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Haunted Mansion

Neon Halloween and Disney Souveniers

on October 14, 2013 - 11:59pm

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. I'm thankful for Halloween. 

To show just how thankful I am, I spent a bit of time decorating my office. 

The best part of decorating my office is that unlike the rest of the house, I feel like I can decorate any way I like. I don't care if it matches a theme or looks artistic or spooky. It's about what makes me smile. And this year, that's Disney. And neon.

A friend picked up some neon signs on clearance last year and was kind enough to send a box of them my way. I was excited to break them out and light them up. 

You can see in the picture on the right the first glimpse of Disney. While waiting for some vegetables to roast, I passed the time cutting out some Mickey Bats which are ridiculously cute. 

The last thing I need or can justify buying is a stuffed animal, but on my vacation I could not resist the Frankenweenie plush. 

You can't leave Disney without a set of Mickey Ears. I am pretty sure security tackles you to the ground near the exit if you are earless. I decided to pick up the Jack O'lantern Mickey ears made more adorable by the fact that you can lift the stem of the pumpkin top to reveal Chip and Dale inside.

But the coolest thing is easily the Haunted Mansion Hourglass.

Last of the Haunted Mansion Pictures

on October 4, 2013 - 12:15am

Here is a collection of photographs that take you along the entrance, through the outside line, inside the mansion and finally out the exit. 

These pictures are a mix of daytime and nighttime shots, some with flash and some without, some better than others.

I think you get the idea that I enjoyed this attraction tremendously. 

It may take a moment to load the page as there are a lot of photos. If they don't all load, refreshing the page should work.

In the coming days I'll be sharing images of the Magic Kingdom all decked out for Halloween, and the Boo to You Parade.

Enjoy!

Haunted Mansion: Madame Leota

on October 3, 2013 - 8:36am
"Serpents and spiders, tail of a rat; call in the spirits, wherever they're at.
Rap on a table; it's time to respond. Send us a message from somewhere beyond.
Goblins and ghoulies from last Halloween: awaken the spirits with your tambourine.
Creepies and crawlies, toads in a pond; let there be music, from regions beyond!
Wizards and witches, wherever you dwell, give us a hint, by ringing a bell!"
 
- Madame Leota's incantation

Madame Leota may be the most popular Haunted Mansion character (next to the beloved Hitchhiking Ghosts). In fact, the crystal ball/projection effect is one of the most imitated props recreated by home haunters.

When the ride brought me into the dark space with the floating crystal ball, and Madame Leota's booming voice inviting the spirits to come forth, I instantly understood what all the fuss was about.

I was able to snap this quick photo with my iPad, believe it or not (photography is allowed, but no flash as it ruins the ambience). I didn't think anything was going to turn out, since I was a) moving in b) a pitch black room and c) not actually looking at what was on screen because I didn't want to miss a moment.

The cool thing (one of many) about visiting the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween is that Madame Leota herself is sitting out in front of the mansion in the evening, greeting guests and interacting with them as they wait in line (see the various pictures below). 

I was lucky enough to attend two party nights, and the ladies portraying Madame Leota were hilarious. Quick witted improvisers who never broke character, they constantly engaged the crowd and playfully jested with those in line. Hands down, it's the best character interaction in the park, and she never loses steam.

Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion: The Building

on October 2, 2013 - 2:51pm

Welcome October! I'm a day late posting my greeting to the greatest month of the year. Currently posting in my pajamas, home sick from work. But before you feel too sorry for me, know I am grateful to catch the cold that's infecting most of Toronto now, as opposed to the last couple of weeks. Why? Because I went to Walt Disney World in Orlando for the first time ever. 

The timing was perfect (and deliberate) because the Magic Kingdom is decorated for Halloween in early September, and they host Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on certain nights.

More on that later.

Right now the focus is on the Haunted Mansion. I spent my entire life avoiding any video or photographs of the Haunted Mansion. After viewing a special as a child that showed the dancing ghosts, I swore I'd see it in person. As such, I didn't want to spoil anything about it until I could take in all the surprises with my own eyes, live and on location. 

Decades passed. Who knew a trip to Disney World would elude me so long?

As part of the haunter community, it was inevitable that I would be exposed to the Madame Leota prop (though I never saw the original, only the haunter's version).

It was getting to be an impossible task. Enough was enough.

Finally, last month, I visited.