HAUNTED MANSION HOLIDAY EVENT
SEPTEMBER 30, 2004
2004 EVENT LOGO
The logo for the 2004 Haunted Mansion Holiday event has the mansion in the background and Jack and Zero in the foreground underneath an arch created by two tree trunks. Underneath is a banner that reads "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas" with Teddy peeking out over the top of the banner Kilroy-style. It seemed a bit odd that the event logo didn't actually say "Haunted Mansion Holiday" anywhere, and the only indication of such was if one were to recognize the mansion in the background.
Registration and merchandise pickup this year were moved to the exhibit hall of the Disneyland Hotel, but there weren't very many signs outside the location to indicate where it was being held. We walked to the hotel through Downtown Disney, and there were no signs anywhere, and there was nothing included in the listing of the day's events at the hotel. After looking in the grand ballroom and finding nothing and wandering around a bit more, we finally saw some people with the event bags and asked them where the registration was. It turned out that the registration was being held in the exhibit hall, which was accessible from the outside of the building near the parking area. There were signs right outside the entrance but nowhere else outside.
Sign directing attendees to event registration.
The hours for registration and merchandise pickup were changed as well. In previous years, both were open fairly early in the morning, but this year, registration was from 12 noon until 8pm, which meant that by the time we arrived at about 1:15pm (after a nice lunch at The Enchanted Cottage, located near the Fantasyland Theatre - who would have thought you'd be able to get a tasty bratwurst with sauerkraut at Disneyland?), the line was already fairly long. In registering for previous events, we'd never encountered much of a line because of the longer registration hours. It was almost 2pm by the time we got to the front of the line.
Sign outside registration.
Attendees waiting in line to register.
It still looks crowded from this angle.
After presenting our identification, we received our packets, which included the following:
1. welcome letter from Matt Ouimet on letterhead containing this year's Haunted Mansion Holiday event logo
September 30, 2004
Dear Ghoulish Guest,
On behalf of the Disneyland Resort, our 999 Happy Haunts join me in welcoming you to the 2004 Haunted Mansion Holiday Event.
It is a pleasure for us to act as your "ghost host" as we kick-off a spirited holiday season with the commencement of our Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction. Prepare yourself for an evening filled with ghoulishly delightful activities, and please take a moment to review your itinerary certain to fill your night with bone-chilling fright.
We thank you for joining us and "witch" you a magical holiday season!
President, Disneyland Resort
2. badge in the shape of Zero with itinerary on the back
Front of event lanyard.
3. haunted fun book of game and other coupons
Front cover of fun book.
Inside front cover of fun book.
Inside back cover of fun book.
4. voucher card to redeem a special gift
Front of voucher card.
Back of voucher card.
5. ticket for admission to Disneyland after 8pm for the event
6. event itinerary
7. flyer regarding doom buddies pin promotion and Christopher Radko Haunted Mansion Holiday ornament release and signing
8. event evaluation
9. shopping list for items still available in merchandise store
10. letter regarding merchandise change; and
11. invoice for pre-purchased items.
Also included with our package was a special gift. We were a bit surprised that it came in a green velvet bag and looked almost like a boxed bottle of wine in the bag. The registration cast member's instruction sheet had listed it as a "night light", so we were even more surprised when the writing on the box indicated it as a porcelain lithophane victorian lamp stand. The event logo is carved into thin porcelain which can then be backlight to make the picture show through. The box also describes the item as a "porcelain lithophane transparency, mounted in an antique brass finish lamp stand". It is really a beautiful item.
The lamp in the green velvet bag.
The front of the lamp box.
The unlit porcelain lamp.
The lamp with the porcelain backlit.
Merchandise pickup was held in a separate room, so we joined that line. We hadn't requested very many items, so our turn went rather quickly, though the cast member helping us was a little rougher in opening and handling the merchandise than we would have liked. As has become custom, our merchandise came in a translucent bag with the event logo on the front.
The sign outside merchandise pickup.
Event logo on merchandise bag.
In the hallway outside the rooms, there was a display with the merchandise that had been available for the event. If there was any available merchandise that someone wanted to purchase, there was a third room for those transactions. Included in the display were also the Christopher Radko HMH ornament (which goes on sale October 1 at a price of $44) and the framed set of doom buddies pins (which also goes on sale October 1 at a price of $195, with unframed sets and single pins also available). At the end of the hallway was the photo opportunity location, which this year had a backdrop similar to the event logo. The picture itself came with the Haunted Mansion Holiday 2004 banner in orange across the bottom and cost $12.95 for the first photo and $8.95 for each additional photo. The pre-registration paperwork had mentioned a photo op but didn't specify what it was, so we hadn't pre-ordered a photo. After seeing the backdrop, we didn't think this was nearly as cool as last year's photo op in a doom buggy, so we opted not to get a photo this year.
Haunted Mansion Holiday Radko ornament.
Doom Buddies framed pin set.
Sign in front of photo opportunity.
The photo opportunity area.
Sign in front of merchandise store.
One of the little things that I've liked about these kinds of events is the signage that is created. All of the signs are themed to the event and add that extra touch.
LE BAT EN ROUGE (WITH NEW MERCHANDISE)
Earlier that day, we had gone over to Le Bat en Rouge to see what new merchandise had been released. There were some new Nightmare before Christmas items, including a Teddy antenna topper ($4) with a cape (you place Teddy on his stomach on the antenna so that he would appear to be flying), a porcelain canister with Sally on the front ($20), a Doctor Finklestein resin bobble piece ($19), a resin piece with Jack and Doctor Finklestein with a working clock ($55), and individual ornaments of Oogie Boogie, Behemoth, Clown and Doctor Finklestein ($14 each).
Teddy antenna topper.
Front of canister.
Back of canister.
Doctor Finklestein bobble piece.
Jack and Doctor Finklestein resin piece.
Oogie Boogie ornament.
Doctor Finklestein ornament.
There was also new HMH merchandise released. I love the new logo for this year's general release merchandise because it's a perfect marriage of elements from "Nightmare Before Christmas" and Haunted Mansion. And I do love that the merchandise is dated from year to year, which definitely gives more incentive for buying new items every year. A t-shirt ($19) and sweatshirt ($30) are both available in black. The t-shirt has the big logo on the back, with a small logo on the left breast, containing the Nightmare Before Christmas title text and a bonedeer. The sweatshirt has the reverse, with the big logo on the front, and the small logo centered on the back below the collar line. Also available is an ornament ($10), a picture magnet ($6) with Zero and bonedeers on springs, a small doom buggy with Doctor and Finklestein inside ($15) with a small cymbals-clashing Oogie on the back, and a HMH trading medal ($10).
Large design on t-shirt and sweatshirt.
Small design on t-shirt and sweatshirt.
Ornament with attraction design.
Magnet frame with attraction design.
Front of doom buggy.
Back of doom buggy.
Trading medal with attraction design.
SET-UP AND PRE-EVENT
After our visit to Le Bat en Rouge, we had noticed nearby signs informing guests that New Orleans Square would be closing at 6:30 that evening. We also noticed a few things that had already been set up for the evening's festivities, including what we presumed to be game stations which were covered, and there were also lanterns hung over the area. These were the same lanterns that were hung in the Blue Bayou during last year's dinner. The covering around the Haunted Mansion had already been removed, and the area in front was roped off. We noticed that a new element had been added to the front lawn - a pumpkin scarecrow amidst an abundance of pumpkins and a scary pumpkin nearby as well. We also noticed that the scarecrow had lights draped on him, so we were looking forward to seeing him scarily lit. The bandstand was also already set up to the right of the entrance.
Informational sign in New Orleans Square.
Preparations have already started.
Lanterns above the walkway.
Scary pumpkin next to scarecrow.
Bandstand already set up.
After taking our merchandise back to the car, we amused ourselves with various activities at Disneyland for a while. While our paperwork had instructed that we could start lining up outside near the picnic area at 7:30pm for the 8pm start of the event, we had heard from another event attendee that if you were already in the park, you didn't have to go back outside. Around 6pm, we headed back over to New Orleans Square and ended up watching as the various games were set up. We also watched as the pumpkin scarecrow was moved from his place on the lawn and put in the event entrance, all lit up. We had also noticed that the light towers (usually used for Fantasmic) were up, so we weren't sure if anything was going to be happening on Tom Sawyer Island. Turns out the light towers were used mostly to light up New Orleans Square during the event, but there was one surprise on the island. A huge lit balloon with a picture of Oogie Boogie was raised high in the air, keeping watch on the evening's events. We had also seen the mansion with fog pouring out of the second floor balcony, which coupled with the orange light made for an eerie effect. Around 7:40, we asked a cast member about lining up for the event, and she directed us over to a line that had already formed next to the Rivers of America, almost in front of the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean, so we headed over to join the line. The line grew longer from others who had also already been in the park, and at a little after 8pm, we were allowed into the event area. Everything ran pretty smoothly for us, but we ran into friends later who said that it was much more disorganized for those who had lined up outside in the picnic area, and lack of communication amongst the cast members resulted in much confusion.
Lit scarecrow with flash on.
Lit scarecrow with flash off. Mwahahahahaha.
Oogie Boogie keeps watch high above Tom Sawyer Island.
A closer view of Oogie Boogie.
Should the Disneyland Fire Department be concerned?
THE EVENT BEGINS
We headed over to the Haunted Mansion, but the gates weren't open yet, so we stood and enjoyed listening to the band and were especially amused by the people who were heartily dancing to the band's tunes - none other than Werewolf, Mummy, Behemoth and two witches. (They spent the rest of the evening wandering around the event area and interacting with everyone. At the end of the night, we even saw a few of them heading into the mansion to ride with guests. What a treat that must have been!) They were great fun to watch and would come over to those of us standing nearby. At one point, Mummy came over to us and pulled me onto the "dance floor", so I had a great time dancing with Mummy for a while, until my bracelet got caught in his gauze. It took a few minutes to extricate myself from him, and at that point, I bid him farewell, but it was a blast. We got into the line to wait for the gates to open, and shortly thereafter, all of the characters took the stage, and after one of the witches welcomed all of us, the gates were opened. We were let into the front lawn area, and we noticed that Jack and Sally were on the balcony of the second floor. They both greeted us as well and led the ceremony of lighting the Haunted Mansion. At that point, we were let into the mansion, and we ended up in the first group of people in the stretching room, which was a lot of fun. As in previous years, they had lists of the names of people attending the event through the first three package levels, and this year the lists were in the attic. However, because the lists were still in alphabetical order but only with the person's first name and last initial, it was much harder to find your own name on the list, though there was the benefit of being able to go on the ride repeatedly. The lists were left up for the duration of the evening and then taken down before the attraction was open to the general public. When we exited the ride, we were able to turn in our voucher card for a special gift, which turned out to be a chocolate snake which is listed as containing chocolate liquer.
Skeletons hang from tree near the mansion.
The characters have their dancing shoes on.
Jack and Sally during the lighting ceremony.
Jack and Sally invite guests into the mansion.
The chocolate snake in its decorative packaging.
A better view of the chocolate snake.
HAUNTED MANSION HOLIDAY 2004
For spoilers on the 2004 version of the Haunted Mansion Holiday, please click here.
The band played for the entire night, taking periodic breaks. I am usually not fond of cover bands, but this band (called The Bonedaddies for the evening) were quite good and played a good selection of songs. They were dressed in tuxedoes and wore party hats and had their faces painted as ghouls.
We had attended the event under the level three package, which had been indicated as including hors d'oeuvres and desserts so we had eaten earlier, figuring we'd have a snack or two in the evening. We had seen some of the set-up earlier in the day, so we headed over to French Market to see what was available. To our surprise, there were not only hors d'oeuvres but also more substantial food items as well. We were first greeted by a server carrying a tray of crabmeat cheesecake, fried tomatoes and toasted pumpkin ravioli, so we enjoyed some of those. I recall seeing another server carrying a tray with what looked like chicken skewers, but we didn't end up trying any of that. I hadn't expected that servers would be carrying trays around so was pleasantly surprised at that extra touch. Another server brought around a dessert of a chocolate cup with raspberry filling topped with chocolate mousse and a white chocolate picture of Zero. Very tasty. There were six food stations scattered around, two to the left of the French Market entrance, two in the area between French Market and Cafe Orleans and two inside the French Market seating area. Each station was identical and offered the following: shredded pork, sauteed wild mushrooms, toasted peppers, cajun shrimp, mashed sweet potatoes, and Yukon mashed potatoes. There were large plastic martini glasses available instead of regular plates. We tried a bit of the cajun shrimp, which was good, but as we weren't very hungry, we didn't have much more than that. We had been kind of wondering what the hors d'oeuvres offerings would be, but for future events, we'll know they don't just mean a cracker or two. The food was put away by 9:30pm, when the level four package participants joined the event.
One of the six identical food stations.
Zero tops this sweet treat.
A better look at Zero.
Beverages were also available, including coffee, soft drinks, fruit punch (made from orange juice and Sprite) and mojitos. I was a bit surprised that alcoholic beverages were being served, but the mojitos were really good, and I was reminded that wine had been served with dinner at the Blue Bayou in previous years. In one of the areas serving beverages, the drinks came with a short glow stick as a stir stick, so there were an abundance of those around.
After a few snacks, we made our way to the various games that had been set up. These games were similar to those that had been a part of the Tower of Terror (ToT) event that we had attended earlier in the year, so we were looking forward to them. You always get a prize at each game, whether or not you complete your task. Each of the games was run by ghouls in Victorian costumes.
The female ghouls waiting for the event to begin.
Game 1 was reaching into a container dressed as Oogie Boogie to fish for a prize. Inside the bucket were plastic bugs and critters that apparently felt like gummy candies. I decided that this was not a game I could participate in, so the ghoul helped me by pulling out a prize for me, which was shoelaces with Jack heads.
Similar signage is placed next to each game.
Oogie Boogie lookalikes.
Game 2 was Doc's Lab Lob, where you were given two colored ping pong balls to throw into an assortment of beakers. The prize was a button with the Nightmare Before Christmas duck.
Doctor Finklestein's game.
Game 3 was a standee with three of the scary wreaths from the attraction, and the goal was to throw an object through one of their mouths as a swinging board in the back periodically blocked the holes. The funny part was that the object being thrown was a small baby doll head. The prize was a headband with blinking Jack heads.
Try to throw the baby doll head into the wreath's mouth.
Game 4 was Oogie's spinning wheel, and if you landed on a question mark (it was remarkable that everyone always landed on a question mark, sometimes with the help of the ghoul), you got a trivia question related to Nightmare Before Christmas. The prize was a temporary tattoo with the event logo.
One of the spin wheels.
Game 5 was building a bonedeer, with parts that had velcro on the back and that needed to be assembled on a board. The prize was a beach ball with Jack's head.
Try to piece together a bonedeer.
A bonedeer put together.
Headband and beach ball.
Shoelaces, temporary tattoo and button.
At each game, there was the option of just turning in your coupon and getting your prize rather than having to actually play the game. The lines were sometimes fairly long for each game, so that may have been why they offered that as an option, or maybe because they received feedback after the ToT event that some people didn't want to have to play the games to get the prizes. We decided that it was more fun to be able to play the games instead of just getting the prizes. The game area didn't seem to work quite as well as it had during ToT. The lines were much longer this time, and the whole area was much more crowded. ToT had the benefit of a fairly large open space nearby where all the games could be held and were pretty much out of the way of other activities. In this case, the games had to be set up along the walkways, which aren't all that expansive to begin with, so the lines added to the congestion and clogged up some of the walkways. A few of the games were also set up in places that would seem to be fairly inaccessible to those in wheelchairs.
After we finished all the games, we headed back over to French Market to trade in our treat coupon. In previous years, it had been either a cookie or a crispy rice treat, and this year, it was the latter, in the shape of a dog bone and covered with a sweet white glaze and topped with a white chocolate picture of Jack's head with a Santa hat. We sat at French Market for a while enjoying our treat and the general ambience. There was a party atmosphere, with everyone having a good time and a variety of activities to choose from. The attraction was open the entire evening, so people could take multiple rides, which is definitely preferable to the usual single ride in previous Haunted Mansion events. We ran into a few friends throughout the event and also chatted with people while we were waiting in line for the games. It was also nice to be in New Orleans Square at night with relatively few people. A fog had been generated on the Rivers of America, so that also added to the atmosphere. There was plenty of seating for everyone, utilizing the seating areas for French Market and Cafe Orleans as well as extra cocktail tables scattered nearby.
A sweet treat.
The Mark Twain enveloped in fog.
Later in the evening, we sat at French Market filling out our event evaluations, and we were surprised that there were servers still walking around with dessert offerings of macaroons, brownie bites and chocolate dipped strawberries at 11:00 at night. The desserts looked good, but we were just not interested in food anymore at that point.
The event ended at 11:30, and we didn't think we'd end up being there that late, but as we walked away from New Orleans Square, we heard the band announcing the end of the event. We made our way to the exit, where we turned in our evaluations and also turned in our coupon for our final gift. Again, we were surprised that it came in a velvet bag, red this time. Inside was a chest of drawers with six compartments, and a pin hidden inside each compartment. The pins were of Jack, Sally, Zero, Behemoth, Mayor and Santa and were each shaped like an ornament. The bottom of each drawer has a picture of Lock, Shock and Barrel. We have really been impressed with the quality and cleverness of the gifts for the past few special events.
The last gift in its bag.
The front of the chest of drawers.
The back of the chest of drawers.
The top of the chest of drawers.
Inside a drawer.
The pins hidden inside the drawers.
This event was very enjoyable because it was different from previous Haunted Mansion Holiday events. The first two years, there were panel discussions, and last year, there was a musical revue, which was spectacular. But this year, to avoid any monotone, the event was changed completely into being an all-encompassing party. What great fun!
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To read about the 2003 Haunted Mansion Holiday Event, click here.
To read about the 2002 Haunted Mansion Holiday Event, click here.
To read about the 2001 Haunted Mansion Holiday Event, click here.
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