Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20
  1. #1

    • white and nerdy
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    I wanna bowl with the gangsters...
    Posts
    3,246

    The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    It was the bleak spot in in Disneyland. As the months, weeks, days past till we traveled the 400 miles from Utah to Disneyland it was always there in the back of my mind, never letting my excitement or anticipation get a full hold. I'd have dreams of Disneyland, running from ride to ride, no lines in sight, Mickey and Goofy with me, but always I'd end up in some horrible mistake that always led me to the Haunted Mansion. It was my boogie man. I was never afraid of the dark, of boogymen, of wild beasts or whatever else kids are afraid of, but I had nightmares of The Haunted Mansion.

    How old was I? Hard to say, especially because when it comes to Disneyland, hight is more important than age, right? I was at least 40 inches as I could ride Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain no problem. Probably six I guess.

    We went every year, once a year and we loved it. On our return our friends would gather around and listen as we told them the sights and wonders that were there as if we had returned from some great journey around the globe, but when talk turned to the Mansion, I would leave.

    Outside I was filled with nerves, my brain wildly trying to come up with an excuse not to go in. My dad had an official policy when it came to vacations at Disneyland: Everyone went on Every ride we possibly could. No wimp outs.

    The weather vane was the worst. Everything else outside had the trappings of a line, albeit a bit creepy. I'd done spook houses and the like. I knew the deal. Tombstones, creepy music, it was all there, but that vane... a ship. Had it been a bat like it's cousin, or something more deliberately spooky it would have been easier, but a ship. It was too real. Like the spooky house in my neighborhood had an old dutch windmill in the front yard. The spookiest thing isn't anticipated.
    The cast members didn't scare me either. They were human just like I was, and seeing one or more of them obviously bored or distracted let me know, for a moment, it was just a ride, but the thing is they were never in the worst of it. You saw them in the hall way as the candle lights flickered and the air became deathly still, and in the gallery.

    Those paintings... My mom told me to look, that they were funny, but they just seemed so awful to me, The tightrope walker was hard for me, she was younger. Evil obviously, but younger. I could relate to her for some reason, and she was going to be alligator food for sure. What a trick. What a horrible trick.

    The hangman I didn't see till much later, by then my eyes were shut tight and my fists were crammed in my ears. The sensation of a stretching room was too much. When I did open my eyes, they always seemed to land on the face of the tightrope walker.

    In the hallway the paintings changed. They didn't scare me much, except for the April/May one. A young woman who looked a bit like my mother transforming to some monstrous gorgon... maybe it unlocked a deeper fear than I realized. The possibility of hurt from my mother? The assurance that my mother, who takes care of me and loves me, will become some ancient thing who lost her mind? Yes.

    The busts that follow you were obviously tricks that did nothing for me other than kindle a small spark of wanting to know the secrets. I knew one: inverted mask, and I wanted to know more. How did Disney do all this?

    The Doombuggy felt like a coffin closing in on me. Never claustrophobic though, the opposite in fact. It felt to open, to inviting. Some nameless arm or spongy hand could grab my leg from outside and pull me under.

    Up the stairs and in the hallway I first saw Hell. The candelabra floating in the endless hallway. A maid (I always thought she was a made holding that thing) had piddled her life away and was paying the eternal consequence by being lost forever. This was the endless torment of Hell. Not the cartoony "devil and pitchfork" thing from cartoons or Mr. Toad.

    Through the hallway of doors, past the coffin with the body trying to escape I could see out the window and we weren't in Disneyland anymore. On the top of some dead hill from the fairy tails that never seemed quite right, but I understood it had to be. Disney brought you the happy and joy from stories, but they all have their torment and anguish. They all have their villains.

    Madame Leota freaked me right the hell out. It was a real face in the ball, eyes flitting at me before bouncing to the rest of the room. The instruments floated in the air reminding me of the real scary stories I sometimes heard adults tell each other in hushed tones about people being flung around by evil spirits.

    The ballroom scene was a madhouse in my mind. Loonies, dangerous deranged loonies had killed each other and now their spirits were continuing the lunacy. My eyes once again clamped shut.

    Heartbeats opened them up again. Staring into the vacant stare of the ghost bride, her loneliness and sorrow only a ruse to get me to fall to her, to help her. That's when the blue-green of her face would melt away to the black skull underneath (Like the phantasm at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark). Repulsed and afraid, I couldn't look away, afraid I already was hypnotized by her.

    Out the window, down the ledge I came across the caretaker and the dog. That dog... ribs showing through, haunches shaking in fear, doomed to live as a mortal trapped, with no way out. If I was to shed a tear, it would be at the sight of that dog.

    The rest of the ride is a blur in my childhood memory because of the jumping ghosts. I saw the others: The king and queen, the opera singers, the mummy and father time, but they all had a purpose, a story, you know? They were there with or without me. But those jumpers, they only had the fear. My childhood mind created a story where these were not the ghost of departed humans, but the materialization of fear itself, existing only to add to its horrific power. Around every turn it would jump at me, making me scream. I didn't want to scream for I knew every one would make it grow stronger and stronger until it was released from it's captivity and allowed to kill me with the fear.

    When I heard the Ghost Host say "Oh, there you are..." I knew it was over. The hitch-hiking ghost were a joke I got. Funny. the "Follow you home" bit was funny too, especially if the ghost to do it was one of the trio you had sitting on your lap a moment ago whom you put your arm around or watched as you sister kissed on the cheek.

    And then little Leota was only a blur as I rushed to the light and safety of the Disneyland I knew.

    People may disagree about my father's rule, some may even think it child abuse to put a kid though all that, but I'm glad. It honed my imagination, allowed me to create stories I still think about and smile, and shiver.
    It gave me courage to face my fears, and learned that the fears I created in my head were far worse than anything out there.

    I love the Haunted Mansion today. I ride it with a sense of relaxation and fondness that no other ride matches.

    But deep inside of me is the little 40 incher that remembers, knows, fears. And I love it.
    St. Elizabeth, Patron Saint of Themed parks. Protect us from break downs, long lines, and used gum. Amen.

    "Dance like it hurts, love like you need money, and work when people are watching" - Dogbert





  2. #2

    • Banned User
    • Offline

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Southaven, MS
    Posts
    636

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    Wow, talk about a descriptive writing. Very well done indeed.

  3. #3

    • Member
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Victoria, BC/Montreal, QC
    Posts
    163

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    HAHA wonderful story. When I first went to Disneyland I was 6 or so? Either way until I was at least 10 I scared VERY VERY easily--horror movie advertisements, like posters would give me nightmares... I LOVED Disneyland but things spooked me a little--Snow White's ride, etc, but then somehow my dad forced/talked me into going to the Haunted Mansion. I literally spent all the time in the Doom Buggies with my eyes closed pressed up against his jacket--I remember at one point the Ghost Host says something about you beign scared or closing your eyes and I thougth he could see me....

    Next time I went of course it was a favorite (although I still find it genuinely far spookier than I think most people do... *blush*)

  4. #4

    • She was sweet as a peach
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    in a pineapple way
    Posts
    1,246

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    Excellent post!!

    I wasn't brave enough to go on it (at MK) until I was 12. I have been a huge fan ever since.

  5. #5

    • Closed Account
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    5,897

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    Simply awesome. Well done!

  6. #6

    • Disney Dreams
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    .....
    Posts
    4,129

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    Wow - that was fantastic! I've visited with relatives that are younger as well, and it's almost funny to see the different points of view - some are excited, and some are scared as well. - The mansion can do alot of things other than entertain, that's for sure. I never remember ever being terrified of the Mansion. I remember that I noticed the hanging body in the stretching room on a later trip, and it wasn't something I always knew about, and it was always kind of weird. I wasn't really ever "scared" of the mansion... weird - or I always thought it was. There was only one part that used to spook me out, and it was those ghosts that jumped out. I'd nearly pass out when I was younger and they actually screamed at the moment they jumped out, not seconds later as they do now, with the poor technical issues. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~

    Thanks for sharing your memories!


  7. #7

    • Beach Expert
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    A beach town that Harbor Blvd was named after
    Posts
    10,499

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    I don't know how old I was when I first went on. I was born in Glendale in 1968 and it opened in 1969 so I must have been very young. All I know is that my parents paid the price for taking me on when I was very young, because I had to sleep with the light on for over a year after that! I would still go on, but with my eyes and ears shut during the doombuggy part. Everything was ok before that, a little creepy but I could bear it -- probably because I was walking and felt a little bit more in control.

    It wasn't until years later. I must have been 8 or 9 that my parents found a friend who installed the air conditioning in the ride building that I was able to go on it with no fear. He went with us and told me how everything works, and it is al fake. I am sure that he made a lot of it up or used common sense (because his only job was installing the air conditioning) but anyway he reassured me that it is all an illusion.

    This being stated, the op makes some points that still creep me out to this day, and the op touches on the fact that there is an underlying creepiness to the whole place. Doombuggies similar to coffins and such. The bride, even though an illusion, still freaks me out and little Leota too, and also the seance room. Just the underlying concepts of it all. Creepy! But fun!

  8. #8

    • MiceChat Moderator
    • I'm back! Sorta...
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Eustis, Florida (45 minutes from WDW)
    Posts
    3,022

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    Dude! This is excellent! Where the heck have you been!

    Good to see you are still writing, TGel!

    Peace,
    Roo
    husband, petowner, wordsmith, imagineer, martialist, playwright, traveller, ardent, wit, critic, barista, Taoist, superhero, fortuneteller, reader, fidget, teacher, dreamer, author, blogger, ghosthunter, voter, patient, bear, gourmand, Floridian, friend

  9. #9

    •   
    • Skeevy Ray Vaughan
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Fullerton
    Posts
    37,888

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    Flat out wonderful. By far one of the best reads on this chatboard and other sites as well.

    Thank you so much for bringing back memories and allowing us to share some laughs with your experience.

    Chad

  10. #10

    • Inhospitable about happy
    • Offline

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    5,478

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    Great piece. And you've put your finger on the real function of spookhouses, scary movies, ghost stories, and the rest: confronting our mortality, the fear of death.

    Every culture needs a place and a way to provide a first exposure to this universal human horror. An initiation. That's why the tacky, tasteless, dark rides clattering away in dirty amusement parks are somehow important (no, I mean it; don't laugh), and the Mansion is heir to that tradition, the noble responsibility of providing the first real scare for thousands of kids.

    "And look, Stevey, you're okay. You're okay. See? That wasn't so bad..."

  11. #11

    • Nor-Cal D-Land Fan
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    48

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    Reading that made my morning. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  12. #12

    • =)
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    13,290

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    Great read! Wonderfully written, and amusing to boot. I can honestly say I've never been scared while riding the mansion because I didn't ride it when I was young enough to be frightened by it. I did, however, have a similar experience with Indy. When it first opened, I was young enough to be petrified of it. The jungle setting was fine, but moving into those crypt-like underground spaces where people had been killed by spikes or crushed by falling stones...it was awful! I was terrified by the time we got in our troop transports, a feeling I still detect delightful whispers of every time I ride. Once the ride started, the loud noises and rough movements and fear of dead things caused me to shut my eyes for most of the ride. I dimly remember opening them briefly and seeing things that aren't actually part of the ride (!), like violently strobing purple stalagmites. I think I may have opened my eyes for the rolling ball finale...but I was generally horrified by the whole ride. When we got off, my mother was practically crying because she'd enjoyed the thrill and unexpectedness of it all so much. I was close to tears for a different reason. Naturally, I now treasure Indy as one of my very favorite rides--just like you with the mansion. So who knows? Maybe the whole conquering your fears thing can actually produce a stronger affinity to a given ride.

    Thanks again for posting.


  13. #13

    • Member
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    San diego
    Posts
    734

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    Great post. It helps me understand my kids experience a little better. Since my first visit to DL was when I was 25, I never got to experience it with my kid fears. Strike that, I'm still filled with kid fears.

  14. #14

    • Space Mountain Expert
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Innerspace
    Posts
    565

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    i think you could have driven there again from Utah in the time it took to write that masterpiece....
    I'm from Utah as well so I know that drive well. The I-15 South to the 93 West to the 57 South. Ahhh how I love that combination!!!
    What a killer post. I've re-read it a couple times now and it has brought back childhood memories I have of the Mansion when I was a kid.
    Thanks sooooo much for taking the time to write that out. I can see I'm not alone when I say... I appreciated it immensely.
    On the other hand, what part of Utah you from?

    "They see me mowing, my front lawn. I know they're all thinking I'm so White and Nerdy"... LOL too funny
    I only hope we never lose sight of one thing... that it was all started by a mouse!



    the world of disneyking

  15. #15

    • Directly directed
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    4,450

    Re: The Haunted Mansion: one kid's view

    What a well written piece! I was never afraid of the HM but I love your insight to it, why some people could be scared of it. Especially the weather vane, what a great point. Awesome. Thanks for sharing!

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. updates to the Haunted Mansion..what do you want in our Mansion?
    By pianoman13 in forum Disneyland Resort
    Replies: 71
    Last Post: 05-04-2008, 06:35 PM
  2. Is Haunted Mansion Buggy #55 really HAUNTED??
    By Coheteboy in forum Disneyland Resort
    Replies: 220
    Last Post: 08-28-2007, 09:16 PM
  3. Use Google Earth to View the Site of the Haunted Mansion Facade!
    By Walt Jr. in forum MiceChat News Archive
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-01-2007, 03:40 PM
  4. Haunted Mansion vs Haunted Mansion Holiday
    By monotonehell in forum Disneyland Resort
    Replies: 51
    Last Post: 12-07-2006, 08:18 AM
  5. My Haunted Mansion Storyline- would make the Mansion 'more' complete.
    By A Disney Dreamer in forum Disneyland Resort
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: 05-26-2006, 02:13 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •