive changes up to the start of the ballroom. Everything you see in those sequences was there before from the last refurb; it has just been made to work again.
  • The audio in the seance room has been rebalanced slightly in favor of some of the instruments. Probably new speakers and remastered tracks.
  • The first major change is the audio in the ballroom. I don't know if the low voices at the start of the scene were there before, and have now been turned up to the place where thay can be heard; or if they have been added. Certainly I never remember hearing them before, and many of the tracks have been rebalanced.
  • I don't recall any changed animation in the ballroom other than the outfit on the organist.
  • Most of the attic animation is the same as it was. Added is the piano (or is it a harpsichord? I forget) with the phantom player, and the bride is finally an impressive and appropriate character. (I had always before felt that she was totally inappropriate and out of place, ever since they added her in 15 years back or so).
  • The popups have been redressed slightly, as has much of the attic itself.
  • The attic audio has been completely redone. *Very* *well*.
  • Nothing changed on the exit to the graveyard.
  • The dog still doesn't shiver like it used to, nor did I hear it whining.
  • The gravedigger's knees are knocking again. I don't recall if he was following the cars with a startled expression as he originally did.
  • Only one owl on the branch over the jazz group.
  • More wigs; more veils.
  • Rebalanced (possibly *un*balanced) audio on the quartet.
  • Many audio levels changed and the sound cleaned up. I couldn't recall if there were any added or changed tracks.
  • Nothing different on the playoff.
  • Little Leota now has long white hair and isn't green anymore!

From: stevez@rhythm.com (Steve Ziolkowski)

Just returned from a routine trip to Disneyland and I was amazed by what I saw. It's only been two weeks since the last time I was there, and the folks at Disney have truly outdone themselves. There is an old hearse out front which has a harness that appears to be on a horse, but you can't see the horse. Neat. In the gallery, (the stretching room) they have put up a new ceiling that looks really great. It doesn't sag, or bunch like it used to, and the paint job on it is really convincing. (A tad light in value, compared to the rest of the ceiling, but hey. it's ok!) They also replaced the sound system, and used the descent dialog from the Mansion in Florida. When the lightning and thunder go off, you can feel it in your guts, and the falling body screams so she gets louder as she falls. WOW! The queue has been expanded where you walk on to the moving platform to board your vehicles, there is now enough space for two to walk abreast, instead of one, like it was before. This is great as well.

They now use the *entire* recorded dialogue, instead of the abridged version, including the quip about Madame Leota having a remarkable head for materializing the disembodied... COOL! But the best thing, better than anything else, is the attic scene. They got rid of all those annoying and cheesy heads and bodies popping out of various bric-a-brac in there (don't worry, there are some left) and replaced it with an amazing scene of a shadow playing a depressing wedding march on an old, semi-destroyed piano. Unlike the shadows in Phantom Manor and Florida, however, which uses a silly looking cardboard cutout placed directly over the piano, they used what appears to be a video projector that shows a live action person dressed up who actually hits the notes correctly! It's a three quarter view which adds to the realism! UNBELIEVABLE! AND that's not all! The bride now looks really scary. Her hair is white and she looks really unhappy and dead, and there is wind blowing and every now and then this voice intones... "I DO".


What was upgraded at The Magic Kingdom during the March 1996 rehab?

Officially down for new "carpet and wallpaper", a few items did make it in to this minor rehab. Yellow "bats" were painted on the moving floor (as you step into the Doom Buggy), and a portrait was added in the attic next to the Bride. It's dark and difficult to make out, but supposedly it's of the Bride and her father (when she was young). It is suspected that this is the same portrait used at Phantom Manor. The singing busts were also turned into laserdisc projections. Unfortunately, the rest of the audio is still analog and often the vocals get out of sync with the rest of the music :(

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