Excitement is building, only 73 more days until I return “home” and the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party ads keep me singing along to “Grin Grinning Ghosts…”
Which has me reflecting on a question I get asked a lot, “Is Haunted Mansion too scary for my child?” My first response is always, “He/She is your child you know he/she best.” That said, I am one of “those” mothers who drags her child onto rides crying and screaming, because…
Truth be told this mom is a bit selfish when it comes to theme parks and rides, I do not want to miss anything.
Your visit to the Haunted Mansion begins through an interactive queue graveyard that will keep everyone (including) adults entertained as they wait to enter the mansion. Look closely and you wild that the gravestones and crypts pay tribute to the Imagineers involved in creating the Haunted Mansion. The retheming of this area is simply magic, the time passes away quickly and if you are like me, you will wish the lines would slow down so you could play more. The queue is great area to begin introducing your child to some of the things that they will see inside, far Less scary in the Florida sunlight.
Just before you venture inside, find the tombstone of Madame Leota. Her tombstone is unique as it contains her portrait, which occasionally comes to life! If you watch closely enough you will see Leota open her eyes and look around. This creepy effect is short lived making you question what you just saw.
You will then be invited inside by a maid/butler and ushered into the parlor where the walls will literally close in and stretch around you. Does the ceiling go up or does the floor go down? (At Walt Disney World the room stretches, while at Disneyland it is an elevator).
WARNING: A voice will surround you and truly the first scary moment will come at the end of the narration when the lightning flashes above you and the ceiling is opened. The organ music you hear in the stretching room is Grim Grinning Ghosts slowed down. In fact, it is the only song you hear during the ride and it gets faster as the ride progresses, till it climaxes in the graveyard.
Have a few glow sticks for small children to be able to see with (and for you to see them). This part of the attraction is quite dark.
Want to avoid becoming a ghost when the walls open to the ride loading area? Stand under the painting of the girl with the parasol because it’s where the door to the ride opens.
Hold firmly to your child’s hand when the door opens to the loading area, there is no “line” system and people tend to make a mad dash to the buggy loading area.
Once you leave the stretching room to be loaded into the “Doom” buggies. Note that you will be loaded using a moving walkway. This can be scary for children to try to get in while the sidewalk is moving beneath them. Once in your buggy, the bar will lower itself (don’t be like me and keep pulling on it). The buggy will then take you on a tour through the mansion and then finally through the graveyard.
Your buggy may stop during the ride, do not panic the ride is not breaking down. What is happening is that a guest that needs assistance to get on or off the ride is being helped. Disney Cast Members must stop the ride to stop the moving sidewalk in the loading area.
Along the way you will meet Madame Leota. Madame Leota’s face is Leota Toombs, an Imagineer who created designs for many Disney attractions. And the ghost bride, watch the portraits closely and hold your teenage sons closer, she might just be looking for her next groom.
My favorite room is the Dining Room Scene. Why? I can remember as a child it featured in the opening clips of the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights. Great memories of watching this show with my sisters. The ballroom dancing ghosts are the result of the Pepper’s Ghost Illusion. This effect is made by illuminating objects and reflecting onto a pane of glass!
When you enter the dining room scene with the dancing ghosts take a close look at the dining table. You should be able to spot a hidden Mickey in the plates.
Right before you enter the graveyard, you die! You fall from an attic window when your doom-buggy turns backward, and you go down to the graveyard scene. Notice from this point on in the ride that the ghosts don’t acknowledge you because you are now one of them. Here I feel the ride takes on a more upbeat tone, ironic since most people fear a graveyard at night. The music gets faster and LOUDER, there is a party going on in the graveyard and the ghosts become sillier. Look out for the ghost opera singer and of course the singing quartet.
As you leave the graveyard, make sure you have not picked up any hitchhiking ghosts (check in the mirror carefully).
Now back to the original question. Is haunted mansion too scary for my child? Bottom line is to know your child…
Can they handle dark rides? Build up to Haunted Mansion by first taking a ride on Peter Pan’s Flight. If that ride goes well, then ride Pirates of the Caribbean.
Can your child separate reality from pretend? If they can’t, you will certainly want to skip this one.
The great thins is that if ANYONE (including you) find the queue and the stretching room overwhelming you can ask a Cast Member to show you the exit before entering your doom buggy. There is always a “Too Cool for this Ride” out, do not be afraid to use it when needed.
It is always a good idea to know your ride. If you go to YouTube and search Haunted Mansion you will find many POV (Point of View) videos. Watch a few of them so you are prepared when the time comes to comfort your child if need be or to prepare them for what is next.
My 5-year-old loved Haunted Mansion his first time, but I also prepared him in advance for the ride. One of our movie nights leading up to our trip featured the Eddie Murphy/Disney Movie of the same name, Haunted Mansion.
In the Haunted Mansion, you come face to face with nine hundred and ninety-nine happy haunts. The Mansion is full to the brim with eerie details, creepy ghosts, and sight gags. It is the perfect balance of spooky and funny, just make sure that you don’t become number one thousand.
Want to see and experience the Haunted Mansion at it’s finest hour? Come and visit during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!