Hey kids, let's visit Liberty Square! This is where you will find Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion. The exterior is almost an exact copy of Tokyo Disneyland's Mansion....or I guess I should say that Tokyo's is a copy of Florida's!
After seeing online photos and video of the new interactive queue for Florida's Mansion, we felt like we could just skip it since walking through it is optional for guests. Actually, there was only an hour left until park closing and we still needed to ride Snow White's Scary Adventure's a couple more times....okay, eight more times! This headstone is located just outside the entrance to the Mansion, but it isn't part of the new interactive queue, it was added in 2002. The inscription reads, "DEAR SWEET LEOTA, BELOVED BY ALL. IN REGIONS BEYOND NOW, BUT HAVING A BALL."
The neat thing about this headstone is that every so often, it's eyes will open for just a couple seconds and then close again. I remember the very first time I saw this, it reminded me of the "I Love Lucy" episode when Lucy turns her head into a clay bust and is trying to hold still, but opens her eyes briefly to look at Ethel. Here's an animated pic using two photos that I took on a previous visit. (Editor's note: Sorry, but the animated photo doesn't seem to be working the way I had hoped. Doesn't Blogger support GIF files anymore?)
The Haunted Mansions in Orlando and Tokyo have a few extra scenes that are missing from Anaheim's version. One of those scenes included a hallway with portraits of people whose eyes would "follow" you as you rode past them in your Doombuggy. Orlando replaced these not too long ago with Anaheim's "changing portraits" and put a window on the opposite side of the hallway with lightning flashing outside. The portraits that used to hang on the walls have now been moved to the loading area. Below are two of those paintings. I know the painting of the fisherman is based on original concept art by Marc Davis, but I'm not sure about the other one. If someone out there knows for sure, please chime in!
Another scene missing from Anaheim's Mansion is the music room with a piano that plays all by itself.
Just outside the gates of the Haunted Mansion is a shop called The Yankee Trader, which carries "Jams, Jellies and Kitchen Needs".
The shop was formerly known as The Yankee Pedlar (Gourmet and Culinary Aids). Here's a photo from 1975.
This next shop is called Heritage House. I did not go inside and unfortunately the maps for the Orlando parks, just like the maps for the Anaheim parks, no longer give a description of any of the shops or their wares. Whatever happened to the guidebooks that were given out at the ticket booths that had a description of the attractions, restaurants AND shops for each land? Even the official WDW site didn't care to tell me what was sold inside the shop, but according to an unofficial website I found, this shop sells "everything from the revolution era....flags, T-shirts and lots of historic replicas....here you can also find metal plates that were made by real modern day blacksmiths." I hope that's true and that they don't just sell the same souvenirs that every other shop in the park sells.
The Liberty Belle Riverboat is also located in Liberty Square. I'm planning on doing a separate post on that attraction so for now, we'll just take a look at "the stocks" that are located in front of the riverboat landing.
Here are three vintage pics from the 1970's. This guy seems to me making his own imaginary guillotine with his hand as a blade. I bet that was his wife!
Now it's his turn in the stocks.
I believe this is him once again, but taken during a different visit. Hey....that guy on the left......is that.....no it couldn't be.....but it kind of looks like.......SQUIGGY!
Liberty Square contains a replica of the Liberty Bell that was cast from the same mold as the original. According to Wikipedia, it's the only other bell to ever be cast from those molds. Who knew?
The Liberty Bell is surrounded by flags from the original thirteen colonies. In the background is The Hall of Presidents building.
The original attraction poster hangs outside the entrance.
The United States Seal can be found on the carpet in the lobby.
Funny, in this closeup it looks more like an eagle (ha, ha!)
Now in the past, I think the cast members have stated "no photography of any kind" during the show, but this time they only stated "no flash photography" (and maybe no videotaping), so I took the opportunity to snap a few pics. Of course without a flash they came out a little blurry, but here they are. The first one shows Abraham Lincoln delivering his Gettysburg Address. The interesting thing here is that he speaks in the middle of the pre-show. This is something new just since Barack Obama's addition to the show. One of the projection screens raises to reveal Lincoln with curtains strategically placed behind him to block out the rest of the Hall of Presidents stage sets and audio-animatronics.
And now, the Presidents of the United States....
....including the Barack Obama animatronic (in the foreground and on the far left.....of the photo that is.) Another new addition to the attraction is George Washington standing up to deliver a speech. He does this before Obama speaks. In the past, Lincoln was the only figure in the show that spoke, but beginning with the addition of Bill Clinton in 1994, the current president now delivers a speech that is recorded by the actual Commander-In-Chiefs.
Here's high definition video of the current version of The Hall of Presidents show.
And just for fun, here's a short video showing the Lincoln Audio-animatronic experiencing some minor technical difficulties back in 1992.