After lunch, our guide took us to the old Fastpass distribution area for the Haunted Mansion. From there, we spent about 10 minutes under it, and he described the attraction and its history (much of which we covered in August for our Haunted Mansion Month). A few things though i did learn, and most of them occur in the entrance that we entered in, but the one thing that we learned before entering was that there is ONE mistake in the attraction, and it has to do with when Imagineers were making the attraction for DL and MK simultaneously. Well, even though Mk has a different building/facade then DL, the attraction features a depiction of the outside of DL’s plantation manor in Florida’s New York Colonial Mansion. Where you ask? Well, after the Bride “pushes” you out of the window, the building you are “thrown” out of is suppose to be this colonial mansion, if you look to the right, it is actually the Plantation Manor from Disneyland. Oopsy.After that, he told us that he won’t be answering any questions about the Mansion attraction, such as how stuff happens until AFTER we ride it. So he takes us past the Pet Cemetery (above) and then takes us into the “celebrity”, rarely seen entrance of the mansion. HINT: Its the LAST door before leaving the little “mausoleum” area and pass by the pet cemetery, it says something about Maids Only or something. Anyways, inside it is this SHORT hall and its filled with SO MUCH THEMEING, even though rarely seen. It is themed to the hall to the Housekeepers/Maid’s Quarters. And it really is, there is the door to the left in the hallway that is the CM break room for the Maids of the Mansion. In the hallway is a BIG piece of theming, only seen by few, and it is the Servant Bells, with bells along the wall that let them know who needs what where in the mansion, and it has many Imagineer references, such as Marc Davis, Claude Coats, Yale Gracey and Leota Toombs. There are about 12 bells, but i really don’t remember the rooms that they went too, they kind of rhymed or were kind of alliteration-ish. (sorry don't really remember, and tried looking for pictures, if anyone has more info, PLEASE PLEASE send me info to post.. THANKS)
After riding the attraction, we met near the entrance, then took us towards the entrance to the Columbia Harbor House, then took us in a back corner on stage. And allowed us to ask questions about “How did they do that?” Most of the questions were, bleh, and questions that most of you know because we talked about them in August during Mansion Month. Like: “How did they do Leota’s head?”, “How do they do the Hitchhiking Ghosts?”, stuff like that. But i did learn that Leota’s glass ball, supposedly cost thousands of dollars (i think he said like $15,000). Anyways, we left the back corner and (in my opinion) lame Haunted Mansion Q&A session and headed past Ye Old Christmas Shoppe and Liberty Tree Tavern, and through the smoking area, to the OTHER side of the Christmas Shop. Here, we talked about the Castle. (below is the view of the castle where were located, NOTE this picture was taken from a previous trip)Here we learned many things about the castle. For instance, it has always been intended to be made out of fiber glass. But before that, the guide asked the infamous trick question, “How many bricks are used to build the castle?”. Many of my fellow tour mates answered with answers like “lots”, “millions”, “100,000”, and surprisingly I was the ONLY one who answered, “NONE!”. He then told me something that I didn't know, that Reedy Creek was created JUST to build the castle. As the state of Florida would not let the Disney Company build a HUGE building out of fiberglass, as at the time, it was considered “flammable”. Then he went to talk about the Cinderella Castle Suite, and that there IS a balcony for the guests to get out during the night,but they must be accompanied with a Cast Member. (Our guide used to be a Concierge for the Suite). He also let us know that COMING 2010 a NEW way to receive the Castle Suite, and that they will be making it more RANDOM, and allowing more people to get it and“…information should be released soon, within the next couple of months.” From the Castle excursion, we hiked over the bridge to the Crystal Palace and went Backstage in the CM entrance by the bathrooms by the First Aid center.Moving backstage, we were on the left side of the street, as you walk towards the castle. Looking from behind, the street is EXTREMELY shorter than expected. And our guide showed us the use of Forced Perspective. We also saw where the Jungle Cruise boats are “stored” and filled with gas. Then we went underground in the utilitors (entered into Stairwell 18, seen below on the map)
Once inside the utilidors, we walked down a hallway that showcased the history of Walt Disney World and the Company up till it opened. It featured many pictures from the beginning of the Disney Bro. Studios, to the opening of Disneyland, and the Wonderful World of Color TV show, as well as pictures of opening day Magic Kingdom.Then we “crossed” under Main Street and ended up behind Tomorrowland Noodle Station and Main Street Ice Cream, etc. We then got back on stage by entering through the CM entrance between Tony’s Town Square and the Confectionary Shoppe. From there, we ended back up at the Roy and Minnie Statue in Town Square and he gave us his final words of “dreaming and magic” and why he loves working here, and what “Disney Magic is to him”.
Overall, this was a REALLY good tour, even though A LOT of the stuff i already knew, there was a bunch that i learned new or just refreshed my memory. I truly recommend it to ANY AND ALL DISNEY THEME PARK FANS!
Reminder, you must be 16 years old to participate, and you must book 90 days in advance, also, you can get a Disney Credit Card Discount (which is cheaper then the Passholder discount).
Overall Grade: A-
Come back tomorrow for my Sum of All Thrills Review!!! With MANY PICS!