Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mystic Manor: Not A Mansion, Just an Awesome Stand Alone Attraction

   Welcome, Foolish Mortals...

   Today, we are going to cover a very current, very controversial topic. Well, okay, it may not be as controversial as the interactive queue updates, but in my eyes, it's controversial. Today, we are going to explore Mystic Manor; something I have said time and time again on various S&FS media outlets that our site will not cover. Let me restate that much used phrase. We will only cover it for instances because it's a "related attraction or medium", not a Mansion, and that's the whole reason why we're going to look at it today. Because it's not a Mansion. I'm not against it like I used to be, but that's only come to light very, very recently. I have very strong opinions about it, and much like the others who blog about my local Mansion in Orlando without ever visiting it and trying to make a point about how terrible something is. I'm going to be a hypocrite and do the same thing.. well, sort of. I'm going to post strong opinions about something I've never seen in person, and am only relying on videos and images to piece together my strong opinion. Unlike the other bloggers though, I'm not going to force you to agree with me. I just want to make a point, and you can choose if you want to agree or not. But because I strongly believe in my point on mystic point, this blog post may be a bit bias. I've never been to Hong Kong Disneyland before, nor do I have any plans in the foreseeable future to do so. You'll understand why momentarily. Let's begin.

   I don't want to sound overly negative throughout this entire post because that is no longer my mindset on the subject of Mystic Manor, but we can being this post on a sour note and get a little more positive as we reach the end. I feel like this is the perfect opportunity to address some issues about the park in which this ride exists without giving the issues their own highly negative post to exist in. Our story begins before Mystic Manor even made it's first appearance on a drawing board. Back in September of 2005 when Hong Kong Disneyland first opened, let's face the facts. It was the lamest Disneyland Park on paper at the time when it opened. When Disneyland opened, it was an innovative concept, and the fact that it lacked any big rides was completely okay because at the time, no one really knew what a Disneyland was; other then those in the company who had been working on it for so long. When Walt Disney World opened, the map was far from the full day's experience of today. But it had major E-Ticket attractions like the Haunted Mansion and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, drastically improved versions of Disneyland rides that were not even present at the time when the original first opened. Tokyo Disneyland opened with a great amount of big name rides. Even more big name rides debuted on opening day at Euro Disneyland, later renamed Disneyland Paris. But Hong Kong Disneyland was a dud in terms of what it opened with on paper in comparison to the previous two parks.

   You have condensed versions of four lands. No Frontierland in sight. Just Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, and... yeah, that's it... short list, eh? And you're only big name attractions were it's a Small World, Space Mountain, and if you want to count it, a heavily modified version of Jungle Cruise. The park's opening day turned out to be a repeat of  Disneyland's Black Sunday all over again. The park ran out of burgers, and lines for food around the park equaled that of those in queue for Space Mountain. But all the issues with lack of major attractions and space stem down to one major mistake when planing the fifth Disneyland park: a crescent shape hill that the designers just had to work into the backdrop. It's that hill that caused all of the additional attractions added to the park to be squeezed outside the berm, because they built the railroad around the tiny little park they debuted on opening day. Thus, an effort has been made to squeeze in mutated versions of various missing classics.

   The single mutated offspring of Expedition Everest, Grizzly River Rapids, Big Thunder Mountain, and Silver Dollar City's Power Keg made it's debuted in Grizzly Gulch; a small land standing in for Frontierland under the overly long name of Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars. Take a look at this themed thrill ride lovechild bellow:


   Sure, it looks like a pretty awesome ride if you try and keep out of your mind the fact that it's a stand in for several other attractions combined into one to save space. Thus, we can assume Hong Kong Disneyland will never receive any of the attractions that were combined into this one to save space. One less Big Thunder Mountain... That's just the point though; other than Space Mountain and it's a Small World, every single major ride has been downsized or mutated into another to save space by combing the experiences of several rides into one. Jungle Cruise now takes place in the rivers or america shaped water way, and functions as a transportation ride to reach Tarzan's Tree House. And don't even get me started on Toy Story land, which should not exist in a Disneyland park, period. Big ugly carnival rides have to business in the heavily themed park, no matter how much themed overhaul they try to toss on them. They just don't belong. Send that stuff over to a Studio back lot park where it can exist without ruining the atmosphere!


   I guess this brings us to our main point of origin for the post. Mystic Point. This land stands in for... well... if I had to guess, it stands in for a new land because there was no room left in Adventureland, and because more lands on paper can lead a bumbling idiot to assume more rides on paper, the decision was made to not just expand Adventureland beyond the berm for this attraction. Anyhow, Mystic Manor is in Mystic point, and since it was announced, the general idea was that this was going to be Hong Kong Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. I was one of the very few who seemed to vent my anger and disagreement with this idea. The idea of the fifth Haunted Mansion revolving around a Monkey wearing a Fez drove me to rage, and still does. This video leaked earlier today, and it's clear to me now that this is NOT a Haunted Mansion, but a stand alone attraction. A really awesome stand alone attraction. Take a look this soft opening view inside Mystic Manor, which officially opens in May of 2013, and then continue reading; or stop reading this post if you for some reason don't want to spoil Mystic Manor for yourself, because the video is integral on getting my point across, so you really have no need to read on, because it won't matter. Anyway, take a look:



  Pretty awesome, eh? But it's no Haunted Mansion. Why so? Well, besides my issue with the Monkey wearing a Fez, it's doesn't fit certain criteria.Things that Phantom Manor fits, as well as the other three Haunted Mansions. Just because the concept art presented was overlaid on Rolly Crump's infamous indigo wallpaper doesn't mean it's automatically the fifth mansion. First and foremost, there is a certain lack of ghosts! Due in part to the fact that apparently for cultural reasons, it is frowned upon in Hong Kong to represent the dead as ghosts. So we don't have that grand ballroom scene or anything like it in Mystic Manor. No ghosts at all in fact. How can you call it a "Haunted" Mansion if it's not even haunted? Mystic Manor is cursed, not haunted. Phantom Manor and the other three Mansions are haunted, Mystic Manor is not. There's not Grim Grinning Ghosts, even though I'm sure Danny Elfman's Mystic Manor music is fantastic. There's no Doombuggies, or ride track for that matter. And there's a Monkey with a Fez. It's not Hong Kong Disneyland's Haunted Mansion; it's the ride Hong Kong Disneyland ends up getting in place of a Haunted Mansion, which is a ride they will never have due to spacial constraints.

   I don't blindly hate Mystic Manor as I did when it was first announced. After seeing the footage, I can safely say it's not a Haunted Mansion without needing to convince myself of that fact. It's not haunted because there are no ghosts. Maybe someday we will see that fifth Haunted Mansion get built. Mystic Manor isn't it. Mystic Manor is an awesome stand alone attraction that pushes the limits of what can be done with rides today. I'm honestly pretty impressed by what I've seen. It does not fit the criteria to put it alongside the Haunted Mansion in Anaheim  Orlando, Tokyo, and Phantom Manor in France. But it is an awesome little ride that makes Hong Kong Disneyland just a little bit better. With all the past failures in the short history of Hong Kong Disneyland, Mystic Manor looks like a step in bright direction. Now just tear down Toy Story Land and build a Splash Mountain in it's place, and it will finally be worth a visit!


   Who's idea was it to go all Cedar fair in a Disneyland Park? Seriously... not cool...

I'll see you all a little later...

S&FS

2 comments:

  1. You're dead-on that Mystic Manor is not DLHK's version of the Haunted Mansion, but rather a wholly new attraction that DLHK is getting in place of a Haunted Mansion... A small but crucial distinction. It actually reminds me a lot more of Tokyo Disneysea's Tower of Terror, albiet kinder and gentler, with funny animal pla comparable to Chandu in Sinbad's Storybook Voyage. And is it just me, or do the pillars in the Polynesian room look like the ones from the Enchanted Tiki Room?

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  2. This was like reading the ranting of a crazy person.

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