Disneyland Facts & History > New Orleans Square (10)
On July 31, 2009 Disneyland's Haunted Mansion was specially lit with eerie shades of green and blue for a special photo shoot. The shoot was in preparation of the Haunted Mansion's 40th Anniversary Celebration on Sepetmber 9, 2009 (9-9-09).
Photo courtesy of Leah Ferraro Hidalgo.
Though the arrangement of its pipes are quite different, the ornate organ found in the Haunted Mansion's Ballroom is the same one used in the 1954 Walt Disney feature, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
The oversized organ currently plays the eerie & upbeat Grim Grinning Ghosts, the Haunted Mansion's official theme. In the 1954 Disney classic, Captain Nemo plays a haunting version of J.S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.
A photo of James Mason as Captain Nemo, playing the organ in Walt Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Due to the success of the film, a 20,000 Leagues walkthrough exhibit was opened at Disneyland. The original movie sets, giant squid and pipe organ were used in the exhibit, which was open from 1955 to 1966.
In the mid 1960's Imagineers moved the historic organ to the new Haunted Mansion. The ornate pipes and adornments were reconfigured to fit the ghostly ballroom's ghastly style.
Although the pipes, mirror and ornate woodwork have been removed from the Captain Nemo version, the organ's original console, keyboard, buttons and knobs remain recognizable.
Disneyland's Haunted Mansion is famous for its 999 happy haunts, eternally acknowledging that there was always room for one more.
In October of 2004, Disneyland hosted a charity auction for the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim. Disneyland posted an online auction, giving fans a chance to become immortalized in the Haunted Mansion as its 1000th resident. When the eBay listing ended on October 21st, Cary "Jay" Sharp of Baton Rouge, Louisiana was the winner, placing a bid of $37,400. The medical doctor and health-care attorney won a spot in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, as well as a donation for his local Baton Rouge chapter of the Boys & Girls Club.
On October 28, 2004 a special midnight burial was held to welcome Sharp to the Haunted Mansion. Sharp was presented a Death Certificate and a personalized tombstone in the graveyard scene.
French inspired ironwork incorporating hidden names and initials are prominent features on the gates and balconies of Historic New Orleans. Disneyland's New Orleans Square follows suit with similar decorative details. Walt and Roy Disney's initials have been hidden in the decorative iron railing found on the Disney Draem Suite's balcony (initially conceived as an apartment for the Disney Family, currently the Disney Dream Suite).
Update: The initials were highlighted in gold during the creation of the Disney Dream Suite in 2008.
Walt & Roy Disney's hidden initials were painted gold in 2008, during the creation of the Disney Dream Suite.
In the 1960's, Walt began plans to create a large, private apartment, to be built within Disneyland. The Disney Apartment, dubbed The Royal Suite, was meant to be a private space used by the Disney family or special guests (the apartment is attached to Club 33). The lavish suite was to be built above the Pirates of the Caribbean, but was not completed due to Walt Disney's death in 1966. The large space has served a variety of functions. It served as home to the Disney Gallery (1987-2007), until it was re-imagined as the Disney Dream Suite in 2008.
The composition & concepts for the space's interior were executed by Dorthea Redmond (famed Gone With the Wind set designer, who also designed the interiors for the Plaza Inn & much of New Orleans Square).
Have your pirate fortune read by ol' Fortune Red. Fortune Red is located just outside the Pieces of Eight pirate shop, adjacent to the Pirate of the Caribbean exit.
Fortune Red first appeared as part of the Pirate's Arcade Museum, a collection of unique pirate themed games, shooters and curiosities. The arcade debuted in 1967 (around the same time as Pirates of the Caribbean) and was originally located in the space that is currently occupied by Pieces of Eight.
Disney Legend, Marc Davis, was one of Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean lead designers. When sketching out the scene for famed pirate skeleton chess match, Davis positioned the pieces so that the game could never be won by either player. With neither pirate willing to resign, the stalemated game was meant to go on for an eternity.
When Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean attraction opened on March 18, 1967, the eternal chess game was in place. Over time, the pieces were moved and misplaced, this Disney detail overlooked. During a rehab in the 1990's, Cast Members discovered that Davis' original sketches included specific placement of the chess pieces. Since then the board has been set as Davis had designed, with both pirates caught in the never ending game.
Note: The painting of the bawdy female behind the bar is an original work by Davis. Also, the attraction's costumes were designed by Davis' wife, Alice.
Club 33: Hidden in New Orleans Square, is an exclusive club strictly reserved to corporate sponsors and paid members. Located at 33 Royal Street (nestled next to the Blue Bayou) is the doorway for the exclusive Club 33. Walt Disney envisioned the swanky club (the only place inside Disneyland that officially serves alcohol) as a place to entertain dignitaries, close friends and corporate connections. Sadly, the private club was not completed until shortly after Walt's death.
Rumor has it that the Club owes its name to its street address, 33 Rue Royale, or Royal Street. State law required a specific street address in order to issue Disney's club a liquor license, so the address was created.
Why 33? According to Name & History page at www.DisneylandClub33.com, Disneyland had 33 corporate lease holders in 1966. Since Disney originally envisioned the club as a place to entertain special guests and corporate sponsors, the Club was named for Disneyland's investors at the time. However, WDI claims that the club is simply named after its street address, 33 Royal Street.
For more information, please visit our friends at www.DisneylandClub33.com