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November 23, 2013

Magic Kingdom - Haunted Mansion


The Haunted Mansion was an opening day attraction at Magic Kingdom in 1971. Since then, it's basically taken on a life of its own, with a cult following of devotees, a movie, an earworm of a soundtrack and an endless array of myths and legendary tales behind its background and secrets. It's just a bustling, fun little spot that seems to have more and more to take notice of each time you ride it! Contrary to the implication of its name, it really isn't necessary to be overly concerned with frightening younger guests with this experience. It is a dark ride, and obviously there's a ghostly theme at root here, but it's more Casper or Stay Puft Marshmallow Man than Poltergeist. This was my daughter's favorite WDW attraction from a very young age. 






Not long ago, the Haunted Mansion queue got an overhaul. It was one of the first WDW attractions to incorporate numerous interactive aspects throughout the bulk of the line area. Since the unveiling of this ghostly playplace, I've heard numerous guests actually whining that the line moved too quickly past it all... go figure! I don't want to blow every little surprising detail of the interactive features, so let me just say this... touch things!!! You never know what may happen and where, so play with everything as you pass it. Yeah, you may feel a bit silly randomly groping everything, but you won't be the only one, and the results are worth it. You'll especially feel superior when everyone in line around you is impressed with your finds! Teach 'em a thing or two! ;)  Of course, you have to pause to read over the various headstones that are sprinkled around. I bet you never though you could chuckle at a headstone! Here, it's okay to... that's the idea. The memorials are punny tributes, after all. 



Upon entry into the Mansion's foyer, your "Ghost Host" greets you before you pass into a creepy room that is suddenly void of doors and windows. The room begins to stretch, and the paintings above you reveal extensions that will tickle your funny bone. From here, you're ushered through a darkened hallway to the OmniMover moving walkway system that loads you into your "Doom Buggy" vehicle. Each ride car seats two comfortably (three is rather pushing it). In-vehicle speaker system provide clever narration from your host as your Doom Buggy is guided scene-by-scene through the mansion's ballroom, library, attic, hallways and graveyard. The vehicle movement itself is amusing, and it will turn you into every direction along your path, to insure you don't miss any important show elements. At one point, your Doom Buggy even rotates backward before tilting slightly to a comfy, reclining angle as you travel back downward from the attic. 

Tantalizing ghostly elements spring up everywhere. The graveyard scene is just chock full of various different amusements to soak up... literally popping out of the ground even! The seance room is captivating and spine-tingling... even the hallways are quite simply, chilling! I think the spectacularly convincing holographic ghosts that cover the ballroom (even the paintings are haunted!) are the most incredible of all, though. You actually find yourself hoping the ride stalls out for a moment or two to lengthen your time overlooking this scene... and yes, it does happen a bit more often than you'd think here at the Haunted Mansion. Hmmmm!!! 

At the end of your seven and a half minute tour, you'll be treated to the quirkiest little detail of your haunted experience. Again, I'll avoid giving it all away, but beware of hitchhiking ghosts looking to take a ride in your Doom Buggy.


Can you find these hidden Mickeys in the Haunted Mansion? One is in the ballroom - look at the plates on the dining table. The other is quite a challenge! Near the end of the graveyard scene, you'll have to almost turn slightly around to see inside of a tomb. A ghostly grim reaper holds a Mickey head outline in his extended hand. 


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