This morning Walt Disney Imagineering unveiled its most impressive and interactive effect to date, adding playful new versions of the famous Hitchhiking Ghosts in The Haunted Mansion who take delight in pranking unsuspecting guests. The classic dark ride has always featured ghosts “who follow you home,” appearing sitting next to guests by way of mirrors in the attraction’s final scenes. The with new technological advances, Disney’s Imagineers have created more lifelike and fun ghosts than ever before seen in the ride.
Ezra, Phineas, and Gus are certainly prankish spooks as they climb in, on, and around Doom Buggies, toying with guests who I witnessed today laughing their heads off in the new scene – quite literally.
Video cannot do this new ghostly mirror effect justice, as it needs to be seen and enjoyed in person for the full interactive appeal. But if you can’t make to the Magic Kingdom any time soon, watch the video below, with several passes through the enhanced scene:
In my four rides through The Haunted Mansion today, I saw Ezra pull my head off my shoulders and replace it with his own, Gus take his beard off of his face and put it on mine, and Phineas blow my head up in a Disney-style balloon, only to let it deflate in the air, landing back on my neck. Nearby, guests riding with two people in a Doom Buggy had their heads swapped or found any of these Hitchhiking Ghosts sitting on top of their carriages, sometimes shining a lantern on them.
While a bit grainy in the video above, the effect in real life is flawless. The mirrors are as clear as ever, with the ghosts looking just as good. The effect is convincing, as if the ghosts are truly sitting in and around the Doom Buggies, with great depth given to the ghosts. The animation is smooth and guests around me seemed to love the latest bit of “plussing” added to The Haunted Mansion. The technology used to track guests’ movements, enabling ghosts to interact, is completely hidden, leaving nothing but pure Disney magic.
Here are a few video screen captures from the antics of the ghosts:
This latest round of new effects in The Haunted Mansion continues and ongoing effort to enhance the attraction that included new scenes being added four years ago. But it seems, for now, the dark ride’s additions are complete, with the new interactive queue open and inside effects and animatronics all in place. After a anticipation-filled few weeks of the Hitchhiking Ghosts being temporarily covered by flat projections, Imagineers have now shown off what they’re capable of creating with the stunning new fun that ends a ride through The Haunted Mansion.