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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"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.

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