The Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction is open for the fourth year at Disneyland. Attendees at a merchandise special event last Wednesday and Thursday were the first to see the latest incarnation of the overlay, before it opened to the public on Friday.
The Mansion beckons park guests with its glow of eerie orange. Disneyland's Haunted Mansion has reopened for the fall with its latest Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
While the overlay is always a treat for Nightmare fans, some were disapointed that there were no major changes to the attraction this year. A rumored animatronic Sally materialized only in the Tokyo version. Disneyland's ride is pretty much the same as last year, with many of the the Oogie Boogie elements from the 2003 version making a repeat appearance.
Doc's Lab Lob is one of the five games offered to participants in the Haunted Mansion Holiday special event. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Many believe that this may be the last year that Disneyland holds a merchandise special event for the Haunted Mansion Holiday ride, and a few repeat attendees expressed relief that Disney was calling it quits. It feels like they just stopped trying this year. They've run out of ideas, said one. Others complained about an overall lack of organization, with many standing in an hour-long line just to pick up their event ticket, or receiving conflicting instructions on how to enter the event venue.
Jack and Sally standing on the mansion balcony. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Many felt that the event merchandise was uninspired, especially compared to the already-announced products created for the Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion event held later this month. To be sure, the core merchandise offered for the Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction has been scaled back quite a bit from previous years, with a single design for adult T-shirts and sweatshirts, no children's apparel, and very little in the way of logo merchandise. Le Bat en Rouge is again the headquarters store for the attraction, but quite a bit of the merchandise is generic Nightmare product available at Hot Topic and Suncoast stores across the country.
The Mark Twain makes a ghostly evening appearance amid artificial fog for the special event. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Despite disapointments in the merchandise offering and frustration over organizational details, many people praised the event planners for the food and event gifts. In place of the sit-down dinner from the past few events, Disney hosted an hors d'oeuvre buffet. Guests were pleasantly surprised to discover that the buffet included heartier fare than the name would imply, and offered a decent selection for vegetarians. Even after the attendees with the lower-priced tickets were admitted into the event, a large staff circulated through the crowds with trays of baked goods and desserts. Guests with the three higher-priced packages received a porcelain lamp as a pre-event gift, and all attendees went home with a small wooden chest, each with a set of Nightmare pins tucked inside its drawers.
Christopher Radko (left) poses for a photo with an event guest during the Haunted Mansion Holiday special event. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
In a matter of pure coincidence, the fake pistol has returned to the Jungle Cruise less than three weeks after Congress failed to renew the Federal assault weapons ban.
For many decades, Jungle Cruise skippers used to fire warning shots at the hippos during the ride as part of their routine. In 2001, however, an effort to make park attractions more politically correct led to the halt in the sale of toy guns, as well as to the disarming of skippers.
No official explanation was cited for the return of the popular feature, but MousePad discussion board member DJ Mentos reported that the back of the boat burst into applause during the hippo scene. They obviously had missed that effect, like me. But it's back for all of us to enjoy, he said.
The French Market in New Orleans Square has added a couple of items to the menu for the holiday season to match Haunted Mansion. Sally's Eye of Newt Marinara, a vegetable baked pasta dish with marinara sauce, is $11.99 and Zero's Bowl O' Bones, pork ribs and chicken legs with french fries, is $12.99. Both dishes are served in a souvenir Zero dog bowl. A Zero hot mug is also available for $4.69.
The two Haunted Mansion Holiday themed meals at French Market. Photo by Adrienne Krock.
This Tuesday, three members of the U.S. Olympic swim teamIan Crocker, Lenny Krayzelburg and Michael Phelpsappear at Disneyland in their final stop of the Swim with the Stars tour. The trio will participate in a swim meet in a specially built pool on Main Street, U.S.A.
Disneyland opens at 10 am on Tuesday, and visitors wanting to see the events should plan to arrive by 9:30 am when the main gates open. A Disneyland representative says there will be limited seating along the pool, and seating is first-come, first-served. If you don't snag a seat poolside, watch for the swimmers to participate in cavalcade processions between the it's a small world parade gate and the pool before and after the meet.
Tropical Imports, currently an Adventureland souvenir shop, may become a food location. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
A MousePlanet reader alerted us that the Tropical Imports store in Adventureland is now closed, and said that the Foods department has plans to set up shop inside the former store location, replacing the existing fruit cart next to Aladdin's Oasis. The rubber snakes and disposable cameras once sold at Tropical Imports would be offered from a merchandise cart set up in place of the fruit cart.
New Century Timepieces, a staple on Main Street, is now closed in the mornings. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
We have confirmed that New Century Timepiece is another location with a delayed noon opening time. Cast members at the Disney Gallery were reportedly frustrated that their management would not open that location the morning of last week's Haunted Mansion merchandise event. Several event guests complained because the shop, which still features a Haunted Mansion exhibit and offers related merchandise, was not open when there were so many Haunted Mansion collectors on property for the event.
A chain across the front of the steps keeps guests from visiting to the Disney Gallery, while dozens of Haunted Mansion collectors are in line to shop at Le Bat en Rouge. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Tickets for Chip & Dale's Wild Wild West Pin Adventure go on sale October 13. The event is February 3, 2005. For more information, visit the Disney Gallery Web site (link).
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