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Entries in Haunted Mansion (10)

Wednesday
Oct272010

THEN AND NOW: Liberty Square [Part 1]

Liberty Square, Magic Kingdom

(Click on photos to enlarge) This part of the series was a delight to photograph! Liberty Square has changed so little over the years and most of the changes are nice additions. A few changes are not so great-- The maroon canopy in front of the Haunted Mansion is a drag, blocking the view of the Mansion as you wait in line. The removal of the old antique shop is super sad, though Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe certainly has it's charm. The addition of the Liberty Bell replica (photo set 3) is fancy, even though "Pennsylvania" is spelled wrong-- or just different than it's spelled today-- as it is in the original bell. The Mike Fink Keel Boats we once loved to ride no longer dock at Liberty Square (photo set 2) or anywhere else. But at least we can still see the dock house. (Thank you, Haunted Mansion FastPass for no longer filling this great space). At last the "wedding ring" in Haunted Mansion pavement is gone. Oh wait, it never was meant to be a ring!!! It was part of the gate sawed off that loosely resembled a small ring... but this is a discussion for another day.

Liberty Square may just be the most underrated land at Walt Disney World but golly, it's the most beautiful, relaxing, patriotic, nostalgic place to sit on a rocking chair, listen to animatronic presidents, or reenact colonial public punishment by voluntarily inserting yourself into wooden stocks.

 

Related posts:

Then and Now: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1]
Then and Now: Epcot Future World [Part 1] 
Abandoned Disney: River Country Then and Now [Part 1]
I Miss Paul Frees

 

Tuesday
Sep072010

The Haunted Mansion Like You've Never Seen It

This blog was created partly to showcase how rides are made. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at parts of Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion. These original photos have never been posted online until now.

It's been over a year since we started this blog and I'm shocked that this is the first post entirely about The Haunted we've ever done.  Shocker because the Mansion has been #2 on my "Favorite Attractions" list since childhood-- right between Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise with Carousel of Progress, Tom Sawyer Island, PeopleMover, Country Bear Jamboree, Tiki Room, and Matterhorn following closely behind.  Also to add to the shock of there never being a Haunted Mansion post is the fact that a couple of us here at the blog have spent many many quality hours in every corner of the Mansion.  And what a dream that was. 

Ballroom Organist head.  Every few years animatronic head-skins wear out, become covered in fingerprints of engineers, or fade-- or all three.  Every few decades (it may seem) they get fixed. The colors need to be bright for the ghostly illusion to work- I'll say no more. 

Nice hands, buddy.

Nice neck, Lady.

Butyrate (clear plastic) makes up the outer shell of most every Disney animatronic figure- although the shell is almost never seen by guests except in the Mansion where it remains visible to give the illusion of transparent spirits. You'll notice it turns very yellow with time.


The howling sounds you hear outside in the queue area are those of this dog. A skeleton dog with a streak of hair on it's back moves forward and back with a bit of head movement.  You may have never noticed him there on the back hill of the cemetery across the singing busts unless he has clean layer of white paint.

(Above right) The backside of a pop-up head and tombstones. 


(Above Right) The underside of the bat-covered moving walkway at unload.

The now extinct spider and web. The Mansion spiders were identical to the ones you see in the Jungle Cruise temple. (And no, that ain't a freekin' hidden Mickey).

Guess who's who.  Junk piles collecting dust in a space behind the Grand Ballroom.  A portion of a projector- one of Madame Leota's projectors perhaps?  You can see bits of film still inside.

Broken fiberglass torch-holding hand you'll see above the unload walkway.  I'm sure you recognize the blue guy on the right.

 

This was not meant to unveil any special Mansion secrets- there are plenty of sites dedicated to that.

 

Related posts:

ABANDONED DISNEY: Country Bear Max (old animatronic dear head found under Haunted Mansion Track)

ABANDONED DISNEY Series Announced (with old Horizons animatronics found under Carousel of Progress)

I Miss Paul Frees

Hidden Mickey Controversy [Part 2]

 

Saturday
May012010

I Miss Paul Frees

Article by Lilly.

I love voice-overs. I love doing them and I especially love hearing really great voice-over talent. Best part of Disney’s recent Alice in Wonderland? Paul Whitehouse as the March Hare. He was crazy. It was awesome. I listen Keith David perform “Friends on the Other Side” all the time. He did an outstanding job with the character of Dr. Facilier.

But of course you know my favorites go back to the early days of Disney. I love those classic voices like Ed Wynn, Andy Devine, and Eleanor Audley. Phil Harris? No wonder Disney used him a million times, he had a great voice. I love how back then they chose incredibly rich and distinct voices. Adriana Caselotti often gets criticized for her cheesy interpretation of Snow White, but you listen to “With a Smile and a Song” and tell me it doesn’t warm your heart a little. That movie wouldn’t be the same without that voice, I wouldn’t change it a bit.

Of all the voices that I’ve ever heard in my life, one stands out as my absolute favorite. The late Paul Frees. Hands down, Paul Frees is my favorite voice actor of all time. Of course, as a young girl, I always loved Frees’ deep and evocative voice as the Ghost Host in the Haunted Mansion, but I also loved his resounding narration in Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Then I found out he did several of the pirate voices, including one of my favorites, the auctioneer. I began to be really impressed, but my mind was blown when I found out he did Ludwig Von Drake, too. Is there no end to this guy’s talent? I propose that there is not. Since then, I have adored the man. I have listened and watched everything he’s ever done and have missed him terribly since he passed away November 2, 1986. Disney isn’t the same without him.

Go ahead and listen to some Paul Frees amazingness. The last 4 minutes are Paul Frees in the sound booth recording for The Haunted Mansion. Pretty cool to hear him at work.


And if you would like to see Frees in a live action role, check out The Shaggy Dog (1959) where he plays Dr. Galvin, a psychiatrist.

On October 9, 2006, Paul Frees was honored as a Disney Legend for his contributions to the Disney legacy. Mr. Frees, you are missed!


BONUS:  Paul Frees narrates Disneyland's Adventure Thru Inner Space ride (Paul begins his narration at 2:29)