I'm so sorry I've kept you all waiting this long, but we spirits were very busy during the months of October and November, preparing for Halloween; and in our case, the release of "Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion: 40th Anniversary Soundtrack". Add that to the workload involved in finalizing "The 13 Days Of X-mas" event and "Haunted Mansion Holiday: The Unofficial 10th Anniversary Collection" which is still being fine tuned, plus continuing work on "A Night in The Haunted Mansion", the Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Recreation project, and more. Then I have my laundry list of up coming blog posts...lots of content to keep me busy...
So, let's us begin with the mansion event: 'Room for 1 More' was a celebration for the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion. Not exactly what you'd call a full day's outing, but with the lines we waited in, I was lucky it didn't end up that way. Aside from the length of the line at the special "Store" for the event, Disney's typical people-eating nature shined through. I was very pleased to meet a few fans of S&FS in person, and even more pleased to get to chat with some of the Mansion fans who knew what I was talking about when I said that "They had changed to vocals in the graveyard" and such. It was very enjoyable experience, but having to wait all day to ride the Haunted Mansion was something that hindered it for me a bit. Let me begin this "abbreviated" trip report, because I still have so much on my plate to talk about from Paris, and news that has leaked about the return of the infamous Hatbox Ghost. So, where to begin...
Day 1 - Friday, September 30th, 2011 - Animal Kingdom, "Room For 1 More", and "Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party"
Okay, so I began my day by getting up really early after flying into Orlando that previous night to go take advantage of the extra morning magic hours at Animal Kingdom. I was exhausted, but had to hit as many rides as possible since I knew the trip was going to be way shorter then last time. I knocked out Dinosaur twice, Expedition Everest twice, and Kilimanjaro Safari in a little more then an hour, and got back to the hotel; the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House; for breakfast. Expedition Everest isn't as thrilling in the daytime as it was in my first ride at night back in January, which I wrote about in a previous entry. If your ever in Animal Kingdom Lodge for breakfast, make sure to get as much Jungle Juice as possible; that stuff is to die for. Anyhow, now it was time to go an register for the event at the Contemporary.
Oh, how it brought back memories of January, when I would take that Monorail ever single day to the Magic Kingdom, and run to the Haunted Mansion to record the Graveyard singers with my video camera mic. That's a week I'll never forget. Taking one of the buses helped me really remember what it was like back in 2000 and 2003 to have to use something other than the monorail to get around. Anyway, let's get on with the "event" stuff. We started, as I said earlier, by waiting in a line to register, and receive our thankfully not-so-heavy Mr.Toad statues, which are really nice. Throughout the event, they played the Official Disneyland "Haunted Mansion 40th Anniversary" CD on a loop, (the wrong vocals and missing music room and Library scenes. Wrong music Disney! We fans take notice of this! Your aren't fooling us! Release the new vocals!) Once we got our products, we roamed around, looked in the amazing art gallery, and got pictures taken for our "ghostly photo opportunity" that was done in front of a green-screen. And after this, we left to go get in costume for the night's festivities. Here is a panorama of the entrance to the "Great Hall" that the dinner would take place:
So, we arrived back in a hour or two and it was getting dark our, and we entered the hallway above which was now filled with plenty of Mansion Fans, many in costume, waiting to enter. While waiting, they again were playing the Disneyland "Haunted Mansion 40th Anniversary" CD on a loop, but I swore I could hear the rumbling bass of a real organ from somewhere within the building. Finally, we were permitted to enter, and walking in was one of the most amazing things I ever experienced. The rumble of live pipe organ (okay, it was probably a multi-keyboard set up with a lot of sub-woofers) with a man dressed as the organist from the ballroom at the keys. It was macabre magic at it's finest. Here is what the inside looked like, panorama style:
They revealed a lot of things about the new additions. I personally enjoyed hearing about the idea of a "Nursery" that got axed as soon as it was mentioned for the Re-Haunting. I was a bit disappointed that Tony Baxter wasn't there, but hey, we got Jason Surrell at least, so that was one familiar face. So much was revealed, you might as well watch Ricky's video above instead of waiting for mine if you haven't already seen it. You can also check out Inside the Magic's report here. Anyhow, we jump to the the Magic Kingdom now, for the Halloween Party.
Message in A Bottle" by Pirates of the Caribbean! Talk about awesome! The night was also my first time getting on Walt Disney World's Splash Mountain. Every time I was there, it seemed it was closed. Since I had only been on the Disneyland version 22 times prior, I was excited to see what this version would hold in store. I liked it, but the new safety bars were a hindrance on the air-time. Over all, the music is more catchy here, but I like Disneyland's "Ride better"; wear as I like Walt Disney World's "Show" better. Also, I took an awesome on-ride photo, hitchhiking ghost style.
Day 2 - Saturday, October 1st, 2011 - The 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World
Also, I must report that Pirates of the Carribean, which was suffering from neglect in January 2011, has been patched up really well! (Looks like all that complaining back in January wasn't a waste, somebody heard me) They fixed it up when they installed Blackbeard, and it's looking better then normal! (Not really something to get too excited about. It's condition is still the worst of the four incarnations) We got lucky, and out boat got backed up because of a "protein spill", and we got to witness the entire loop of the Musical Trio play out. Check it out, an notice how they are indeed using a new musical score that was added in 2007, not the version you hear near Jack at the end that was used in this scene prior to the movie overlay:
If anyone really wants to hear about my last day at MGM Studios... oh, wait, I forgot, that's Hollywood Studios now; I'll write about it later. Star Tours II is pretty cool, and Tower of Terror and Rock'N Roller Coaster are pretty awesome. But that's not really something I think everyone here wants to hear about. I've got things I have to do, so, until next time, I'll see you all a little later...
Oh yes, there's a little matter I forgot to mention: If you have Google plus, S&FS now has a page there. So go join our "Circles" or whatever they call them, there, on Google Plus.