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The Magic Years
Disney through the eyes of teens
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Adrienne Krock, editor
What Happens When Holidays Collide

A man-eating plant makes a wonderful wreath, as long as you don't get stuck in its teeth.

These words of wisdom come from the Haunted Mansion Holiday in New Orleans Square. For the 2001 holiday season, the Mansion has taken on the theme of Tim Burton's movie Nightmare Before Christmas. I had anticipated this transformation of the Mansion for a long time, and was very excited when I finally got to experience it!

Nightmare Before Christmas is about Jack Skellington, a citizen of Halloween Town, who tries his hand at being Santa Claus. Jack tries his best, but there are a few kinks to be worked out. As you approach the Mansion, you walk under an archway with a large Jack Skellington atop it, pumpkins and Halloween cheer adorn the facade of this once dark and dreary Mansion, and a countdown clock reads "0 Days 'Til Christmas."

Visitors are greeted by a cast member and are instructed to scream on cue both in line and within the Mansion. When I was there on a Tuesday afternoon, there weren't too many people there. I think it would be great fun to have everyone screaming at once at night, though! Pay attention to the things around you while in line. There are a lot of surprises before you even get inside.

I rode alone the first time, and must admit that I was a bit nervous. Once things got rolling though, I was quickly entranced and forgot my worries. In the stretching room, you are surrounded by stained glass pictures of children dreaming of Christmas, stockings hung with care and other peaceful Christmas scenes. As a voice announces, "Twas the nightmare before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was peaceful, not even a mouse," the pictures stretch into bizarre scenes of what becomes of a Halloween-style Christmas celebrated by Jack Skellington. Although this room may be the scariest part of the ride for some people, it's not really truly scary.

When you leave the stretching room and walk through the hallway, you notice changes. Instead of the regular Haunted Mansion portraits, the pictures now portray a snowman becoming a stack of pumpkins, a Christmas tree turning into dried twigs. The busts that follow you with their eyes are now partly hidden by the webs of skillful spiders. One says "NOEL," and if you look closely, you see " HO HO" woven into the other. The Halloween Town mayor, showing his happy face, holds a banner reading "Merry Christmas." The sign changes to read "Scary Christmas" as the face of the mayor flips around to show his scary face.

Once the ride actually begins, nightmarish Christmas surprises await the rider around ever corner and in every nook & cranny. When the "sleigh" tips back, be sure to look up, down and all around.

You will also see the coffin that always seems to have trouble staying closed. Jack has put a "Do not open until Christmas" tag on it. In the attic room, try to find your name on the "Sandy Claws" list. Only the really bad kids have two skulls by their names.

My favorite part of this ride is the ballroom. On the banquet table there are all sorts of Halloween presents and trinkets. The ghosts still dance, only now it's under a Halloween tree, on which spiders play with the ornaments.

In the graveyard, Sandy Claws greets each dark sleigh by asking some "Have you been good or bad this year?" The singing busts now have pumpkins pushed onto their heads as they sing "We Wish You a Scary Christmas." Corpses and ghosts celebrate with drinks and joy. You will also notice that the cemetery is covered in a blanket of... snow! This pleases good ol' Sandy Claws and his ghost dog Zero.

At the end, Lock, Shock and Barrel are waiting with a few of their ghoulish friends for a ride. You cannot say no to these little hitchhikers!

I am trying to convince my little brother to go on this great ride. The Holiday will be celebrated through January 6, 2002, so he has plenty of time to decide. I will let you know if he musters up the courage. The Haunted Mansion was a bit scary, but this bizarre interpretation of Christmas is actually quite colorful and very amusing!


~ Jewel

Jewel's FastFact: It took 10 special effects artists to create the storm in the beginning of The Little Mermaid. This storm only lasts for two minutes in the movie, but it took them over a year to finish it!

Reader mail is the stuff dreams are made of! If you've got any questions, comments or suggestions for future columns, email me at I'd love to hear from you!

Haunted Mansion Holiday


Photos taken by Sue Kruse and Adrienne Vincent- Phoenix

Be sure to stop by MousePlanet's Haunted Mansion Holiday special section for even more ride photos


My name is Jewel.

I am 13 years old, and a typical junior high student. I live with my mom, dad, and little brother. My family and I have annual passes to Disneyland so we go quite often. I love school, and science has always been a favorite subject of mine. I am in band and hope to be involved in music for the rest of my life.

Right now, my career goal is to become a deejay. In my mind, that is the coolest job in the world! My hobbies include: listening to and playing music, reading, writing, messing around on the computer and hanging out at Disneyland. We have seven cats (four of them found us), a black Labrador, and I have a goldfish.

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