Leaving Adventureland, we move on to the home of two of the most well known and beloved Disney attractions the world over, that little area right at the bend of the Rivers of America, New Orleans Square.Walt Disney’s last project for Disneyland before his passing, and most definitely his Magnum Opus, was Pirates of the Caribbean. A true Disney classic that has gone on to inspire clones across the globe and of course a few small independent films some of you may have seen. But the Disneyland Diamond for this attraction is by far one of the most macabre. It focuses on a story I heard well over two decades ago. When Pirates was first being built in the mid 60’s, the Imagineers wanted authentic looking skeletons, but back then you couldn’t just call your local Halloween store and order, so they did the next best thing and went to the UCLA Medical Center for help. Oh and help they did…for the first few years of Pirates being open, all of the skeletons were real. That’s right, people who had donated their bodies to science also gave to the enjoyment of millions of guests of the park!Now almost 50 years later, those old bones (yes I had to do it) have all been replaced with “Disney skeletons,” but there is always one exception to every change. The skull on the headboard of the bed in the Captains Quarters is still a human skull. So next time you wish you had that beautiful bed you may want to think twice about what or whom is looking down at you!As for the other iconic attraction that has been recreated in all but one park in some form or another…The Haunted Mansion!This old house that sat empty for nearly a decade before the doors opened to the living has had more books, websites, and soundtracks than any other attraction in Disney history. While these two Diamonds may not be the most groundbreaking ,I do believe they will be new to almost everyone! By now everyone has heard of the “hidden pet cemetery” behind the Haunted Mansion. Well, this has to do with the non-hidden one in front of it. As you are walking into the main queue area to your right, you see many of the different animals that have been residents of the Mansion. But an often overlooked member of the pet cemetery is our little friend Lilac the skunk.
This little stinker is down just as you are turning into the main queue area. Now I point out Lilac for no other reason then to show what a true Disneyland Diamond is. This little statue of a skunk, that most people will walk right past, has onions planted around it to add a bit of smell to the area.
Now that we have found how the Imagineers and the great folks at horticulture work together to add those Diamonds, next we see something that was just pure luck!As you enter the Mansion foyer, before the room with the stretching portraits, you may notice a beautiful chandelier. This piece was one of many bought in the 60’s to be set pieces for The Haunted Mansion, but if you take the time to look up and count you may notice a sign, as some call it. This chandelier has 6 arms jetting off the middle, on each arm there are 6 candles to help illuminate the room, and on each candle to add a bit of a shine to the room are 6 crystals.
Now on to the wildest land in the west!
Our main correspondent for Walt Disney World and the Orlando area and a heck of a paleontologist if he does say so himself.