As a Disney Parks guest, there’s nothing worse than running to an attraction only to find that it is closed ( or “went 101”) due to some malfunction. Certainly, if you follow WDWNT Now, you never do this anyway, but it can be pretty depressing. As a fan of the parks, there are a handful of attractions that you wish would come to a halt as you were riding them, and perhaps maybe the lights in the ride would turn on and allow you to see what is lurking in the dark depths. For me, Spaceship Earth is one that certainly comes to mind, but the holy grail for most fans would have to be the Haunted Mansion. The attraction is so rich in detail and is a marvel of what many would consider the golden age of Imagineering, it’s hard to not squeal with delight over the idea of walking through the attraction with the “work lights” on, being able to see what you weren’t meant to. Lucky for us, I had the opportunity to do so during a breakdown of the ride at Disneyland just last week…
While we were on the Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction at Disneyland last week, the ride suddenly came to a halt as soon as we came down from the house and into the graveyard scene. Honestly, this isn’t a rare occurrence as if anyone using a wheelchair is loading or unloading from the ride, this will happen. However, after about 10 minutes it became clear that there was a serious issue with the ride. After a somewhat mumbled announcement over the speakers, the “work lights” came on in the ride and the attraction audio stopped completely. Even with the audio off, all of the moving figures and effects in the ride were still in motion, which made the experience a little more interesting as you could see how some of the 1969 effects worked. Not long after, one-by-one, each Doombuggy full of guests was opened and unloaded. Guests were then led by a cast member through the graveyard and out the exit of the ride.
My personal favorite observation from the experience was that the ground in the scene is actually covered with sawdust. With the lights off, the little of the ground you can see looks like it may be the texture of grass and dirt, so you would assume Imagineers lined the floor with some sort of “turf”, but it’s actually much simpler than that.
For your enjoyment, here are some photos we took of the Graveyard in Haunted Mansion Holiday with the lights-on:
We also have a full video of the experience where you can see many of the graveyard features in motion with the lights on: