Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Magic Kingdom - Liberty Square

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 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 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.

Part One:

Part Two:

And just for fun, here's a short video showing the Lincoln Audio-animatronic experiencing some minor technical difficulties back in 1992.


Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Great post! I loved Liberty Square on my visit to WDW, it feels unique like New Orleans Square at DL. The Hall of Presidents and the 13 Flags area really is special...

Poor Mr. Lincoln in your 1992 video, he just sorta melts down, too many shows without a break!

Major Pepperidge said...

The whole animated gif thing on Blogger is the reason why my moon man doesn't blink anymore (and I have spent more time trying to fix it than I care to think about). For some reason, Blogger turns the gif into a png, no matter what photo host I use. However, I do still see the occasional animated gif, so who knows.

Anyway, love the Leota tombstone. Doesn't our Mansion have a piano that plays itself (with the shadow of the ghost visible on the wall)?

The photo of the Heritage House looks like there might have originally been a curb (?) - without one it just looks like a theme park. Maybe too many people were tripping. How does the Obama AI look in person? I remember seeing that "Lincoln on the fritz" video on "America's Funniest Home Videos"!

TokyoMagic! said...

VDT, I hadn't seen that video until I was looking for footage of the current show. In addition to the audience laughing, you can kind of hear a loud squeaking or whining sound. Tragic! I wonder if he "wet" himself with hydraulic fluid.

Major, I remember you were having trouble with your winking moon...what is Blogger doing to us? Anaheim's Mansion does have a piano that's being played by a shadowy figure, but it's in the attic and I think the piano is kind of broken or falling over. WDW's piano is in it's own separate "music room". There is also a window behind it and you can see trees outside. They also have a library that you ride through. Having grown up with Anaheim's Mansion, it's kind of nice to see some extra scenes that I'm not used.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, Oops, missed your question about the Obama A.A. He looks "okay"....I just thought he could look a little closer to the real deal. After all, two out of three of the Johnny Depp figures in POTC look just like him (in my opinion). As far as the curb in Liberty Square, I'm not sure if there ever was one in front of that shop. New Orleans Square opened in 1966 and it doesn't have any curbs. Maybe they were done with curbs by then. Tokyo Disneyland's World Bazaar/Main St. is also curbless. You're right just makes it look more like a theme park.

A Snow White Sanctum said...

Really enjoying your trip reports. Feels like there's gonna be lots more to come...which I'm totally looking forward to.

Honest Abe must have had one too many before that particular show. Very funny clip. :)

Major Pepperidge said...

I am torn about the idea of having new scenes added to the Anaheim mansion; in theory it sounds like fun (and the Florida stuff does sound good), but I worry that something really stupid will be added. Guillermo Del Toro hinted that his upcoming Haunted Mansion movie might influence the rides, which already has me worrying, as much as I generally like him and his movies.

I feel like the Johnny Depp additions to "Pirates" changed the "pure" ride and made it into something quite different. It didn't ruin it, but subtly altered the experience in ways that I am unable to clearly articulate.

TokyoMagic! said...

SWS, Thanks! I do have a few more WDW posts up my sleeve!

Major, I don't necessarily like the new additions to POTC, but I think they are better than the additions that were made in 1997. At least the Johnny Depp figures could be removed easily enough and the attraction returned to a "fairly" original state. Oh and I REALLY don't like the lame waterfall effect that was added. The "water" doesn't even come all the way down and touch the real water. Who approves this stuff anyway?

I'm also against any changes to Mansion.....or should I say any more changes. The newer bride just looks cheap. How is it that in 1969, they were able to do something like Madame Leota's head in the crystal ball and Little Leota standing next to the exit ramp and have them both look so awesome, but yet 40 years later, they can't even come up with an effect for the bride that would look equally as awesome. Again, who approves this stuff? Oh and the additional scenes in WDW's Mansion (like the Library and Music Room) weren't added in recent years....they've been a part of their Mansion since opening day.

Major Pepperidge said...

I thought there was some sort of hallway (or something) that was previously just pitch dark, but now showed a sort of M.C. Escher-type scene, with footprints appearing and disappearing.

Or should I stop sniffing glue?

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I forgot about that! That's another extra scene that Florida's and Tokyo's Mansions have. It's sort of an incline with rails off to the sides....I guess it's supposed to be a stairway. It used to have (and Tokyo's still does have) large spiders sitting in webs on either side of the track. They were very similar to the spider that used to be on the other side of the loading area in Anaheim's Mansion. Florida removed the spiders and the webs and added sort of an M.C. Escher inspired "endless stairway" effect and yes, there are footprints that appear and disappear on the steps. I really did like this effect. They did a good job with it, but I do miss the original spiders. I miss Anaheim's spider too. I remember hearing that when they did the "Nightmare" overlay for the first time in Anaheim, the spider web fell apart when they were attempting to move it and they just didn't bother to fix it. I wonder if that's true?

Dan Alexander said...

I'm enjoying your trip reports, TokyoMagic! You can never have too much of the Haunted Mansion. In this case, I really want to see a haunted store at the end of the ride, full of exclusive ghost merchandise. It would make a...killing.

TokyoMagic! said...

Dan, Thank you....and I agree with you about a HM store. I remember there used to be a merchandise cart near the Mansion's exit that sold just Haunted Mansion stuff. I purchased magnets from it during two different WDW visits, but I didn't see it this time!

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving TM.

Thanks for your blog. Great post too.