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Orange Bird Photo Hunt



Entries in Haunted Mansion (10)


WDW Construction: Liberty Square


Let's explore an amazing set of very rare construction photos of Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square. These photos were taken at different stages of construction. 

In the photo above we see Haunted Mansion construction in the distance. That building on the right is The Hall of Presidents before the bell tower steeple was added. Next we see a higher view of Liberty Square with some Cinderella Castle construction in the foreground.

The Hall of Presidents building is taking shape. The Liberty Tree Tavern exterior has been almost complete for some time now. Gift shop construction begins.

Upper levels of the gift shops begin. Wait... No Liberty Square bridge yet? Very odd.

Beautiful curvy brick wall (still there today) is coming along nicely. There's that wonderful backside of Liberty Tree Tavern. It's meant to look like the frontside of "other" buildings. 

The large white building seen here is The Hall of Presidents show building. Connected to it to the north is the show building for Peter Pan's Flight. Also, we have a bridge now.

Riverboat dock, dry Rivers of America, and Haunted Mansion in the background. Notice there's no canopy over the outside Haunted Mansion queue?

Construction continues on the Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat (but not in in Liberty Square yet). Remember the story of this first boat? It began carrying passengers through Rivers of America on October 2, 1971 (the day after Opening Day). It was damaged at dry dock in 1980 and never returned to the Rivers. A second riverboat called Richard F. Irvine (with only one smoke stack) was added in May of 1973. It continues to run today under the name Liberty Belle Riverboat. In this photo I noticed the back windows are a bit different than the windows in the final product. They must have changed them at some point.

Here we can compare aerial views of Magic Kingdom construction in December of 1969 to the year-old park in December of 1972. Look at the evolution of Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake! 


Related posts:

THEN AND NOW: Liberty Square [Part 1]
Magic Kingdom at Night
WDW Before Opening Day 1971
WDW Construction: Magic Kingdom
WDW Construction: Polynesian Village Resort
EPCOT Construction from the Air



The Haunted Mansion Like You've Never Seen It [Part 2]

Let’s go deep into the famous Haunted Mansion ballroom to spy on a few ghosts. Marc Davis designed this part of the ballroom to feature various ghosts entering the party from a coffin and hearse outside the mansion. See Part 1 here.

We go behind the scenes to see some of the process. Some ghost figures in these photos have their paint, clothing, props, and/or hair stripped off. You’ll notice these figures are mounted to a carousel-like structure.

This ship captain (not found in Marc’s concept) has a famous counterpart in Pirates of the Caribbean... the auctioneer!

Legendary Disney sculptor Blaine Gibson sculpted a number of human heads for Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Carousel of Progress, Hall of Presidents, etc. Many of the same heads were used in multiple places. Blaine is also known for sculpting the Walt and Mickey Partners statue. Before working at W.E.D he did animation and special effects work on many of Disney’s classic animated features.

This fella can also be seen in the graveyard scene. Looks like his twin needs some serious refurbing (at least when this photo was taken). Across the river his same head can be spotted again in the blacksmith shop at Fort Langhorn, Tom Sawyer Island.

My oh my. This nice lady’s head makes another appearance in the very same room... but as a man. Old Caesar’s ghost sitting at the table has the very same headskin. She can also be seen in the line of wenches in pirates and other places.

Nearby grandmother reads a book in her rocking chair.

Look familiar?? Now we know where the Carousel of Progress Grandma ends up after she kicks the bucket.

A few of the ghost figures above got their start in this Marc Davis concept art. Although the horses were never added to this scene, a tipped coffin is clearly visible today. The butler with the guest list and the hearse driver never made scene either.

When lit correctly, the revolving ghosts don't appear to revolve in a complete circle. Only a portion of the circle gets light, leaving the rest of the circle invisible to guests looking down from their Doombuggies. This gives the illusion of a never-ending line of ghosts entering the room.


Related posts:

The Haunted Mansion Like You've Never Seen It [Part 1]
ABANDONED DISNEY: Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts
Pirates of the Caribbean Like You've Never Seen It
Carousel of Progress Like You’ve Never Seen It
THEN AND NOW: Liberty Square [Part 1]
I Miss Paul Frees
Little Box of Treasures


ABANDONED DISNEY: Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts

Take a look behind-the-scenes of a four-decade favorite that is no longer what it used to be.... Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts.

How it worked

It is no secret that holograms were never used in The Haunted Mansion. Old stage techniques including Pepper's Ghost effects and the use of two-way mirrors are about as low-tech as you can get while still accomplishing jaw-dropping "how'd they do that" illusions. 

You'll notice in the above diagram that the "ghosts" were on a revolving track lined up with the Doombuggies on the opposite side of what look like normal mirrors. Light reflecting off human guests would reflect off the surface of the mirrors. At the same time light shining on the hitchhikers behind the mirrors would be visible through the mirrors, allowing both ghosts and humans to be seen together. Get it? It's like walking by a highly reflective office building and seeing yourself in the windows and seeing electric lights inside the building all at the same time.

The right lighting conditions were needed to pull off the illusion. If the house lights in the room behind the mirrors were to turn on, the mirrors from the other side would look more or less like clear glass. 

Disneyland or Magic Kingdom?

Seen here are two fantastic pics from Long-Forgotten where we learn that Disneyland's Hitchhiking ghosts on the "ghosty-go-round" have no hands. Hands were included in the Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland versions.

Dark Beards?

You'll notice the handless Disneyland figures happen to have white hair. And these Magic Kingdom figures have dark hair. They both are supposed to have white hair as to better reflect light through the mirrors. As was mentioned in a previous post, oil, grease, and dust cake the artificial hair of the Haunted Mansion ghosts and the hair becomes far less visible especially in the Ballroom and with the Hitchhiking Ghosts. Occasionally fresh hair could be spotted along side old dingy hair, illustrating the importance of clean, white hair.

So long, fun illusion that entertained us so well for all those years.

For the time being, we still have Disneyland's low-tech, high-entertaining, original effect:



Related posts:

The Haunted Mansion Like You've Never Seen It
I Miss Paul Frees
Little Box of Treasures
ABANDONED DISNEY: MK Fantasyland Skyway Tower
If This Doesn't Scare You.....
Pirates of the Caribbean Like You've Never Seen It
Carousel of Progress Like You’ve Never Seen It