For Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, where the grandfather clock counts thirteen hours, this might be the most auspicious holiday season yet. On Friday the 13th, 2013, the Mansion was re-imagined for the 13th annual Haunted Mansion Holiday.
According to Senior Art Director for Creative Development and Production Brian D. Sandahl, last year an alert Haunted Mansion Holiday technician realized that a lucky conjunction of thirteens was coming up — and the whole team was determined to do something extra-special to commemorate it. In fact, there are three exciting new elements to enjoy:
On October 4, as part of the Disney Parks’ Limited Time Magic, Jack Skellington will place sets of 13 things throughout the Mansion. These will stay through the holiday season as a little extra for sharp-eyed Guests — count everything and see how many “thirteens” you can find! (Brian suggests keeping an eye on Zero’s dog dish, to start.)
A Sweet Surprise
The gingerbread mansion that’s added to the ballroom scene is different every year. This year’s confection is 13 feet tall and takes the form of an advent calendar/mausoleum with 13 doors. The theme is “13 faces of Jack” –each Friday one door will be replaced with a cookie with Jack Skellington’’s face. Each cookie is animated to move in some way, in addition to many other animated features on the gingerbread house itself. The effect is ghoulishly glorious. And yes, the mansion and the cookies alike are made of real confectionary from the Disneyland central bakery.
Brian’s team tries to add new elements to the Haunted Mansion Holiday decor every year — but this year’s additions are really extraordinary. Look for Zero to fly through the changing pictures in the portrait gallery and interact with the images there — and keep a close eye on the ceiling in the stretching room, because there is a transformation there that is not to be missed. “Guests are actually applauding when they see it!” says Brian.
The Haunted Mansion’s transformation will last through the holidays. But don’t delay — wait too long to visit, and you’ll be out of luck.