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13 Spooktacular Days

Day 11 - October 29, 2013   

 The Ballroom, or Grand Hall as it is also called, could truly be looked at as the star of the entire Haunted Mansion attraction. There are so many details, tricks, and stories that go along with this single room that it truly is mind boggling so let's dive right in!

As we discussed in yesterday's article, the Grand Hall is the first chance for guests to truly see the ghosts with their own eyes. Thanks to Madame Leota's s�ance, the spirits have been conjured and are available for us to visit for this swinging wake! Who are these ghosts though? While a few of the guests we will meet on the rest of our tour have names and stories, the ghosts found in this room have the most history and connection with other attractions in the parks.

The first ghost guests will pass is a grandmother sitting in a rocking chair in front of the fireplace. She may look familiar to guests due to the fact that they can also find a replica of her audio-animatronic in Tomorrowland's Carousel of Progress where she also plays the role of the grandmother! Sitting on the fireplace behind her is a ghost with his head around a bust. The bust found here was already seen earlier in our tour of the Mansion in the form of one of the ghost writer busts found in the library. While the library one, as we discussed, is introverted, this one is an actual bust!

Haunted Mansion ghosts

One of the original concepts for the mansion was to pass by a party for Caesar. With that in mind, take a look at the end of the table in the Grand Hall. Here you can find Julius Caesar. He isn't the only famous person here though. Sitting a few spots down from him is King Arthur and hanging out on the chandelier above is Cleopatra and Marc Antony. In addition to these famous humans, other famous audio-animatronics in the room are the lady blowing birthday candles (who has the same facial features as Carlos who spits out water from the well in Pirates of the Caribbean) and the two duelers (who both can be found in Pirates of the Caribbean as well. One as the Auctioneer!)!

While several characters in the attraction have been given names by guests, only two in the entire attraction were actually given by Imagineers. One is Madame Leota (who we met yesterday) and the other is named Pickwick. Pickwick can be found on the chandelier as well with a glass of bubbly in his hand!

The dancers towards the end of the room feature the one big mistake in this room. While the dancers seem to be having a merry old time, pay close attention to the way the dancers are moving about the room. While traditionally the men would lead in a ballroom dance setting, the females are actually the ones who are leading here! Why? We will get to that later in this article. The final thing you should pay attention to when it comes to the dancers are the dresses the females are wearing. The dresses should look familiar to the hardcore Disney guest. Why? These are old dresses for meet and greets in the parks with the Disney princesses!

haunted mansion ghosts

At the end of the room sits an organ. While the organ seems extremely detailed, there is more to it than meets the eye. At times Imagineers will place different props from films inside attractions as cool fun finds for guests to discover. This is one of those times! The organ found in the Disneyland version of the attraction was originally found in the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea! All of the other organs found in Mansions around the world are replicas of this original organ.

Haunted Mansion organ

So I know what you are thinking: how on earth does this all work? While traveling past the Grand Hall there are two things that you should pay close attention to. One, no ghosts are ever eye level with the guests. Two, there is a piece of glass that separates guests from the room. The effect is known as Pepper's Ghost and it is an effect that you have probably experienced if you have ever driven a car at night.

Above and below the Doom Buggy are the audio-animatronics found within the room. Separating the audio-animatronics and the room is yet another piece of glass. When Imagineers want a specific ghost to appear in the room, a light will shine upon that ghost. With a combination of the two pieces of glass and the light, a ghostly image of the audio-animatronic will appear giving guests a frightfully chilling effect!

Join us tomorrow as our tour continues into the attic and as we take a look at what is most likely the most often overlooked detail in the entire attraction!

 

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