The Sutton family survived an overnight’s stay in the room with no windows or doors at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. But they didn’t get much sleep.
The mansion’s occupants simply wouldn’t let them: They stuffed the family with chocolate and soda. They groaned, screamed and cackled. Hitchhiking ghosts and a butler serenaded the visitors. A video camera was on the four family members all night.
And when the Suttons finally dozed off, the butler startled them awake.
But the family didn’t mind.
“Sleeping is for rookies,” said Jessica Sutton, 12.
The Sutton family of Santa Clarita won a night’s stay inside the classic attraction in a 95.5 KLOS radio station promotion for the Haunted Mansion’s 40th anniversary. (Read a story about the Haunted Mansion celebration HERE)
Daughters Jessica and Stephanie, 10, got the most votes among kids in a talent contest for singing “Happy Birthday” with a dog singing in the background. The girls brought their parents, Tim and Cyndi Sutton.
The family moved in at midnight after the park closed Sunday and left at 6 a.m. this morning.
The parents prepared their youngest daughter, who can be frightened sometimes, for a scary experience by playing spooky sounds and turning out the lights before bedtime at home. On Sunday afternoon, the family took a two-and-a-half hour nap at the Disneyland Hotel.
Although they were tired this morning, the Suttons were still thrilled after admittedly one of the best night’s they’ve ever had.
The family, who visit Disneyland about once a month, started the night with a tour of the mansion while Disney employees set up three twin beds and a coffin in the chamber at the beginning of the ride. That’s the elevator that stretches as guests first enter.
After the tour, Disney treated the family to a dessert banquet, including tomb-shaped coffins, brains with raspberry sauce and cheesecake eyeballs.
“That was just to keep us up all night,” Jessica said.
Then the family was led into the suite, where they got visits from hitchhiking ghosts. A Web cam from KLOS was on them as viewers from around the world watched. Tim Sutton wrote on a specially created blog, disneyjoe.wordpress.com, which got messages from as far away as Singapore and Isreal. The family spent time playing cards, but their stay was frequently interrupted by creepy noises or warnings of critters on the loose.
Jessica chose the coffin for a bed. But both girls ended up in beds with their parents.
At the end of the night, each family member was given a key to return — in the afterlife.