The Haunted Mansion gargoyle candelabra is my favorite lighting fixture of the attraction. Not just for its unique character but for the menacing way the lot of them look down upon you as your tour really gets underway. While the queue outside and even the Haunted Mansion foyer have elements that evoke a creepy atmosphere, the gargoyle is the first that is truly disquieting. Before you notice that the portrait room is a chamber that has no windows or doors and before the room undergoes its metamorphosis to reveal the stories of the stretching portraits, you see the gargoyles, looking down at you in decidedly candid nefarious anticipation. Statues they may be, but their lack of movement can only suggest their willingness to wait.CONTINUE READING
The Haunted Mansion Pet Cemetery
The Haunted Mansion pet cemetery at Disneyland is another one of those rich areas that you know has more to it than meets the eye. One of my favorite resources to consult on such matters is the Long-Forgotten blog, which is full of Haunted Mansion history, conspiracy, theory and everything in between. The pet cemeteries article over there has some interesting thoughts on the influence behind some of these tombstones. Like one of the commenters there, I view this area as a sort of transition from the romantic charm of New Orleans Square to the more sinister storyline that awaits inside the Mansion.CONTINUE READING
Weird Glows Gleam Where Spirits Dwell
The Haunted Mansion is full of secrets. Some of them true. Some of them not. It is the mystery and the blurred line between the two that piques our curiosity and draws us in deeper. When I heard about the secret graveyard on the back side of the Mansion, I had to ask if it was real and see it for myself. It’s not one of those secrets that only a select few know. It’s more like one that the average visitor doesn’t know.
When I finally managed to make it, I was delighted to have the experience. What impressed me more than the pet cemetery plots was the light emanating from behind The Haunted Mansion. As the song goes, weird glows gleam where spirits dwell, right? I know it’s just light, but it was pretty darn creepy. Again, the thoughtfulness of Disney theming shone through. The only (park approved) way to get to this area is to be escorted by a cast member. To be escorted by a cast member, one has to know about it to ask. Once you’ve asked, you have to hope that there is a cast member available (don’t ask when it’s busy, it’s just bad manners). For an area that’s obviously not intended to be seen by many, this seems an unnecessary feature, which is what makes it so fantastic.
People can feel what’s poured into something, whether or not they can (ever) see it. If you pour the fire of passion into something, people will feel the heat even if they can’t see the flame. Disneyland is the perfect example of this (most of the time). No matter how seemingly insignificant a detail might be, it deserves the same level of attention, planning and execution.
In case you’re wondering, I didn’t dare round the corner. Sometimes it’s best to leave the mystery alive!
Where the Air is Deathly Still
This evening, we continue our 13 post tour celebrating The Haunted Mansion’s 45th anniversary beneath the chandelier in the foyer… where the air is deathly still. The chandelier is a statement piece and makes for such a grand entrance that one hardly ever notices the spiderweb inlaid to the floor. I find that the light fixtures in the foyer are my favorites unless we’re including the gargoyles in the stretch room. Then it’s a little more difficult to decide, partially due to my concern that the gargoyles look hungry. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m a sucker for candles. Even semi-convincing fake ones. Am I the only one going around picking out my favorite light fixtures while I’m at Disneyland?
The Haunted Mansion will be closing next week to make way for the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay installation. It’s always a bittersweet transition for me because despite how much I enjoy Jack Skellington and the scent of gingerbread taking over, I miss my classic Haunted Mansion.
Haunted Mansion Sconce
Lighting is the key to atmosphere. This Haunted Mansion sconce addresses that not only with its light but with the vessel it delivers that light from. What better way to light a crypt than with a torch held by a dark skeletal arm? It reminds me of the scene in the graveyard that has an arm bricking itself in its crypt. It’s a morbid thought but I have always appreciated the balanced tone that the Haunted Mansion strikes.
I was very fortunate to have the help of a cast member to capture this sconce. I’m not sure I would have been able to get it otherwise. The Haunted Mansion exit is always a tricky area—so much to see, so many people behind you. She allowed us to hang out to the side of exit ramp so that we would be out of the way to take a few pictures. It was amazing to have the time to really look at all the details packed into this space. Big thanks to her for being so awesome!
I mentioned in last night’s post that we would have Haunted Mansion pictures in our shop starting today. Unfortunately, we had a few things come up that prevented us from setting that up, so they will be available starting tomorrow.
Wall to Wall Creeps
In The Haunted Mansion, every room has wall to wall creeps. They make appearances in portraits, in wallpaper, in moulding. You never know where you might find a face watching over you as you try to find a way out. These subtle details create an atmosphere that finds even the bravest souls adorning the occasional cadaverous pallor.
The Haunted Mansions’ 45th anniversary may have come and gone with the weekend but that won’t stop us from continuing the celebration. We’ve got posts lined up through the better part of next week and what better time to set a spooky tone than as the Halloween season approaches at Disneyland? Better still is that many of these pictures will be available as very limited edition prints starting tomorrow (Wednesday). We were able to get a shop back up and working today so that’s another small victory on the road to fixing our website. Thanks for your patience through all of this!