Friday, August 30, 2019

Haunted Mansion 50th Anniversary History and Trivia

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion celebrated it's 50th anniversary earlier this month. In honor of fifty years of spooky fun, we've put together a list of fun details, history, and trivia! Enjoy, and be sure to let us know you're favorite piece of Haunted Mansion trivia. We love to learn new Disney facts!

Walt Wanted the Mansion Scary on the Inside, but Not the Outside

Original designs for the exterior of the Haunted Mansion had shattered windows, broken shutters, and even bats flying around. However, Walt Disney didn't like the idea of something so shabby being visible as you walk through the park so plans were changed so that it would look like a normal house on the outside, but be completely haunted on the inside.

There was a Five Hour Wait Time On Opening Day

You think wait times are bad now? It's reported that on it's opening day, the line for the Haunted Mansion was up to five hours long and stretched back to Fantasyland! (Which btw makes the time I waited 3-4 hours for Indiana Jones and the line curved out of Adventureland, down Main Street, and wrapped into Frontierland seem much less impressive.)

There's a Very Practical Reason for the Stretching Portrait Room
Photo Credit: Mansionology
Ever wonder why you're in an elevator for the Stretching Portrait Room, only to walk down a hallway, board a Doom Buggy, and go back uphill when the ride itself begins? Then, of course, you go back down for the graveyard scene, and up one more time as you exit the ride.

The reason for all of this up and down is that the tracks to the Disneyland Railroad are literally in the way of a smooth ride. There's not much in the actual "Mansion" itself. Most of the attraction is in a rather large building backstage. But because the train runs directly behind the mansion, the workaround for imagineers was to have you go down an elevator (the stretching room), walk under the tracks (the hallway with the haunted portraits), go back up into the building that holds the main part of the attraction (going uphill into the Endless Hallway), go back down at the end to cross back under the train tracks (going down from the bride's room into the graveyard), then come back up to exit the ride (the escalator as you pass the "Hurry Back" ghost). That's a lot of work!!!

Extra Fun Fact!! This is why if you visit the Haunted Mansion in Walt Disney World, the ceiling lifts in the stretching portrait room. There's no need for you to go down!

One of the Glass Panels in the Ballroom Scene has been Broken for Decades

If you've ever looked REALLY carefully during the ballroom scene, you may have noticed a spider sitting on a web. It's all the way on the left side before you leave the room, and it's at about eye level - so you won't notice it if you're looking down at the ghostly dancers. The spider is actually there to cover a crack in the glass! The piece of glass is so enormous that they'd actually have to lift it out through the roof so they've never fixed it. Rumor has it a kid with a BB gun shot at it, but there's no concrete info on what actually broke the window in the first place.

The Hatbox Ghost Returned Because They Could Finally Get it Right

Photo Credit: The Disney Blog
When Disneyland brought back the Hatbox Ghost in 2015, some fans were confused as to why he was a big deal, other than being a super spooky ghost with an awesome special effect. The original ads for the Haunted Mansion back in the 60s all had the Hatbox Ghost prominently displayed on them. He was everywhere. But when the ride opened, the effect just wasn't right. There was too much ambient light for this face to fully disappear from either his body or the hatbox. It just didn't work, so he was quickly removed. Over the years he became a little bit of a legend, with some Disney fans remembering him but there being very little evidence he ever existed within the ride. Fast forward to Disneyland's Diamond Celebration and he returned with much fanfare now that the technology was there to really get the effect of his face leaving his body and appearing in his hatbox to be just as creepy as it was originally intended to be.

Hidden Mickey of Dishes

Photo Credit: Inside the Magic
For the Hidden Mickey lovers: There's always a Mickey made out of the dishes on the table in the ballroom scene. It gets moved around once in a while, but it's always there somewhere.

Hidden Belle in the Bride Room

Photo Credit Unknown...but it's a great shot!!
This one is newer and I honestly don't know how long it'll be around (much like the Lego Captain Jack Sparrow that used to be in the Pirates of the Caribbean), but there is a small figurine of Belle in the Bride's Attic room. I'm hoping it'll still be there when I next visit because I haven't seen this one there for myself. Have any of you?

Madame Leota is Actually an Imagineer

Leota Toombs working on Pirates of the Caribbean (Photo Credit: D23)
The floating head of Madame Leota is one of the most iconic images of the Haunted Mansion. While you may know that she is voiced by Disney legend Eleanor Audley (voice of Maleficent and Lady Tremaine), did you know that the face you see belongs to Imagineer Leota Toombs? Leota worked for Disney originally in the Ink and Paint department, and then as an Imagineer for classic attractions like Its a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion itself. She's also the model for the "Hurry Back" bride at the end of the ride (and the voice that time as well!).

Madame Leota in the Holiday Overlay is her Daughter

Photo Credit: Chip and Co
Keeping it in the family, the face of Madame Leota that's used in Haunted Mansion Holiday belongs to Leota Tooms' daughter, Kim Irvine (also an Imagineer!).

The Haunted Mansion is based off of a Real House

The exterior of the Haunted Mansion is based off the Shipley-Lydecker house in Baltimore, Maryland. Unfortunately the house is no longer standing, but you can see how it's practically identical to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Disneyland Announcements from D23

The D23 Expo was this weekend and it was AMAZING. There were exciting announcements about upcoming Disney movies, TV, and Disney+ streaming. They shared the new collaboration between Disney and Target (check out our Facebook for more details on that one). A new ship for the Disney Cruise Line was announced. Dick Van Dyke was even there to help share the news about a new Mary Poppins attraction coming to Epcot, along with a major overhaul of that entire park.

But, Dole Whip A Day is a pretty Disneyland Resort specific site so we're here to break down all the great info that came out about Walt's original Happiest Place on Earth. Are your ready? Keep your hands, arms, feet, and legs inside the blog. Here we go!

Avengers Campus Name and Details

Ever since Bug's Land closed, we've known that a Marvel themed land was coming. Sometime in 2020, you can visit the Avengers Campus (official name) where you can sling webs with Spider-Man to help him collect "Spider-Bots that have run amok." I'm not sure if it's more like Toy Story Midway Mania where you feel like you're in a game or if it's more like Smuggler's Run where how you perform affects the ride itself, but I can't wait to find out!

First look at the actual ride vehicle, from Disney Food Blog

You can eat at the Pym Test Kitchen, where Ant Man and the Wasp have apparently been trying to grow and shrink food! So many huge, tiny, and delicious possibilities...

Expect lots of character meet and greets all around the Avengers Headquarters, where **in PHASE TWO of the land opening** you'll fly in the Quinjet to Wakanda for an epic battle with the Avengers! No dates yet on Phase 2, FYI.

Mickey's Runaway Railway

Who else was THRILLED when they announced earlier this year that there'll finally be a Mickey themed ride inside of Disneyland??? Mickey's Runaway Railway is coming to Toontown, but not until 2022. (If you're a WDW lover, they'll be opening in Hollywood Studios in 2020.) I don't mind the long wait if it means Toontown will finally start getting the facelift and love it deserves. Anyway...

We're being promised a fully immersive story with great effects that will make you feel like you've not just boarded Goofy's train, but also gone straight into a Mickey and friends cartoon.

At D23 they shared some concept art, ride vehicle model, Cast Member costumes, and sneak peaks at Imaginears at work. Take a look!

Concept art of the El CapiTOON Theater where you'll enter the ride

Cast Member costumes designed and ready to go. Photo credit: WDW News Today

Model of the ride vehicle, which I'm hoping will have additional rows of seats, like in earlier concept art

Imaginears are hard at work getting this together. 

A Brand New Daytime Parade

Sorry Soundsational lovers, a new daytime parade has just been announced and we think it'll knock your socks off! Coming Spring of 2020, you can see Moana sailing in her canoe over a huge wave, Miguel and his family from Coco on opposite sides of the marigold bridge, and even a Sleeping Beauty float where Aurora's dress changes from pink to blue right in front of your eyes! (If that sounds familiar, there's been a video going around for the last year or two of that happening in a Disney parade but it's photoshopped. This will be the real deal!)

Sneak Peak of Rise of the Resistance

As Phase 2 of Galaxy's Edge gets ready for January 2020, Disney showed some video clips of the new Rise of the Resistance ride at D23, and there are some amazing things happening! Check out these images of Kylo Ren's lightsaber cutting straight into your ride vehicle from above, huge AT-AT style walkers (not sure their names, sorry Star Wars super fans) coming straight towards you, and a very realistic looking hologram talking to the riders. (They're not perfect pictures because they're pictures of a video, but they're enough to get you excited!

What are you most excited for? I personally can't wait to see a new parade, and am ready to be amazed by all the rest.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Halloween (already!) at Disneyland

Ok people, we're about two weeks away from the beginning of Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. Are you ready for this?? Officially beginning on September 6, Halloween Time brings new food offerings, the return favorite ride overlays and park decorations, and a new version of the Halloween Party. Let's dive in.

Because I'm hungry as I write this, let's start with the food


Most churro carts will be adding a special Halloween flavor (pumpkin spice in New Orleans Square and at the Cozy Cone, Maleficent churro on Main Street, S'mores churro at the Golden Gate churro cart, etc) so if you consider yourself a churro aficionado, be sure to hit up all the carts and please let us know which was your fave.


Photo Credit: Mickey Visit
If you're looking for other desserts, there are still endless options!

In Disneyland Park, the Jolly Holiday will have lots of new baked goodies, including a Cruella de Ville brownie, pumpkin layered cheesecake, and a spiced bundt cake. Head over to the Gibson Girl for a Halloween sundae, or the Plaza Inn for Main Street Mickey's pound cake (pictured above).

In California Adventure, head over to Clarabelle's for a Bat Wing raspberry sundae, get a caramel apple smoothie at Schmoozie's, or try the pumpkin bread pudding at the Pacific Wharf Cafe.

Not Just Sweets!!!

Photo Credit: Mickey Visit

If you're in the mood for something spooky but not ready for dessert, there's still lots to try!

Over on the Disneyland Park side, you can get the Halloween hot dog at the Refreshment Corner, spiced ham musubi (above) at the Bengal Barbecue, or the crab and corn chowder at Cafe Orleans.

If you're heading to DCA, try the Oktoberfest dog at Award Weiners, fire dragon tacos at the Studio Catering Company, or the stinky-but-tasty anti-vampire chicken pizza at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta.

Oogie Boogie Bash

This year, instead of the usual Mickey's Halloween Party in Disneyland Park, the party's heading to California Adventure for the Oogie Boogie Bash! DCA will close early to the general public so the party can start at 6pm. You'll get five hours to meet characters in their Halloween costumes, see World of Color: Villainous, go trick or treating, check out the new Frightfully Fun Parade, and wander through the newly transformed (for Halloween, not forever) Redwood Challenge Trail where "Disney Villains create an enchanting world, twisting the forest into a hauntingly beautiful grove of color, sound, light and shadow."

Tickets are available for $110 per person every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday from September 6 through Halloween. A couple of dates are already sold out, so if you really want to check this out you should act fast!

Ride Overlays

Classic Halloween ride overlays are returning this year. Once again, my very favorite Haunted Mansion Holiday will be back. Joining it are the spooky overlays and Halloween music for Mater's Junkyard Jamboree ("JamBOOree"),  Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters (Honkin' Haul-O-Ween) and Guardian's of the Galaxy Mission Breakout (Monsters After Dark). 

** Attn Space Mountain Fans: Ghost Galaxy will NOT be returning this year. Instead, Hyperspace Mountain will stay up through the Halloween season. 

Spooky Decorations

Disneyland really does it up for Halloween. From the classic decor at the Main Street Train Station, to the creepy Headless Horseman on Buena Vista Street, there are spooky touches everywhere. Just check out our pics from last year!
It's Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort!

Elvis has got to be my favorite of the many, many, jack-o-lanterns up and down Main Street 

Jack-o-lanterns matching the themes of all of the "lands" surround Walt and Mickey

The Halloween Tree in Frontierland is covered in tiny, hand decorated pumpkins.

You should see this guy at night! 

Bats surrounding the tower of Carthay Circle

You'll find purple lights everywhere in DCA, giving it an eerie glow all night!

CarsLand probably has the most decorations of anywhere else in the park.

Don't forget to go into Ramone's to find a Dia De Los Muertos offrenda for Doc.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Unusual Interactive Spots at DIsneyland

For those of us who visit Disneyland often, we sometimes feel like we've seen everything. But really, there's always a new little detail to find and the best ones are often interactive. So we've put together a list of our favorite, more unusual, interactive spots to check out! Have you seen all of these before? Anything we missed? Hit us up in the comments.

The Wicked Queen's Apple

Let's start with my favorite, even if its a little more well known. Touch the golden apple at the entrance to Snow White's Scary Adventures to hear the witch's cackle. The best part of this being something that my kids love doing every trip is that we always manage to unintentionally show it to someone who didn't know about it. The surprised look on other guests' faces is my favorite part!

Sabor the Leopard in Tarzan's Treehouse

Get too close to Sabor and he'll roar so loudly you might just jump out of your skin! This is another one that's super fun to do to unsuspecting guests. Even if they're expecting it, it can still cause a pretty good scare.

Tinkerbell in the Peter Pan Queue

While you're waiting in the inevitable line for Peter Pan's Flight and looking for something fun to pass the time, open up the Play Disney app (available for iPhone and Android). There's a whole game you can play while in line, but the best part is when you come up to the lantern. The app will prompt you when it thinks you're getting close and ask you if you're there yet.

Once you're there and you say yes, get ready to make some magic happen. Here's comes Tinkerbell!!

Pics from Fresh Baked Disney
**Pro Tip: The Play Disney app has some great games and interactive bits like this all throughout the parks. More info here!

Pull the Rope on Indiana Jones

Photo Credit: Hidden California
When you're waiting in line for Indiana Jones you'll come up to a well with a rope going down inside. You'll hear a guy working inside and there's a sign that says "Do Not Pull Rope." Let me tell you...pull the rope!!!!

Indiana Jones Pole

Photo Credit: Disney Shawn
While we're still waiting in the Indy line, also keep an eye out for a narrow room that looks like its held up by a bamboo pole. When you walk by, pull on it to make the ceiling cave in on you!

Toontown Alley Doors and Boxes

Toontown is often a neglected area, but it's so worth spending time in! There's a lot of interactive elements everythwere! Most are on the main road around the "town," and pretty easy to pick out. But my favorite spot is a little more off the beaten path. Head down the alley between Roger Rabbit and the Gag Factory store
. There are boxes all over that will make different sounds when you try to open them, there's a TNT box with a handle at the top (you might just make the fireworks factory explode!), and there's the coolest part...a big green door that says "By order of the Toontown Electric Company. Opening this door is absolutely, positively, and unquestionably forbidden. Unless you really feel like it." I strongly urge you to feel like it for a "shocking" surprise!

Ink and Paint Club Entrance

Photo Credit: Disney Wiki

Let's stay in ToonTown for a minute...There is SO MUCH going on in the Roger Rabbit queue, it could be really easy to miss something. Next time you're going through, stop at the entrance to the Ink and Paint Club (where Jessica Rabbit performs in the movie). If you knock on the door, a huge set of eyes will peer out at you and ask for the password!

**Pro Tip: The password is "Walt Sent Me"

Everything in the Animation Building

Photo Credit: Traveling Mom
Ok, this one is a little less specific, but it's really true. Go to the animation building in Hollywoodland in California Adventure! Aside from the killer lobby full of movie clips, pictures, and music, it's home to some very neglected but very fun activities! Head into the Sorcerer's Workshop to find out which Disney character is most like you, meet a 150 year old sea turtle and ask him your questions at Turtle Talk with Crush (my son asked the names of all of his kids with hilarious results!), and learn to draw a Disney or Pixar character at the Animation Academy. Really, you can't go wrong in this huge, interactive, air conditioned building!

Haunted Caves on Pirate's Lair

While you're wandering through the caves on Pirate's Lair (#TomSawyersIslandForever), there are a lot of cool details to spot, but take a look for Pintel's creepy head in the Dead Man's Grotto!