Disney Ride History: The Haunted Mansion (part 3/3)

Hey guys! Another late post today. But today, I will be talking about the main special effects of The Haunted Mansion. I will be talking about the little behind the scenes facts and ideas that went into the illusions in the ride.

Are you guys ready to ruin your childhood? No… Then let’s go!

  1. Audio Animatronics – This system was invented by the WED Enterprises when Walt Disney found a robotic bird and thought, “Hey, this looks cool!” It is like a robot, with audio, There are different types of audio animatronics, most notably the A-100. A-100 animatronics include the new Hatbox Ghost animatronic and (the horribly animated) Cyborg at the Justice League ride at Movie World. 
  2. Pepper’s Ghost – Many people think  the ballroom dancing ghosts are holograms. But that is not true. They are actually pulled off by using an old theater trick. A giant piece of glass is over the entire ballroom scene. Audio Animatronics of the ghosts are hidden and dimly lighted so that their reflection is in the glass. From the audience’s perspective, the ghost appear transparent, but actually they are just looking at a giant reflection. In fact, someone broke the glass one time. But the clever Imagineers put a spider on it and passed it off as a cob web.
  3. Elevators – Believe it or not, but the stretching room is just a cleverly designed elevator. It is just the same type of elevator as the one you go on in the mall. The paintings were designed by Marc Davis, and they are replaced every once and a while. The stretching of the room can cause wear and tear on the paintings, so they are taken and traced over and colored exactly like it were before. The roof is just a scrim, a thin piece of cloth that is see-through when lit from the back and solid when lit from the front. When the lightning flashes, the light from behind the scrim causes the scrim to disappear and expose the hanging remains of the Ghost Host. 
  4. Projections – What do the Singing Busts, Constance Hatchaway, and Madame Leota have in common? All their faces are just projections. That’s right! Their faces are just projections, but I guess that’s pretty obvious. But when the Leota effect was updated to add in a floating effect, the old film projections were replaced with digital video projections. But what to do if your target it now moving around? Do you remember that bouncing ball that bounces around your screen when it falls asleep? Imagine that, but with Leota’s face. 
  5. Omnimover – Hop in your “Doom Buggy” or your Omnimover as some people call it. Your dark carriage is actually a ride system invented by WED Enterprises. They liked this idea better than the whole walk-through attraction concept because it efficiently moved guests in and out of the ride.

That’s all I have you guys this time. If you’d like to read more about The Haunted Mansion, visit www.doombuggies.com/ for more awesome facts about The Haunted Mansion, Phantom Manor, and more! 

Next time, I’ll be talking about the Chick-a-Pin HIll, just past the Laughing Place. See you later, Animators!



2 thoughts on “Disney Ride History: The Haunted Mansion (part 3/3)

  1. Another fact about the dancing ballroom is that the reflection of the ghosts makes it seem that the women are leading the men in the dance as opposed to the other way around.

    I’m surprised you didn’t talk about the ghosts in the mirror at the end of the ride.

    • Oh my goodness I forgot! It’s one of my favorite effects! Just to quickly add it in:

      The mirror at the end of the ride is just a piece of glass, dimly lit so that your reflection is in it. The ghosts you see are animatronics moving in sync with the buggies from the other side. I don’t know how the Disney World version works, but I’ll figure it out!

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