Haunted Mansion Dining Room

Haunted Mansion Dining Room
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Haunted Mansion Dining Room

During our visit to Walt Disney World, the new wife and I made sure to hit all the classic rides in the Magic Kingdom: Pirates of the Carribean, The Tiki Room, The Haunted Mansion, even It’s a Small World (though, alas, not Space Mountain, which is under renovations until November).  The Haunted Mansion is one of my favorites, with its classic Gothic ghost story atmosphere and dark sense of humor.  As a child, I was terrified of the essentially harmless attraction.  This trip, as a professor of optics, I was delighted to not only see the clever special effects, but deconstruct them — to “peek behind the curtains”, so to speak.
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Haunted Mansion Dining Room

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion opened on August 9, 1969, and quickly became one of the park’s most beloved attractions. Every Magic Kingdom built since then, from Florida to Tokyo and beyond, has included some version of the Haunted Mansion. To celebrate all these years of grim, grinning ghosts, here are 13 facts about the spookiest ride ever devised by Walt Disney and his team of “Imagineers.”
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Haunted Mansion Dining Room

giddy girlieJuly 20, 2012 at 3:57 PMThere was a souvenir plate made for the Haunted Mansion's 40th anniversary that was pretty nifty but way overpriced. Too bad. I always have my eye open at thrift stores for a similar blue-and-white design to add to my collectibles. It doesn't have to be AUTHENTIC to still be a fun nod.I stayed at the Brookdale once and didn't see any ghosts but I felt weird the whole time. I think I was secretly HOPING to see a ghost. The dining room seemed like a prime place to find some ghosts! What I did see was the biggest ant I've ever laid eyes on in the bathtub. The ants near my house (Southern California) are commonly called “sugar ants” and are just teeny specks. This one was one of the BIG guys who breaks down forest debris. It was terrifyingly big. Thankfully, there was only one!ReplyDelete
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Haunted Mansion Dining Room

Looking at the photos, the silverware is slightly different between WDL and WDW. WDL is using Oneida Cantata as stated in the article, but WDW looks like Oneida Strathmore Royal York. The style is very similar, but the Strathmore Royal York has one less indented scroll on the sides so it is a simpler design. But regardless, this page is great and has been a huge resource in helping me put together a haunted mansion dining room set for my wife's birthday – complete with hidden Mickey setting. Thanks!
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Haunted Mansion Dining Room

To distract us while the cast members were dressing  the table up for dessert, we were all told that we were going to take a ride on the Haunted Mansion. Because we were not done with our dining experience, we were going to ride the Doom Buggies round trip and exit the attraction where we entered. Already cool, right???
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Haunted Mansion Dining Room

I suppose some would think that this peek would “ruin the magic” or “unweave the rainbow“.  For me, though, I find it a joy to see how people’s ingenuity can lead to wonderfully fun, even beautiful, attractions.  The Haunted Mansion is filled with clever applications of very simple optics, and I can’t resist explaining one of them.
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Haunted Mansion Dining Room

Disney first approached Imagineer Ken Anderson about the idea for a haunted attraction in 1957. Originally planned as a walk-through attraction, it would have involved maids or butlers guiding guests through the mansion and telling them about the tragic tale of a sea captain and his bride. Also planned was a “Museum of the Weird,” which would have showcased strange creatures and odd, interactive illusions.
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Construction of the Haunted Mansion’s façade began in 1962 and was finished in 1963. The building sat empty after Disney and his Imagineers focused on the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. It remained that way following Disney’s death in 1966 as Imagineers, now left to their own devices, struggled to decide what to do with the attraction.
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At Disneyland, the pipe organ played by a spectral musician in the ballroom scene is the same organ used by James Mason as Captain Nemo in Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The prop was modified for use in the Haunted Mansion. The organs used in other versions of the ride are replicas of the original.
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6. Madame Leota & Friends- This fun snow globe is Disney Parks Merch. The Master Gracey (who is named after Imagineer Yale Gracey, the creator of many of the Haunted Mansion's effects) tombstone is one from a set of three, also Parks merchandise. And that cute little bat stanchion? It's a perfect mini replica of the ones that top the brass posts as you wait to board your Doom Buggy. It was an eBay find.
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Though it does not physically appear, an incomplete replica of the mansion appears in the third world, Banjoland, along with it’s own graveyard. It’s nature of incompleteness is also referenced by Bottles, as in one of the missions, you were supposed to complete the mansion exhibit by lifting the pieces with the wrench and placing them on the square shaped white patch. However, this was ultimately scrapped and an air race took its place instead. He even states that the delivery van that had mailed the parts had accidentally emptied them into Loggo and they went straight to the Cut For Deadlines Room.
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So how is it done?  A natural, and common, reaction is to assume that somehow it is done with some sort of projector, or hologram.  A projected image would not appear three-dimensional to all visitors passing the dining hall, however, as the scene can be viewed continuously as the “doom buggy” passes the hall.  Holography is a common guess, but the mansion opened in 1969, and the first holograms had been made only a few years earlier, in 1962 — dynamic, multicolored holograms would be years away.
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Once you understand this effect, you understand why Disney prohibits flash photography in the mansion, and why it is a waste of time to take such pictures.  The light from a flash would reflect off of the glass pane, and a flash photo of the dining hall would only produce a very lovely image of the photographer’s flash.
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From the very beginning, Disneyland press materials touted that 999 ghosts resided in the mansion. While the number of actual ghostly figures in the attraction has never been officially tallied, it is generally acknowledged that there’s always room for one more.
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That original china is seen in other photography too, the commercial photos intended for souvenir guides, slides, postcards, View-Master reels, etc. These were also taken before the Mansion opened, in order that they might be ready to sell by the time the ride debuted. Those pictures were taken a bit later, however, since the table has now been fully decorated.
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I illustrated the idea in practice to my new bride while we were out at dinner.  We were sitting by a big window, and I pointed out that the reflection off of the glass made it look as if a “ghostly bride” were sitting right outside the window.  If I placed a real chair outside in that exact position, I would have a very rough imitation of the mansion’s effect.
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And So, In Conclusion What? Are you expecting something more? I told you that this was a straight trivia post. I tried to jazz it up with funnies, hoping to inspire a few Oh-that’s-the-funniest-thing-I-ever-read ‘s, but I’m afraid most of them were clinkers. *bad-a-BING, dammit* One thing I can tell you that may be of interest is that the china is not particularly expensive or hard to find. If Mansionology is for you a guilty pleasure, and your Long-Forgotten habit is something you must keep carefully shielded from public view (it’s okay, I understand; the world isn’t ready for us), one way you can discreetly display your secret vice is by getting one of these plates and a wall hanger. To others it’s just a nice plaque, but you know what it really is, and it’ll set you back maybe 20 or 30 bucks, a lot cheaper and (if you ask me) a lot more beautiful than most of the crappy merchandise and “collectibles” Disney serves up for Mansion fans.
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thepicklebarrelJuly 19, 2012 at 5:07 PMFantastic post!!!There are little tell-tale signs of the original sets of china and glasswear.For example, I have one of the “King's Crown” glasses that I know came from the original set-up in the Mansion. I'm told, the original sets were an earlier variation that have a 'pearled gold' finish in the ruby area with it very noticeable on the rim. Later versions seen in the banquet scene don't have that finish.I have some pics if you'd like to see it.Cheers!ReplyDelete
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Fantastic post!!!There are little tell-tale signs of the original sets of china and glasswear.For example, I have one of the “King's Crown” glasses that I know came from the original set-up in the Mansion. I'm told, the original sets were an earlier variation that have a 'pearled gold' finish in the ruby area with it very noticeable on the rim. Later versions seen in the banquet scene don't have that finish.I have some pics if you'd like to see it.Cheers!

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