Hello, Foolish Mortals, and welcome to “Five (or so) Things” — a recurring article type where I take a deep dive into an attraction, share some ideas on fun things to do, or maybe provide a sneak peek at something new or upcoming. In this ghoulish entry I will share some of the fun “behind the screams” information I learned about the newly announced Haunted Mansion Parlor coming December 2024 onboard the Disney Treasure. So, sit back in your favorite “duck chair” and get ready for a few more reasons to plan to set sail soon.
1) Going Back to Where It All Began
Speaking with Walt Disney Imagineers Danny Handke (Senior Creative Director) and Nick Snyder (Senior Concept Designer), they both shared their love of the all things Haunted Mansion and how all three Haunted Mansions (Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland) and Phantom Manor (Disneyland Paris) as well as Mystic Manor (Hong Kong Disneyland) were used as inspiration and will be represented in this first of its kind experience. For reference, the team went back into the archives and researched not only Rolly Crump’s Museum of the Weird material but also concepts from Marc Davis — which, as any good Mansion fan would know, were the two real driving forces behind the attraction as we know it today. As if those names were not enough, they went to true Haunted Mansion royalty Kim Irvine, who is not only Executive Creative Director for Walt Disney Imagineering but also the daughter of Imagineer and Madame Leota herself Leota Toombs.
2) Stepping Into The Attraction
For the first time ever, guests will be able to not just get out of a Doombuggy (figuratively) but also step into one of the doors in the endless hallway and experience a 30 minute looping story. Once you step in, the story of a jovial captain who entered the ghostly realm following a disastrous dinner with his beloved fiancé will unfold through illusions as well as story beats guests will need to seek out throughout the space. One thing that was clarified is this is not the fabled Captain we have seen in the Haunted Mansion before, nor is he a member of the The Society of Explorers and Adventurers also known as S.E.A..
3) Keeping It Old School
Even though technology has expanded our minds since the first Haunted Mansion opened nearly 55 years ago, this experience harkens back to the early days of that spooky old mansion up on the hill. The Hitchhiking Ghosts will have more of the classic take to them (for those of you that know, think more Disneyland less Walt Disney World), but that isn’t to say they won’t come to “life” but might not be taking off their heads and replacing ours with them.
I do have to say that, out of everything I heard about the parlor, the thing that made my heart skip a beat is what (or should I say “who”) we will be hearing take us through this journey – Paul Frees will indeed return as the Ghost Host. When I asked Imagineer Danny Handke about the Ghost Host, his passion really came through, sharing how they wanted to keep everything as original as possible. He also talked about going into the archives and pulling original Paul Frees audio, including some heard in the mansion and some not to be used.
4) Devil Is In The Details
Looking at the concept art up close, you just start to see things that are picked up from visits to the Haunted Mansion. But hearing about how, when you open the door into the parlor, it will be the snake door handle or how the light fixtures on the wall will be a version of the bat stanchion from the queue, my mind just started to race. Of course, it wouldn’t be new WDI project without some Easter Eggs — and while they wouldn’t go into much detail, they did share the clock face (a version will be available to purchase on the ship) on a shrunk down version of the Grandfather Clock in the corridor of doors does have some interesting coordinates if you look close enough.
5) Drinks At A Swinging Wake
Nowm as much as Haunted Mansion is the lead on this story, the fact that this area is also a bar can’t be forgotten. Of course, that means themed drinks, as well as themed drinkware! Without going into much detail, it was said that there will be unique drinkware that will be part of the experience. And, just like a good ghost, some of it may follow you home (for an additional price).
Also, being a space on a cruise ship means that it will have different uses. For the early part of the day, it will be a come and go area. Then in the early afternoon, the spirits arrive to start the full experience for fans of all ages. But, once the witching hour of 9 p.m. strikes, it transforms into a “bar” and that means foolish mortals 21 and over only.
6) A Truly Haunting Space
Now that we have covered all the fun of what is inside, let’s talk about where the “inside” will be. Yes, this is the same space as Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge on the Disney Treasure’s sister ship the Wish. For those of you who recall when the Wish first started, one of the big topics was the wait for the Hyperspace Lounge — and, just like with any new big attraction, that was a real thing. However, it didn’t take too long for that to pass and became an easily accessible area. So, will the Haunted Mansion Parlor be the same? Well, that will be a question we all will have to wait for December 2024 to find out.
Until then make sure you “hurry back” for any new news about what is in store for the Disney Treasure.
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