It's ghoul to be the king Where hinges creak in doorless chambers...

Return to etixland

Welcome, foolish mortals . . .

The Master decays

While I dearly missed the riverland charm of our New Orleans Square, I enjoyed the rustic Colonial seaboard theming of Liberty Square.

This imposing brick mansion glowers with gothic menace upon first glance, quite a different impression than the stately white portico and wrought iron balconies of its Anaheim progenitor. Beasts still howl beyond the misty graveyard and ominous shadows still cross the dimly lit windows.

Inside its walls, the same 999 grim grinning ghosts lurk in the corridors, waiting to socialize with visiting guests. The order and arrangement of this haunted tour has been altered from the original, but the overall frightening fun remains undiminished.

It was a bit odd entering the Mansion through the garden hillside rather than the front door, but upon entry the dank, musty atmosphere takes hold of your senses immediately. From the decaying portrait of the Master glaring down from the parlor wall, to the claustrophobic corridor of ghastly family paintings, the dark and more foreboding decor of this Mansion opts for eerieness over elegance.

This proves the less successful choice when comparing the portrayal halls and "doombuggy" loading areas: the Anaheim portraits morph between scenes of beauty and decay (years ago they used to blink between the two in time with the lightning flashes, highly dramatic!), but the MK portraits merely stare down viewers with glowing eyes; and the loading area in Anaheim is much more open and moody than the illogically cramped queue in Orlando, which loses the 'manor tour' feel of the attraction.

A happy medium

Grim, not-so-grinning ghost

The ghostly bride awaits Otherwise the MK's Mansion offers the same classic haunt gags and illusions, with enjoyable results. It does add on an ending scene through the mausoleum before exiting the Doombuggies -- but whether or not this is as atmospheric as the subterranean crypt chamber exit in Anaheim is a matter of taste. I will always prefer the original show, out of habit and familiarity if nothing else. Either way, a tour through the Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom is a must for any visit to the Park.

The Hall of Presidents

Not to short change The Hall of Presidents, while in Liberty Square I recommend seeing this attraction as well: its decor and patriotic spirit embody its Colonial-era theming, congregating each of our American presidents on one stage. It's an impressive view to behold, watching our nation's leaders from different centuries mingling together, whispering and chatting to each other as Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Bill Clinton address the audience. Soon George W. Bush's figure will be installed to address guests as our current President.

While some of the figures display the most basic animation techniques compared to the "stars", the combined effect of the assembled group works successfully. The show itself is entertaining in a patriotic vein, and makes a good 'warm up' to visiting The American Adventure in EPCOT, which should not be missed. Please visit the Epcot section of my site for more details on that excellent attraction.

But for now, let's continue enjoying the Magic Kingdom -- adventure and danger await us in the Old West...

© 2000-2002 scott weitz