Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Mansion, Florida, 1971

I couldn't think of anything ghastly to share with you on this All Hallows Eve. Sure, I have photos of my bloody knee after I wiped out on my bicycle, but that doesn't seem to be quite the thing. 

Hey, I know! How about a few photos of the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion, taken when it had only been open for about two months? I always liked that the Imagineers made the Florida mansion look completely different from the outside, compared to the Anaheim version. 

At this point the exterior queue left visitors unprotected from the sun; I believe it was three or four years before they added a covered awning (what am I going to do, look it up?). The spookiest awning ever.


Some of those architectural details resemble chess pieces, and I know I've read about them, but have forgotten exactly what the consensus is. Wasn't this mansion based on an actual house, just like the Anaheim mansion? Did the Imagineers add the chess pieces on purpose? Is chess scary?! My guess is that it's just a coincidence. A very SPOOOOOOKY coincidence! 

One window appears uncharacteristically red. Red, the color of spooky tomatoes! Oh yeah, blood too. Is there a theory as to why that room has red windows?


I really like this unusual angle - maybe because we get a  good look at the conservatory with its green copper patina (it has obviously been there for 150 years!) and tiny panes of glass. We see some guests as they exited the attraction; clearly they are traumatized! The two gentlemen in the foreground needed some sweet, sweet nicotine to calm their jangled nerves.

Notice the red window, part of the same room as seen in the previous photo, just on the other end of the mansion.


Have a SPOOKTACULAR Halloween!

15 comments:

Graffer said...

When I visited the WDW mansion, I thought it was a bad choice to not have the queue enter the house like at Disneyland. It kills the illusion of all the spooky happenings occurring inside the mansion. But Happy Halloween anywho.

stu29573 said...

The queue does enter the house, but through the back door rather than the front. Yeah, the front might have made more sense, but the back works too...

Pegleg Pete said...

Great photos today, Major. It's great to see the Mansion in its earliest days. As I was just shy of my sixth birthday on our family's first visit to WDW in 1973, we skipped the mansion fearing it would be too scary! I made sure to take it in when we went again a couple of years later. I know I came across an old post by a Disney blogger detailing the inspiration for WDW's Haunted Mansion exterior but I can't for the life of me remember which blog it was. If I do remember later today, I'll post a link. Happy Halloween everyone!

Anonymous said...

@Pegleg Pete, the blog Long Forgotten has a lot of great posts about the WDW mansion and it's design predecessors.

https://longforgottenhauntedmansion.blogspot.com/2017/04/seven-years.html


JG

Pegleg Pete said...

Thanks JG - that is indeed the blog entry I was trying to remmember!

Melissa said...

I do love the architecture of the Florida Mansion; it puts me in mind of some of the beautiful old estates I’ve visited in the Hudson Valley. (Somewhere, I have a picture of myself at Washington Irving's grave.)

However, the HM is also on the list of attractions I've experienced on both coasts, and I've got to say Disneyland has it over WDW all the way. And one of the reasons is the one mentioned above: walking right in the front door makes it feel more like a real house than an amusement park ride.

Back when this picture was taken, I have to say you did get more of the sense of the isolated old house on the hill that you just wander up to, by virtue of the fact that there's just more space in Florida. But there's so much built up around it now that that one advantage doesn't apply anymore.

Melissa said...

And while I'm a big fan of trees in general, the smaller, sparser ones in this picture really help the forced perspective.

TokyoMagic! said...

I do like WDW's (and Tokyo's) exteriors for their Haunted Mansions, but I also have to agree that there is something about Anaheim's that I like better. Now having said that, I think I like WDW's and Tokyo's original interiors better than Anaheim's, just because of their extra scenes.

A safe and happy Halloween to all!

The Disney Dudebro said...

The mansion without any of the surrounding foliage appears really uncanny. Even more so is the mansion without its awning for the queue. Though I will say that, without the awning, you get a much better view of the exterior. Otherwise, I agree with everyone that the WDW mansion is better than the one at Disneyland, both with exterior and interior.

Nanook said...

Major-

Gotta admit I'm kinda torn between the two American-shored Mansions. I like the extra scenes at the Magic Kingdom, but there's just *something* about Disneyland's - both inside and out - that makes me lean in that direction.

And then there's that headstone for Yale Gracey @ Disneyland, that hits just a bit too close to home. As many of you may know, he and his wife were spending the night in a cabana at the Bel Air Bay Club, back in 1983, when they were both summarily shot and killed in their sleep. No motive; no suspects.

Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Graffer, I don’t understand, doesn’t the Florida mansion have basically the same sort of entrance once you are inside the house?

stu29573, ha ha, I should have read ahead. It IS odd that they route people through the back door…

Pegleg Pete, I have also seen information about the house that Florida’s mansion is based on, but none of my books are handy at the moment. The info might be on doombuggies.com…

JG, once again, I should have read ahead! Thanks.

Pegleg Pete, that blog is incredible.

Melissa, I truly do like the look of the Florida mansion, but (and I admit that I am biased) the Anaheim mansion just does it for me. Possibly due to its history, and the fact that it was at Disneyland for many years before it even opened. I’ll have to look at a recent map to see what has been added near the Florida mansion.

Melissa, I’m with you; I love big trees, but they often get way too big at the parks.

TokyoMagic!, what we need is Kylo Ren to spice up our mansion. Man, is he scary! Then all the other parks would be so jealous.

The Disney Dudebro, while it sounds like the interior is much better in Florida, I still like the Anaheim version the best! It’s all a matter of taste, of course.

Nanook, yes, I had heard that gruesome and bizarre story about Yale Gracey and his wife. Just the strangest thing. Still, a tribute headstone over 30 years later somehow seems apt. I wonder how he would have felt about it? I was surprised to learn (on the “Mousetalgia” podcast) that the Graceys had two sons, both of whom appeared at the a Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet.

Anonymous said...

The Florida load area is better decorated than Disneyland but has an awful choke point after exiting the stretching rooms that Disneyland does not with it's long hallway to load.

I agree that the trees in front of the Mansion today should be cut back to assist with forced perspective. Rear foliage is okay as it better hides the show building than the early days.

Like most of WDW these days though the rest of the entry is overly cluttered, with the newer interactive queue, Fastpass signage, gates, etc...

steve2wdw said...

Major....While you don't actually enter a back door, the entrance to the attraction is to the far left of the building. Once you enter the building, you are led to a holding room. Between the two stretch room entrances is a fireplace with a portrait hanging over it. As the narration starts, the portrait starts to age until it's just a skeleton, then the stretch room doors open. The stretch room features far superior sound to DL's as the ghost host voice floats around the room. After you leave the stretch rooms at WDW, you walk through a very wide corridor which narrows down to the load conveyor belt (the choke point that anonymous mentioned). Once in your doombuggy, you travel down the corridor of portraits (windows with lightning and changing portraits opposite). Next up is the library with the ghost playing the harpsichord and the busts staring at you. At this point, you move up the grand staircase with the endless stairways all around you. At the top of the stairs, the wallpaper (with glowing/blinking eyes) slowly gives way to darkness. As you round the bend, to the right, you now follow the DL route, with the endless corridor. Skipping to the end, after the hitchhiking ghosts and the mirror illusion, you continue upward through the crypt with Little Leota and then finally to unload. I believe I read that the doom buggies travel close to 200 more feet in the MK version as opposed to DL, the DL version lasting roughly 6 minutes as opposed to the MK riding time of 8 1/2. I remember riding the DL version with my daughter and she remarking how short it seemed compared to the MK version.

Melissa said...

I prefer the Anaheim Mansion, too. I guess my comment wasn't worded very clearly.

TokyoMagic! said...

steve2wdw, I think the extra scenes are the reason why I like WDW's interior better. I liked it better even before the changing portraits replaced the ones with the eyes that would follow you, and before the endless stairway replaced the giant spiders and webs (like the one that DL's Haunted Mansion used to have in it's loading area). The only "newer" additions to WDW's interior that I don't like, are the new Hitchhiking Ghosts.