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Disneyland Article
Beignets Pirates And Ghosts Oh My

Haunted Mansion Holiday
Cal Jones
October 15, 2016
October 15, 2016
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When New Orleans Square opened in July of 1966, the mayor of New Orleans, Victor Schiro, participated in the dedication. Schiro announced that Disney was an honorary citizen of the real city and joked that adding the Square cost as much as the original Louisiana Purchase. The dedication was Walt's last public appearance before his death that December.

There are two actual rides in the New Orleans Square: Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion (Haunted Mansion Holiday for Halloween and Christmas). Tiana's Showboat Jubilee show took place on the Mark Twain Riverboat for a couple of months from November of 2009 to the following January, so I'm not counting it. It had been a combination of a parade and musical revue, like the Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland. There were about three dozen performers dressed in 1920s-era Mardi Gras costumes that danced through the crowds and onto the Riverboat, tossing beads the whole time. Many of those beads ended up at the bottom of the Rivers of America.

The Haunted Mansion opened in 1969, but the show building had been there since around 1961. It was an empty shell while the ride's Imagineers worked on the 1964 World's Fair. The original idea was to the make the house look abandoned, like the haunted stereotype. Walt didn't want anything ugly in his beautiful park. So groundskeepers took care of the outside while the ghosts took care of the inside.

To get to the ride itself, we have to go under the train tracks. The Stretching Room acts as an elevator, which is the only part of the ride that is in the façade of the Mansion. The Doom Buggies travel through a nondescript warehouse, painted green to disguise it. The effects of the ghosts, especially in the Ballroom, are very low tech, something that had been in use in the 1860s with plays. The Pepper's Ghost Effect is achieved with relatively brightly colored mannequins reflected through a pane of glass that is at an angle and then reflected onto another pane. The Ballroom is built in double, one is the actual Ballroom; the other contains the mannequins and is completely black so that the light cast on the room effects on anything light, creating a ghostly image in the visible room.

The design of the house, both façade and the ride, was based on the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose and the Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore.

When Pirates of the Caribbean opened in March of 1967, the skeletons were real. At the time, prop skeletons that were available looked completely fake. Later, those skeletons were given a proper burial, with the possible exception of the skull in the headboard of the Captain's Quarters. It was originally supposed to be a wax museum. With the success of It's a Small World's boat ride concept on the '64 World's Fair, Imagineers switched over.

The songs the two rides are famous for, "Grim Grinning Ghosts" and "Yo Ho (a Pirate's Life for Me!)" respectively, were written, at least in part, by Xavier Atencio.

The Disney Gallery was intended to be an apartment for Walt Disney, but he passed away before it was finished. He had decided that the apartment above the Main Street Fire Station was too small to host extensive events, and wanted the larger apartment to be where the park wasn't as busy. It has hosted exhibits for both of the aforementioned rides and the art of Disneyland. It was moved to the Main Street Opera House in 2007. Walt and Roy's initials are in the ironwork of the Gallery's balcony. The space is now occupied by the Disneyland Dream Suite.

It was a part of the "Year of a Million Dreams" promotion from October 2006 to December 2008. As of now, it's pretty much only available to randomly-selected guests of the park and other promotions. The space includes a living room, patio, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and it gives guests a completely unobstructed view of Fantasmic! The entire space has a number of unusual decorations including a full-size carousel horse, an electric train, a mechanical song bird, and antique mechanical toys. The patio has fireflies visiting every night, and visual and audio enhancements appear when the lights go down, as well as special effect surprises. From the pictures I've seen, the place looks beautiful, even having stained glass windows in the bathrooms.
Attractions Referenced

Disney Gallery (Main Street)

Disney Gallery (New Orleans Square)

Dream Suite


Golden Horseshoe Jamboree

Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion Holiday

It's A Small World

Main Street Fire House

Mark Twain Riverboat

Pirates Of The Caribbean

Tiana's Mardi Gras Celebration

Lands Referenced


Main Street U.S.A.

New Orleans Square

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