Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tickets Please...

Greetings Ghost Fans,

Today when you purchase your tickets for Disney Theme Parks, you pay one fee and can visit any attraction as many times as you would like. Prior to the early 1980's, you actually paid an entrance fee and bought Ticket Books. These tickets marked A through E, allowed you into attractions with an A through E rating. Haunted Mansion was an E ticket due to its high popularity.

At Disneyland, guests were prompted about the attraction using one E-Ticket to enter via a sign. At Walt Disney World however, in addition to a sign, guests were also told via an unseen voice that they would need to remove their E-Ticket from their booklet for entrance.

This mysterious voice eminated above the heads of those about to enter the stone colonade in front of the house. This was, of course, long before the addition of the front gates, the toppled fountain and hearse. Why, even the green canopy was not there at the time.

This speaker is still in its original location where it isn't seen well from the queue area. If you stand near the hearse you can see it slightly, but the best viewing is from the Liberty Belle Riverboat.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

An Interesting Read...

Greetings Ghost Fans,

I am back from a fun filled trip to Walt Disney World. I rode mansion about... I would say 75 times. I was glad to be able to see it before it goes down for rehab, but I am also aware that it needs the help.

Anyway, onto this weeks topic.

Due to the Mansion's dim lighting, many pieces of woodwork in the sets are actually flat faced and do not jut out into the rooms. For instance, the back wall of the ballroom is entirely flat, but using special painting techniques, it gives the illusion of depth. The Walt Disney World library scene also uses this effect for the most part. About 15 - 20 books in the library shelves are real, all of the other books and shelves are painted on, but given the dim lighting, it appears that hundereds of volumes line the shelves. One other thing that they do is scribble on a few lines to appear that the books have titles, but in reality they don't... well... most don't.

Since the library walls were created in California over 35 years ago, they held two books with actual titles. Side by side, possibly a two volume set: "The Art of Deception" by Claude Coates. These books are located to the right of the male bust with the beard on the lower shelves of the library.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Kat Cressida

Greetings Ghost Fans,

Before I make my first trip ever to Walt Disney World later today, I felt I should leave you with quite a blog posting. Kat Cressida, Voice of Constance, the axe-wielding bride in Disneyland Haunted Mansion’s Attic has provided the Ghost Relations Department with an interview. It was truly an honor to interview this famous Voice Actress and without further delay, the interview!

GRD: About how many years have you worked in the field of Voice Over acting?

KAT: I started working in it while still working in OnCamera, Around 1998. I was mostly doing sitcoms and 1-hour TV drams and felt like I wanted to be more creative. In OnCamera you mostly get typecast based on looks. Since I was a cute, petite blonde, I mostly played ditsy girlfriends or upbeat, quirky characters. It felt like time for something that drew upon more of my training (Shakespeare Major at UC-Berkeley and Grade of A.C.T. in SF)

GRD: How many years of which have been working for Disney?

KAT: Well, technically speaking, I don’t really “work for Disney”. I’m not am employee; Voice Over Artists are on a contract to contract basis, freelance repped by their agents. But if you mean, how long I have been fortunate enough to be doing VO gigs for the Mouse, I think my first one was in 1999, on “TARZAN” (the animated feature). Around that time I also did narration for Walt Disney Records, and after that, I did a lot of “TOY STORY 2” projects (as “Jessie the Cowgirl”) and recording for “CHICKEN LITTLE” and (the previous incarnation of) “TOY STORY 3”. I’d also done various recordings for the Disneyland Park and Walt Disney World. And I have also done a lot of announcer work for ESPN (owned by Disney) and Disney Online and Disney Cruises. I did animation VO for “THE CAT RETURNS” for Miyazaki, released through Disney. Currently I’m incredibly lucky to be recording for “THE TINKERBELL MOVIE” for Disney Animation. I also did a couple of small parts for “UNDERDOG”, (coming out this Summer), I am also grateful for all of it.

GRD: What other roles have you played in Disney Theme Parks?

KAT: I’m the little girl lost in the 4th dimension in the TOWER OF TERROR boiler room at DISNEY’S CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE. I’ve also voiced “Jessie” (TOY STORY 2) for various shows inside the Park, “WOODY’S ROUNDUP” at the GOLDEN HORSESHOE and last year, at their PUMPKIN FESTIVAL, and another incarnation of “WOODY’S ROUNDUP”.

GRD: How did the opportunity arise to audition for the part of the Black Widow Bride?

KAT: They had been seeing gals for a couple of months. I was fortunate that the casting director had worked with me before and brought me straight into callbacks. My phone rang and when I heard what it was for, I think I stopped breathing for a moment. I was raised going to the Parks, and that attraction, it seemed surreal to even audition for something as classic and timeless as the Mansion.

GRD: How many other people were auditioning do you know of?

KAT: I honestly don’t know. They’re always very thorough and go through a few rounds; just to be sure they’ve brought in all the possible actors who fit a particular role. But only the executive producers and the casting folk would know exactly how many gals were considered.

GRD: Could you tell us what it was like to go in and audition? What were they looking for originally?

KAT: Well, as anyone fortunate enough to work for Disney can share, we’re not really allowed to discuss anything that happens within the walls of Imagineering... Part of the Magic. I can say personally that we were given only a vague notion of what exactly the project was, again part of how Disney handles keeping secrets... secret. And I can share that, as I expressed earlier, I was almost in a state of disbelieve that I might actually be reading to do something akin to the incomparable Eleanor Audley or Leota Toombs… I don’t think I entirely believed any of it, but I did come as prepared as was viable given the information provided, and, if you’ll pardon the bad bride pun, put my whole heart into the process. I think I figured, I might never get to be a part of the final project, but at least for those few seconds, I could feel a part of Disney history.

GRD: Including your role as the Black Widow Bride, what would you consider to be your most favorite of Disney Voice Over works?

KAT: It’s kind of hard to top the Bride… But working on “The Tinkerbell Movie” has been just incredible. There’s no other word really: Magic.

GRD: Which Imagineers were involved on the project that you got to work
with for the Black Widow Bride?

KAT: As you can imagine, not really something I am in a position to share. Public knowledge: The Senior Head of Casting for the Disney Theme Parks worldwide is a fantastically talented gentleman by the name of Brian Nefsky. He of course would have been involved at the earlier stages, in finding folk to bring before the producers and Imagineers.

GRD: In an interview at, you mentioned your father worked for Disney. Would you say that your enjoyment of Disney was for some part his inspiration for you?

KAT: I actually have clarified on a few of these interviews: He did not work for Disney directly. He was a freelance graphic artist involved with Marketing/P.R., and had the opportunity to meet some of the very special folk originally involved with the Parks and their classic attractions.

GRD: If you were given the opportunity to be a character in any one other Disneyland ride (that you aren’t in already), which would it be and what would you do?

KAT: There’s so many incredible attractions and dimensions to the Disney Theme Parks – I could never narrow my wishes! I would say my absolute favorite part of Disneyland – because it’s so strongly entrenched in my memory of the Park as a child – is Tom Sawyer’s Island… To a youngster, it’s enchanting to have been given “free reign” among the rock castles, barrel bridges, forts and tree houses and haunted caverns on those sandy shores… I think it would be... just amazing to lend a voice somewhere upon that Isle.

GRD: I want to thank you Kat for your time and also being gracious enough to afford this little Mansion fan an excellent interview. Not only do I get to see the Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion in only hours, but I have learned a great deal from someone who is now part of Haunted Mansion History.

KAT: Thank you. It’s an honor that you and your readers care so much about one VO Gal’s thoughts.

To learn more about Kat’s Career with Disney and otherwise, you can visit her website, Kat or you can hear her other interview on I also highly recommend listening to her compelling tale Nuptial Doom, also available from

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Ever-Changing Hatchetman

Greetings Ghost Fans,

This week, we take a look at a mysterious resident of the Haunted Mansion.

For many years, the painting of the Hatchet Man has resided in the Corridor of Doors at Disneyland. In fact, the painting has been there since opening day in 1969. A variation of the painting resides in the Sinister 11 of Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland as well. What is interesting is that numerous incarnations of this painting have resided in the Disneyland mansion.

While I do not have photos of every version, this will give you a slight sampling of the different art styles seen through the years.

Also, to settle a long debate: These paintings ARE the Ghost Hosts visual incarnation. The Ghost Host is NOT Master Gracey. Master Gracey is the formal portrait hanging above the Foyer Fireplace at Walt Disney World and now in the Portrait Hall of Disneyland. A piece of concept art has named this portrait (seen above) as the Ghost Host as drawn out by Marc Davis himself.