August 13, 2009

Haunted History of New Orleans Square

Though "offically" opening on August 9, 1969, many "dispute" the offical opening. On August 12, 1969, the Disneyland version of the attraction was officially opened to guests, though there were Cast Member previews on August 7th and 8th, 1969, and then some "soft" openings when park guests were allowed to ride on August 9th, 10th and 11th, even though it was not advertised as being open. A special "Midnight" Press Event was held on the evening of August 11th (Officially at Midnight it would be August 12th) and then the ride opened to the public on Tuesday August 12th, 1969 at park opening. The opening brought in record crowds and helped Disney recover from Walt's untimely death.The attraction has gone through several "enhancements" in its 40 year history. In the 1980s, Disneyland tested "live" Cast Member Knights in the Endless Hallway scene, where they would "jump" out at the guests and try to scare them. This was only tested for a few weeks and though of as unsafe for the Cast Member and the Guests. Later in the 1990s, Imagineers added Pop Up Ghosts in the attic and updated the bride to the "blue bride". Than in 2004, Madame Leota was enhanced to rear projections.The major change and update to the attraction "premiered" on May 3, 2006. The new show scene introduced in the attic portion of the ride follows a ghostly bride named Constance Hatchaway, now described as a "black widow bride," and slowly uncovers her bloody past, which includes the murders and decapitations of all her previous husbands (named Ambrose Harper, Frank Banks, Reginald Caine, the Marquis De Doom, and George Hightower) in an attempt to gain their vast fortunes. The new effects start when visitors first enter the mansion's attic.When the visitor enters the attic, the pop-up ghosts that shout "I do!" are now gone. This is to make room for the current effects. As the visitor enters the attic, the first new things seen are an amber-glowing glass lamp, various treasures and china, and multiple portraits of different grooms, each with the same bride. An axe-like sound echoes from the pictures throughout the room, and in each portrait the groom's head disappears.The phantom piano player is still there, but the music is louder than before. Near the end of the attic, an ethereal glow is seen and a sweet but sinister voice is heard. It is Constance in her wedding gown. She repeats her vows in a menacing tone ("I do...I did", "You may now kiss the bride", "And we'll live happily ever after", "As long as we both shall live", "For better or for...worse", "Here comes the bride", "'Till death do us part", "In sickness and in...wealth".) Every few sayings, she raises her hand and a hatchet appears in it.

The bride is basically a white mannequin in a white wedding gown. When the lights go off, a projection illuminates the entire body, showing her as a wispy but realistic spirit. Her face and her entire body are projected, very similar to the Leota effect in the Seance Room and the Little Leota effect at the end of the ride. Constance also floats mysteriously above the floor (made possible by a pole and a fan).As with other Disney Attractions, The Haunted Mansions around the world have differences... ANd with Disneyland being the original, it has many original things. First, at the entrance the major thing is that you enter into the mansion from New Orleans Square. Also, years ago, the cemetery paid tribute to the Imagineers, but was changed when the queue was expanded some time after the mid-80s, to make room for the handicapped entrance. In the Small Foyer, guests enter a small rectangular room containing a dusty chandelier and a wood floor (in the design of a spiders web). Once in the pre show in the Octagonal Room, with a feature only in Disneyland and the Phantom Manor, the room is, in fact, an elevator with no ceiling. The room is being lowered slowly to give the illusion that the room itself is stretching; this brings the guests down to where the ride begins, below ground level. This elevator effect was necessary to lower the guests below the level of the park-circling railroad at Disneyland. The actual ride building of this attraction is located outside of the berm surrounding the park, and the Disney Imagineers developed this mechanism to lower the guests to the gallery leading to the actual ride building.
When you leave the "Stretching Room", the wall opens into a portrait corridor. When the walls finally do open, guests are ushered into a portrait corridor with paintings that depict seemingly innocent scenes. Windows on the left give guests a peek at the thunderstorm raging outside. With every flash of lightning, the paintings flicker with ghastly images. The grim busts of a man and woman placed at the end of the hall seem to turn their heads, glaring at the guests as they walk past. After loading your DoomBuggy guests are seated and ascend a pitch-black staircase. A chair whose embroidering resembles as much as a face, accompanies the moving suit of armor in front of the Endless Hall where a candelabrum floats lonesomely down the corridor.In the Cooridor of Doors, guests travel through a dimly-lit corridor. Portraits of family members (much a lot like zombies and skeletons) hang upon these walls while monstrous voices echo through the halls. Many doors, at least seven, are seen here, while their handles are jiggling with no one in sight. Every door has a door-knocker, knocking by them selves.A cross-stitched sign reads "Tomb Sweet Tomb" hangs crookedly on these walls as well. A portrait of a man who's seem to wear a hangman's noose while holding an axe is seen to the left of the corridor. Next to that, a door seems to be breathing as if it where human. Two reliefs resembling a smiling and a snarling demon are found here as well. At the end of the corridor is a door with a pair of skeletal hands trying to open the door with an eerie green glow from inside.


That is it for today... Come back tomorrow to check out the Pics and Pins of Disneyland Haunted Mansion....

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