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  1. #1

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    Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    Despite its success and potential, the Haunted Mansion Holiday has become an immense letdown and annoyance.

    The annual arrival of Jack Skellington and his Halloweentown friends is something that is more demeaning to the Haunted Mansion, rather than enhancing. On the outside, the Mansion looks wonderful and intriguing by day and magical at night with the many candles along it's roof and balconies lit... but inside, where the Haunted Mansion is typically gloomy and eerie, the Holiday transformation makes it loud and obnoxious. Where our Ghost Host shows a slight wit and casts a gloomy light on the 999 Happy Haunts, he is transformed into nothing more than a holiday tourguide spewing out bad lines and Christmas cliches.


    The Stretching Gallery
    The Stretching Gallery is one particular instance of the demise of classic WED storytelling. Instead of the startling flash of lightning and thunder being met with the chilling swinging corpse of our Ghost Host, we get a huge, obnoxious "Happy Holidays Everyone" from Jack Skellington. Instead of following through with the dramatic build-up of the nightmare before Christmas, frightening stocking stuffers, and nightmares of monsters and skeleton heads, we're met with the ultimate letdown: a holiday greeting from an overly excited Skeleton. A climax of this scenario is a complete contradiction of its set-up. With the normal Mansion, our suspense is paid off with the flash of lightning and the clap of thunder and the scream of our Ghost Host as we see his corpse swinging in the wind.


    Hallway to Limbo
    The Hallway to Limbo continues to disappoint. Instead of seeing frightening transformations of normal situations or people, we're met with otherwise uninteresting and anticlimactic conclusions to the slow-fading transformations of the paintings.

    The spider webs placed over the busts at the end of the Hallway to Limbo ruin the effect of the ever-watchful statues.


    Limbo/The Load Area
    The Load Area is probably one of the most glaringly tacky and unnecessary additions to the attraction for the holiday overlay. The immense huge black-lit display lights up the entire load area, completely eliminating the illusion of an otherwise creepy and haunting endless area shrouded in mist and decay. Ceiling tiles are easily visible without even trying to look for them, strings holding cobwebs are visible throughout the area, and loud music causes Cast Members to compete by yelling louder than normal, "2 or 3 bodies per Buggy, please!"


    The Corridor of Doors
    The Corridor of Doors instead of being a chilling tour through a haunted hall, with spirits struggling to break through, you're met with loud and excessively obnoxious singing plants, and a large man-eating wreath that does nothing but draws your attention above you, causing you to realize that the Mansion around you is built only half-way, much like a film set.

    How magical.


    The Seance Circle
    The Seance Circle's floating instruments and furniture are swapped out with huge black-lit holiday tarot cards. They may fit with whatever Leota is saying about a Fortune Card Tree, but nevermind the fact that Leota's normal ability to cause a disquieting feeling to Guests is ruined because her entire area is overly lit, and instead of contacting spirits, she's just rambling holiday nonsense.


    The Ballroom
    The Ballroom is still an effective showscene. That is if you can ignore the fact that our happy haunts are dancing through an enormous tree, and for some reason gifts are floating out of the back of Jack Skellington's sleigh as if they were ghosts as well. Strange.


    The Attic
    The Mansions attic is changed from a cool-down area after the climactic and breathtaking Ballroom scene, preparing guests for the grand finale Graveyard scene, to a scene with music that makes no sense in regard to the rest of the music found throughout the attraction. Also, during the holidays, Mr. Skellington has evicted the Mansion's bride in favor of a pet snake that is eating children's Christmas presents.

    The typically chilling and unsettling attic is made into a funhouse of bright colors and goofy music, all in the name of Christmas.


    The Graveyard
    While the rest of the holiday overlay struggles to stay true to the original attraction, the graveyard is the only section that even remotely meets this goal. But not without consequences.

    The Graveyard is a silly and playful jamboree of happy spirits and continues to be one during the Haunted Mansion Holiday. While the overlay remains true to the Mansion's playful finale during the overlay season, it ruins multiple key elements to the believability of the graveyard showscene.

    The projection of snowflakes on the Graveyard's scrim grants the scrim extra visibility that cannot be afforded in order to maintain the purpose of the scrim. Also, the addition of more black lights to the Graveyard light up the scrims even more as well as the entire showroom. While looking up at the giant snow angels in the Graveyard, Guests are able to see ceiling tiles which are normally not noticeable unless you're looking for them. This completely ruins the illusion WED worked hard to maintain. You're no longer outside of the Mansion in the middle of a ghostly party - you're inside of a big warehouse.


    The Solution...
    The Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay is a good idea, and is something that can work properly with the normal Haunted Mansion. Instead of completely changing the Mansion into a different attraction, the overlay and the Mansion should seamlessly work together to complement eachother. Unfortunately the Imagineering team who put this project together failed to incorporate this overlay without staying true to the original attraction and maintaining the integrity of the Mansion's showscenes.

    Something should be done to help address major issues with the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay in order to make it a proper and worthy overlay for future seasons.

    - Get rid of the excessive blacklighting which is required because of cheap plywood cut-outs, or additions that neither contribute properly to the overlay or complement the original attraction.

    - Do not rely on the Ghost Host to carry the attraction. While he is prominent in the original attraction, he is not burdened with carrying the attraction for guests. The show scenes do this. Too often in the Haunted Mansion Holiday does the Ghost Host narrate when he should be silent.

    - Don't make the elements of the overlay compete with eachother. The Ghost Host should not have to compete with obnoxious singing plants in the Corridor of Doors.

    - Make the Mansion's holiday houseguests work properly with the Mansion's permanent residents. They shouldn't be fighting for attention. They should be working together to create an experience that is seamless and immersive.

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  2. #2

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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    No offense, but all of the complaints you have seem to either be founded on how different they are from the regular Mansion or the quality of the installations, even though that quality closely mirrors (and often exceeds) that of the Fantasyland dark rides. It just sounds like because it isn't the regular Mansion show in form or style, you don't like it. HMH doesn't really have anything to do with the Haunted Mansion except that it's installed in that attraction and makes use of some of that attraction's effects. There's no compelling reason for it to be similar in style in any way. If there's anything to compare it to, it's the original film. While the ride doesn't retell that film's story, it does incorporate most of the elements from the film and certainly captures the garish and bizarre atmosphere of the film.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    I like HMH and thankfully so do many other people. I'm glad it's there every year.

  4. #4

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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    HERE HERE! to the liking of the HMH


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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    Okay, I think your overeacting a little.. Calm down for a minute.

    Okay, I too admit the Haunted Mansion Holiday is a little less gloomy and scary then a mansion should be. But you can't be entirely negative. It's still a fun ride with many surprises. (The green wreath monster is no small feat in animatronics..) The ghosts of the regular mansion don't fit too well with the whole Holiday Mansion scheme.. but it's still a great ride. It has some technical difficulties every now and then.. but we can't be too harsh. I always see people laughing on it and having a great time. This goes with the regular mansion too.


    The regular haunted mansion is more to theme, but the Haunted mansion Holiday is a good change every now and then. (However I think it takes WAY too long to set it up each year.. but Disney is slow. )

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  6. #6

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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Dark View Post
    No offense, but all of the complaints you have seem to either be founded on how different they are from the regular Mansion or the quality of the installations, even though that quality closely mirrors (and often exceeds) that of the Fantasyland dark rides.
    The problem is that the Haunted Mansion is NOT a Fantasyland darkride. By mixing in elements that suit a Fantasyland darkride perfectly well, it clashes dramatically with the Mansion itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Dark View Post
    It just sounds like because it isn't the regular Mansion show in form or style, you don't like it. HMH doesn't really have anything to do with the Haunted Mansion except that it's installed in that attraction and makes use of some of that attraction's effects. There's no compelling reason for it to be similar in style in any way.
    I disagree with this 100%. If there is no compelling reason why the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay is in the Haunted Mansion, then why isn't the overlay in Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, or the Jungle Cruise?
    The reason the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay is at the Haunted Mansion is because the Haunted Mansion's setting was a perfect fit for an attraction based on a film with skeletons, ghosts, and other characters that live in a spooky environment.

    With that said, the characters shouldn't simply be thrown in the Mansion. Both the Mansion and Characters should complement eachother. The attraction overlay should have been designed to compliment both the film's characters and settings and the Haunted Mansion's residents and settings.

    If they can't work together, then why even pair the two to begin with?


    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Dark View Post
    If there's anything to compare it to, it's the original film. While the ride doesn't retell that film's story, it does incorporate most of the elements from the film and certainly captures the garish and bizarre atmosphere of the film.
    While the original film should be used to compare to the attraction, the original attraction should also be able to compare to it's holiday counterpart.

    This shouldn't be a one-sided thing. It should be equally Nightmare Before Christmas and equally Haunted Mansion. The two should work together as a seamless whole.





    Quote Originally Posted by Boo! View Post
    Okay, I think your overeacting a little.. Calm down for a minute.

    Okay, I too admit the Haunted Mansion Holiday is a little less gloomy and scary then a mansion should be. But you can't be entirely negative. It's still a fun ride with many surprises. (The green wreath monster is no small feat in animatronics..) The ghosts of the regular mansion don't fit too well with the whole Holiday Mansion scheme.. but it's still a great ride. It has some technical difficulties every now and then.. but we can't be too harsh. I always see people laughing on it and having a great time. This goes with the regular mansion too.


    The regular haunted mansion is more to theme, but the Haunted mansion Holiday is a good change every now and then. (However I think it takes WAY too long to set it up each year.. but Disney is slow. )
    I am calm.

    And I disagree - the Man-Eating Wreath isn't a big deal. Its arms move, and that's it. If its mouth moved, threatening to take a bite out of guests, then it might be more impressive. But as it stands, its a hanging wreath with arms on moving strings.








    ...I'm not saying that Haunted Mansion Holiday is a bad idea. But I think the overlay's execution is poor and fails to work well with the original attraction.

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  7. #7

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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    I like it, and think it is well executed.. Here's some options for you ...

    Option 1: We could get rid of it, and then have no chance for our mansion to be freshened up and let it become run-down like WDW's..

    Or

    Option 2: we could keep it, enjoy the halloween/christmas cheer, and let them refurb the ride while they install the old mansion...

    I chose option 2.






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  8. #8

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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    Well, I have to admit that you detailed why you dislike each area and how it looks, but I personally still like the HMH overlay the way it is. It is supposed to be different then normal, and honestly I don't see all the flaws you listed when I go on it. And, personally I like the scrim with the snowflakes in the graveyard scene. Of course, you can see it a bit more clearly with all the black lights added ... but it it still an enjoyable ride for me.


  9. #9

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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    I think HMH is neat plus I don't get to experience it all that often. The only thing I did not like was the big Jack head in the stretching portrait. I don't understand why it's there.

    But I definatly like the ride because it keeps the maintenance up to date. I think it is a nice seasonal attraction.

  10. #10

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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    I think your sorta over reacting! It's A wonderful ride to me and I don't think it needs to be changed
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  11. #11

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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    Looks like you're outnumbered

    I LOVE the HMH! But I do see your case on how everything should be more streamlined. I'd like to see classic elements getting the NBC touch rather than just getting mauled by it. A perfect example would be the singing statues. Having Jack O Lanterns singing over them shuts down a perfectly good gag (also a case of replacing Halloween w/ Halloween). The guys should be decked out for Xmas. Add some santa hats and garland

    My biggest beef with HMH is the crappiness of the Leota room. It took me several trips before I realized it was revolving (no pun intended) around the 12 Days of Xmas. The audience doesn't spend enough time in the room to get that full story.

    That and the "oh look a floating present is in the car with me" effect. Whoopity Doo! The audience would much rather be in the mayor or the clown.

    I love Jack and his crew in the mansion. Personally, I would like to see more AAs than Oogie Boogie and Jack.

    Have Sally doing a saiance (sp?) with Leota!
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  12. #12

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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey View Post
    ...I'm not saying that Haunted Mansion Holiday is a bad idea. But I think the overlay's execution is poor and fails to work well with the original attraction.
    I am not 100% convinced Master Gracey...

    I don't think the execution is as poor as you claim for the overlay it is... I think it is a much better execution than better than IASW Holiday, or even Pooh.... Both pretty much designs round the same period... When it was installed, I believe it was the best thing to come out of WDI durring this time period for Disneyland in a very long time.
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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    I'm going to be the sole voice on MasterGracey's side here, aren't I? I thought HMH was fine to see once, but meh. Not worth trading a classic attraction for for five months out of every year.

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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    I totally agree 100% with MasterGracey

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    Re: Haunted Mansion Holiday: The problem with Jack Skellington

    Haunted Mansion is my favorite ride and although I don't completely agree with you I do have to say this is the first year where I tend to skip that ride on the majority of my trips. There's also nothing really new!
    Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it the four beers you had at DCA, hmmm?








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