Hi folks, I was lucky to have made it to HKDL last week to enjoy this park's Halloween offering for 2007. Upon arriving there, a Sunday afternoon no less... I found the park to be totally dead. Main Street was a ghost town... and that was not meant in keeping with the Halloween spirit.
Anyways.. the park is nicely decorated for Halloween. Very simple but nice. I liked the new spooky tree centerpiece in the hub.
After a quick check of the merchandise, I ventured on to do the haunted attraction... "Main Street Haunted Hotel", a very spooky maze (think Universal HHN) with elements from both the TOT and HM attraction...plus a bit more fright to go with it. Plenty of warning is given to guests as this is not your average family walk-thru attraction at Disney, mind you.
As you get closer to the entrance, you can hear some guests screaming inside and some spooky thunder noise.. As I walked into the attraction, I immediately realized this is a Disney show.. very nicely done, with pictures of faces that change figure as you walk pass them, and a check desk area similar to TOTs...only smaller in scale and much much darker and sinister, with a very scary looking hotel employee waiting to check you in... plus other scary performers along the way.. I also noticed the same facial busts they have at the HM in the library scene... the ones that appear to follow you as you ride pass them? From here on, the attraction becomes your more-to the point scary walkthru maze.. going thru long dark corridors and thru guest rooms... My favorite gag was the nasty dead corpse that springs out of one of the beds... that was scary to me and totally unexpected.. Talk about screaming like a little girl!! The actors in the attraction do a great job and scarying guests at every turn..similar to what Universal does for HHN. This is definitely NOT a show to bring in small children...
All in all, it was 5 minutes of pure tense moments and scary jolts. However, as nice and scary as this was.. I objected to two particular scenes.. One was a man hanging above, still moving and making noises. The other was what appeared to be a hotel guest being electrocuted, with a very convincing actor screaming his way thur it and banging the cage-like room with a bar, for even louder purposes... While I find this to be appropriate for Universal's more gory approach, here in a Disney park, it feels gratuitous and simply out of place. They could have done just find without the images of death and torture...which to me, do not necesarily mean "halloween", and sadly that is what Hollywood has made Halloween to be like. So be forewarned.. if you attend this attraction, leave the very small kids behind. All in all, it was a decent effort by Disney to compete with whatever Ocean Park is doing across town. No Mickey Mouse business there...
On a side note, I should note that this haunted Hotel attraction was places in between Adventureland and Main Street, next to the Plaza restaurant... I think this would be a perfect spot for HKDL's Haunted Mansion, if they ever wanted to place it there and give it a Main Street-like victorian feel...
Moving on.. Next, I wanted to ride the Ghost Galaxy overlay on Space Mountain.. an overlay that I felt was kind of odd when first announced. Well, guess what! I was totally impressed with this little show. The new and very spooky soundtrack on the ride vehicles set the mood from the start. The first glimpse we get of the space ghost is on the first lift, and they have even placed some light effects on the meteor at the top of the lift. The new projections of the ghost trying to catch up with you thru the ride are dead on great and perfectly synchronized with the ride. For example, as we zip thru a tight curve, you see the ghost's hand reaching out to try to catch you. ...and that ghost will follow you up to the very end *AFTER* the re-entry tunnel... All in all and without giving away too much... it was a most enjoyable and spooky ride thur the galaxy and I wish they did this at DL and TDL, since they share the same ride track.
Lastly... the main event: the "Glow in the Dark" parade. One word for it... FABULOUS! This parade at HKDL is so good, it made the MK's "Boo to You" parade (which I had seen days before my HKDL visit) look like Amateur Hour. It's quickly made obvious that HKDL had a budget for this and they did a terrific job at putting this procession together. Jack Skellington opens the float, in the form of a very tall and well animated prop as he appears to look down at the guests..and from that point on, the animation on the floats, the vivid colors and the excellent costuming elevates this parade to a high standard comparable to what we get in the Tokyo special event parades. When the lights go out and the black light takes over, the parade and performers do glow in the dark, revealing other things that can't be seen under regular lighting.. and the parade transforms into a spectacular, spooky sight. This is something reminicing of TDL's Fantillusion 2nd act, with the villains. KUDOS to all who worked on this show... My rate is A+.
To add to the Halloween experience, a fabulous lighting system has been installed all over Main Street to bring the area alive at night, with ever changing colors and projections of witches, ghosts and bats... this is similar to what the MK does for MNSSHP, but at regular ticket prices and for daytime guests. From time to time, the black lights do come on as well, giving every one on Main Street an ultra cool glow... Great night time show and feel...
Needless to say HKDL went beyond the call of duty to provide their guests a most enjoyable Halloween time at the park.. and concidering how attendance numbers continue to underperform...this is an impressible show for a park that obviously believes in exceeding guests' expectations, no matter what. They did it for summer with their excellent Summer events and parades, and I sure hope the momentum continues into the Christmas seasons.. and into 2008. This is why all the more, I was mortified to see the park so poorly attended, especially on a Sunday.
Here are photos of my afternoon at the park and I hope you enjoy them... but some are dark and not that great, which is challenging for me since I have a cheap camera. Anyways...here is the link:
Coming Next week: TDR's Mega Photo report from TDL's Halloween 07 and TDS's A La Carte event.