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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Corey Burton on voicing the 'Ghost Host'

burton_as_ghost_host.mp3 Listen on Posterous's Chef Mayhem, along with the rest of the Mousetalgia podcast crew, recently interviewed Disney voice actor Corey Burton for the April 18, 2011 episode of the Mousetalgia podcast. In this advance excerpt, Burton discusses channeling legendary voice actor Paul Frees to voice the Ghost Host for the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay, which has been installed annually at Disneyland since the fall of 2001.

Posted via email from's posterous

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

DoomBuggies talks to Black Widow Bride Kat Cressida

Happy Halloween, Foolish Mortals!

I hope that this tricky season is treating you well! Having barely recovered from the numerous 40th anniversary celebrations for the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, DoomBuggies has another special surprise for you this week: a new Mousetalgia podcast featuring an interview with Kat Cressida, the voice of the Black Widow Bride in the Haunted Mansion attic. (Mousetalgia is the official podcast of Kat talks to us about getting the role, the history of the Mansion, and the secrets inside the attic. We also discuss all the Halloween happenings at Disneyland park - so for some spooktacular fun, you won't want to miss this episode! You can either go to iTunes and search for Mousetalgia (this week's episode is 52), or you can listen directly from:

Here's another spectacular treat for you: recording artist Keith LuBrant has recorded a phantastic rendition of "Grim Grinning Ghosts," and he's offering it this season as a free download! Grab it while you can:

If you missed out on all the excitement over the past few months as Disneyland celebrated the Haunted Mansion's 40th anniversary, don't hesitate to join the forums and read all about the recent happenings, art releases and events. Rumors are flying about the Hatbox Ghost's eminent return to the Mansion - so be sure to join our forums for the latest news and reports.

You can also join us on facebook, to keep up with all the day-to-day Haunted Mansion news and features. Become a fan today:

That's all for now... have a safe and scary Halloween!

-The Chef

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Thurl Ravenscroft - the lost interview

Hey, Ghost-fans...

Now playing on the Mousetalgia podcast (Episode 44): A never-before-heard interview with legendary Disney voice Thurl Ravenscroft in honor of this week's CD re-release of "The Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion" record album. Subscribe at iTunes or listen at


Monday, August 10, 2009

DoomBugs at the Haunted Mansion's 40th birthday!

On August 9, 2009, the Haunted Mansion celebrated its 40th b-day in style, with an artist signing at the Disneyana store in the morning by Shag, and a gathering of DoomBugs (above) to celebrate the Mansion's birthday properly. On the evening of August 8, a private "Swinging Wake" was held at Disney's Paradise Pier to honor Shag for his new release of 13 frightful Haunted Mansion images, featuring an open "Shagtini" bar, an undertaker jazz band, and endless sweets and hors d'oeuvres. But the real star of the weekend was the Haunted Mansion, which was open at midnight Aug. 9th to a select family for the first-ever sleepover in the manse. A live webcam of the entire night showed some mysterious goings-on... including a serenade by the Hitchhiking Ghosts themselves! Amazing!

Be sure to listen to this week's Mousetalgia podcast for a special Haunted Mansion birthday episode!


Monday, July 20, 2009

An interview with Haunted Mansion voice actor Dal McKennon

As many of you are no doubt aware, Disney voice actor Dallas McKennon passed away last week at the age of 89. McKennon had a long and successful career, providing voices for all sorts of Disney projects, including records, films, and the theme parks.

As Haunted Mansion fans, you might take particular note of the fact that McKennon created many of the sounds and voices in the Haunted Mansion, including the whimpering dog at the caretaker's side, and the long, howling scream heard in the stretching rooms.

This week (July 20-26, 2009 - Episode 37), the podcast contains an exclusive interview with Dal McKennon from 2003 that was never broadcast. It provides some wonderful insight into the life of an often-overlooked Disney star. We also discuss the current Haunted Mansion "O-pin House" events going on at Disneyland - so give it a listen!

or find us on iTunes and subscribe there.


-The Chef

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Haunted Mansion voice actor Dal McKennon dies at 89

Voice actor Dallas ("Dal") McKennon has passed away at 89, just shy of his 90th birthday, which would have been July 19. While best known for his extensive work as a voice for various animated features, McKennon also voiced numerous voice tracks used in the Disney theme parks - most notably his warning for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, in which he exclaimed "Hold on to your hats and glasses... this here's the wildest ride in the wilderness!"

Mansion afficienados might note that McKennon also voiced the deaf old man in the Haunted Mansion's graveyard, who, unable to decipher the mummy muttering through his bandages, has been doomed to an eternity of croaking out "What's that? Louder!" Additionally, McKennon claimed that he was also the voice behind the whimpering dog outside the graveyard gates, as well as a few assorted moans, groans and wails from inside the attraction - including the famously horrifying scream inside of the stretching gallery.

"Since he does some of the Haunted Mansion screams, his fans may be interested to know that he can be seen doing that on-screen in the schlocky Vincent Price movie "The Tingler," if they remember that one," recalled Tim Hollis, author of Mouse Tracks: The Story of Walt Disney Records. "Toward the end of the picture, Dal appears as a projectionist in a movie theater, with a giant rubber grubworm locked around his throat. Dal then lets loose with practically the same scream you hear in the Haunted Mansion stretch room."

RIP, Dal.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Join DoomBuggies at a Bridal Bash Banquet!

DoomBuggies presents The Bridal Bash Banquet at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney on Tuesday, September 8, 2009 from 3 to 6 p.m.

As the 40th Anniversary of our favorite haunted domicile draws near, we at Doombuggies decided that one party just wasn't enough. Since all of us here are part of one huge haunted family - and since families always help with weddings - we figured it was only appropriate to throw a Big Bridal Bash to help celebrate dear Constance's betrothal.

So you are all cordially invited to attend a special celebration on Tuesday September 8th, 2009!

Our Bash will feature special guests, a live emcee (or a dead one if he'll work cheap enough), photo ops, and a killer buffet that will leave you dying for more. This will be THE social event of the season. If you're heading out to the HM 40th Anniversary Celebration at Disneyland (or even if you're not), make plans to drop by and join the fun at this swinging shower. And we've planned around the official Disney events so you won't miss a thing. The New Orleans-themed Jazz Kitchen is just steps away from Disneyland's Grand Californian Hotel, in the Downtown Disney District.

This event is going to be a scream, so send your RSVP today and help us redefine "wedding party!" Space is limited and tickets will sell quickly, so start making final arrangements now.

Tickets are $49.99, and are available by sending payment via to The deadline to purchase tickets is June 1, 2009. We hope to see you there!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Before the Mansion, there was Sarah...

Back in the early '60s, a group of WED Imagineers traved north to San Jose to visit Sarah Winchester's Mansion, commonly known as the "Mystery House," as research for the still-in-development Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. In today's edition of the Santa Maria Times, Julia McHugh takes readers on a quick tour of the San Jose attraction:

"I watch my 8-year-old daughter’s eyes grow large as Mr. Chapels talks about Mrs. Winchester’s eccentricities: how she became a recluse, refused to be photographed and kept a black veil over her face at all times.

"'She lived here alone and consulted no architects,' he says, 'simply constantly built, tore down, and rebuilt until her house towered seven stories high.'

"My 13-year-old leans over. 'Demented,' she says with a grin. I smile, but I’m nervous to be here. I take her hand..."

Read the entire article here.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

D23 - to be or not to be (a member)...

Today, the Disney Company unveiled its new official fan "community," which they call D23 (and have been mysteriously promoting with a viral "Are you 23?" campaign for past few months.) I was able to participate in a conference call this afternoon with Steve Clark, the head of D23; Dave Smith, head of the Disney Archives; and Marty Sklar, Imagineer and Disney Legend - along with other members of the media and high-profile Disney fansites and internet communities.

At its most basic, D23 is a pricey fan club, though it appears you will get what you pay for. Annual membership is $74.95, which includes 4 issues of the quarterly "D23" high-end publication, which will not include advertising (save the fact that the entire thing is promotional, to an extent); reduced admission to the D23 Expo, to be held for the first 4 years or so in Anaheim, CA (this year's event is scheduled for Sept. 10-13); a special gift (which Steve Clark mentioned he'd be proud to display in his own home, after noting that it wasn't just a pin); and opportunities which are too vague and/or preliminary for the officials to announce just yet. When asked about the price point, Clark pointed out that they are making every effort to keep the website full of insider information and wonderful content that can be accessed by anyone on the internet for free - and the initial launch of the site is, in fact, impressive.

Clark did indicate that some of the members-only opportunities could include advance screenings of Disney or Pixar films, exclusive evening events in the theme parks, and possibly advance opportunities to experience new attractions in the parks, as annual passholders have been able to do in the past. In fact, Clark often referred to D23 as a sort of corporate umbrella that encompasses and ties together all the fan-style business units currently employed throughout the Disney corporation, such as Annual Passholders, DVC members, Disney Movie Rewards members, and Walt Disney Collectors Society members.

A lot of the conversation during the conference call was directed toward the intent of the new club. While Clark called it the first Disney-authorized fan community (somehow, I guess the early Mickey Mouse Clubs don't count, as they were run by the theaters with tacit company approval), it also seems that the club will serve as yet another conduit via which collectors can get their share of "exclusive" merchandise, which they call the "Disney Archives Collection." The D23 team will be working with the existing creators of Disney merchandise (such as Disney Shopping, the theme park merchandise division, and Walt Disney Collectors Society) to create unique pieces available only to D23 members.

Early concern that the corporation might be trying to compete with Disney fan communities (both offline, such as the NFFC, and the numerous online forums) was generally dismissed by Clark, who feels that the Disney Company has a broad enough fan base and collection of properties for there to be "room for everybody." There doesn't seem to be an indication that the D23 website is trying to draw together individuals in any way other than offering logo wear and hosting events, at this point. And Dave Smith was quick to point out that the Disney Archives has every intent to continue their long-standing collaboration with the NFFC, which is an independent fan organization based around an annual convention.

Which brings us to the D23 Expo, which Clark compared vaguely with ComicCon or Star Wars Celebration, both of which are massive fan gatherings. While the D23 staff kept their cards close to the vest, some things mentioned that may occur are numerous celebrity appearances, artist signings, fan tables and booths to buy/sell/trade Disneyana, previews of upcoming attractions and movies, and everything you'd expect from a massive corporate fan event. The first few events will occur at the Anaheim Convention Center, and there should be hotel deals available for attendees. The event will be open to the public at a cost of around $35/day, though D23 members will get reduced price admission.

Overall, the effort feels overdue, though it still smacks of yet another means of presenting corporate PR. From a Disneyana collector's point of view, joining the club is a must-do; but casual fans will have to decide on their own what this means for them personally. On a number of occasions, Clark pointed out the importance and uniqueness of the corporate legitimacy of the event, as it pulls together input and cooperation from Disney's myriad "business units" (the theme parks, the merchandise, the films, Pixar, Imagineering, etc.) But as a launch, I was hit in the face with the myriad purchasing opportunities.

It's not an easy thing for a corporate entity to launch a fan club in celebration of themselves without handing out rose-colored glasses along with the membership card. But perhaps, as Disney has shaped so much of popular culture over the past 80 years, the time is ripe for an insider perspective, even if it's a Disney-sanctioned perspective. One thing Clark and Sklar repeatedly stressed was that they wanted to throw open the doors to the Disney Archives, to show the fans the real treasures from the company that have been long-since buried (and perhaps to sell them a Mary-Poppins-Prop-Replica-snowglobe, while they're at it.) And that doesn't sound like a terrible formula at all.

In closing, Marty Sklar stressed that this was "not about finding ways to sell more merchandise," and he pointed out that the venture is a real opportunity for fans to come together with the Disney corporate entity, and each other, in the process. Time will tell.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Haunted Mansion event sells out in "minutes"

Recession? What recession?

To no one's (except Disneyland's, apparently) surprise, the Haunted Mansion's 40th anniversary event scheduled to be held on 9/9/09 at Disneyland sold out almost immediately. Tickets to the $475 and $430 packages were snapped up within 5 minutes of going on sale Tuesday, and the remaining packages at $250 and $85 were gone within 2 hours after going on sale Wednesday, according to the OC Register.

Server overloads caused the ticketing website to crash beginning at least 20 minutes before the tickets were even released for sale at 11:00 a.m. PST, and extensive frustration was evident among fans that weren't able to secure tickets.

Complicating matters this year is the fact that Disney recently implemented a single-ticket-per-purchase regulation, meaning that a number of attendees only were able to get a single ticket for their party - IF they were lucky enough to even get that.

Reporting that one ticket agent called the situation a "fiasco," a forum member, who wanted to get the second member of her party on the waiting list for a ticket, said that the agents "were looking on in horror as all the problems went on, and [he] sympathized with me, even though there was absolutely nothing he could do to help other than put us on a waiting list that he informed me 'was so long at this point that literally every attendee would have to cancel for us to call you.'"

DoomBuggies is tentatively planning to host a party for Haunted Mansion fans that wish to congregate the evening before the official event near Disneyland Park, whether they are able to attend Disneyland's event or not. Stay tuned to the forums for upcoming details.

Read a brief story in the OC Register here.


Friday, December 05, 2008

RIP, Uncle Forry

Forrest J. Ackerman has passed away at the age of 92. A legend in the horror and sci-fi community (in fact, Ackerman is credited for creating the term "sci-fi"), Forrest was loved by his fans, and opened his home to them weekly for years, showing off some of his varied items from a fascinating cabinet of curiosities (most of which, however, were famously and unfortunately sold off a few years back due to Ackerman's financial situation.)

DoomBuggies owes a special debt of gratitude to Forrest, as he personally awarded its first award almost 10 years ago - the "4E's Faves" award. I was informed by a friend and assistant of Forry's that he had, in fact, admired, which is one of my greatest claims to fame.

I remember seeing Uncle Forry walking through the HauntX convention hall a couple years back when I was hawking my book and giving a presentation on the Mansion. It was my only time in his presence, and I regret not finding the time to take one of the storied morning fan tours he offered of his home. I had been contacted to create an official website for Forrest a while back, and had been working on it on- and off-again over the past few months. Perhaps I'll be able to finish it as a tribute to Forrest, the "Ackermonster" of Hollyweird.

RIP, Uncle Forry.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Haunted Mansion 40th anniversary news - and a DoomBuggies' sale!

Greetings, Foolish Mortals!

Happy holidays! The big news, if you haven't already heard, is that Disneyland Resort has announced not one, but TWO major events in celebration of the Haunted Mansion's 40th anniversary next year!

First, on Aug. 8 & 9, Shag will be hosting an exclusive cocktail reception and art release at Disneyland Park. The reception is the 8th, with an exclusive opportunity to purchase art, and the Disneyana Store signing is the 9th in the park. The art is to die for, of course (no pun necessary.)

Then, a month later on Sept. 9, Disneyland will be hosting an official 40th anniversary merchandise event (on 9/9/9, naturally!) This event, focusing on the bride's tale, will include 4 tiered admission packages and plenty of great art and memorabilia collecting opportunities, as well as a Haunted Mansion panel discussion of some sort.

Both events sound like can't-miss opportunities, and you can learn more about them at (and join the conversation at the DoomBuggies forums at to keep up on the latest breaking news and rumors!)

In honor of the holiday shopping season, DoomBuggies is having a blow-out merchandise sale. Our basic black logo t-shirts (which are not available on the website - only at rare DoomBuggies events, and consist of the logo and mascot in ghostly white, on a midnight black shirt) are now just $9.99, and for a limited time only, fan club kits (which include a newsletter, bumper sticker, cloisonne pin, exclusive pressed penny, and more) are reduced 25% to just $14.99. Shipping is $5 on all orders. Shirts available in L, XL or 2XL. Both shirts or fan club kits make great stocking stuffers, and are limited in quantity, so order yours today. These mailing list specials are only available by sending payment via paypal to, and listing what you would like in the comments. Shipping is just $5 regardless of the size of your order.

I'm currently sold out of signed copies of my book ("The Secrets of Disney's Haunted Mansion"), but if you order a copy between today and Christmas at and email me a copy of the receipt, I'll mail you a signed bookplate free of charge.

Here's hoping you and yours have a fantastic Thanksgiving and holiday season - and take a chance to rest in peace!

-The Chef

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Special Halloween Haunted Mansion Podcast is Online!

Special Halloween Haunted Mansion Podcast is Live!

Hello DoomBuggies fiends,

The current episode of the Mousetalgia podcast (featuring "The Chef" from DoomBuggies) is all about Disneyland's Haunted Mansion - so drop by and download it for some good old-fashioned Halloween fun!

Learn some of the lesser-known facts about the Mansion and impress your friends with your amazing head full of Disney trivia! Discover how technology from four separate centuries has been combined to create this masterful attraction. Hear some spooktacular sound effects straight from the ride - and enter a contest for some really cool prizes! All this and more awaits you...

Search for "mousetalgia" at the iTunes Store, or subscribe and/or listen directly at


P.S. Pass this note on to your friends, if you think they'd like to listen in as well. Thanks!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Disneyland's Master Carver shares Jack-o-Lantern tips

Georgina Johnson, the master carver for Disneyland Resort, has created many pumpkin- and squash-based characters for Halloweentime at Disneyland Park, including carved pumpkins found in front of the Haunted Mansion. In this brief clip, she shares some tips:


Saturday, October 04, 2008

"The Haunted Mansion" to air on ABC Family Oct. 20

ABC Family celebrates the 10th annual "13 Nights of Halloween"

For the tenth year in a row, ABC Family brings viewers fright-full evenings during its 13 NIGHTS OF HALLOWEEN programming event. The ABC Family premieres of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III” and “The Addams Family” will join other Halloween themed programming airing the 13 nights leading up to Halloween (October 19 – October 31).

Following is a listing of programming thrills and chills taking place October 19-31 during ABC Family’s 13 NIGHTS OF HALLOWEEN, released by ABC Family.

Night One – Sunday, October 19
The 10th annual 13 NIGHTS OF HALLOWEEN begins with a day full of screams starting with The Witches at 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM ET/PT, where a young boy comes across a convention of witches with devastating results. Right after the witchy adventure watch as a small town is terrorized by monsters in Gremlins (1:30 – 4:00 PM ET/PT). Then settle in for the afternoon with a butt-kicking ninja marathon starting with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at 4:00 – 6:00 PM ET/PT, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (6:00 – 8:00 PM ET/PT) and then the ABC Family premiere of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III at 8:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT.

Night Two – Monday, October 20
“Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize” with the airing of The Haunted Mansion at 8:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT. Eddie Murphy stars as a father who brings his family to a haunted house that hides a much darker secret.

Night Three – Tuesday, October 21
The screams ring out when Scariest Places on Earth returns at 10:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT. Host Linda Blair guides viewers as they take a look at some of America’s greatest urban legends and investigates each famous spot.

Night Four – Wednesday, October 22
Say this man’s name three times and you are in for quite a terrifying ride! Beetlejuice wreaks havoc for a married couple at 8:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT. The film stars Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis and Winona Ryder.

Night Five – Thursday, October 23
They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysteriously spooky – they’re The Addams Family. In the ABC Family premiere, the eccentric family must deal with an Uncle Fester imposter from 8:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT. Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christina Ricci and Christopher Lloyd star. The night concludes with an episode of the fan favorite Scariest Places on Earth (12:00 – 1:00 AM ET/PT), where the Monahan family tackles Vlad the Impaler’s lair in Transylvania.

Night Six – Friday, October 24
The shenanigans of the macabre Addams Family continue with Addams Family Values at 8:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT. This go-round the family must come to their uncle’s rescue when a gold-digger targets him as her new love. Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christina Ricci and Christopher Lloyd star.

Night Seven – Saturday, October 25
The weekend is full of witches, ghosts and the undead and starting it off is Casper Meets Wendy at 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM ET/PT with the world’s friendliest ghost. The day continues with a cauldron full of spells with the film Teen Witch (1:00 – 3:00 PM ET/PT) about one unpopular high school student who uses her new found powers to get revenge. The eerie fun continues when Hocus Pocus airs at 3:00 – 5:00 PM ET/PT starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy. Follow the Sanderson sisters on their quest for immortal life and the 300 year-old cat that tries to spoil their dastardly plans. Then true love is doomed in Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (5:00 – 7:00 PM ET/PT) when Victor (voiced by Johnny Depp) finds himself mistakenly married to a corpse bride (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter). The Scooby gang reunites when each member arrives to a mysterious island to investigate strange occurrences in Scooby-Doo (7:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT). The film stars Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard and Linda Cardellini. The mystery fun continues with the airing of Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (9:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT). The Scooby squad is back at it, this time trying to track down a masked villain who wreaks havoc at the Coolsville Museum of Criminology. The evening comes to a screaming halt when six dinner guests are thrown into a murder mystery in Clue (11:00 PM – 1:00 AM ET/PT).

Night Eight – Sunday, October 26
The wicked weekend continues with another day of haunted humor, starting off with a teenager who finds out her past holds a lot of spells and flying broomsticks in Teen Witch at 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM ET/PT. The day continues as viewers get a double dose of family wackiness with Morticia and Gomez in The Addams Family (1:00 – 3:00 PM ET/PT) and Addams Family Values (3:00 – 5:00 PM ET/PT). Then listen for the deadly wedding bells that are ringing for Victor and his undead bride in Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (5:00 – 7:00 PM ET/PT). The other-worldly hijinks continue with Beetlejuice at 7:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT. Frightening terrors conclude the evening with the horror classic Poltergeist at 9:00 – 11:30 PM ET/PT. Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams and Heather O’Rourke fight the supernatural spirits that haunt their house.

Night Nine – Monday, October 27
New York City gets the scare of a lifetime when the mother of all lizards attacks the city in Godzilla (8:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT). The film stars Matthew Broderick and Hank Azaria.

Night Ten – Tuesday, October 28
The un-holy hauntings continue at 10:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT with Scariest Places on Earth as they take viewers on a tour of America’s most gruesome institutions, including Moundsville, WV prison and Dixmont, PA mental institution.

Night Eleven – Wednesday, October 29
Hold on to your seat as four lethal ninjas take you on the ride of your life as they fight evil all across the world in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (5:00 – 7:00 PM ET/PT), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (7:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (9:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT).

Night Twelve – Thursday, October 30
All the Scooby snacks in the world won’t be able to help the gang as they track down dastardly culprits in Scooby Doo (7:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT) and Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (9:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT). The evening comes to a haunting conclusion with an episode of Scariest Places on Earth at 12:00 – 1:00 AM ET/PT where one unlucky family get the unfortunate task to tackle Bathory Castle, home of the infamous Blood Countess.

Night Thirteen – Friday, October 31
The petrifying thrills come to a frightening end on the most haunted night of the year. To celebrate this ominous night, ABC Family will air Poltergeist (7:30 – 10:00 PM ET/PT). The story of one girl’s supernatural connection that brings evil spirits into her family’s house stars Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams and Heather O’Rourke.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Haunted Mansion Holiday Merch event Sat., Oct. 4

Disney Gallery just announced a "surprise" merchandise event for this Saturday (Oct. 4, 2008). Ostensibly a celebration of the 15th anniversary of "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas," the merchandise is also largely oriented toward the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay, including replicas of the "Countdown to Xmas Clock," the entrance plaque which is being swallowed by a wreath, a "smashing" stained glass window from the stretching gallery, and much more. Many of the artists will be on hand for signings Saturday, and the event is sure to be crowded - so get there early. For more information, visit the Disney Gallery website.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Depp confirmed for POTC 4

According to ANI wire reports, Johnny Depp will reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film, it has been confirmed. Depp will also play Tonto in a film adaptation of The Lone Ranger. Variety Magazine reports that both the films will be produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who has helped Disney earn about 2.6 billion dollars with the previous three Pirates films.

Simon Brew at "Den of Geek" has suggested Ten Ways Disney Can Make Sure POTC4 Gets It Right. Not sure if we agree with all of them, but interesting reading nonetheless.

For what it's worth, Rope of Silicon reports that the 9/24 Disney Studios Showcase (which also announced Depp would portray the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland") didn't exactly claim a POTC4 was imminent, but rather that Studios' chairman Dick Cook claimed that Depp's casting was "a perfect Trifecta," including Tonto, the Hatter, and "another (Pirates) for good measure," apparently referring to Depp's role as the infamous Jack Sparrow.

Yo ho!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

'Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House'

Nearly three years ago, I spoke briefly with Randy Thornton, executive producer over at Walt Disney Records, about the Disney Company's then-recent decision to re-release some of their classic vinyl as digital downloads. Thornton was pretty excited about the potential of digital distribution as a godsend to fans of the old Disney material, since Disney's cost of distribution was brought down to nearly nothing; just the costs of remastering the material, basically. At that time, he was working on preparing both the 'Story and Song from The Haunted Mansion' and 'Chilling, Thrilling Sounds from the Haunted House,' both of which are seminal recordings to many of us Mansion fans.

I never mentioned this earlier this year, with all the planning for the DoomBuggies anniversary event, but since the Halloween stores are starting to open, it's worth noting: "Chilling, Thrilling' is currently available from iTunes as a remastered digital download. The album hit iTunes early in the year, but with the haunting season upon us, I think it's worth a reminder. All of the tracks are present - even the potentially embarrassing "Chinese Water Torture" track. (You can use the link at the top right sidebar of the blog to check out the album; I've been asked so many times about this record over the years that I decided a permanent link was in order.)

Some 'Chilling' trivia: The howling screech used as a "bumper" to most of the tracks on the album is actually a sound effect taken from the 1936 Mickey Mouse short "Lonesome Ghosts;" and the uncredited narrator of the LP is not Dark Shadows' Grayson Hall, as regular rumors claim - but rather is Laura Olsher, a frequent Disneyland Records collaborator.

Some iTunes releases from the Disney archives have vanished from the store in the past, so if you're interested in the 'Chilling, Thrilling' album, you might keep that in mind - though I don't know if this album will ever disappear or not.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Marty Sklar on the Haunted Mansion, 1964

Martin Sklar, currently Vice Chairman of Imagineering, has been with the Walt Disney Company since Disneyland opened in 1955. In the '60s, he was tapped by Walt to be a writer for WED Enterprises (among other responsibilities).

Sklar wrote an oft-updated manuscript for a Disneyland history book that was published back in 1964 which contained a preview of the soon-to-be-unveiled "Old New Orleans," or New Orleans Square. In this manuscript, Sklar describes the upcoming Haunted Mansion attraction:

"Nearby, overlooking the Rivers of America in Frontierland, the facade of an old southern-style plantation house has already been completed. It will be occupied several years hence. No frontier setting would be complete without its ghosts of another day. Disneyland's will not live in a ghost town; they will occupy a deluxe haunted mansion (sic).

"Here, the lonely ghost who seeks the companionship of 1,001 restless spirits can live in a domain of illusion and imagination. There will be spine-tingling built-ins that are sure to provide new life for even the most sagging spirits: fresh cobwebs daily, wall-to-wall creaking floors, stereophonic screams, cold drafts and midnight lighting all day long - plus an endless supply of guests on whom the inventive spooks can practice individual talents, from simple scares to supernatural shockers!"

Interestingly, when the book is revised for 1965, much of the language is altered to match some of the new effects created by Marc Davis (and shown on the Wonderful World of Disney Tencennial episode):

"Nearby, overlooking the Frontierland river, an old southern-style plantation house has already been completed, and it will soon be occupied by the world's greatest collection of - ghosts. No frontier setting is complete without its ghosts of another day; Disneyland's will live not in a ghost town, but in this deluxe Haunted Mansion.

"Filled with 1,001 illusions, this haven for restless spirits will cater to the mythological and to the metaphysical. Marble busts will talk. Ordinary-appearing portraits will dissolve into werewolves and evil beasts. Ghosts will move through solid walls. A museum will display weird statues, moving furniture and surprising mirrors."


Friday, September 05, 2008

What's a (broke) ghost to do?

Writing for the Desert Valley Times, Bob Challinor put a humor column out about living paycheck to paycheck:

"But I’ve got a plan to pay off my funeral expenses after I’m dead. I’m going to work in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. The pay’s not great and the working conditions – the drafty old house, the darkness and cold – are less than ideal, but it’ll be a steady paying job. However, with my luck, Disneyland probably would outsource my job to a ghost in Guatemala or India.

“Boo! Thank you for letting us startle you. Come again.”


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Inflatable "Zombie Organ Player" scene

New this year from Sam's Club, a scene I'm sure you all recognize:

Animated, illuminated, and comes with its own pump - just plug it in and impress the neighborhood. Just another homage to the greatest spook house ever built. Looks like it's more or less lifesize. $179.

Check the product page at Sam's Club here.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

1969 Cast Member Preview Flyer

Pictured here is a rare example of a cast member flyer designed by the in-house "University of Disneyland" (probably by art director Bill Barry) which was distributed to Disneyland staff members on Thursday, August 7, 1969 advertising private previews of the soon-to-be-opened Haunted Mansion attraction.

It should be noted that most Haunted Mansion advertising materials from the time (press releases, newspaper articles, etc.) announce the opening date of the attraction as being August 12, 1969, though Disneyland itself celebrates opening day as Aug. 9. In fact, the fancy midnight "press preview" hosted by Disneyland (which started with a press dinner at Club 33) wasn't held until August 11 - which presents a chilling challenge: when did the Mansion actually open to the public?

It appears likely that the Haunted Mansion was actually opened to the public on Saturday the 9th, after the cast previews had been held the two nights before. (This may have been in keeping with Disney's tradition of hosting "soft openings," in which attractions are opened to the public before their actual dates of operation.) A "safer" date of August 12 was probably released to the public, which was well after opening weekend, allowing Disneyland to fine tune any minor tweaks that might have presented themselves during the cast member previews. At any rate, at 39 years old and counting, this old Mansion is still creaking along and delivering chills to everyone that visits.


P.S. By the way, if you'd like a inside look at dining at New Orleans Square's secret Club 33, be sure to check out episode #1 of the Mousetalgia podcast!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Haunted Mansion board game developer lauded

The Sanibal-Captiva Islander has a nice article about retired game designer Jack Elias, a Sanibal resident who had a distinguished career as a designer working for Lakeside Games, and was a key contributor to Lakeside's Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean board games.

Elias is probably best known for creating the classic "Barrel 'o Monkeys" game, which catapulted him into the status of legendary toymaker - but the innovative Lakeside Haunted Mansion board game was equally inventive, with a three-dimensional board with rotating pathways and a towering backdrop.

Click here to read the article.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

A "Nightmare" DVD preview featuring Haunted Mansion Holiday! has just released three clips from next week's new DVD/Blu-ray release of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the first is a 2-minute clip from the disc showcasing the creation of the Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction at Disneyland (presumably, though not assuredly, from a lengthier segment on the actual DVD.)

Click here to watch the clip, or use the links below to order a copy of the DVD at a great discount from

The Nightmare Before Christmas (2-Disc Collector's Edition) + Digital Copy

The Nightmare Before Christmas [Blu-ray] + Digital Copy


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Introducing: The Mousetalgia Podcast!

Foolish Mortals,

I'm proud to introduce Mousetalgia, a new podcast about Disneyland and Disney culture. I'll be a regular contributor, so the Haunted Mansion and Pirates will be regularly mentioned - but the podcast is really about all of Disneyland.

This week, the show features a behind-the-scenes conversation about the Haunted Mansion event held in the Blue Bayou last spring - as well as a conversation about Disneyland's queues. Our previous show featured a segment about a ride through the Haunted Mansion with WED Imagineer Bob Gurr, as well as an extensive story about dinner at Club 33 and an in-depth look at New Orleans Square. Future episodes will deal with the House of the Future, the Enchanted Tiki Room, recipes from the Tahitian Terrace, and much more.

We're also unveiling a brand new community at, with message boards, chat, and image galleries. If you're the kind of person that likes to get in on the ground floor (so you can say, "I was there when they started!"), then be sure you register for the Mousetalgia forums and help start building our family of Disneyland fans.

You owe it to yourself to give Mousetalgia a listen. I think we have something unique to offer the Disney fan community, and Mansion fans in particular are sure to get some unique insights. You'll also be instrumental in helping us build the show by offering your questions and comments.

So visit us at, or subscribe directly by visiting the iTunes store and searching for mousetalgia.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

DoomBuggies on Extinct Attractions Radio

I was interviewed by David Oneal on Extinct Attractions Radio last night, to promote the release of the DVD from our Swinging Wake event, which was held last February at Disneyland Resort. The disc includes a peek into the private "Disney Legends" reception held in the Grand California's Napa Rose, as well as a recording of the entire Blue Bayou event, which was one of Imagineer Harriet Burns' last public appearances. The event also featured Disney Legends Bob Gurr, "X" Atencio, and Blaine Gibson, as well as Randotti heir Jeff Smith, creator of those glowing plaster skulls the Baby Boomers used to love to buy as kids at the park. Hell, even Dr. Horrible himself makes an appearance on the disc!

David asked me about the origins of the event and the DoomBuggies website, and it was a pleasant conversation. Check out the Extinct Attractions Radio podcast here, and order a copy of the "Swinging Wake" DVD here.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WDW resort to get "Pirates"-themed rooms

Walt Disney World plans to theme some of the rooms at the "Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort" with a "Pirates of the Caribbean" makeover. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Disney company is planning to utilize the look and feel of the popular "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction and films in 384 rooms in the resort's "Trinidad South Village Area." The renovation is expected to be completed in 2009.

The "Pirates" rooms will have ship-shaped beds, furniture that looks like old crates and curtains that are designed to emulate tattered sails, The Sentinel said.

Click here to learn more.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Harriet Burns passes at age of 79

Harriet Burns, a Disney Legend (inducted in 2000) and one of the original WED Imagineers, passed away on July 25 at the age of 79. Harriet was the first woman ever hired by Imagineering in a creative capacity, and continued to remain involved with the Disney company and its fans throughout her lifetime.

DoomBuggies was fortunate enough to have enjoyed the presence of Harriet at our Swinging Wake event last February, and she couldn't have been a more enjoyable, entertaining, and thoughtful guest. She expressed her gratitude to DoomBuggies for creating an opportunity for her to speak to and meet some of her fans, and she seemed to be thoroughly enjoying herself at the event. As an early Imagineer, one of Harriet's responsibilities included working on the maquettes and models of the Haunted Mansion in its development, though her work was critical to many attractions throughout the parks. The history and development of the parks owes a great debt to Harriet, and she will be greatly missed.

RIP, Harriet.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Haunted Mansion inspires "Cirque du Soliel"-style show

Circus Juventas, the St. Paul-based award-winning performing arts circus school, is presenting a ghostly tale called "Ravens Manor," which was inspired by Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion attraction.

"Ravens Manor is inspired by Disney's Haunted Mansion ride and also by the legends and folklore of New Orleans," said Betty Butler, Circus Juventas Co-Founder and Artistic Director. "We wanted to tell a classic story of eternal love and the ultimate triumph over good and evil. By giving the production a ghostly setting, we are able to incorporate our thrilling new act – a wall trampoline – which allows our gymnasts to somersault in and out of the windows of our two-story haunted mansion."

Further following a theme suggested by Disney's attraction, Ravens Manor is described as a "once magnificent estate that is doomed by a terrible curse: any daughter of Ravens Manor who dares to marry for love commits her groom to death at the hands of three malicious spirits."

The Circus Juventas website calls the performance "a Cirque du Soleil-style production drawn from the legends of New Orleans, with daring dives from the mansion windows of our all-new haunted house trampoline act, plus a ghostly bride who flies from the attic high above the audience bringing a ghostly tale to frightful life."

Tickets to the show range from $15 to $25. Performances are being held from July 31 through August 17 at the Circus Juventas Big Top, 1270 Montreal, Saint Paul, MN 55116. Visit their website for more information.


Hellboy / Hobbit helmer hoards Haunted Mansion memorabilia

In an interview with, director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy I/II, Pan's Labyrinth, The Lovely Bones, the Hobbit) speaks briefly about his "only vice," which is collecting old horror memorablia, including Haunted Mansion collectibles. In fact, he has dedicated an entire room in his new (and as-of-yet unlived in) home to the Haunted Mansion.

"I was just finishing my house and when I mean my house, I mean my house. I’m doing a man cave of epic proportions," del Toro told Moviehole. "My collection of crap was getting so big that my wife said, “Dude, you or us...” I put a secret book shelf door, I put a Haunted Mansion room, I am moving all my stuff there and I was planning on having that as my office for the next five years and then I got the call" (to move to New Zealand to work on "The Hobbit.")

del Toro continues: "I have many iterations of Disney’s the Nautilus. I collect Haunted Mansion memorabilia; I collect any iteration of Chernabog the demon from Fantasia. I own two of the original sketches that Kay Nielsen and the other artist pitched to Disney. I am an obsessive collector and I’ve said in the past, mercifully I do dress like s**t and I drive a really old car, so the only vice I have is collecting this stuff."

Read the full article here.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Thar she blows: Lopez gets dirty on POTC

Reportedly, Mario Lopez (whom you may remember from "Saved by the Bell") claims, in an interview with People magazine, to have had sexual relations on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. While there's not much more to this dubious story than that claim, this decidedly PG-13 link has a number of entertaining (and offensive, and ludicrious, and juvenile, etc...) replies to Lopez' story.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Disney "noose" offensive to some

In Tampa Bay, a bit of a stir has been created by a news report on a piece of jewelry Disney Couture has released as a part of its "Pirates of the Caribbean" line depicting a small gold noose.

While a noose plays a small but prominent role in the Pirates franchise, some don't find the icon worth celebrating. "The thing that came to my mind when I saw the noose was lynchings," said Norman Brown, president of St. Petersburg's NAACP.

Haunted Mansion fans might note that a noose also plays a minor yet crucial role to the slim "backstory" to the Haunted Mansion attraction at the theme parks, in a scene in which the "Ghost Host" is briefly glimsed hanging from the rafters, after admitting to the act of suicide.

According to promotional statements on, Disney Couture designs "both complement the trends and test the boundaries, incorporating new materials and pioneering techniques." Likewise, in an overview of its marketing plans, Disney terms itself "fashion forward."


Wednesday, June 11, 2008 to stream "The Haunted Mansion" for free

As reported in Variety this week, Disney plans to start streaming full-length, broadcast-quality movies online this week as part of a rethinking of their television/online broadcasting model. "The Haunted Mansion," which stars Eddie Murphy as well as our favorite spook house, will be shown from June 30 through July 4, following its broadcast on "Wonderful World of Disney."

Though the film was eventually a financial success, Mansion attraction fans are torn about the film. Most fans enjoyed the production quality and set design, while remaining on the fence about the screenplay, and questioning the decision to cast Murphy in the staring role. Writing for, critic C.S. Wolski said "the real star of the flick, of course, is the mansion itself with its secret passages, graveyard and monumental rooms, which is probably what the Disney honchos wanted. After all, this is a terrific advertisement for the amusement park ride. And, like the ride, the scenery is awfully cool, but there isn't enough substance to linger with you beyond the theatre."

Other popular titles that will be screened are "Finding Nemo," "Monsters, Inc.," "The Princess Diaries 2," "Freaky Friday," "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen," and "Peter Pan." The new model of online broadcasting is intended to find a way to keep the younger viewing demographic immersed with for as long as possible. Future plans entail providing means for viewers to interact with each other while watching movies on

"The Haunted Mansion," which was directed by Rob Minkoff, has a worldwide box office gross of over $182 million.

Friday, May 30, 2008

"3-D Holographic Technology"...?

Recently creating a buzz in the blogosphere, Musion Systems (which bills itself as "The World Leader in 3D Holographic Projection") has released a technology called "Eyeliner," which, according to Musion, has been used "in a variety of applications including life-size holograms of Madonna (Grammy Awards), Gorillaz (MTV Awards), and Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Digital Launch)."

However, fans of the Haunted Mansion have been enjoying the heart of the "Eyeliner" system since way back in 1969 - the "Pepper's Ghost" effect of reflection. Technically, Musion Eyeliner has nothing to do with holograms at all, let alone true three-dimensional effects. The effect is actually most similar to the high-definition "Black Widow Bride" character recently introduced into both Mansions, though Eyeliner involves projecting the character onto some sort of foil screen that produces the interactive reflection.

Still, it's nice to see some nineteenth-century technology applied in the twenty-first century marketplace, even if it's more lights and mirrors than high-tech holographic wizardry. As Haunted Mansion fans know, there's nothing wrong with lights and mirrors. It's what you do with them that counts.


Haunted Mansion segment to augment "Nightmare" DVD

Disney has reported that they will include a tour of he Haunted Mansion (presumably focused on the seasonal "Haunted Mansion Holiday" overlay) on the new "collector's" version of "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas" DVD, which will be released in standard and Blu-ray versions on August 26.

According to sources at Variety, other extras include an original poem penned by Burton that is narrated by actor Christopher Lee and commentary from Burton, director Henry Selick and composer Danny Elfman. Several featurettes are also packed into the releases, including a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of Nightmare Before Christmas. Burton’s short film Vincent also is included.

The disc will be the first to also include a portable digital version, in Disney's new "Disneyfile" format, for transfer to other viewing devices.

Read the full article at Variety's "Video Business" website here.

(The image of "Oogie Boogie" above is original concept art used in the production of "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas," which was recently sold at the Spring 2008 SR Labs animation art auction. © Disney.)


Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Swinging Wake review.

This just in - you can hear DoomBuggies forum member Liana (who goes by the handle "Heaven is Disneyland") share a quick review of the DoomBuggies' Swinging Wake on the current Let's Talk About Disney podcast.

Thanks for sharing your memories, Liana!


Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Disneyland Sparrow Spills his Secrets

In this month's Los Angeles Magazine, Dave Gardetta interviews a character actor who portrayed Jack Sparrow at Disneyland, who gives a great look behind the curtain at life as a Disneyland star:

And they said as far as alcohol goes, don’t even mention drinking. But the Pirates of the Caribbean song is all about drinking, and they’re drinking all along the ride. So I eventually broke that rule, because it would have taken me out of character. When parents took pictures, I’d say, “Everyone say ‘rum,’ ” and the parents loved it. The kids would just ask, “What’s rum?”

Click here to read the article.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ollie Johnston passes.

The last of Walt Disney's 'Nine Old Men,' Ollie Johnston, has passed at the age of 95. Johnston was an animator with the Walt Disney Company, and he won the National Medal of Arts in 2005. "He was especially proud of his work on 'Bambi' and its classic scenes, including the heartbreaking death of Bambi's mother at the hands of a hunter," an AP press release said regarding his work.

"The mother's death showed how convincing we could be at presenting really strong emotion," Mr. Johnston said in 1999.

Mr. Johnston’s other credits included "Cinderella," "Alice in Wonderland," "Peter Pan," "Lady and the Tramp," "Sleeping Beauty," "101 Dalmatians," "Mary Poppins," "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats," "Robin Hood" and "The Rescuers."

RIP, Ollie.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Corey Burton Interview.

Audrey Brown, who has written an upcoming article about DoomBuggies for Haunted Attraction Magazine, has published a great interview in Animation World Magazine with voice actor Corey Burton (whom DoomBuggies fans may recognize as the voice of the Haunted Mansion Holiday's Ghost Host, eerily channeling original Ghost Host Paul Frees.)

In the interview, Burton discusses his work for Disney and Lucasfilm, among other familiar voice jobs. Click here to read the interview.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Main Street pianist performs 'Grim Grinning Ghosts'

Musician Alan Thompson Jr., currently at the ripe ol' age of 29, has already earned the John Philip Sousa Award and a Marine Corps Award for marching band performances - but while marching at Disneyland as a teen, he became enthralled with the Main Street pianists. Studying with some of them, he became an accomplished ragtime pianist and was hired by Disneyland to perform when he was barely 20 years old.

Thompson continued as a Main Street pianist at Disneyland until 2006. He has since gone on to follow other pursuits, but has allowed DoomBuggies to publish a special live recording of one of his performances of Buddy Baker's "Grim Grinning Ghosts."

Listen to Thompson perform "Grim Grinning Ghosts," or click here to learn more about Alan Thompson.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Origins of the Anaheim Mansion revealed

"Progressland" has unveiled the exact historical architecture that was copied to become the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. Completing a process that was begun when DoomBuggies revealed to Justinspace that the original photo reference for the Mansion was discovered in a book by Francis Lichten, Progressland has gone on to do a fascinating job of investigative reporting, resulting in the discovery that the original photo of the building is actually the Shipley-Lydecker House, a structure that has since been razed, but had been located at 2550 McHenry Street, Baltimore.

The illustration above is a sketch of the home found in a family history called "The Shipleys of Maryland," another publication Progressland uncovered. This structure in undoubtedly the sole reference which informed the design of the Haunted Mansion facade in Disneyland. While there may have been WED trips to the Evergreen House and the Winchester House for detail reference materials, it is quite clear that the Shipey-Lydecker House was the singular inspiration for the overall design of the structure.

Head's off to Progressland! Click here to view the entire article.


Your own horse-drawn hearse

Now on eBay: a late 1800s horse-drawn hearse. What a fascinating conversation piece!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Last chance: Join for a Swinging Wake at Disneyland!

Come join with like-minded fiends at DoomBuggies Tenth Anniversary Swinging Wake - it'll be a graveyard smash! While our original registration deadline is past, a few cancellations have left a small number of tickets available - so come join us! Attendees at our Swinging Wake will have a rare opportunity to hear stories directly from some of the famed imagineers who originally worked with Walt Disney and created the Haunted Mansion - in a personal setting with amazing food and wonderful people. This is truly a rare opportunity for fans of Disneyland and Disney history.

Participants to this exclusive event on February 25, 2008 will be treated to the following eerie extravaganza:

* Entry to Disneyland Park at 6:00 p.m. with no additional ticket needed (discounted full-day passes are available)

* An exclusive, attendees-only dinner and program at New Orleans Square's inimitable Blue Bayou Restaurant at 7:00 p.m., located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction

* A special after-hours ride through the Haunted Mansion, exclusively for Swinging Wake attendees after the public has left Disneyland Park

* Fantastic special guest speakers and unforgettable photo opportunities with official Disney characters

* An event logo t-shirt, an event cloisonne pin and lanyard, and a collectible special gift

Following is the dinner menu, developed by Disneyland Park specifically for our Swinging Wake:

Course One
Brides Beating Heart Red Pepper Bisque
Fresh Microgreens with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Course Two
Filet Mignon & Shrimp
Accompanied by
Risotto and Seasonal Vegetables

Course Three
Graveyard Chocolate Coffins
Coffee, Tea, Soda,
Non Alcoholic Mint Julep

Vegetarian Option
Portobello Mushroom marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette, broiled, served with roasted corn and bell-pepper couscous and sautéed spinach

The price per person for this event is $249 (plus handling fees, for total of $256). Payment in full is due via Paypal to by January 31, and we are currently filling last-minute registrations on a first-to-pay basis.

If you wish to purchase tickets, or have any questions or concerns, please contact Chef Mayhem at

So come out and socialize with us... at the Tenth Anniversary Swinging Wake!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Haunted Mansion tattoos

The Haunted Mansion has long been a popular subject matter for tattoo wearers and artists. Not too long ago, Rolly Crump's "demon face" wallpaper was one of the more popular designs to be copied onto skin, but as Ste3ve (from the administrative team) reports on the DB forums, it seems that the "Alligator Girl" stretching portrait has gained in popularity lately. Here's a photo Ste3ve recently discovered on Flickr from this year's ComicCon:

Have a Haunted Mansion tattoo to share with Let me know.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Best practices at WDW.

Newsweek has discovered that Walt Disney World has "a lot to teach about the realities of business." While this discovery seems to come a little late in the game, it's a good reminder of some of the reasons that fans (such as ourselves, if I may be so bold) flock to the parks time and again. Author Daniel Gross writes:

Airline executives should rush to the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom. Our heads sank when we approached and saw the sign advertising a 15-minute wait. Despair turned to elation when we were ushered into the spooky entry hall in just a few minutes. This experience was repeated time and again—at rides and restaurants—where promised delays of 20 minutes miraculously shrank in half. After a few days, it became apparent that this might be a conscious strategy of underpromising and overdelivering. Which is precisely the opposite of the tack airlines have taken lo these many years. The carriers continually promise that planes will leave or arrive at a specific time when they know the probability of an on-time departure is only slightly greater than the probability of your suitcase's being the first item to hit the luggage carousel.

Curiously, the article immediately following this one in the print version of this week's Newsweek is about scattering cremated ashes, and the "comforting farewell" the act can bring to surviving family members. Perhaps while Disney is enlightening Newsweek regarding best practices, Newsweek in turn can offer some insight to the various Disney cast members that encounter individuals scattering ashes to and fro as they deal with the situation.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ashes to ashes

You may recall reading the story on of the family that stealthily dumped the cremated ashes of a small boy in the Haunted Mansion ride on Dec. 14, 2002 - but according to a recent Miceage column, the dumping of cremated human ashes is becoming more and more common throughout Disneyland Park.

The Los Angeles Times even picked up on the story this morning. Disneyland, however, denies the reports of an increase in ashes being spread.

Incidentally, back in December of 2002, radio host Phil Hendrie discussed the boy's ashes being spread in the Haunted Mansion, and ended up recommending Tom Sawyer's Island doubling as a funeral pyre. Pretty funny.


Friday, November 02, 2007

The ravishing bride (and vanishing groom)

Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween - and heads off to DoomBuggies' fan Brent at Devious Concoctions for winning the $50,000 prize in Fearnet's national Haunted House contest! Brent, who happens to be located within a stone's throw of's worldwide headquarters, was featured on the Today Show and operates DC Cemetery, a yard haunt that has been operating for 17 years now. Congratulations, Brent!

As a special post-Halloween treat, DoomBuggies is offering you attic-fans a detailed look at one of the Black Widow Bride's marriage certificates. Usually only seen momentarily as you pass it by in the attic's flickering gloom, here's an up-close-and-personal look at the prop as it exists in the attic set. It seems that Constance's last name was Hatchaway - an interesting name indeed, when you consider that one definition of "hatch" is "to devise or concoct." (Not to mention the hatchet Contance wields from time to time...)

Click on the image to download a high resolution version.


Monday, October 29, 2007

DIY Life

DoomBuggies was a featured resource today for a Halloween-themed DIYLife article focusing on crafts inspired by the Haunted Mansion. The article features some fun projects and a tidy nutshell history of the Haunted Mansion. Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DoomBuggies on Club Haunt TV

If you want to learn a little bit more about the past 10 years of DoomBuggies history, visit A recent interview with me is the featured video podcast this Halloween, and we discuss a decade of, various Disney Haunted Mansion events, and the latest changes at Walt Disney World's Mansion.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Last chance to visit Boney Island!

This just in from Emmy-award-winning Simpsons producer (and DoomBuggies fan) Rick Polizzi:

Catch it while you can! And if you're located further east, you might want to visit DoomBuggies administrator REDRUM's haunt: FrightFest NH, in Nashua, New Hampshire.


Haunting fly-overs

Looking to make the most of some dead time this spooking season? With Microsoft Live, you can flyover the Disney theme parks from multiple angles, and inspect many of the behind-the-scenes areas from the sky. It's a fascinating way to view the layout of the parks. Need somewhere to start? How about with our favorite homes-away-from-home:

Click here to see Disneyland

Click here to see Walt Disney World


Monday, October 01, 2007

Halloweentime with the Dapper Dans at Disneyland

The Dapper Dans have a new set that they perform in celebration of Disneyland's Halloweentime celebration, and it includes their version of "Grim Grinning Ghosts." DoomBuggies staff photographer Andy captured the set yesterday on video:


Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Ne’er too late it be to be celebratin’ Talk Like a Pirate Day, mates! In honor of the day spoken of, we the crew of have designed a piratical puzzle of a bewitchin’ nature that, once solved, might lead ye to a bloomin’ treasure!

Set course for the Forums and solve the puzzle for a chance to win a copy of Jason Surrell’s book, Pirates of the Caribbean, from the Magic Kingdom to the Movies. Autographs include Jason Surrell, former Disney Imagineers Harriet Burns and Alice Davis, Jim Byrkit (storyboard artist for all three POTC movies) Hal Hickel (animation supervisor at ILM), Joel Harlow (makeup artist for all three POTC movies), Rich Heinrichs (production designer), Jon Rogers (Director of Franchise Development for Buena Vista Motion Pictures) and Lee Arenberg.

The contest runs until Wednesday, Sept. 26th, so grease your thinkin' caps and beat your stout-hearted mates to our treasure! Ye need be registered at the message boards to join in, but joinin' is free and the gatherin's are not but pleasant diversions from the relentless call of Davy Jones' Locker - so what be ye waitin' for? Sign up and join our crew today!

Yo ho!

Friday, September 14, 2007

An insider's view of the WDW Mansion enhancements

Long-time DoomBuggies forum member wdwcaretaker, who spent a decade working in the Haunted Mansion as a maintenance tech, has shared some insider insights after a lights-on walkthrough:

"...Seeing that so much has already been said with the show just opening, I can only tell you my impression from an experienced eye. From the portrait gallery - which has totally changed much for the better - to the Grand Staircase, which is totally mind blowing, the new Knight in Armor action... [there is] so much action and change."

Walt Disney World's Mansion also received some scenes that were added to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion over the past couple of years, as wdwcaretaker reports:

"Then the Seance Circle. The glowing harp is now more sedate and haunting, (and) some of the props have added enhancements, and the wires they hang from are virtually invisible - even with the work lights on. The Banquet hall has changed very little, but then you get to the Attic...

"No pop up ghosts, no great loss there, less trash - (but) more meaningful treasures and antiques, no bats, but then there she is... the new bride. So spectacular I cannot describe her. Across from her past location, she will haunt your memory for a long time. Amazing."

The newly enhanced Mansion ends with a bang, according to wdwcaretaker:

"The Graveyard scene is the same, but is much more lively... The audio system in the pods is totally changed and updated. Little Leota? New projection makes her so lifelike (ghostlike?), and Madame Leota and her floating crystal ball back in the Seance area have to be seen to be appreciated. The Stretch room portraits look great."

"My overall impression, made with a jaundiced eye, is that this is an attraction that needed change and improvement, and it was worth the three-month wait. An excellent job done by everyone involved. Oh yeah - the mechanic's bay where repairs to the ride system are made? A complete makeover. It looks like a lab.

"I give this baby 4 stars out of 4."

Read more ride reports and critiques at the DoomBuggies forums.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

WDW ride reports are in!

Opening to huge crowds and great reviews, the Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom is finally open, and has ride reviews. Visit the DB forums now for photos, opinions, debates on the changes and more...


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Jack is coming back!

DoomBuggies staffer Andy snapped these photos in New Orleans Square, Sept. 8. Word is that just days after closing down the Mansion for the yearly holiday overlay to be installed, the revamped Foyer, Expanding Room, and Portrait Hallway are already in place.


"Making the Haunts Even Happier"

The following is a cast member communication from Walt Disney World:

"Making the Haunts Even Happier"

That old, creepy, uninhabited mansion -- you know, the one where you sometimes hear mysterious sounds and see eerie apparitions? I think something's going on up there. Ever since June, I seem to hear weird noises in the dead of night ... noises suspiciously like hammering and sawing. But none of the 999 permanent residents seem to be leaving the joint. Is it possible that that place is going to get even SPOOKIER?

That's right -- in case you haven't heard the news through the ghoulish grapevine, the Magic Kingdom Park's venerable Haunted Mansion is getting a facelift. New details are being added to reward sharp-eyed spookhunters, and some high-tech magic is being put to use to create old-fashioned thrills. Kathy Rogers, Senior Show Producer for the attraction, told us what to expect if you dare to venture through the doors of this most beloved attraction, which is slated to reopen this month.

"For several months, our team has been "illusioneering," making the invisible, visible," explains Kathy. "For example, a previously unseen wing of the Mansion has been revealed for the first time. Observant Guests will see more of the 999 happy haunts cavorting on a seemingly endless staircase leading to secret realms. Watch closely and you'll see evidence of these residents -- their glowing footprints, candles going out -- is it the wind or did someone blow them out? It's for you to decide. Other haunts reveal themselves in the mansion's infamous Corridor of Doors -- don't blink or you'll miss the clues!"

The Haunted Mansion is one of the Disney Theme Park attractions that have inspired legions of passionate fans. The last thing anyone wanted to do was to change the experience in a way that would disappoint Guests, and Kathy and her team were acutely aware of the necessity to "strengthen the story, and not change it." So in many cases they expanded on the lore that already existed -- as in Kathy's own favorite addition: "In the attic the long, sad tale of Constance on her wedding days finally comes to light. For almost 40 years, our Guests have come face to face with Constance the bride. Now it's time for them to meet her and her grooms face to face -- all five of them! They all loved Constance," she laughs. "In fact, you could say they lost their heads over her."

In addition to adding to the story, the Imagineers are taking advantage of some technological advances since the Mansion first saw the light of day. You won't be overwhelmed with high-tech bells and whistles that disturb the eerie atmosphere, but, Kathy promises, "Imagineers constantly look for new ways to combine compelling stories with new technologies. As we've worked to enhance Haunted Mansion, we've added a few surprises that may make the ghosts seem a little closer than before."

So whether it's your first visit to the Mansion or your hundredth, when Guests are allowed to enter that elegant but eerie house again, keep your eyes peeled. You never know when you'll stumble across the evidence of a haunt you haven't encountered before! And remember -- there's always room for one more.

"Old almost new again..."

From today's Orlando Sentinel:

Eric Jacobson, senior creative executive, and Kathy Rogers, the show producer, emphasize that it will be the Haunted Mansion that we know -- only better. Think of it as a "refreshening," Jacobson says, in the same category of the Pirates of the Caribbean refurb that inserted Capt. Jack Sparrow into the ride. (Rogers also worked on the Pirates refreshening). Expect technological advances, new features and more of the house's 999 happy haunts revealed. "We've brought them out of hiding," Jacobson says.

Look for Haunted Mansion ride reports fresh from WDW on the forums tomorrow!


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dan Vado and the Haunted Mansion anthology

SLG Publishing is putting out a book containing the first 6 issues of the Haunted Mansion comic - and there will be a special, slip-covered, clothbound collector's edition available directly from SLG for around $50 (although if you preorder, you can get one at a 10% discount.)

I spoke with Dan Vado, the publisher at SLG, about the Haunted Mansion books yesterday. "I did the Haunted Mansion comic because I just really love that ride - and while (the comics) may not have been to everyone's taste, I really want to say that I did something that people like me might have enjoyed," Vado said. "It justified the nearly two dozen times I made my parents take me on the thing over and over again when I was 11."

From my perspective, a big reason to be a fan of this title is simply because it's obvious that every single one of the authors and artists has been moved, inspired or touched by the Haunted Mansion attraction in some way - it shows in the work. Also, granting the Haunted Mansion license to an indy comic publisher was an inspiring decision for the Disney Company to have made - the type of decision that I'd like to see more often.


Friday, August 31, 2007

The Hawthorne Village "Haunted House"

Hawthorne Village is known for producing little collectible trains, miniature Christmas villages, and miniature Halloween villages. So it wasn't a surprise that they would finally come up with a Disney-themed "Halloween Haunted House." What is surprising is that, apparently, they weren't granted the right to call it a "Haunted Mansion," even though it is clearly modeled after Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion (and it even features tiny Mickey and Minnie Mouse characters riding though it in miniature Doom Buggies.)

We at DoomBuggies have been tracking this item since last winter, when someone found some sort of direct-mail advertisement advertising installment payment plans and pre-orders (the total cost of the sculpture is around $150). But the item itself never showed up on the Hawthorne Village web site or anywhere else until just recently. Interestingly, Hawthorne Village reps have at various times said it was created way back in 2004, and never released until 2006, although we haven't been able to find any cases of the product being released publicly until this year.

Regardless, DoomBuggies forum members are starting to receive their sculptures in the mail, and reports are that the item is quite nice, and a great value for the price. There are various light-up elements, and "spooky" sounds (though they are not from the actual Haunted Mansion.) As mentioned before, a chain of Doom Buggies circles through the door of the house, and all of the "Fab Five" (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy) are represented on the piece somewhere.

Most interesting to fans is the fact that the images that appear in the lit-up windows of the Haunted House are images that were lifted straight from Each of the images used was retouched and corrected by DoomBuggies from the original in a way that makes it plain that the window pictures are one and the same as the web site images. We at DoomBuggies are pleased to have been of service to Hawthorne Village in the development of this piece - even having found out about it long after the fact.

For more information, click the image below to visit Hawthorne Village.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

SLG Publishing's Haunted Mansion comics

There's an interesting debate regarding SLG Publishing's "Haunted Mansion" title occurring at the 2719 Hyperion blog. Being an anthology, the nature of SLG's "Haunted Mansion" comic is to be hit-and-miss in terms of appeal, since there are a number of different styles of art and storytelling involved in each issue. But personally, I very much enjoy the intimate and outsider/independent vibe that SLG brings to the project, despite my occasional indifference toward some of the stories. (Thanks for the link, Ste3ve!)


WED's-eye-view of the Haunted Mansion, April '69

In April of 1969, WED public relations manager Frank Allnutt wrote this information sheet describing the Haunted Mansion experience. Since it was written four months before the attraction would open to the public, the piece was intended as an internal document at the time, but today it offers an interesting look at some subtle intentions of the Imagineers before the attraction was finalized (i.e., using the Raven as a "foil" to the Ghost Host character.) Also interesting to note is how many of the passages Allnutt wrote were used word-for-word on the official "Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion" album, which was recorded at the end of May.


Imagineering on the WDW Haunted Mansion updates

Death Becomes Them

Like its counterpart in Anaheim, the Haunted Mansion at the Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom will be getting some new magic when it re-opens in September, after its current refurbishment is completed. But make no mistake, warns a team of spirited Imagineers, this is no typical touch-up-the-paint-and-remove-(okay, add)-the-cobwebs project.

"To call this a refurbishment doesn't even come close," says WDI senior principal production designer Neil Engel. "We're taking a classic attraction and using new technologies to present the existing, signature show in a more exciting and immersive way — which has us just as jazzed as the guests will be!"

The Haunted Mansion Imagineering team is hard at work in both California and Florida, getting ready to add new magic to several key scenes, including the attic scene (complete with the now-infamous bride whose husbands always seem to get the ax … ) and the séance scene. They're also adding a completely new story to a previously
dead space and upgrading the attraction's audio, lighting and special effects systems.

"With a project like this, it's so exciting knowing that you are going into and touching a classic attraction," says Kathy Rogers, senior show producer, director. "And in the end, the show winds up even better than it already was; we know it will remain a classic."

It's All in the Details
A portion of this refurbishment involves re-propping a few key scenes, such as the attic. But locating items that clearly and quickly tell the story of the perfect murder(s), as well as pieces to complement a mid-19th century Southern motif, isn't as simple as heading to the closest Ikea.

"The challenge has really been finding the right prop and period dressing that tells the story you want to tell," says Steve Probus, set decorator, principal. "We're looking for mid- to late-1800s furniture, books, drapery and a multitude of props and dressing that convey information about each of the couples that have inhabited the mansion. In addition, we want to add an extra layer of props for more depth in the scenes."

One Step Beyond
The other components that will give new life (of sorts) to these scenes are a few key special effects that will be updated during the refurbishment. Both the floating Madame Leota head and the Haunted Bride, two characters whose latest technological incarnations debuted at Disneyland, have been upgraded even further for their reappearance in the Magic Kingdom.

"The Haunted Bride special effects are an improved version of what we installed a few years earlier in Disneyland," says Ken Horii, digital media production supervisor, director. "R&D had done a great job with that last bride, making her look like a lifelike-looking ghost, as much as that is possible, anyway! And so this time, we wanted to take it one step further."

Stairway to … ?
If all of that isn't enough to raise the dead in eager anticipation of the Haunted Mansion's resurrection, Imagineers are also installing an entirely new scene into a previously uninhabited space … and taking that space in a few new directions.

"I think I'm most excited to see the staircase scene when it's finished," says Eric Jacobson, senior vice president, Creative. "We haven't seen it before and it adds something completely new to the ride, in a space where there wasn't really anything before. But there is just so much to this refresh — it really is the sum of the parts. The whole ride will be enhanced and end up better than before."

As part of Imagineering's commitment to enhancing classic attractions around the world, the new magic that this team is spreading to the Haunted Mansion is sure to be something Magic Kingdom guests will be dying to see.

(c) Disney

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bats Day at Disneyland

Bats Day in the Park, the popular gothic celebration held annually at Disneyland, was held last weekend. DoomBuggies staff photographer Andy was on hand to capture some Kodak moments for

"It seems as if the Haunted Mansion has exploded and the 999 happy ghosts have gained corporeal form," said LA Weekly. "Combat boots and parasols - just as Walt would have wanted it."

Read the LA Weekly article here.