Posts Tagged ‘Haunted Mansion’

Disneyland’s Long-Lost Hatbox Ghost Reappears at D23

by on August 9, 2013

Disneyland’s original Hatbox Ghost (photo courtesy Doombuggies)

There haven’t been any blockbuster surprise announcements out of this weekend’s D23 Disney fan expo yet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t gems to discover inside the Anaheim Convention Center. The “Journey into Imagineering” pavilion, hidden behind a facade recreating WDI Glendale offices, holds one of D23′s most ghoulish delights — a modern Audio Animatronic reincarnating a favorite attraction’s most infamous former resident.

The Hatbox Ghost was one of the original inhabitants of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, but was removed from the ride’s attic scene shortly after opening because of technical problems with his disappearing head effect (not, as the urban legend claims, because he scared a guest to death). Lost to theme-park lore for decades, he’s seen a merchandise revival in recent years, but this is the first time Imagineering has revealed an operating animatronic — based on the same AA100 architecture as PoTC’s Auctioneer and Mr. Lincoln — of the fabled figure.

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Last Week at Disneyland Resort (9/2/2012 – 9/8/2012)

by on September 10, 2012

All photos copyright Disney

September has arrived, bringing with it cooler temperatures, smaller crowds, and lengthy rehabs for numerous attractions at Disneyland.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Sunday 9/2 was a 7 out of 10 at the resort, with DCA crowds at 7.9 and Disneyland Park at 5.7.

Busiest Day: Tuesday 9/4 through Thursday 9/6 was a 1 out of 10 at the resort, with DCA crowds at 1.1 and Disneyland Park at 1.1.

Subscribe to the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Crowd Calendar for details on predicted crowds for the next 30 days.

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Last Week at Disneyland Resort (8/26/2012 – 9/1/2012)

by on September 3, 2012

All photos copyright Disney

The end of August equals the start of the slow September season at Disneyland. Crowds should be minimal for the next couple weeks, at least until the special Halloween events kick off on the 14th.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Tuesday 8/28 was a 2 out of 10 at the resort, with DCA crowds at 2.7 and Disneyland Park at only 1.2.

Busiest Day: Saturday 9/1 was a 5 out of 10 at the resort, with DCA crowds at 3 and Disneyland Park at 5.

Subscribe to the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Crowd Calendar for details on predicted crowds for the next 30 days.

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This Month at Disneyland Resort: September 2012

by on September 1, 2012

All photos copyright Disney.

The summer tourists have gone home, and the local kids are back in school, making September a spectacular time to visit the Disneyland Resort if you desire short lines. Mid-week visitors can expect the smallest crowds seen since before the June relaunch of Disney California Adventure. Beware, however, that seasonal installations and long-delayed refurbishments will result in several favorite Disneyland attractions being declared off-limits over the next month. Be sure to check the refurbishment list when planning a visit to the parks, so that you aren’t unpleasantly surprised upon arrival.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Most Mondays through Thursdays this month sport wait times in the bottom third of the year. The day after Labor Day is traditionally dead quiet, with Tuesday 8/30 predicted at only 1.1 out of 10 at Disneyland, and 1.8 at DCA.

Busiest Day: Saturdays and Sundays will be moderately busy once the Halloween decor is in full effect. Saturday 9/22 should hit a predicted peak of 6.3 out of 10 in Disneyland, and 6.6 at DCA.

Subscribe to the Touring Plans Disneyland Crowd Calendar for full details on predicted attendance for the next 30 days.

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Last Week at Disneyland Resort (8/19/2012 -8/25/2012)

by on August 27, 2012

All photos copyright Disney

The masses of annual Passholders that were anticipated to invade the Anaheim attractions after blackout dates were lifted last week didn't quite materialize. So if you've been avoiding Disneyland all summer, now is a great time to visit as preparations begin for the Halloween season.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Friday 8/17 was a 5 out of 10 at the resort, with DCA crowds at 4.7 and Disneyland Park at only 3.1.

Busiest Day: Sunday 8/19 was an 8 out of 10 at the resort, with DCA crowds at 8.9 and Disneyland Park at 5.7.

Subscribe to the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Crowd Calendar for details on predicted crowds for the next 30 days.

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This Month at Disneyland Resort: August 2012

by on August 1, 2012

Pixar in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl (photo by Disney/Pixar)

As we enter the final month of Cars Land's blockbuster first summer season, Disneyland Resort has survived some of the largest crowds in its history. Fear not; there's still plenty of activity predicted before the peak season crowds taper off towards the end of this month. And if you can hold out for a few more weeks, near-optimal touring conditions are on the horizon.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: By the last week of the month, crowds should slow considerably, with Thursday 8/30 predicted at only 2.2 out of 10 at Disneyland, and 4.7 at DCA.

Busiest Day: Sunday 8/19 is the last day of Summer Break season, so crowds should top out 10 out of 10 in Disneyland, and 9.7 at DCA.

Subscribe to the Touring Plans Disneyland Crowd Calendar for full details on predicted attendance for the next 30 days.

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Top 5 Attraction Queues at Disneyland Park

by on May 14, 2012

Disneyland Park is widely praised for having the highest density of highly-themed attractions of any American amusement enterprise. But one area in which the original Magic Kingdom falls behind some of its younger siblings is in the theming of its queue lines.

Back in Walt’s day, the “switchback” queue was an innovation, encouraging face-to-face interaction between strangers waiting in line. Today, with many guests engrossed in their digital devices, people need something more enticing that other humans to hold their interest. Hence, the highly-detailed holding area, filled with scenic elements and effects engineered to import the backstory information riders need to fully enjoy their imminent adventure.

Currently, the world’s top themed queue environments can generally found in Disney parks outside of Anaheim, such as Expedition Everest at WDW’s Animal Kingdom, or Journey to the Center of the Earth at Tokyo’s DisneySea. And while this article only touches on the original Disneyland Resort gate, Radiator Springs Races may make that list once cars Land at Disney California Adventure opens in June. But the Happiest Place on Earth can still lay claim to a few top-flight queues.

Here is my personal top 5 favorite pre-attraction areas inside Disneyland Park. Please add your own nominees to the comments below!

 

5. The Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion was the last attraction Walt had direct input on, and is justly regarded as an essential example of the Disneyland experience. The Omnimover ride vehicles and elaborate ghostly effects inside the ride certainly are a big element of that, but the attraction’s brilliance begins long before you board your Doombuggy. After entering the Southern Gothic mansion’s front gate, you’ll pass a pet cemetary filled with witty monuments to departed furry friends. Upon crossing the threshold, you’ll enter the infamous “Stretching Room,” and encounter your “Ghost Host” (voiced by the immortal Paul Frees). And there’s still the corridor of transforming paintings and seemingly-shifting statues to traverse before your voyage into the netherworld really begins. As a bonus, during the Halloween and Christmas holidays the exterior and interior are adorned with decor inspired by Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas.

 

4. The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

Since this theater presentation is rarely full, most guests see it without having to wait more than a few minutes in its Main Street lobby. But it would be a mistake to miss the mini-museum that makes up this attraction’s pre-show, and not only because it it blissfully air-conditioned. Start by examining the exhibits dedicated to the development of Disneyland, especially the lovingly-detailed model of the park as it looked on opening day. The retrospective video starring Steve Martin and Donald Duck shown here was originally created for the park’s 50th anniversary in 2005, but is still well worth watching in full, with a wealth of historical footage. Next, move on to the inner pre-show room, home to a stunning scale model of the White House (made by hand, based on the original blueprints) and maquette miniatures of the Spirit statues found in Epcot’s American Adventure. Finally, a second video fills you in on the origins of the Mr. Lincoln show, and Walt’s personal interest in Honest Abe. By the time they enter the main theater, patrons who have seen all the pre-show has to offer will have a much fuller understanding of the historical importance of this still-impressive patriotic performance.

 

3. Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin

Based on a film franchise that the Disney corporation seems to have largely forgotten, Cartoon Spin is a hybrid between Mr. Toad and the Mad Tea Party that doesn’t have a lot of fans among Unofficial Guide reviewers. There are some nifty effects, and it’s certainly more detailed than some of the classic Disneyland dark rides. But some of us feel that it falls short because the spinning makes for a chaotic, incoherent experience. Still, one strong suit everyone can agree on is the elaborately detailed queue line. A tour of the seamy side streets of Toontown, visitors get to see a landmarks like the Ink & Paint club (knock on the door for an interactive surprise) and a Dip-making facility. Roger Rabbit’s queue is often overloaded, and its Fastpasses are disconnected from the rest of the park, so I often skip the line when I ride, which is a shame.

 

2. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

The original Star Tours queue was among the first with first-class theming, featuring an authentic-feeling Star Wars spaceport complete with animatronics of C-3PO and R2-D2. When Imagineering refreshed the ride in 2011, they upgraded the already-amazing queue as well. A razor-sharp hi-def screen in the initial room now broadcasts a steady stream of saga references, and a pair of wisecracking security robots in the second room spout side-splitting inside jokes about Lucas and Disney characters. Even the pre-boarding safety video was beefed up (some dodgy CGI aside) with some droid-based humor. (Classic Star Tours fans, fear not for the original pre-show’s distinctively coiffed narrator; she and her hair can still be glimpsed in the new film.) Best of all, when you use Fastpass at this attraction (a must on busy days) you still get to experience all the same sights as the standby line.

1. The Indiana Jones Adventure

This one wasn’t even close. More than a decade an a half after its debut, Disneyland’s Indiana Jones attraction still has no real competition for the “best queue” crown on the West Coast (though Universal Studios Hollywood’s new Transformers ride is making a run for it). Only Unversal Orlando’s Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has truly surpassed Indy effort in completely immersing guests in a complete world before they board. The journey from Adventureland into the Temple of the Forbidden Eye feels like an epic (and lengthy) adventure in of itself. Born of the necessity to get guests beyond the park’s berm and into the former parking lot where Indy’s show building was constructed, the extensive line effectively builds anticipation for the groundbreaking ride at the end. Treacherous tunnels, decorated with dangers such as spiked celings and realistic-looking bat guano, sport interactive elements that (when working) will prompt surprised smiles; just be sure ignore any “don’t touch” signage. There are even ancient codes on the walls that you can learn to decipher. Frequent guests will often use the single rider option to board quicker, skipping the queue, but this is one line that every theme park fan needs to wait in at least once.

All photos copyright Disney.

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