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…and strange and frightening sounds echo through the hall

The Haunted MansionHalloween is apparently a busy time for Disney websites, so I thought I’d wrap up the evening of ghouls and goleeses with a few links to spooky stories of interest. As many of you probably know already, Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion has recently undergone a sizable refurbishment and overhaul to the tune of about thirty million dollars. The ride had been in desperate and (unintentionally) decrepit condition for several years, and compared to its cousins in Anaheim and Tokyo had become downright embarrassing.

The BallroomThankfully the ride has not only been renovated but has received technological upgrades and two major new show scenes. It works well and, aside from a few tiny sour notes, meshes well with the classic scenes. Older parts of the ride have received subtle enhancements, and the much-needed audio upgrades throughout the attraction are the equivalent of digitally restoring a faded and scratched old film. It’s a well-done and much needed upgrade, and I hope augurs a new era for the faded Magic Kingdom. Jim Hill Media (you know? that Jim Hill website?) has a nice five-part summary of the ride’s overhaul. Meanwhile, if you want more information about the history of the Greatest Dark Ride Evar you might want to check out this fairly academic analysis.

The Headless HorsemanA less known Disney Halloween treat is the story of the Headless Horseman from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Sure, everyone has heard of the film, but when was the last time you actually saw it? It’s an overlooked part of Disney lore and there’s a nice homage to it on 2719 Hyperion. Few fans know that there have been a few attempts at a Sleepy Hollow attraction over the years; when Walt Disney World was in the planning stages the Fantasyland dark rides were supposed to be completely different from Disneyland’s. In the place of “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” was supposed to be a scary attraction based on the stories of Ichabod and the Headless Horseman. Budgetary squeezes put an end to this plan, and the concept was shelved. Personally, I think it would be a great idea to resurrect someday for Liberty Square…

Last but not least, a little spooky Halloween art for you Lonesome Ghost fans. Happy Halloween!

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