The Haunted Mansion
I know what you’re thinking, all that build up for the freaking Haunted Mansion? All I have to say is I FRIGGIN’ LOVE THE HAUNTED MANSION!
My love for the Haunted Mansion goes back WAY before I even remember going on it. (My mother told me yesterday about when we first went on it I just hid the whole time but I don’t remember that.)
I have always liked dark rides. In fact the first amusement park ride I remember going on when I was a kid was the Hanna Barbera Enchanted Voyage in Kings Island. (For those a bit younger than me that is the Smurf Ride, and for those a bit more younger than me, its Phantom Theater.)
I loved watching characters I knew up close in 3-D while I just rode through. I liked the color and really I liked the minimal story that was there.
When we went to Disney World when I was 4, I remember really enjoying the “Journey into Imagination with Figment and the Dreamfinder.” (Now it’s just horrible and annoying.) It was probably the one ride I remember going on when we went there, but even though I met Figment and the Dreamfinder later, they weren’t characters I knew.
Fast forward to when I was about 9 I noticed a record that used to belong to one of my siblings. “Disneyland Presents: Chilling, Thrilling: Sounds of the Haunted House.”
I had always been scared of this LP for some reason. To be honest, I never really liked haunted houses in the traditional carnival at Halloween sense.
Even today I really don’t like those kinds of haunted houses. The idea of someone jumping out and scaring you while you are getting pushed in a tight hallway just makes me want to punch people in the face.
However there was a time I worked up my guts and listened to the story side of the record. It was narrated by Thurl Ravenscroft. Don’t recognize the name? Well what about the voice?
No? not that one? What about this?
Getting closer? Well, what about this….
That’s right, Tony the Tiger
The story was about Karen and Mike (a post Andy Grifftith, Pre Happy Days Ron Howard.) getting lost in the rain and sneaking into a Haunted house. The story was creepy, but not scary. However, I loved it. I loved the imagery, the story, the description. I listened to it, just about everyday.
I would have friends over and we would act out a haunted house in my basement for our parents. (They humored us even though it was horribly lame.)
When I read the back of the album cover I noticed, “based on the Disneyland ride” Wait…there was a ride? There is a ride that is about my favorite record?
A couple of years later my parents told me that we were going back to Disney World. I knew that I wanted to go to the Haunted Mansion and there would be no stopping me.
I loved the fact that the descriptions from my record were exactly how they were in the ride. I loved the creepiness, I loved the humor, I loved everything about it.
We went back several years later and I once again knew I wanted to do this ride because I remembered it so fondly from when I was kid. Now time changes things, especially in your adolescence, where you are a jaded, bitter brat.
I was 12 years old when I last went on the Haunted Mansion, and when we went back I was 19, going on 20. I figured things would change and I would think how lame it was.
I still loved it. That was a truly horrible trip, it was New Year’s Eve, the place was packed, the lines were horrible, but I still loved the Haunted Mansion.
I didn’t go to Disney World for several years after that. My wife mentioned wanting to go on our Honeymoon, but I poo-pooed it based off of that one bad experience.
However, for whatever reason a few years ago I happened to start watching a vlog by a girl who loved Disneyland. That lead to me watching ride videos, and of course the Haunted Mansion hooked me in again. I went down with my wife and in-laws, and went on the ride either first or second (might have been Splash Mountain first because that was the other ride video I really liked, plus I hadn’t been on that one yet)
I loved it even more when I was #! (age edited because I am getting older and it offends me) than I did when I was a kid.
Now, every time we go to Disney World we HAVE to go to Magic Kingdom FIRST and we HAVE to go on Haunted Mansion FIRST. That is my only demand on the whole vacation. Everything else someone else can pick but this is my demand!
So why do I love it so much?
Yes, there is that nostalgia factor and the memories involved in it but memories fade and don’t keep bringing you back time after time.
First of all, the story begins before you even walk up to the place. You can keep your Castles, your Mickey Hats, Trees of Lifes, and Spaceship Earths, THE Disney icon when you walk into Disney World to me is heading into Liberty Square and seeing that house on the hill.
Everything that I’ve mentioned in prior attractions is here. It has AWESOME theming. The cast members are so much fun with the characters they’ve adopted. The script is great, the puns are great “Dead center of the rooms” “How Many Bodies?”
There are things that I discover EVERY time I ride. (Including riding for the first time at night last year, when your eyes are adjusted to the dark, you don’t realize how much stuff you’ve missed.) It also took me several rides to notice the shadow of the ghostly organ player on the ground.
The special effects, while many are very old school, are still amazing.
Plus there is that music. Sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, the narrator of the LP, Grim Grinning Ghosts is a song I find myself singing at the most odd times. It is a song that I have engrained in my head, as well as stuck permanently on my iPod.
Paul Frees (Boris Badenov of Rocky & Bullwinkle fame) does a great job as the “Ghost Host.” Madame Leota is still creepy as ever, and the Ghost bride still makes me scoot a little bit further away from my wife.
When I head back, there is a new queue, with new jokes, new innovation and new references, and I am just….dying to try them….
(The picture is small but the brand of Organ is "Ravenscroft")
Before I started writing this I was in a bit of a funk, I knew that we were closer to our trip, and I knew that the closer that we were, sooner it would be over. However just thinking about everything about the Haunted Mansion, just got me jacked again. I am happy; I am excited…I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!