Disneyland Ride Review Eerie And Merry Join For The Haunted Mansion Holiday
Haunted Mansion Holiday
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A haunted house mixing Christmas and Halloween is exactly what you get when Disneyland adds the seasonal overlay called the Haunted Mansion Holiday to its classic attraction.
Based on the Tim Burton-produced film "The Nightmare Before Christmas," it features Jack Skellington and other characters from the movie.
You start your tour of the mansion as usual, but the outside is now decorated with pumpkins and a strangely shaped clock above the porch showing the number of days until Christmas.
Once you pass through the foyer, you find yourself in the octagonal portrait gallery, where you undergo that disquieting metamorphosis of the room as it stretches, but with a different voice narrating the tour. When you reach bottom, instead of the corpse hanging in the rafters, an image of Skellington appears, wishing you a happy holiday.
Down the hallway to the Doom Buggies you walk. The paintings on the wall come alive with images mixing Christmas and Halloween, supposedly placed there by Skellington as he tries to figure out the answer to the question "What is Christmas?"
As you approach the Doom Buggies, on the far wall is a pile of presents with a bow that says "Scary Christmas."
Time to board the Doom Buggies for the remainder of the tour. As you ride down the first hallway, you find it adorned with skeletons and eerily carved pumpkins. There is a pile of bones in front of the Endless Hallway wrapped with a ribbon with a tag saying it is for Skellington's ghost dog, Zero - who is flying around in that hallway.
There are singing flowers around the coffin, where a man is struggling to get out.
Upon entering Madame Leota's seance room, you can't help but notice the crystal ball with her image is now shaped like a crystal Christmas ornament.
From there it is into the Grand Ballroom, where the aroma of ginger wafts through the air. In the center of the massive dining table sits a giant Gingerbread House teetering back and forth while the dancers dance their endless waltz, only now to music from the film.
The Gingerbread house inside the Ballroom scene is nearly 8-feet tall. According to Disney officials, it took a team of 4 pastry chefs 16 days to build and decorate the house. Most of them have been a part of the tradition of making a new Gingerbread house since 2001.
The house is constructed with the following:
* More than 120 pounds of Gingerbread
* 50 gallons of frosting and icing
The frosting and icing took the following ingredients:
* 5 gallons of egg whites
* 75 pounds of powdered sugar
* 3 quarts of lemon juice
* 2 each 9 ounce bottles of red, violet, orange and green food coloring
* 47 pounds of Fondant
On up to the attic you travel, where a large snake keeps watch over all the gift-wrapped toys. Then it's out into the graveyard, where Skellington is seen asking "What's this?" as he watches the eerie dance of ghosts and goblins in the macabre setting - only now they are singing a mix of the classic Haunted Mansion song, "Grim Grinning Ghosts," Christmas carols and more.
Finally, you meet up with Oogie Boogie, who spins a dial to figure out what tricks or treats you might get. And as you near the end of your trip, one of his tricks or treats joins you in your Doom Buggy, similar to the hitchhiking ghosts.
An Imagineer's Review
When this seasonal overlay first appeared in 2001, there were some who lamented the changing of the classic attraction. But its popularity and quirkiness won over many, including me.
I had felt for some time that the classic attraction was in need of some updates, and this overlay provided a massive one.
The Imagineers responsible for this overlay did a magnificent job mixing the classic elements with the new material.
One of the unique design elements is the use of the giant gingerbread house in the Grand Ballroom. It is made fresh each year and is never the same design.
The blending of Danny Elfman's music from the film with the classic music written by Buddy Baker with lyrics by X Atencio puts a bow on the whole thing.
What really works for Disneyland is that it provides an attraction that services two holidays at once, Halloween and Christmas - good for all the repeat visitors who have become so dominant at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom.
I heartily recommend this Haunted Mansion Holiday and give it a grade of A-plus.
Haunted Mansion Holiday