Friday, September 28, 2007

Everything Old is Old Again . . . (And Better)

Live from the World--

Upgrade, plussing, refurbishment. Whatever you want to call it, this was a good one.

The Haunted Mansion has certainly regained its stature as one of the crown jewels of Walt Disney World. Imaginative new show scenes and some figurative spit and polish have combined to create an experience that begs to be revisited numerous times before you take your leave of the Magic Kingdom.

Enhanced audio and some unexpected sound effects bring a whole new level of enjoyment to the "stretching room." What had become a somewhat tired and occasionally muddled auditory mix with a clear emphasis on comical, has been reborn into a genuinely eerie and somewhat disquieting vignette.

The Mansion's famous wallpaper literally extends itself in a simple, yet wholly satisfying effect. Lighting is much improved throughout, especially in the ballroom ghost mash and also in the seance room, where the Mansion's resident (if disembodied) spiritualist, Madame Leota, is not quite as grounded as she used to be.

The most notable and dramatic additions to the attraction involve the addition of the "stair room" and the very distinct re-imagining of the attic. The giant spiders, inarguably the weakest elements of the Mansion's original design, have been replaced with a visually dramatic Escher-esque room of juxtaposing staircases. It's a jawdropper.

Likewise, the attic has evolved away from loud screams and funhouse scares to a very different experience. Expanding on the "bride" theming, it is a more subtle but still undeniably chilling presentation that takes the Mansion's bride mythology in an entirely different direction. The room's set design is stunning in both aesthetics and detail.

While the movie-related enhancements to Pirates of the Caribbean generated more fanfare than this Haunted Mansion makeover will likely enjoy, it still represents a hopeful continued trend of classic attraction upgrades. And in this case, it not just the grim ghosts who come out grinning.


Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to seeing the plussing. Just 18 days to go!