Saturday, August 9, 2014

#Disneyland60.....Today In Disneyland History.....August 9 - 12, 1969

Haunted Mansion Opens
August 9, 1969

“Welcome Foolish Mortals to the Haunted Mansion. I am your host, your ghost host.  Kindly step all the way in to the dead center of the room and make room for everyone. There’s no turning back now and consider this dismaying observation: this chamber has no windows, and no doors... which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out! Of course, there's always my way...”
 On August 9, 1969 The Haunted Mansion opened in New Orleans Square at Disneyland although because of cast and other previews that started on August 7 when the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland opened to Cast Members only, from 7:00 PM to midnight. The attraction would open to the public 2 days later, with the official grand opening taking place on August 12 making it more of an opening weekend extravaganza.
The public opening of the attraction was heralded by a promotional blitz that included the "I Scream" Sundaes sold at Disneyland's Carnation Plaza. Originally conceived in the mid-1950s by Walt Disney as a walk-through ghost house, artist Harper Goff was tapped to conceptually design the attraction. The house originally had a rural American design and was intended to be at the end of a crooked path that led away from Disneyland's "Main Street" area. Eventually the decision was made to place it in the New Orleans Square section of the park.
The Haunted Mansion's design went through many changes before its facade was completed in 1963, six years before it would open to the public, delayed by Disney's involvement in the New York World's Fair in 1964 and 1965. At one point Disney's concept was to be entirely walk-through and empty out at a restaurant with a theme of "The Museum of the Weird." (This would be similar to other rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, which is paired with The Blue Bayou restaurant.) Plans were designed for this concept, but then abandoned.  In what might be considered to be a strange twist to a supposedly abandoned structure, the exterior appears new and the surrounding grounds meticulously maintained. Designers wanted to make the exterior of The Haunted Mansion look like the stereotypical haunted house but Disney himself overrode the idea, claiming, "We'll let the ghosts take care of the inside. We'll take care of the outside."  Did you know that Madame Leota, the medium in the séance room and the tiny talking figure at the end of the ride, is modeled after Imagineer Leota Toombs?

On August 9, 1969, the Disneyland version of the attraction was completed and has remained essentially unchanged, with the exception of the yearly conversion to the "Haunted Mansion Holiday."  45 years later, foolish mortals are still being enticed on a spirited tour via Doom Buggy of this home and estate of a prosperous yet departed sea captain whose elegant 19th-century mansion in the New Orleans Square was once the setting for some of the most prominent social gatherings this side of the Mississippi where several prominent ghosts have retired here from creepy old crypts all over the world. Your Ghost Host is happy to show you their humble abode. Your Doom Buggy will whisk you into the darkest reaches of this mysterious abode packed which is packed by happy haunts and grim grinning ghosts. At the séance in progress, the medium Madame Leota invokes the 999 ghosts, ghouls and goblins that are just dying to meet you! They're looking to fill the 1000th spot in the mansion. “There’s always room for one more.”  And that’s what happened today in Disneyland’s history.

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