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Only slightly scarier than a whoopee cushion, The Haunted Mansion—which opened with the rest of Walt Disney World in 1971—proves that top-notch special effects don’t always require 21st-century technology. “Doom Buggies” on a conveyor belt transport you through the house from parlor to attic, then through a graveyard. The effects change tone with the setting: Those found in the house are generally spooky, while the graveyard effects, such as a ghostly opera singer wearing a Viking helmet, are for laughs. Some kids get anxious about what they think they’ll see, but almost nobody actually gets scared.
Eve Zibart, a veteran journalist and the author of several Unofficial Guide, ranks The Haunted Mansion as one of her favorite Disney attractions:
This is one of the best attractions in the Magic Kingdom. It's jam-packed with visual puns, special effects, hidden Mickeys, and really lovely Victorian-spooky sets. It's not scary, except in the sweetest of ways, but it will remind you of the days before ghost stories gave way to slasher flicks.
A Temple, Texas, mom isn't convinced:
You say the actual sights are not really frightening. What isn't frightening about a hanging corpse, a coffin escapee, and an axe-welding skeleton bride?
A mom from Victoria, British Columbia, wishes teens would shut their pieholes:
My 4-year-old daughter loved Space Mountain, but The Haunted Mansion really scared her. Our experience was that teenagers deliberately scream and pretend to be scared on this ride. This scares the crap out of the little ones.
Interactive elements in the left side of the outdoor queue ensure that guests have something to occupy them when lines are long. Features include a music-playing monument and a ship captain’s tomb that squirts water.
Lines here ebb and flow more than those at most other Magic Kingdom hot spots because the Mansion is near The Hall of Presidents and the Liberty Belle Riverboat. These two attractions disgorge hundreds of guests when each show or ride ends, and many of these folks head straight for the Mansion. If you can’t go before 11:30 a.m. or in the last 2 hours the park is open, try to slip in around dinner.
When admitted to the Mansion, you’ll first enter a foyer with a fireplace, then be guided quickly into a second preshow room with wood paneling, and four paintings above you. Keeping close to the wall, find the wall panel with a small, red light at about eye level, and stand with your back to that panel while you watch the preshow.
Here's roughly how many minutes you'll wait for The Haunted Mansion at each Magic Kingdom Crowd Level.
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