I took this photograph at Tokyo Disney on my first visit there in December of 2005. The park was amazing, and one of my favorite places in Japan – not top ten, but definitely up there. If this sounds awful to you, it’s possible amusement parks are not your thing – or that you’ve never been to a Disney park. Truly, they are magical places for guests. Even when there’s a scandal in the papers about the park contracting with a cleaning service found to be a money laundering front for the local mob. …or so my Japanese students told me.
Anyway, that season, they’d decorated the Haunted Mansion ride up in full The Nightmare Before Christmas theme. It seems that Jack Skellington had escaped Halloweentown once more, and gone on a right redecorating frenzy: they had the above fabulous Pumpkin Tree in front of the Mansion, and I’ve been mad to have one of my own ever since. Other changes included the floating candelabra at the end of the Endless Hallway being replaced with Zero, and the Graveyard was covered all in snow with jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin angels and more. It was wonderful. It was spooky. I rode twice.
Or more. Probably more. CONFOUND IT ALL, I LOVE IT THOUGH!
Although they’ve been doing the Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare since 2001, I had no idea when I arrived at Tokyo Disney that day. I’m glad – wandering by the Haunted Mansion and seeing it transformed turned me into a little kid again. I was starry-eyed with delight, and crowed about it for days after. Or, well, years after since I’m still talking about it!
What are your favorite Disney parks surprises? And who else has been through the Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare?