Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Good Morning: Waking up Haunted Serenade with some neat vintage MK Photos!

Good Morning, and aloha to the blogosphere!

Years of going to Walt Disney World, reading good books, and watching countless movies old and new have culminated in Haunted Serenade, a blog dedicated to my thoughts on stuff like Disney, Calvin and Hobbes, and other genuine works of art. I'll also write about some of the greatest music I've ever listened to, from the score of Soarin' to Vince Guaraldi's sublime compositions for the Peanuts specials.

Though I now live far away from the Disney parks, their influence on me is still strong. The name Haunted Serenade is a tribute to my favorite attraction and show at the Magic Kingdom; the Haunted Mansion and Tropical Serenade (now Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room). I'll be eternally grateful to WDI for bringing back the original Tiki Room, and stunning me by how much better it was than the New Management I grew up with. Now I don't have to tolerate Iago to admire the Southern Seas d├ęcor or the window dioramas. However, it is the Haunted Mansion that truly blew my mind, excited my curiosity and jump-started my appreciation for masterpieces. From that first foreboding welcome inside the estate to the quiet exit through the crypts, the Haunted Mansion represents the absolute finest in themed entertainment. Unfortunately, it has been marred in recent years by the questionable actions of modern Imagineers, and I undoubtedly shall dedicate posts to my ideas on helping the Mansion, and other attractions I truly care about.

But today, I'll share with you some neat vintage Magic Kingdom photos taken from two of my Dad's vacations with his parents to WDW. The first batch of photos are all marked 1988 on the back, and they reveal some interesting details from that time.

 First, we have two pictures of the then brand-spanking new Mickey's Birthdayland. If only this had really been temporary! Not much to say about these except the flat-out cartoonishness of Mickey's house and car stick out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the Magic Kingdom's architecture. Note the Birthday Tent plainly visible in the background of the bottom photo.

 Moving on to the castle, where it appears a gaudy temporary stage has been constructed. I've never cared for shows on the castle stage. I want to be able to go through the castle. Unfortunately, the castle stage has become permanent as well, messing with the view of Cinderella Castle.

My grandparents must have loved the Haunted Mansion on this particular vacation; this is the first of three photos of the Mansion. In this one, those dreadfully misplaced trees are already a nuisance to the photographer. The problems caused by those trees in the front of the Mansion have only gotten worse over the years as they have grown.

Who hasn't wanted to take a photo of this end of the Mansion? That glass conservatory is fascinating and makes photos taken at the entrance of the ride pretty spectacular. However, I am not sure if this particular photo could be recreated; the hearse and invisible horse added to the courtyard may have taken this spot.

 Here we have a photo of the graveyard with some interesting lighting and shadows, making the forest on the berm seem inhospitably thick and dark. Unfortunately, that same thing results in only two of the headstones being recognizable; Brother Dave and Master Gracey (the latter with a mound in front of his tomb). The rest are either whitewashed in sunlight or obscured in the shadows.

The next several photos are much earlier, taken on one or possibly more of the vacations my dad went on in the mid-to-late 70s. Their obvious tint only adds to their vintage charm.

   My dad posing in front of some of the famous topiaries that once graced the land near Ticket and Transportation Center; is that a hippo ballerina between the rhino and camel? My dad is probably only 6 or 7 in this picture, which puts the following pictures around 1977-1978, give or take.

These are gorgeous shots of Main Street and Hospitality House. Look at all the trees! Trees in the hub, trees in Town Square and all down Main Street! You can't even read the Cinema marquee because of a tree! This is Main Street the way it was, and the way it should be, with tons of unique shopping and dining, and all those trees.

Hurry back.... Hurry back...
We have indeed come back to the Haunted Mansion, in all its 70s glory! Although the aged and worn look it presents now is great, there are some nice qualities of this pristine Mansion, such as the ghost white cornerstones. Note that there are no huge trees blocking the view, only smaller ones lined up directly in front of the Mansion.

A keen shot of the Rivers of America. As guests wait to enter the Haunted Mansion, others at bottom right await the arrival of a Mike Fink Keelboat, while the Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat (which was accidentally destroyed and retired in 1980) returns to port. I love the screen of tree branches and shrubs framing this photo in the foreground.

Last but not least, a genuine diamond of a picture taken in Fantasyland. By sheer luck or pure genius, the photographer managed to capture a huge chunk of old Fantasyland in a single photo. In this picture alone is the old version of Dumbo, the Carrousel, a Skyway Bucket, and way near the bottom, the facade and sign for Snow White's Adventures. In the background, Cinderella castle's spires reach toward the heavens. This is easily my favorite picture of the bunch, as it packs a wallop of nostalgia inside its small screen.

I hope you enjoyed this look at the old Magic Kingdom, and that you'll be interested in my thoughts and ideas for the Magic Kingdom and other theme parks. Any comments about these vintage treasures will be appreciated, and I'll attempt to answer questions as best as I can. Thank you for taking the time to look at this humble blog, and please stay tuned, as much more is to come. Until next time, the grim grinning glee club says, Aloha!