Behind The Scenes
Today we explore the backstage areas of Disney's The Haunted Mansion...
The show building houses a number of backstage areas unseen by guests. One of the easiest ways for cast members to enter these parts of the attraction is by entering a small, shed-like protrusion behind the facade.
Inside this shed is the entrance to a cast member break-room and a staircase that leads down below the berm, making a left turn into the attraction's control tower. This small room (about the size of the conservatory) is hidden between the unloading and loading areas, seen only by handicapped guests who must ride all the way through to the loading area.
Another way into the show building from within the park is through a door in one of the queue's crypts. This leads down several staircases into the portrait hall. Near the tower, a pair of stairways leads beneath the Doom Buggy track and into a passageway that travels between the loading area and the graveyard, below the endless hallway, and behind the ballroom.
On the other side of the ballroom, several large maintenance and equipment rooms can be found.
The show scenes themselves are only convincing when viewed from the path of the ride; exploring these areas quickly reveals the fact that they are built much like movie sets in a sound stage. For instance, the wood that the ballroom walls are built of is easily seen from backstage.
The back of tombstones also shows plastic, spray paint, etc. The top 8 feet (2.4 m) or so of the building are separated from the larger area below containing the ride. Numerous air conditioning ducts pass through this attic of sorts, which can be accessed via a caged ladder on the north side of the building. The tops of the large, squarish indentations in the sides of the building mark the floor level of this attic space.
It is worth noting that at Disneyland, the Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain show buildings are very close to each other. When the Doom Buggies face the back of the graveyard, adjacent to the ghostly band, guests are looking at the building's northwest corner. Just a few yards beyond the back wall is a similar but smaller building housing Splash Mountain. Guests evacuated from Splash Mountain during a breakdown will verify that the Haunted Mansion show building is virtually indistinguishable from the Splash Mountain building, and that the two have only a few yards of pavement between them.
Because of the Magic Kingdom's different layout, the Haunted Mansion show building is instead located next to the one that houses It's a Small World. This version of the ride takes place within a similar building, though this one is larger and entirely enclosed by other areas of the park. This attraction differs from the original in that the ride takes place at the same level as the mansion itself.
In addition, no berm separates the facade from the show building; the back of the mansion has a visible, above-ground connection to the main warehouse. To avoid exposing backstage to the guests, WDI uses trees and other rides to hide the building from view.
Tomorrow - the Special Effects of Disney's The Haunted Mansion...