No Disney attraction, much less any other one on the planet, has had the same impact as The Haunted Mansion. Between the history, the mythology and the masterful design, it continues to withstand the test of time. Now a new book called “Boundless Realm” takes a deep dive into why this attraction is more popular than ever.
Foxx Nolte has penned “Boundless Realm” to examine the spooky house on the hill from all angles. For example, why was it designed differently than its counterpart in California? As most diehard fans know, the West Coast version of The Haunted Mansion features sinking stretch rooms to bring guests below the train tracks for Disneyland.
However, in Florida the ceilings stretch upwards instead of the floor sinking down to another level. This was clearly a deliberate choice, but why? The long-standing rumor I’ve heard is the water table in Florida doesn’t allow for a basement in the sunshine state. This is true. However, considering the Magic Kingdom is built on the “second floor” and the utilidor is the “first floor”, it’s entirely possible that there could have been plans for Florida’s Haunted Mansion to have a nearly identical stretch room setup to California. Guests would just enter from a higher level than they currently do and sink down.
Without giving away too much, “Boundless Realm” goes into pretty strong detail in how a sinking stretch room in Florida was not only possibly being considered, but likely. In addition, there are some amazing illustrations in the book that cover everything from design to how certain special effects are achieved.
Personally, I think the genius of the Haunted Mansion lies in its simplicity. For example, the foyer portrait might seem like something that is easy to pull off with modern technology. When it was being designed, they didn’t have the tool box Imagineers have today. Seen above is how Master Gracey’s changing portrait effect was achieved when the Haunted Mansion opened in 1971.
“Boundless Realm” is filled with these great nuggets throughout the book. I can’t recommend this book enough for even the most well-versed Haunted Mansion aficionados. I own literally hundreds of books covering theme parks and attractions and I’m so glad I can add it to my collection. You can pick up a copy of “Boundless Realms” via Amazon or by clicking on the link below!
(All Images Courtesy Foxx Nolte)
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