Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

There's a Big Change on Haunted Mansion in Tokyo

July 1, 2020, 11:12 AM · The Tokyo Disney Resort reopened to guests this morning and, as expected, there are plenty of changes within the parks. But one big one that people haven't been talking about was on the Haunted Mansion.

Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are enforcing what has become the industry standard for new health and safety procedures at theme parks: masks, physical distancing in queues and attractions and plenty of hand sanitizer. You can see the changes illustrated in the resort's new instructional video, below. Sure, it's in Japanese, but you don't need to know a word of that language to understand the message.

One thing that the video did not show was changes in the attractions themselves. Chris from the amazing TDR Explorer feed tells us about what has changed at the Haunted Mansion — there's no preshow and no stretch room anymore.

Is this a preview of what we might see in Florida, when the Mansion reopens with the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in one week? The Tokyo and Orlando versions of Haunted Mansion can get away with skipping the stretch room presentation, as there's no functional role for the stretch room on those installations. But the stretch room at the original Haunted Mansion at Disneyland in Anaheim is an actual elevator, so Disney would need some way to get guests from the Mansion entrance down to the Doom Buggy load station there.

Of course, it now looks like it will be some time before theme parks reopen in California, so Disneyland might have plenty of time to see how things work out before making a decision there.

If you'd like to see how things are going in Tokyo, the official Tokyo Disney Resort app is now available on the Apple App Store in the United States and other countries outside Japan. You can use the app to check wait times and, if you are in the parks, to make Fastpass reservations or enter lotteries for show tickets. Those are essential functions as Fastpasses and show reservations typically disappear within moments of the parks' opening in Tokyo and you don't want to be wasting time running to locations to get tickets when others are grabbing those spots with the app. Now visitors can do that in English, which is a huge help in visiting the resort.

Well, it will be... just as soon as Japan and Tokyo Disney reopen to international guests.

Replies (10)

July 1, 2020 at 12:22 PM

I suppose it makes sense to keep people from congregating in an elevator even for a minute, but by the same token, doesn't it also make sense to not ride in the exact path being taken by everyone in front of you? In that circumstance, couldn't a single cough infect a half-dozen buggy loads of people right behind you?

I mean, if you're gonna subject yourself to the latter, you might as well enjoy the fun of the former, too.

July 1, 2020 at 12:26 PM

Wow... what a big difference. The stretch room is essential in the haunted mansion's story. Hmm how is Universal doing it at pre shows here in America? Like for men in black, despicable me and so forth? Back to Disney though maybe if the preshows ran at 20% capacity we could see them. Who am I kidding though Im sure the Tokyo Disney folks discussed that and well no stretch room it is... probably stateside as well.

July 1, 2020 at 1:07 PM

Interesting and bringing up the Disneyland elevator is intriguing. It's another sign of the challenges making this work but it does hurt the overall experience of the Mansion to skip one of its best bits.

July 1, 2020 at 1:35 PM

I appreciate this post, thank you. I saw footage of USO where guests walked through pre-show areas directly to ride itself. But I can’t imagine the loss of “magic” when Journey to the Center of the Earth “elevators“ are a pass-through. Masks ON during rides will help with any issues with coughs by riders in vehicles ahead of you - especially if 1 (2?)) “doom buggies” are left empty between riders. But the actual elevator utilized at DLR CA will either need to have the same safety boxes to minimize hazards - as the Stitch video clarifies for TDL guests - or reroute guests (if that’s even readily possible). So long as AC systems provide proper ventilation and filtration, not worried about indoor rides so long as guests adhere to health guidelines with safety of one another in mind. Thanks again for the update!

July 1, 2020 at 1:56 PM

This makes sense to me -- the ride is still brilliant without the stretching room. But as others have mentioned, how will Disneyland in Anaheim handle this, since their room is an elevator? I won't put forth any opinion here; I'll just say that it will be interesting to see how Disneyland handles it.

July 1, 2020 at 2:01 PM

What about Tower of Terror? That also has a tightly closed waiting room/pre-show so even with distancing in the elevator cars, this might also be a "skip a major setup part" attraction.

July 1, 2020 at 3:11 PM

I'm just here to say I'm THRILLED we at last have access to the TDLR app. I do wish everything was in English (I'm looking at you menus) but now at least we can enjoy seeing what's happening in Tokyo.

July 1, 2020 at 4:43 PM

I have spent 4 days at the Universal parks. Even though they're doing standard shows they're also skipping all preshows INCLUDING the "elevator" into Gringott's, which took away from the magic for sure. There are several in-queue pre-shoes though that I feel like they should've run on a loop even if not stopping an entire group in a room. But you have to pass through and wait in the room anyway right? My idea to me is like they used to do at DarKastle at Busch Gardens. You'd somewhat hear the backstory of the ride ride as you walk through the main waiting area even though you weren't stopped as a group to watch the video even if there wasn't a wait.

July 2, 2020 at 4:41 AM

I was just at Universal a few weeks ago for 5 days. many preshows are gone, but not entirely. The Despicable Me ride absolutely had all preshows intact -- they were being very careful to distance people though. Kind of a strange sight, actually. And the terrible preshows for Fast and Furious were still there and still cringey.

Actually, the only preshows I actually noticed being gone were ET, with no name card as well AND the Harry Potter rides -- most notable on Gringotts -- especially with the elevator effect offline.

I think everything else that had one still had one...

July 3, 2020 at 4:46 AM

Could the Disneyland version work by having the elevator floor of one of the stretching rooms permanently at its lowest point and a spiral staircase going from the entrance of the stretching room to the exit? Guests could continually file through at a slow place while a shortened Version of the ghost host dialogue plays. It would be like descending into a creepy old basement.

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