One of the highlights of fall season at the Disneyland Resort is the transformation of the Haunted Mansion into Haunted Mansion Holiday, featuring The Nightmare Before Christmas' Jack Skellington and his ghoulish friends from Halloween Town. Jack Skellington is bringing his creepy version of Christmas to the mansion's 999 ghosts through early January, and it's a sight not to be missed. Haunted Mansion Holiday is now on its 13th year, and it's better than ever, with some new spooky surprises for anyone who dares enter.
We were at the Disneyland Resort over the weekend to enjoy Mickey's Halloween Party as well as the Halloween Time seasonal decor and activities. The Haunted Mansion Holiday is one of our favorite attractions: in fact, we all agree that we love Haunted Mansion Holiday even better than the regular Haunted Mansion attraction! We love the festive way the mansion is decorated inside and out, we love the colorful characters we meet inside, we love the upbeat music, we love the yummy smell of the haunted gingerbread house on display in the Great Hall!
To celebrate the Haunted Mansion Holiday turning 13 in 2013, here are 13 Fun Facts about the attraction, accompanied by some photos I took on our visit (my apologies in advance for the grainy indoor photos!):
1) Haunted Mansion Holiday is not available at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom; you can only experience it at Disneyland Park in Anaheim!
2) Each season, thousands of feet of "Black Gnarly" garland is draped and hung inside and outside Haunted Mansion Holiday. Jack’s faithful dog Zero gathered more than 200 bones to use as décor, garland, and presents.
3) The Haunted Mansion is always beautiful at night, but Haunted Mansion Holiday is even more spectacular. More than 400 flickering candles create a ghostly glow on the façade of the Haunted Mansion and more than 100 jack-o-lanterns shine their ghoulish light.
photo credit: Disneyland Resort
4) The transforming portraits in the portrait gallery have been replaced with Nightmare Before Christmas-themed transforming portraits. New for 2013, Ghost dog Zero makes a surprise appearance, running from portrait to portrait.
5) New for 2013, Jack Skellington and his ghost dog Zero now appear in a fully animated sequence on the ceiling of the “stretching” room, which transports guests into the depths of the Mansion.
6) One of the most popular Haunted Mansion Holiday traditions is the Haunted Mansion Gingerbread House on display at the Grand Hall. This year's mansion resembles a confectionary Advent Calendar. Every week throughout its run, a different door will reveal one of the 13 faces of Jack Skellington.
7) A few more facts about the Gingerbread Mansion: it stands more than 13 feet tall and weighs more than 500 pounds. It required nearly 240 pounds of gingerbread, 160 pounds of fondant and 150 pounds of royal icing. A team of five pastry chefs worked for more than a week to complete the Gingerbread Mansion. Three members of this team have been part of the Haunted Mansion Gingerbread House team since it began 13 years ago.
8) Yes, that is gingerbread you smell! As your doom buggy glides past the Great Hall, the delicious scent of gingerbread will make you want to jump out and start eating the gingerbread house (fortunately, there's a snack cart just outside the Haunted Mansion selling seasonal gingerbread men!).
9) The iconic Graveyard Ice Angels are designed with a jagged, look, their ethereal wings and snow-glow colors shining with a more ghoulish luster than ever this year.
10) The graveyard inside Haunted Mansion Holiday is covered with nearly 7,500 square feet of snow. More than 20 gallons of UV (ultra-violet) paint is used to enhance the snow’s eerie glow. Nearly 1,000 tiny, orange lights decorate the trees.
11) Home Creepy Home – Creepy cobwebs are artistically kept (not swept!) year-round to make Jack Skellington and the 999 Happy Haunts feel right at home.
12) More than two dozen additional animated features accompany Jack Skellington to the Haunted Mansion. Look for man-eating wreaths and creepy toys such as vampire teddy bears, a monster train and a jack-o-lantern jack-in-the-box.
13) Disney Imagineer Kim Irvine plays the holiday version of Haunted Mansion psychic Madame Leota, chanting her "13 Days of Christmas" fortunes. Kim is actually the daughter of Leota Toombs, a Disney Imagineer herself, who played the original Haunted Mansion Madame Leota!
Disclosure: I attended Mickey's Halloween Party at the invitation of The Disneyland Resort. Park tickets, event tickets and accommodation were provided by The Disneyland Resort.. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.