Updated 8/8/02 including some improved images
Welcome to etixland's continuing coverage of Disneyland's frighteningly popular seasonal treat, the HAUNTED MANSION HOLIDAY. Those 999 happy haunters will soon invite Jack Skellington and his Halloween Town friends back into the Haunted Mansion for a high-spirited holiday celebration in "The Nightmare Before Christmas" style. This 'make over' of the classic Haunted Mansion attraction returns to Disneyland this October, but will only remain through the holiday season, so drag your bones to Disneyland to witness this amusing holiday transformation for yourself.
I really enjoyed the 2001 reworking of our original Mansion ride, which was certainly much more elaborate, inspired and no doubt vastly more expensive than the superficial holiday redressing of It's A Small World each year. For this whimsical blend of Halloween and Christmas, Imagineers created several new animatronic figures and displays, which compliment rather than replace many of the Mansion's existing ghosts -- a welcome relief to fans of the classic attraction who might fear too much tampering with the well-loved ride. It's a good balance between a thorough re-theming of the ride in the spirit of Tim Burton's film without entirely obliterating the existing, popular Mansion show -- a tough line to walk successfully, but I feel WDI pulled it off well.
More importantly, they didn't 'wimp out' on the project either: nearly every room received a "Nightmare" make over, yet the clever narration and music deftly incorporate these changes into the existing story. Many scenes are supplemented by Halloween Town denizens, while some brand new scenes and effects were created specifically for the Haunted Mansion Holiday. Plenty of spooky tricks still abound, but guests can expect many enjoyable treats in this seasonal gift!
I met with modest success obtaining video still grabs of the attraction, but the interior pictures you see are far from ideal -- even with the somewhat brighter conditions provided by more black lights, the Mansion interior remains a very dark place to photograph (and of course, I'm not going to ruin the ride for others by using a flash or video light). Actually I did quite well getting images on video, but the transfer of video grabs to still graphics sacrificed a good deal of brightness and color values, sadly. I'll try to obtain better pictures when the HMH returns this October, but for now, I've goosed up these images to give you the best view I can.
With that caveat out of the way, what you'll see here even under the best lighting cannot compare to seeing the Haunted Mansion Holiday in person, and I encourage anyone reading my review to go see the attraction yourself... that's really the only way to fully enjoy Disney's haunting holiday offering while it lasts.
Welcome, foolish mortals, and enter Disney's HAUNTED MANSION HOLIDAY...
© 2001-2002 scott weitz