Behind-The-Scenes At Disney’s Haunted Mansion

hantedmansionbackstage, Tumblr

If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind-the-scenes at Disney, well, it’s not always very glamorous. The photo above from Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion shows that on the other side of the spine-tingling ride is a simple, stale command center with some ancient monitors. The picture, from 2002, was found on an anonymously run Tumblr chronicling areas of the attraction that aren’t typically seen by guests — and judging by this photo, that’s for good reason. The only thing scary here is how low-tech and boring everything seems.

[via BoingBoing]

Disney World Immersive Expansion Opens This Week

Disney WorldFlorida’s Walt Disney World is about to open a new, re-imagined Fantasyland. The iconic park had been in operation for years to the thrill of vacationers of all ages and needed a facelift. More than a fresh coat of paint and upgraded technology, Disney is adding a popular immersive element to the experience.

“The Magic Kingdom is the iconic place at Walt Disney World and Fantasyland is the favorite land,” said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts in the U.S. and France in a Fox News report. “It’s the heart of the Magic Kingdom and we’re absolutely doubling the size of it, so I think that’s major in our guests’ minds.”


New Fantasyland has had some attractions up and running for weeks during a soft opening where cast members test their operation. Along the way, those experiencing new features and attractions have been engaged and drawn into each correlating story, every step of the way.

Enchanted Tales With Belle
A new attraction, Enchanted Tales with Belle, is an interactive experience (as opposed to a “ride”) that begins with an enchanted mirror transporting guests from Belle’s house to Beast’s library where Belle and Lumière invite guests to become part of a lively retelling of the “tale as old as time.”

Unique here is that groups are small and many are invited to participate in the experience that brings guests up close and personal with live action characters from “Beauty and the Beast.” This is not a passive, sit-around-and-watch attraction.Disney WorldUnder the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid
Also new is the musical attraction Under the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid where guests enter Prince Eric’s castle, board a giant clamshell and enjoy high-energy songs and effects that take them inside scenes from the animated Disney film “The Little Mermaid.”

Similar to Haunted Mansion in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the ride transports guests on clamshell-style vehicles using the Omnimover ride system introduced by Disney Imagineers in the 1960s. The ride takes guests through a series of scenes, first taking them to the bottom of the ocean, bringing us up to speed on Ariel’s journey from her father’s undersea kingdom then on to meeting Prince Eric.

Disney WorldBe Our Guest Restaurant
Cinderella’s Castle has some competition now with the opening of Beast’s Castle. In the middle of Beast’s Castle are three dining rooms that make up the new Be Our Guest Restaurant.

A West Wing features an enchanted rose, the Rose Gallery has twirling, larger-than-life figures of Belle and Beast and the Ballroom features an elegant domed ceiling, twinkling chandeliers and views of softly falling snow.

Inspired by Disney’s animated feature “Dumbo,” the Storybook Circus park within a park features a country fair feel with colorful big-top tents and attractions.

The Barnstormer takes the Great Goofini on a stunt plane ride high above Storybook Circus. As the story goes, Goofy has goofed his way into the role of a circus stunt pilot, The Great Goofini. In the tradition of classic air shows, The Great Goofini takes you away on a spiraling stunt plane adventure. Your twisting, turning, daredevil, roller coaster “flight” takes you high above the grounds of Storybook Circus in New Fantasyland.

A new Dumbo The Flying Elephant ride is twice the size of the old one and features a circus-themed play area offering recreation and relaxation for guests as they wait for their turn – with two rotating squadrons of airborne pachyderms! Inspired by the title character from the 1941 Disney animated motion picture, this popular attraction lets you fly with Dumbo.

Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station is a circus-themed water play area where guests can enjoy cooling refreshment and squirt each other. Interactive water features include Casey Jr., who lets off billows of cooling “steam” along with monkeys, elephants and camels that spray water.

disney worldPete’s Silly Sideshow is the place for guests to meet Disney circus stars who are excited to show off their special talents. Located inside one of the big-top tents, guests can meet Minnie Magnifique (Minnie Mouse as a circus performer), Madame Daisy Fortuna (Daisy Duck as a fortuneteller), The Great Goofini (Goofy as a daredevil stunt pilot) and The Astounding Donaldo (Donald Duck as a snake charmer).

Opening this week, that’s not the end of Fantasyland expansion. Doubling the size of the park, two other major attractions are underway, due to open in 2013 and 2014.

In the center of Fantasyland, Princess Fairytale Hall, opening in 2013, will feature walls of stone and stained glass windows opening into a large gallery where portraits of the Disney princesses cover the walls. Guests will move to elegantly finished rooms, meeting Disney princesses Aurora, Cinderella, Tiana and Rapunzel.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, opening in 2014, will take guests on a musical coaster ride into a mine via a first-of-its-kind ride system with a train of vehicles that swing back and forth, based on the classic Disney film and animated figures of “Snow White and the Dwarfs.”

See more in this preview video:




[Photo Credit- Disney Parks and Resorts]


Ten tips for choosing the right haunted house

When picking out a haunted house to go to for Halloween fun with kids, it helps to know your child. Even then, it may not be a guarantee of a good time. When we headed into the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney World a few days before my son’s 6th birthday, I envisioned a shriek or two followed by chortles of glee–the mark of a delicious and welcome fright.

After all, his sister loved that ride when she was five, and she’s the one that dressed up like a pink fairy princess for Halloween when she was his age. He was Darth Vader that growled out, “Beware of the dark side” in between his “Trick o’ Treats.”

But from the ride’s first scream that pierced the dark, and every one of the floating, dancing holograph ghosts, he hid his eyes in my armpit and kept them there until the very end when we clamored out of the car–him, in relief that the ordeal was over. Happily, he immediately bounded back, ready for a different ride. When he remembers that day, he sees the Magic Kingdom as a good dream come true. That bad mother moment did not last long.

Bad mother (or bad dad) moments seem hard to avoid when accessing the various Halloween options. “How haunted is too haunted?” one wonders.

One the other side of the age spectrum are older kids who might want more than the Casper, the friendly ghost version of ghoulish. Anything less than heart-pounding fright is a big yawn.

Here are 10 tips for picking out an age appropriate haunted house experience so that no one is disappointed and your money is well spent.

1. Look for the guidelines provided by the haunted house attraction. For example, the Ohio State Reformatory’s Halloween Experience in Mansfield, Ohio will not allow anyone under 13.

2. If the attraction’s description says “PG-13, no one under 13 admitted without an adult” like the Bludzwurth Casket and Urn Company Haunted House in Davenport, Florida, don’t assume that just because an adult is along, the attraction might be appropriate for a 4-year-old. This one looks pretty gory. Consider what you want your child’s experiences to be like.

3. Ask yourself this question: How much is my child able to distinguish between fantasy and reality? Young children, and even children over five have a blurred line when knowing the difference. Even if the child knows the haunted house isn’t real, his or her imagination can turn the experience into something troubling after wards.

4. Pay attention to how the haunted house is described. The 13th Door in Denver, Colorado’s website says, “If you want to be really scared, then experience the terror of the 13th Door.” If you don’t want your kids to be really scared, or perhaps you don’t want to be really scared, give this one a pass. Even though the 13th Door has the distinction of being voted the #1 haunted house in Colorado, perhaps the best isn’t really the best for you and yours.

5. Is the haunted house one that comes with warnings? Look for words like “strobe lights,” “fog machines” and not good for people with heart problems or who are pregnant. These warnings are there for a reason. The Darkside Haunted House in Wading River, New York also suggests people with back or neck injuries stay away.

6. Is the haunted house one where you’ll be touched? Most seem to be the type where you won’t be touched even though, the characters might come too close for comfort. You could assure you’re child beforehand that he or she won’t be touched.

7. Find out if an attraction has different versions of scary. At EnterTRAINment Junction near Cincinnati, Ohio, during the day, the haunted house is the kid-friendly, scary light version, while at night, the scary factor has the volumed turned up.

8. If you’re not sure if an attraction will be good for your child, call and ask someone who works for the attraction. This is particularly true if the attraction doesn’t have a website. Some haunted houses are local events put on by fire departments and community clubs as a fundraiser.

9. While going through an attraction, keep your eye out for the emergency exits in case you’re in the middle of a bad choice. Netherworld in Atlanta, Georgia is one such attraction. If you child gets upset, you can leave. Don’t insist that he or she persevere. Why create a bad mom or dad moment with your stubborn behavior?

10. And. to make sure you aren’t disappointed once you decide, find out before you go if you can still get tickets. Some haunted houses sell tickets beforehand. They can sell out. Because it’s close to Halloween, be ready for longer lines. Show up early and bring money for hot chocolate or a snack.