Monday, October 31, 2011

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion has been a ride I've loved to hate. I love the quality and number of visual tricks and treats this attraction has. The attention to detail is amazing and adds so much to the telling of the story. For personal reasons I don't like the end of the stretching room. Other than that one little spot I love the entire attraction. I remember with I was a teenager and the park stayed open after midnight I would plan to be on the Haunted Mansion at the witching hour. I would stand in line and let people pass if needed so I did not enter one minute early.

From the end of September to the first weekend of January Jack Skellington takes over the Haunted Mansion. The overlay is called Haunted Mansion Holiday. I actually find this even more enjoyable than the standard Haunted Mansion. From the cue to the end of the ride Jack, Sally Oogie Boogie and the rest of the citizens of Halloween town take over the place.
So for the next few pages sit back in your Doom Buggy and relax and let your Ghost Host show you around the Haunted Mansion.

There is a little known special bit of fun for people who use wheelchairs or ECV. They can ride their wheels to the Doom Buggy and the ride is slowed or stopped for them to board. They ride the complete ride but do not get off at the exit instead they ride all the way around back to the boarding platform where the ride slows or stops again for them to get off. Now for the real fun! They get to ride in the "shrinking room"! You get a special ride back up the Stretching Room. As you ride up the ride attendant may tell you the story of one of the pictures.

Description of the Haunted Mansion:

Entering the queuing area through a pair of ornate gates, guests find themselves in the mansion's well-tended gardens and courtyards. The queuing path leads guests past a mausoleum featuring humorous epitaphs, and a white carriage hearse, led by an invisible horse, out of which sounds can be heard. The path leads guests onto the porch, where they are led into the mansion's foyer by somber maids and butlers.

The guests are ushered into an octagonal portrait gallery and encouraged by the staff to move into the "dead center" of the room. As the wall behind them slides closed, the Ghost Hoast (voiced by Paul Frees) introduces himself with an eerie voice:

“Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Mansion. I am your host – your ‘ghost host.’

…and taunts them:

“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, hmm…?”

As the voice speaks, the guest's eye is drawn up to four portraits on every other wall of the octagonal room. The floor quietly sinks downwards, elongating the paintings and revealing the morbidly comedic fates of previous guests:

·A bearded man is seen in the dress of minor nobility and red and white striped boxer shorts while standing on a keg of dynamite with a lit fuse.

·A demure young woman holding a parasol and calmly balancing on an unraveling tightrope above the hungry jaws of a waiting crocodile.

·An old lady sits atop a tall gravestone which features the bust of a man with a hatchet in his head. This is a portrait of the late Constance Hatchaway.

·A man with sideburns sitting on a fat, mustached man who is sitting atop a lean, pale-looking gentleman who is chest-deep in quicksand.

“...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...”

The lights go out, lightning and thunder effects fill the gallery and, in a rare instance of Disney dark humor, a glimpse of the earthly remains of the Ghost Host is shown hanging from a noose high above in the cupola. A dreadful scream is followed by the sound of bones shattering. The ghost host apologizes for the pre-mature haunt, then a wall mysteriously opens, leading the guests further into the mansion.

Guests are then led down the hall of portraits with thunder crashing from outside the windows to the left while the portraits of several people on the right wall mysteriously transform from the image of them in their original states into corpses and monsters. At the far end of the hall, two statuary busts depicting a man and a woman are stationed. As the guests move past, these two statues appear to turn and follow them with their gaze.

Next, guests step into a dark and misty loading area, where they are guided to their carriages, or "Doom Buggies". The ghost host lowers the safety bars, provides the safety spiel, and the journey begins. The Doom Buggies glide upstairs to the second floor and point guests toward an endless hallway. A lone candelabrum floats down the hallway, while a nearby suit of armor comes to life.

Turning away from the endless hall, guests travel past a deserted funeral in the conservatory. A large raven perches next to a coffin adorned with dead plants, with the corpse inside trying to break free.

The ghosts become more restless and try to escape from their hiding places, which results in a corridor full of shaking, knocking, moving, and breathing doors. Demon-faced wallpaper adorns the walls as well as black-and-white photos of goblins and ghouls. A demonic grandfather clock chimes 13 as the hands spin wildly backwards, the shadow of a claw passing over it.

Guests enter a dark séance room full of floating musical instruments. Madame Leota, a medium whose disembodied head appears within a crystal ball, summons the mansion's spirits while levitating above her table. Madame Leota says the following:

"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./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."

Next, guests pass onto the balcony of a magnificent ballroom where the happy haunts begin to materialize. A ghostly birthday party appears to be taking place at the dining table (a dinner plate and two saucers on the left side of the table combine to make a "Hidden Mickey"). Some spirits sit on the chandeliers, gorging themselves on wine, while other ghosts enter the hall from an open coffin in a hearse. A ghost wraps his arm around a woman bust, and two portraits of men with guns come to life, dueling with their pistols. A ghost plays an organ (Captain Nemo's original organ from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), while spirits float up out of the pipes and transparent couples waltz nearby.

The attic is an irregularly shaped room that the Doom Buggies enter immediately after the ballroom scene. It features a collection of gifts, personal items, mementos, and wedding portraits. In each portrait, a common bride is featured with a different groom, whose heads disappear to the accompaniment of a hatchet sound. Just before the Doom Buggies leave the attic, the same ghostly bride from the pictures is seen floating in the air, intoning twisted wedding vows. As she raises her arms, a hatchet appears in her hands.

The Doom Buggies drift out a window, turn around, and tip backwards down a fifteen percent grade surrounded by dark, ghoulish trees with knotted expressions. On a branch overhead, a raven caws at the guests.

The Doom Buggies reach the ground, and turn towards the gate of the graveyard. There stands a caretaker, one of the few living characters in the entire attraction, his knees shaking in fright and an expression of terror on his face. Beside him is his emaciated dog, whining and whimpering. Around the corner, a ghostly band of minstrels plays a jazzy rendition of "Grim Grinning Ghosts".

Ghouls pop up from behind tombstones, a king and queen balance on a teeter-totter, a young princess swings back and forth from a tree branch, and a hellhound howls from behind them. The Doom Buggies travel down a hill and turn to see five singing busts continuing the song of "Grim Grinning Ghosts".

Next, guests encounter a tea party of ghosts surrounding a hearse stuck in the mud. An arm protrudes out of a crypt with a wine glass in its bony hand, while banshees ride bikes in the distance. Nearby, the ghost of an old bearded man struggles to understand the words of an awakened mummy via hearing horn.

The Doom Buggies turn to face two phantoms of the opera, blasting their voices up into the night. Beside them are three other ghosts — a decapitated knight, his executioner, and a prisoner — who also join in the song.

Guests pass a spook bricking himself into his own tomb and enter a crypt where they encounter the attraction's unofficial mascots, the three hitchhiking ghosts. Passing by three large mirrors, guests discover that one of the trio has hitched a ride in their Doom Buggy.

The last apparition guests see as they exit the mansion is a tiny spectral figure—the Ghost Hostess—who encourages them to:

“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…”


Original concept

The attraction's roots date back to even before Disneyland was built, when Walt Disney had just hired the first of his Imagineers. The first known illustration of the park showed a main street setting, green fields, western village, and a carnival. Disney Legend Harper Goff developed a black-and-white sketch of a crooked street leading away from main street by a peaceful church and graveyard, with a run-down manor perched high on a hill that towered over main street.

While not part of the original attractions when Disneyland opened in 1955, Disney assigned Imagineer Ken Anderson to make a story around the Harper Goff idea and the design of his new 'grim grinning' adventure. Plans were made to build a New Orleans-themed land in the small transition area between Frontierland and Adventureland. Weeks later, New Orleans Square appeared on the souvenir map and promised a thieves' market, a pirate wax museum, and a haunted house walk-through. After being assigned his project, Anderson studied New Orleans and old plantations to come up with a drawing of an antebellum manor overgrown with weeds, dead trees, swarms of bats, and boarded doors and windows topped by a screeching cat as a weathervane.

Despite praise from other Imagineers, Disney did not like the idea of a run-down building in his pristine park, hence his well-known saying, "We'll take care of the outside and let the ghosts take care of the inside." Despite this, Disney journeyed out to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California and became deeply captivated with the massive mansion with its stairs to nowhere, doors that open to walls and holes, and elevators. Anderson came up with stories for the mansion, including tales of a ghostly sea captain who killed his nosy bride and then hanged himself, a mansion home to an unfortunate family, and a ghostly wedding party with previous Disney villains and spooks like Captain Hook, Lonesome Ghosts, and the headless horseman. Some of the Universal Monsters were even planned to appear.

Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey, two Imagineers put in charge of the spectral effects, recreated many of Ken Anderson's stories. Disney gave them a large studio at WED enterprises; they studied reports of hauntings and Greek myths and monster movies, eventually making quite a show in their private studio. Some of these effects frightened the cleaning crews that came in at night to such an extent that the management eventually asked the crew to leave on the lights and to turn off the effects after hours. Defying this, Crump and Gracey connected all the effects to a motion-sensitive switch that, when passed, would turn everything on. The next day when the two returned to work, all the effects were running with a broom in the middle of the floor. Management told them that they would have to clean the studio themselves, because the cleaning crew was never coming back.

The duo made a scene where a ghostly sea captain appeared from nowhere. Suddenly a wretched bride emerged from a brick wall and chased the ghost around in circles. The frightened pirate melted into a puddle and flooded the entire scene only for the water to mysteriously vanish with the bride. "A ghost haunted by a ghost!" Rolly told Walt between chuckles. Walt and the Imagineers were amazed, but Walt still didn't like how the project was coming out. That put the mansion on hold for quite some time.

The decision was made to place the attraction in the New Orleans Square section of the park, and thus the building was themed as a haunted antebellum mansion. In 1961, handbills announcing a 1963 opening of the Haunted Mansion were given out at Disneyland's main entrance. Construction began a year later, and the exterior was completed in 1963. The attraction was previewed in a 1965 episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, but the attraction itself would not open until 1969. The six-year delay owed heavily to Disney's involvement in the New York World's Fair in 1964–1965 and to an attraction redesign after Walt's death in 1966.

Many Imagineers such as Marc Davis, X Atencio, and Claude Coats contributed ideas after the fair and after Ken Anderson left the project. Rolly Crump showed Walt some designs for his version showing bizarre things like coffin clocks, candle men, talking chairs, man-eating plants, tiki-like busts, living gypsy wagons, and a faced mirror. Walt liked this and wanted to make the proclaimed "Museum of the Weird" a restaurant side to the now named Haunted Mansion, similar to the Blue Bayou at Pirates of the Caribbean. Although the idea was never realized, some aspects of it lived on in the final attraction.

Marc Davis and Claude Coats, two of the mansion's main designers, were in a constant argument over whether the ride should be scary or funny. Claude, who had a life of a background artist, made moody surroundings like endless hallways, corridors of doors, and characterless environments, and wanted to make a scary adventure. Marc, who designed most of the characters and zany spooks, thought that the ride should be silly and full of gags. In the end both got their way when X Atencio put all the scenes together.

After Disney's death in December 1966, the project evolved significantly. The Museum of the Weird restaurant idea was abandoned, and the walkthrough idea was replaced by the Omnimover system used in Adventure Thru Inner Space, renamed the Doom Buggy, a promising solution to the problem of capacity. Imagineers had been fighting the low-capacity nature of a walkthrough attraction for years, even going so far as suggesting building two identical attractions to get double the number of guests through.

On August 12, 1969, the Disneyland version of the attraction was officially opened to guests, though there were employee previews on August 7 and 8, 1969, and then some "soft" openings when park guests were allowed to ride on August 9, 10, and possibly the 11th. The early opening to the public was advertised in full-page newspaper ads, creating the anomaly of either two official openings or an advertised "soft" opening. A special "Midnight" Press Event was held on the evening of August 11, and the ride opened to the public on Tuesday, August 12, 1969. The opening brought in record crowds and helped Disney recover from Walt's untimely death. In the early 1970s, the Imagineers gave some semi-serious thought to resurrecting many of the creatures and effects that Rolly Crump had originally created for the Haunted Mansion's pre-show as part of Professor Marvel's Gallery, which was "... a tent show of mysteries and delights, a carousel of magic and wonder". This was to be built as part of Disneyland's Discovery Bay expansion area.

At the time of its release, the original Haunted Mansion was considered somewhat of a disappointment. Many of the Imagineers were upset with how the attraction turned out, one being Ken Andersen who was responsible for many of the mansion's early concepts and storylines. Another was Marc Davis who claimed that "too many cooks" were making the soup. Park guests were a bit disappointed as well after going through years of anticipation and hype. Pirates of the Caribbean had set a new level for following attractions and the Haunted Mansion met that level. Many wondered why the attraction wasn't scarier. Today the attraction is one of the most popular in the park, continuing to reel in thousands of guests every day. A humongous fan base has evolved. Die-hard mansion fans continue to support and research the attraction to this day.

In 1999, a retrospective of the art of the Haunted Mansion was featured at The Disney Gallery above the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean. When the 2003 film The Haunted Mansion was released, a retrospective of its art was featured in the gallery as well.

In October of 2001, Haunted Mansion Holiday premiered, a seasonal overlay featuring characters from the 1993 film Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. The seasonal overlay was inspired by the question of what would happen to the Haunted Mansion if Santa Claus landed there.

In October 2005, Slave Labor Graphics began publishing a bimonthly Haunted Mansion comic book anthology, with the main recurring story (Mystery of the Manse) centered around "Master Gracey" and inspired by the sea captain concepts proposed for the attraction by Ken Anderson in the 1950s. The comics are non-canon.

In July 2010, Guillermo del Toro announced that he is set to write and produce a new movie based on the attraction, promising that it will be both scary and fun.

Haunted Mansion Holiday Overlay:
Haunted Mansion Holiday is a seasonal overlay of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion attraction. (A similar overlay called Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmarecan be found at Tokyo Disneyland.) It blends the settings and characters of the original Haunted Mansion with those of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. The Haunted Mansion typically closes for two and half weeks in September so it can be converted into the Haunted Mansion Holiday. The overlaid attraction is then open to guests from late-September through early-January, before being closed again during January so the overlay can be removed.


Two similar overlays – Country Bear Christmas Special and It's a Small World Holiday - had already been successful for some time when Haunted Mansion Holiday was developed. Initially, Disney considered doing a retelling of A Christmas Carol, but decided against it due to the attraction's setting in New Orleans Square and the incongruity of bringing Santa Clause into the eerie environment of the Haunted Mansion. Instead, they decided to base it on The Nightmare Before Christmas after considering which Disney character would celebrate Christmas in the Haunted Mansion, should Santa Claus ever land there on his journey. Steve Davison took the idea and worked with Walt Disney Creative Entertainment to develop the overlay.

One issue Disney had to deal with was the fact that three key performers in the original attraction – Paul Frees, Leota Toombs, and Eleanor Audley - had all died years earlier. Paul Frees was replaced in his role as the Ghost Host by Corey burton, who had done voiceover work with Disney before. Leota Toombs' daughter, Kim Irvine, resembled her mother and was thus chosen to perform in her place as Madame Leota. Susan Blakeslee (whose voice resembles Eleanor Audley) provides the voice of Madame Leota.
Haunted Mansion Holiday opened October 3 2001 and quickly became popular with guests, leading to the attraction's FastPass machines being activated during the overlay (They are normally inactive). The Tokyo version props were intended for Walt Disney World, but when the park abandoned plans to install the attraction, Tokyo (which features a carbon copy of their Haunted Mansion) received all the props.


Jack Skellington, usually in charge of the spectacular Halloween celebrations in Halloween Town, grows tired of these annual routines. One day, he accidentally discovers Christmas Town and is inspired by the new ideas and sensations. He then sets out to take over for "Sandy Claws" and run the mansion's Christmas celebrations in his own twisted style, with the help of the citizens of Halloween Town.

The Attraction:

The outside of the Mansion has been covered in both jack-o-lanterns and Christmas decorations. On the roof is Jack Skellington's coffin sleigh and stretched from the roof to the floor is his comical "Christmas Equation". There is also the countdown clock from Nightmare that tells how many days are left until Christmas. A music box track from Disneyland Paris' Phantom Manor plays in the outdoor areas. (At Tokyo Disneyland, the Mansion does not have a countdown clock or a Christmas Equation hanging from the roof, because of the design differences between the Mansions. Pumpkin-snowmen can be seen and orchestrations from the movie and ride play in the queue area.)

Guests are then ushered into the foyer, which has been decorated with skull wreaths and such. The Ghost Host begins to tell the story of the attraction in rhyme, and guests proceed into one of the two portrait chambers. At Tokyo, a painting of Jack transforming from the Pumpkin King to his Sandy Claws guise replaces the Aging Man changing portrait.

The stretching portraits have been replaced with stained-glass pictures depicting innocent Christmas scenes, with wreaths as their frames. When the doors close, the chamber goes dark and begins to stretch. The pictures make sounds, as if bursting into shards, and luminescent portraits of Halloween's Christmas vision emerge, depicting Sandy Claws riding his coffin sleigh, a man-eating wreath, scary toys, Sandy Claws opening a giant sack as ghosts rise up and a giant carnivorous snake. The Ghost Host begins reciting a dark variation of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" as eerie music plays, extensively featuring a choir. The suspense builds until lightning crashes and Jack's face appears above, cackling, "Happy Holidays, everyone!", to replace the hanging body of the ghost host. His laughter fills the room, a woman screams and everything goes pitch black.

The doors open, leading into the portrait hall. The changing portraits here have also been replaced with ones depicting Jack Skellington, Sally, the Haunted Mansion, a snowman, and Santa Claus in his sleigh. The choir returns as the song "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" begins to play. A snowstorm appears to be taking place outside the windows and the three musicians from the movie are also outside. The staring busts have spider-webs in front of them that glisten with the words "NOEL" and "HO-HO-HO." The loading area is decorated with even more Halloween and Christmas decor, and there is a huge animated Christmas card, with many of the characters from Nightmarecelebrating the season. The card is much of a treat to the eyes itself, featuring the words "MERRY CHRISTMAS" at the bottom of the card, whereas the message changes to "SCARY CHRISTMAS" occasionally. At Tokyo, there is no portrait hall like Disneyland's. Instead, immediately after the portrait chamber, the guests enter the loading area, which is decorated with orange Christmas lights and Halloween pumpkins. After boarding, the guests glide underneath a landing from where Jack, Sally and the Vampire Teddy Bear, greet guests. The ride through Portrait Corridor features portraits of the film's characters performing various activities, and watching as the guests go by. Orange Christmas lights wrap around the staring busts in the library as Zero wraps a floating tree made out of books with tinsel garland. In the music room, guests see a life-size audio-animatronic Sally, seeming depressed and sitting in the chair next to the ghostly piano that the Vampire Teddy plays. The doom buggies then move up the stairs, passing terrified green cockroaches in cages, with gift tags that read: "For Oogie." At the top of the stairs, Oogie Boogie's shadow appears and turns into a Christmas tree shape in the full moon above. The original, black-lighted rubber spiders remain.
At Disneyland, upon boarding the doom buggies, guests ascend the staircase. At the top, there are piles of presents with the Vampire Teddy sitting on them, fishing for humans. As the Ghost Host continues explaining the story, Zero is now seen floating in the endless hallway. The moving suit of armor wears a pumpkin mask and has garland wrapped around it. A pile of dog bones are in front of the hallway and a wreath made of dog bones adorns the top of the hall. On one floating bone, a tag reads "To Zero". Presents sit in the chair and poinsettias reside next to the chair. The corpse trapped in the coffin is unchanged, but the Vampire Teddy now sits on it, hammering nails back in. A tag reading "Do Not Open Till X-Mas" hangs from the lid. The dead funeral flowers have sprung to life and now choir the song "Kidnap the Sandy Claus". The corridor of doors is now filled with the same comically vicious flowers, all singing loudly. Guests then pass underneath a large, yellow-eyed wreath with teeth, which all the flowers seem to be connected to. The demonic grandfather clock remains.

Madame Leota floats along with several glowing bottles surrounding her and now chants The 13 Days of Christmas with Vampire Teddy sits on the top of the chair behind Leota's table, ringing two tiny bells with the seance. A bewitched nutcracker with eyes glowing green moves its mouth in unison with Leota. The floating instruments have been replaced with huge tarot cards, depicting Leota's 13 Christmas gifts, of which she is chanting. In Tokyo, the raven remains in this scene and Leota is covered in candles, with Lock, Shock, and Barrel appearing in the back of the room.

The doom buggies then move into the ballroom. The ghosts here are the same, but the decorations have changed. The table is set for a Christmas party and a huge gingerbread house sits in the center. An immense dead Christmas tree (with one live branch at the top) covered in candles and spiders with lights now sits in the middle of the dance floor, but the ghosts waltz right through it. Zero floats above the scene near the tree at both parks. At Disneyland, the curtains at the top of the staircase in the back of the hall have opened, revealing the mansion's library, complete with a floating tree made of books. In Tokyo, Jack and Sally's shadows are seen exchanging presents behind that curtain instead.
Guests are then taken to the attic, where most of the usual props and characters have been replaced with a clutter of all sorts of creepy toys and presents. A huge snake coils around the room with a "naughty and nice" list in its mouth. Throughout the room, some of the evil toys come to life as the guests pass by, including three jack-in-the-boxes (one featuring a stylized skull, another a black cat's head and another a jack-o-lantern), a bullet hole-ridden duck, a cymbal-crashing Oogie Boogie doll and a monstrous train on tentacle-like tracks.

As you leave the attic and head out onto the balcony, snowflakes are seen falling instead of ghosts rising. Going down the stairs next to the balcony, the guests witness the Vampire Teddy chewing on Christmas lights, threatening to blow a fuse. As the doom buggies reach the bottom, they pass by an audio-animatronic figure of Jack in his Sandy Claws outfit, wishing the guests a merry Christmas as a replacement to the wide-eyed caregiver that usually stands in his place. The graveyard is now covered in snow, and the spiral hill from the movie is featured as a centerpiece, covered in glowing pumpkins. The music combines "Grim Grinning Ghosts", "Jingle Bells", "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Jolly Old St. Nicholas". The vehicles pass under huge snow angels with pumpkin heads. The singing busts have been replaced with singing jack-o-lanterns at the base of the spiral hill. Before entering the crypt, guests see the Vampire Teddy one last time, playing a trumpet with another pumpkin-headed snow angel above.

The doom buggies then enter the crypt, where now, an audio-animatronic Oogie Boogie stands next to a roulette machine under black light, offering the guests a game. The guests see bizarre presents instead of hitchhiking ghosts when they go by the mirrors and if the present is a coffin imprinted with a question mark, Lock, Shock, and Barrel will pop out from behind each of the three mirrors. Lastly, a tiny version of Sally, who thanks Jack and tells guests to hurry back.

In Tokyo's version of the scene and for the first two years in Anaheim, the crypt features Lock, Shock, and Barrel inside some presents, hitching a ride with the guests. Sally bids goodbye, and then the guests disembark in a wreath-adorned mausoleum.


The attraction's musical score was originally composed by Gordon Goodwin. It was replaced in 2002 with an adapted score by John Debney, based on themes from the film's soundtrack composed by Danny Elfman. Since 2003, Goodwin's original music has been used in the stretching rooms and the exit crypt (where Goodwin's attic music is used), while the rest of Debney's score remains. Several characters in the ride are voiced by the original actors from the film, and the various sound effects are an admixture of tracks from the original attraction and new ones.

Track Listing
1. Up on the Housetop (2:07)
2. Scary Bells (1:52)
3. Over the Graveyards (1:40)
4. Old Mansion Tree (2:01)
5. Wreck the Halls (2:10)
6. We Wish You a Scary Christmas (1:45)
7. The 13 Days of Christmas (2:17)
8. God Rest You Merry Grinning Ghosts (1:53)
9. Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Medley (2:30)
Includes - Making Christmas/What's This?/Kidnap the Sandy Claws
10. Disneyland Haunted Mansion Holiday Ride-Through Mix (16:20)
Includes - Foyer, Elevators, Elevator Exit, Picture Gallery, Load Zone, Corridor of Doors, Seance Room, Grand Hall, Attic, Graveyard Finale, Instrumental, Jam Band, Tombstone Ho Ho Ho, Pumpkin Solo/Quartet, Tea Party, Hearse Spirits, Pumpkin Chorus, Opera Man & Woman and Mummy, Ghoul Trio, Oogie Boogie.

Voice Talent

·Jack Skellington –Chris Sarandon

·Oogie Boogie – Ken Page

·Ghost Host – Corey Burton

·Sally – Catherine O'Hara

·Madame Leota - Kim Irvine (face), Susanne Blakeslee (voice)

If you wish to see a video click on this link.

Written and posted by me in on 10/26/2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kingdom Keepers

Kingdom Keepers
        Ok for you that don't know what I'm talking about it is a series of books by Ridley Pearson. At this time there are four books in the series with more on the way. Book five is in the planning stage according to some tweets by Ridley. It may be called Shell Game and take place on the Disney Dream Cruise ship. It has a tentative release date of April 2012.

        The Kingdom Keepers are five kids that Disney hired to "act" so their images could be turned into holograms (Disney Host Interactive or Daylight Holographic Image aka DHI) to guide guests through the Magic Kingdom. In the first book the hope was the idea would be liked and it would be spread to other parks.
        In books two and three (I'm about to start book four) others come into the group unofficially and become Kingdom Keepers. The group becomes seven kids, an old Imagineer and his adult daughter. The DHI are put into other parks and on the Disney Cruise Line.

        During their battles with the Disney evil villains they are seen by a few Disney Cast Members and guests at the parks see them. Rumors spread that the Disney Host Interactive (DHI) are fighting a battle and saving the parks somehow.

        The kids start waking up in the Magic Kingdom at night. They find out that some Disney Imagineers designed the holograms to make a bridge between the world of imagination (cartoon and park characters) and the real world. They find themselves in a battle with the evil villains.
        The Imagineers know that the battle was growing. The Imagineers could not see what the villains were up to. They needed a way to see what was going on. They needed the Kingdom Keepers!

        These books are a fast and enjoyable read that keeps you wanting to find out what is happening next. The kids are likable but real and flawed.

        Throughout the four books you get to watch the kids grow from self absorbed youth into young people that think of each other and work as a team.  You see friendships grow. It is wonderful to see these kids grow and develop. They learn to go past fears and find inner strength they did not know they had.

        There is a group of fans hoping and pushing for the books to be turned into a movie or two or three. I'm one of those who hopes one day it is made into a movie.

        So grab one of the books, find a comfy chair and enjoy a good read.
        There is also Kingdom Keepers Online!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Space Mountain Becomes Ghost Galaxy

Space Mountain Becomes Ghost Galaxy

        During the month of October Space Mountain, an inside roller coaster ride takes on a special overlay for Halloween and becomes Ghost Galaxy. This is an otherworldly ride that fits well with the Halloween scary feel. Be warned young children that might be fine with Space Mountain any other time might find this overlay overwhelming and too scary.

        By day the outside and cue of the ride is mostly unchanged. Just some of the signs have been changed or added too changing the name to Ghost Galaxy. By night you see lights changing colors and shapes on the outside of Space Mountain as the music from the ride and the roars of the "Ghost Galaxy Monster" can be heard throughout Tomorrowland.

        The ride is normally a simulated launch into space, as you go up the first lift of the gravity feed coaster you are pulled through a tube of light. Then you rocket through "space" and shoot past space stations and simulated stars and asteroids, one that looks like a giant chocolate chip cookie and is jokingly called the "Cosmic Cookie". The entire ride is synced to music played through speakers at the top of the back of your seat.

        With the Ghost Galaxy overlay you have a different lighting effect as you go up the lift hill. Once at the top of the lift and sent off into the "Ghost Galaxy" you soon realize you are not alone. You see this swirling red gas like mass that quickly changes. You see hands and a face in the red gaseous cloud and ghastly eyes look out at you. As you rocket through space the gaseous cloud chases you around always staying on the wall beside your "rocket". Its hands reach out to grab you several times and its hideous eye blinks at you. Throughout the ride eerie music plays and the monsters roars can be hears as its frustration at not catching its prey, you grows.

        I highly recommend this ride for adventurous, stout hearted souls young and old. Just make sure the younger kids understand it is Disney Magic and Mickey will make sure the Ghostly Monster will not get them.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Film Strip Friday!! ~ Lady & the Tramp

It’s Film Strip Friday!
Lady and the Tramp
Release Date June 22nd, 1955
She's a pampered spaniel, and he's a debonair mutt-about-town, but Lady and Tramp discover that they make a perfect pair. Lady has always been the special pet of her household, but when dog-hating Aunt Sarah and her scheming Siamese cats turn against her, Tramp is there to help. Lady discovers that the world of Tramp and his stray-dog pals, away from the "leash and collar set" holds excitement and even romance. It holds danger too, from the ever-present dog catcher. When he saves the day (and Lady's owners' baby), the Tramp discovers that family life isn't so bad after all, even for a footloose fellow like himself.
Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released to theaters on June 22, 1955, by Buena Vista Distribution. The fifteenth animated feature in the Walt Disney Animation Classics Series, it was the first animated feature filmed in the CinemaScope widescreen film process. The story centers on an anthropomorphic female American Cocker Spaniel named Lady who lives with a refined, upper middle-class family, and a male anthropomorphic stray called the Tramp.
On Christmas morning in 1909, Jim Dear gives his wife Darling a cocker spaniel puppy that they name Lady. Lady enjoys a happy life with the couple and with a pair of dogs from the neighborhood, a Scottish Terrier named Jock and a bloodhound named Trusty. Meanwhile, across town by the railway, a schnauzer-mix stray mutt, referred to as The Tramp, lives life from moment to moment, be it begging for scraps from an Italian restaurant or protecting his fellow strays Peg (a Lhasa Apso) and Bull (an English bulldog) from the local dog catcher.
As she blossoms into a one-year-old, Jim Dear and Darling become increasingly short and impatient with Lady, hurting her feelings. Jock and Trusty visit her, and determine that the change in behavior is due to Darling expecting a baby. While Jock and Trusty try to explain what a baby is, the eavesdropping Tramp enters the conversation and offers his own opinions. Jock and Trusty take an immediate dislike to the stray and order him out of the yard; as Tramp leaves, he makes a final speech that "when the baby moves in, the dog moves out".
In due course, the baby arrives and Jim Dear and Darling introduce Lady to the infant. Soon after, Jim Dear and Darling decide to go on a trip together, leaving their Aunt Sarah to look after the baby and the house. Aunt Sarah, however, hates dogs and refuses to let Lady near the baby. When Lady clashes with Aunt Sarah's two trouble-making Siamese cats, Si and Am, she takes Lady to a pet shop to get a muzzle. A terrified Lady escapes, but is pursued by some street dogs. Tramp sees the chase and rescues Lady. The two then visit a zoo, where Tramp tricks a beaver into removing the muzzle. That night, Tramp shows Lady how he lives "footloose and collar-free", culminating in a candlelit Italian dinner.
As Tramp escorts Lady back home, Lady is caught by the dog-catcher. At the pound, the other dogs admire Lady's license, as it is her way out of the pound. Soon the dogs reveal the Tramp's many girlfriends and how he is unlikely to ever settle down. Eventually, Lady is collected by Aunt Sarah, who chains Lady to a doghouse in the back yard. Jock and Trusty visit to comfort her, but when Tramp arrives and tries to apologize, thunder starts to rumble as Lady furiously confronts him due to the other dogs at the pound telling her about his past girlfriends (Trixie, Lulu, Fifi, Rosetta, Peg, etc.) and him not coming to rescue her, after which Tramp sadly leaves.
Moments later, as it starts to rain, Lady sees a rat trying to sneak into the yard (which is the same rat that she chased out of the yard at the beginning of the film). While the rat is afraid of Lady, it is able to evade her and enter the house. Lady barks frantically, but Aunt Sarah yells at her to be quiet. Tramp hears her and runs back to help. Tramp enters the house and finds the rat in the nursery. He and the rat start fighting each other. Meanwhile, Lady breaks free and races to the nursery to find the rat on the baby's crib. Tramp pounces on the rat, but knocks over the crib in the process, awakening the infant. Tramp kills the rat, but when Aunt Sarah comes to the baby's aid, she sees the two dogs and thinks they are responsible. She pushes Tramp into a closet and Lady into the basement, then calls the pound to take the Tramp away.
Jim Dear and Darling return as the dogcatcher departs. They release Lady, who leads them and Aunt Sarah to the dead rat, clearing Tramp. Jock and Trusty, having overheard everything, chase after the dogcatcher's wagon. Jock is convinced Trusty has long since lost his sense of smell, but the old bloodhound is able to find the wagon. They bark at the horses, who rear up and topple the wagon onto a utility pole. Jim Dear arrives by car with Lady, and Lady is happily reunited with Tramp. Unfortunately, Trusty is injured in the struggle. Horrified by seeing his limp body, Jock howls in sorrow.
A year has gone by, Christmas has arrived, and Tramp, now a part of Lady's family, has his own collar and license. It is also revealed that Aunt Sarah has made amends with Lady by sending her a box of dog biscuits as an apology for mistreating her. Lady and Tramp also have their own family, a litter of four puppies: three resemble Lady (Annette, Danielle, and Collette) and the other resembles Tramp (Scamp). Jock comes to see the family along with Trusty, who has a broken leg.
· Barbara Luddy as Lady
· Larry Roberts as The Tramp
· Bill Thompson as Jock, Joe, Bulldog, Dachsie, Policeman
· Bill Baucom as Trusty
· George Givot as Tony
· Peggy Lee as Darling, Si, Am, Peg
· Verna Felton as Aunt Sarah
· Stan Freberg as the beaver
· Alan Reed as Boris
· Thurl Ravenscroft as Al the alligator
· Dallas McKennon as Toughy, Pedro, Professor, Hyena
· Lee Millar as Jim Dear, Dogcatcher
· The Mellowmen (Thurl Ravenscroft, Bill Lee, Max Smith, Bob Hamlin and Bob Stevens) as Dog Chorus


Characters' Development

The Tramp

In early script versions, the Tramp was first called Homer, then Rags and Bozo. However in the finished film, the Tramp never calls himself a proper name, although most of the film's canine cast refer to him as "the Tramp." The Tramp has other names that are given to him by the families he weekly visits for food, such as Mike and Fritzi. However, he doesn't belong to a single family, so his name is never confirmed, although most comics and indeed the film's own sequel assume that he is also named Tramp by Jim Dear and Darling. He is most likely a Schnauzer-mix.

Aunt Sarah

The character that eventually became Aunt Sarah was softened for the movie, in comparison with earlier treatments. In the film, she is a well-meaning busybody aunt (revealed to be the sister of Darling's mother in the Greene novelization) who adores her cats. Earlier drafts had Aunt Sarah appear more as a stereotypical meddling and overbearing mother-in-law. Her singing ability is apparently non-existent. While she is antagonistic towards Lady and Tramp at first, she sends them a box of dog biscuits for Christmas to make amends for having so badly misunderstood them.

Si & Am

Earlier versions of the storyline, drafted in 1943 during the war, had the two cats appear as a sinister pair, suggesting the yellow peril. They were originally named Nip and Tuck. In Ward Greene's novelization, they tearfully express remorse over causing the Tramp's impending execution by hiding the rat's body as a joke, and then try to make amends, while in the film they do not partake of the climactic scene.

Jim Dear and Darling

In pre-production, Jim Dear was known as Jim Brown, and Darling was named Elizabeth. These were dropped to highlight Lady's point of view. In a very early version, published as a short story in a 1944 Disney children's anthology, Lady refers to them as "Mister" and "Missis". To maintain a dog's perspective, Darling and Jim's faces are rarely shown. The background artists made models of the interiors of Jim Dear and Darling's house, and shot photos and film at a low perspective as reference to maintain a dog's view.
The film's opening sequence, in which Darling unwraps a hat box on Christmas morning and finds Lady inside, is based upon an actual incident in Walt Disney's life when he presented his wife Lily with a Chow puppy as a gift in a hat box.


The Beaver in this film is similar to the character of Gopher in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, down to the speech pattern: a whistling noise when he makes the "S" sound. On the Lady and the Tramp Platinum Edition DVD he demonstrates how the effect was done, and that a whistle was eventually used because it was difficult to maintain the effect.
The Beaver's voice was created by Stan Freberg, who has an extensive background in commercial and comedy recordings. He was known for his works with Warner Bros. Cartoons, but at the time that studio was briefly closed due to studio owner Jack Warner's belief that 3-D film would trump animation. The same closure led to animator Chuck Jones doing work on Sleeping Beauty.


The rat, a somewhat comical character in some early sketches, became a great deal more frightening, due to the need to raise dramatic tension.
In 1937 legendary Disney story man Joe Grant approached Walt Disney with some sketches he had made of his Springer Spaniel named Lady and some of her regular antics. Disney enjoyed the sketches and told Grant to put them together as a storyboard. When Grant returned with his boards, Disney was not pleased and the story was shelved.
In 1943 Walt read in Cosmopolitan a short story written by Ward Greene, called "Happy Dan, The Whistling Dog". He was interested in the story and bought the rights to it.
By 1949 Grant had left the studio, but Disney story men were continually pulling Grant's original drawings and story off the shelf to retool. Finally a solid story began taking shape in 1953, based on Grant's storyboards and Greene's short story. Greene later wrote a novelization of the film that was released two years before the film itself, at Walt Disney's insistence, so that audiences would be familiar with the story. Grant didn't receive credit for any story work in the film, an issue that animation director Eric Goldberg hoped to rectify in the Lady and the Tramp Platinum Edition's behind-the-scenes vignette that explained Grant's role.
This was the first animated feature filmed in CinemaScope This new innovation of CinemaScope presented some additional problems for the animators: the expansion of canvas space created more realism, but gave fewer closeups. It also made it difficult for a single character to dominate the screen, so that groups had to be spread out to keep the screen from appearing sparse. Longer takes become necessary since constant jump-cutting would seem too busy or annoying. Layout artists essentially had to reinvent their technique. Animators had to remember that they could move their characters across a background instead of the background passing behind them. Yet the animators overcame these obstacles during the action scenes, such as the Tramp killing the rat.
More problems arose as the premiere date got closer. Although Cinemascope was becoming a growing interest to movie-goers, not all theaters had the capabilities at the time. Upon learning this, Walt issued two versions of the film to be created: one in widescreen, and another in the Academy ratio. This involved gathering the layout artists to restructure key scenes when characters were on the outside area of the screen.
Script Revisions
The finished film is slightly different from what was originally planned. Although both the original script and the final product shared most of the same elements, it would still be revised and revamped. Originally, Lady was to have only one next door neighbor, a Ralph Bellamy-type canine named Hubert. Hubert was later replaced by Jock and Trusty. A scene created but then deleted was one in which, while Lady fears of the arrival of the baby, she has a "Parade of the Shoes" nightmare (similar to Dumbo's "Pink Elephants on Parade" nightmare) where a baby bootie splits in two, then four, and continues to multiply. The dream shoes then fade into real shoes, their wearer exclaiming that the baby has been born.]
Another cut scene was after Trusty says "Everybody knows, a dog's best friend is his human". This leads to Tramp describing a world where the roles of both dogs and humans are switched; the dogs are the masters and vice-versa.
Prior to being just "The Tramp," the character went through a number of suggested names including Homer, Rags, and Bozo. It was thought in the 1950s that the term "tramp" would not be acceptable, but since Walt Disney approved of the choice, it was considered safe under his acceptance. On early story boards shown on the Backstage Disney DVD had listed description "a tramp dog" with "Homer" or one of the mentioned prior names.
Spaghetti Sequence
The spaghetti scene, wherein Lady and the Tramp eat opposite ends of a single strand of spaghetti until meeting in the middle, is often parodied, including in the film's own sequel, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure.
At the time, the film took in a higher figure than any other Disney animated feature since Snow White. An episode of Disneyland called A Story of Dogs aired before the film’s release. The film was reissued to theaters in 1962, 1971, 1980, and 1986, and on VHS and Laserdisc in 1987 (this was in Disney's The Classics video series) and 1998 (this was in the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection video series). A Disney Limited Issue series DVD was released on November 23, 1999. It was remastered and restored for DVD on February 28, 2006, as the seventh installment of Platinum Edition series. One million copies of the Platinum Edition were sold on February 28, 2006. The Platinum Edition DVD went on moratorium on January 31, 2007, along with the 2006 DVD reissue of Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure. A spring 2012 Diamond blu-ray release has been advertised on the insert of the Bambi Diamond blu-ray.
A New Adventure of Lady and the Tramp appeared in Donald Duck's Beach Party #2, published in 1955. The character of Scamp seen briefly at the end of the film starred in a spinoff comic strip and Dell comic book. Scamp also stars in a direct-to-video sequel released in 2001 titled Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure.
Despite being an enormous success at the box office, the film was initially panned by many critics: one indicated that the dogs had "the dimensions of hippos," another that "the artists' work is below par". However the film has since come to be regarded as a classic.
Lady and the Tramp was named number 95 out of the "100 Greatest Love Stories of All Time" by the American Film Institute in their 100 Years . . . 100 Passions special, as one of only two animated films to appear on the list, along with Disney's Beauty and the Beast (which ranked 34th).
In 2010, Rhapsody (online music service) called its accompanying soundtrack one of the all-time great Disney & Pixar Soundtracks.
In June 2011, TIME named it one of "The 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films".
BAFTA Awards
Best Animated Film
David di Danatello Awards
Best Foreign Producer
(Walt Disney)
Satellite Awards
Best Youth DVD
American Film Institute Lists
· AFI's 100 Years . . . 100 Movie - Nominated
· AFI's 100 Years . . . 100 Passions - #95
· AFI's 100 Years . . . 100 Songs:
o He's a Tramp - Nominated
· AFI's Greatest movie Musicals - Nominated
· AFI's 10 Top 10 - Nominated Animated Film
(songs and musical cues as listed on CD)
"Main Title (Bella Notte) / The Wag of a Dog's Tail"
"Peace on Earth (Silent Night)"
"It Has a Ribbon / Lady to Bed / A Few Mornings Later"
"Sunday / The Rat / Morning Paper"
"A New Blue Collar / Lady Talks To Jock & Trusty / It's Jim Dear"
"What a Day! / Breakfast at Tony's"
"Warning / Breakout / Snob Hill / A Wee Bairn"
"Countdown to B-Day"
"Baby's First Morning / What Is a Baby / La La Lu"
"Going Away / Aunt Sarah"
"The Siamese Cat Song / What's Going on Down There"
"The Muzzle / Wrong Side of the Tracks"
"You Poor Kid / He's Not My Dog"
"Through the Zoo / A Log Puller"
"Footloose and Collar-Free / A Night At The Restaurant / Bella Notte"
"It's Morning / Ever Chase Chickens / Caught"
"Home Sweet Home"
"The Pound"
"What a Dog / He's a Tramp"
"In the Doghouse / The Rat Returns / Falsely Accused / We've Got to Stop That Wagon / Trusty's Sacrifice"
"Watch the Birdie / Visitors"
"Finale (Peace on Earth)"
Peggy Lee
Recording artist Peggy Lee wrote the songs with Sonny Burke, and assisted with the score as well. In the film she sings: "He's a Tramp", "La La Lu", "The Siamese Cat Song", and "What Is a Baby?". She helped promote the film on the Disney TV series, explaining her work with the score and singing a few of the film's numbers. These appearances are available as part of the Lady and the Tramp Platinum Edition DVD set.
On 16 November 1988 Peggy Lee sued the Walt Disney Company for breach of contract claiming that she still retained rights to the transcripts, including those to videotape. She was awarded $2.3m in 1991 after a contracted legal battle with the studio.