Haunted Mansion 2011, A Full Report

by on Apr.25, 2011, under Syndicated from the Web

Welcome Foolish Mortals,

The following WDW report is going to be quite different then some of my others, in that it will be based mostly on the recent changes rather than a full scene by scene breakdown. With that, lets get started.
The mansion’s facade and grounds (not including the new queue) are in tip-top shape. Never better, actually. The Mansion line is supposed to split when approaching the new queue. By going to the right you are able to go the “Normal” way and walk right up to the door, and by going to the left you are directed into the interactive queue. Choosing which way to go is supposed to be up to the guest (and the main argument “pro-queue” people are trying to tell Haunted Mansion fans that are against the additions). Ah, but this is not the case, at least at night and in the morning. From 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 A.M the shorter way was chained off, forcing myself and others, to take the long way to get to the ride. I, in my totally unprofessional opinion, think this make no sense whatsoever. If there is no line for the ride, why not chain off the interactive queue and let guests get right into the Mansion. And when the line begins to lengthen, why not open up both lanes?
OK, for the most part this is forgivable, but when it is mid-day, the line for the ride is long, and both lanes are open, why is there NO CAST MEMBER DIRECTING TRAFFIC. Absolutely NO GUEST realized that both lanes are open causing the entire line to be backed up. There is no cast member, no sign, no anything identifying how you can use both lanes.
Anyway, moving into the new queue…
The divider between the lanes is tall, cramped and tacky. it should be replaced by some sort of a low fence. Oh, I almost forgot:
The Following Description is a bit harsh, those who like/worked-on, the new queue should scroll down to the positive points.
When entering, you run into those over-the-top cartoonish busts. Personally, I like the way they look and are executed, but it does not fit in the setting.

You are supposed to read each of their plaques’ and decide who killed who, but the average guest doesn’t realize this, and think that they are just a photo opportunity. Next up are Marc and X’s tombstones. Please, don’t even get me started on how many people continuously leaned on them or had their children (get this) sit on them for a photo! *Shivers*
The Composer’s tomb, despite it’s faulty art design, is the best of all 3 crypts. It’s music is loud, the “touch pad” does not feel like stone (and actually bends when pressed too hard), and it has ghosts carved into it ( but I already get into that in THIS post). The biggest downsides are the “Crazy” sounds that the Crump inspired side has and the fact that the organ’s keys are soaking wet. “WaltzingGhost” on MiceChat overheard a child say, after pressing the organ’s keys’, “Eww, it’s wet, thats not cool”. To the far left of Harriet’s tombstone is this large green “T” thing,

I have no Idea what it is, but it gets in the way. Venturing forward there was, in fact, a rose sitting on my tombstone. But alas, I was unable to take a nice picture of it because the guest in front of me was leaning on it. The whole area surrounding the Captain’s tomb is disgusting. the ground looks unfinished, everything is soaking wet, and his voice is ridiclious and needs to be removed. Guests avoided this area like the plague, and, as I’ve stated before, it is an accident waiting to happen.

The overall design of Prudence’s tomb is lovely, and actually looks good. The “Whack-a-book” effect is un-doubly the most popular interactive feature. My only beef is that they come out to rapidly, and nothing happens after you push them in. Prudence herself is obnoxious. She sounds like a second grade teacher screaming at you for an answer to her low-class poem.

When exiting the New queue you can see Collin Campell’s tombstone shoved in a corner, which is EXTREMELY disrespectful since he passed away so recently (April 2nd, HERE is a nice article remembering him and his legacy)
Overall, the queue feels cramped and dirty. The water effects will obviously not last, and its sound pollution is horrendous. Yes, the Captain’s goofy singing and and prudence’s yelping carries out of the interactive queue and up to the mansion’s front doors.
My favorite guest quote after exiting the new queue:
Person 1 : “That was kinda weird”
His friend: “Yea, they are trying to make it more like the Eddy Murphy Movie”
OK, lets get positive!
The all of the new tributes, including Harriet’s tombstone (even though it is a bit hard to read) are very nice and long overdue. The hill and all of the headstones that were added to the old section of the queue look FANTASTIC (despite most of them not having full names/do not fit in a family plot). It adds so much depth and perspective that was so desperately needed in that area:

Another, odd, positive point is the lighting fixtures that positioned under the canopy:

I also adore the view of the Rivers of America that the new queue provides.
Unfortunately, that is it. If you are a Haunted Mansion Fan and have the option of bypassing the interactive queue, I suggest you do so. Other than the sound bleeding of the captain’s singing and sneezing, you will be able to have the whole mansion experience the way it was supposed to be.
The mansion’s interior is looking better than ever. Remember how we’ve been complaining for a while about how no one is ever able to see my full portrait transformation? Well, it seems like someone is trying to address it. Instead of one Maid/butler manning both the foyer and stretching galleries there are now two. One stays in the foyer while the other guides you into the gallery. By doing this one maid/butler does not have to rush to the front doors before the GH’s spiel starts. The new process is effective, but only operates when crowd capacity is at moderate-large.
I mentioned in an earlier post that construction was going on in the former “Chicken’s exit” to become a possible “Photo opportunity” with the HHGs. Thankfully I was wrong. The door to the chicken’s exit has been expanded to reveal two passageways. There is a sign between the two that says “For those of you too full of fear, there’s one last chance to exit here” and points to the right. Underneath that, there is a wheelchair symbol and an arrow to the left. Thats right folks, the foyer and stretching galleries are finally wheelchair accessible. When a guest accommodating a wheelchair exits the gallery, they are directed into the new passage that guides them into the exit crypt so that they can board safely:

The passage from the loading area.

The passage from the exit crypt
The passage does give off a little too much light, but I don’t really mind.
I think I will move onto the new HHGs.
They really do look great. They are surprisingly three dimensional and very fun. When there is no guest in a buggy they revert to a generic animation, Phineas waves while his head slowly begins to float off his shoulders, Gus sits atop a buggy, looses his balance and falls, and Ezra tips his hat causing bats to fly out of it. Due to some odd circumstance, the computers were unable to detect I was in a buggy 2/3 times, leaving me with one of the generic animations. I wasn’t really upset, because I think all of that head-switching is overly flashy and would be happy with more simple animations, but still. Otherwise everything seemed to be working just dandy. WaltzingGhost, who I mentioned before, recently went to WDW and was able to see these effects first-hand. But alas, things did not go well. She said that the effect broke mid-trip and was replaced with those goofy floating-by ghosts and also stated that under the ghosts were computer codes, since they weren’t prepared for the breakdown. Oh well.
Finally, all previous bat shaped “Servants Quarters” signs have been replaced with these wonderful antique-looking plaques, a very good job by imagineering!

So, all in all the mansion is in good shape, at least if you ignore the fact that the new queue is trying to take you out of the “real world” and set you up in some sort of made up land.
If only management would shell out the money to fix the new queue.
If only…
On a less sour note here are some non-flash pictures from the trip:
I am going to be uploading more *Nice* photos of my trip on Facebook, and eventually to my website. A full ride-through of the Mansion will be posted on Youtube ASAP. Both links are in the sidebar.
Master Gracey

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