Friday, May 20, 2011

Behind the Screams at the Haunted Mansion

Disney Insider was just dying to scare up some trivia about Disneyland's Haunted Mansion attraction. So we hopped into a Doom Buggy and unearthed some spooktacular stories that answer visitors' most creepy questions.

Is the Haunted Mansion really haunted?
Aside from the official 999 happy haunts, cast members working on the closing shift have reported hearing strange sounds and seeing mysterious shadows after the attraction has been closed down for the night.

Do you know why the outside of the spooky house is so incredibly well kept?
When Disney Imagineers first pitched the idea to Walt, the sketches showed a house that had fallen into disrepair. Walt felt that the exterior should be kept clean yet mysterious, and said, "We'll take care of the outside, and the ghosts will take care of the inside."

Ever wonder what the names of the three hitchhiking ghosts are?
The little one with the ball and chain is named Gus; the tall, skeletal one is Ezra; and the hunched-over fellow with the top hat is known as Phineas.

Do you know who the woman in the crystal ball is?
That's Madame Leota. She uses her incredible mediumistic abilities to allow guests to see the spirited spooks. If you want to know the nuts and bolts, the face you see is that of a former Disney Imagineer known as Leota Toombs Thomas. The voice is provided by Eleanor Audley, who also voiced the wicked Maleficent ("Sleeping Beauty") and mean Lady Tremaine ("Cinderella").

The organ in the Grand Ballroom looks awfully familiar - where did it come from?
You should recognize it - it's the same one Captain Nemo played aboard the Nautilus in Disney's 1954 film "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

You've now got plenty o' trivia for your next visit to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. But beware! You may have such a ghoulishly good time, you'll never want to leave - or the permanent residents may not let you!
From May 2002, Disney Insider

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