Each year we count down to the opening of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Holiday and see how Jack Skellington has decked the halls for Halloween and Christmas. Decorations like the latest haunted gingerbread house—it’s bigger than ever this year at 8’ wide and 13’ tall and has an animated zero flying around the top of it—have become a tradition for Disneyland chefs and for Nightmare fans riding the attraction.
Brian Sandahl, art director of Haunted Mansion Holiday, and his team are bringing in new animation effects for new tricks and treats.
This year, it’s easy to remember when the attraction opens. It’s celebrating its 13th year, opening on September . . . Friday . . . the 13th, in the year 2013—the 13s have finally aligned for Halloween at Disneyland. It’s also the day Disney Parks—Disneyland and Walt Disney World—is kicking off its Halloween festivities. This year, Brian Sandahl, art director of Haunted Mansion Holiday, and his team are bringing in new animation effects for new tricks and treats.
When you visit, pay special attention to the Haunted Mansion’s stretching room. Brian’s team has developed new animation effects that will bring this room to life—or death—like never before. Also, check out the portraits on the walls as you exit the stretching room and as you wait to board your doom buggy.
Jack Skellington changes into Sandy Claws as you are looking.
“We’ve always switched out these portraits,” Brian says, “so Jack Skellington changes into Sandy Claws as you are looking at them. Zero is in the portrait, too. But this year, Zero takes off and flies through all the portraits. He flies into the Jack-O-Lantern portrait, lights it up, and plays around with the scenes in the portraits. These two animation are really cool and we’ve never done animation effects in our 13-year history.”
For the attraction’s actual 13th anniversary—celebrated on October 4—Disneyland, as part of “Limited Time Magic” will be placing 13 themed collections of 13 objects around the Haunted Mansion. “We’ll be introducing 13 surprises around the rooms of the Haunted Mansion so guests will be able to count—kind of like a scavenger hunt—the items that Jack Skellington has placed in each room. There will be 13 candles on Madame Leota’s séance table and more additions like that. And if you miss them, you’ll have to get back on and ride again!”