I might seem like I am a pretty tough haunt critic, but in reality I just have some very concrete beliefs about haunts. To get a good review from me, the haunt has to take these points into consideration:
– Story: It must have a decent story to tell. I prefer an actual written backstory, but also like when the actual attraction leads you through a new world.
– Skip the cookie cutter crap: Companies make mass produced animatronics that you can buy and put in your haunt. This is the equivalent of a Photoshop filter. (The artists out there will get this analogy.) They can be used but should be used sparingly and customized when possible or it looks half-assed. “Oh heres THAT robot zombie guy again that has nothing to do with anything. ”
– Are they trying? If all else fails, it has to seem like the owners are listening to what reviewers and customers are saying and trying hard to make it good. I will not bomb a low budget haunt that is trying hard and/or evolving incrementally.
Disney World just did an upgrade to the Haunted Mansion Queue and now they have finished the upgrade on the end of the attraction.
The new HM queue adds story and things to do, so that is a win in my book all the way. I had some trepidation about the end of the attraction because it was altering one of my favorite parts of the ride. I have a bias against the use of CG in movies and attractions because very often they look inferior to their animatronic counterparts. The technology has gotten better, though. My thoughts on this may change soon. I still maintain that Jim Henson’s Labyrinth is more amazing-looking than nearly all of the fantasy films that are done with computers and a green screen.
I’ll be down in Orlando to check this out in person soon. So far I think I like all of the enhancements they have done. My opinion of the end of the attraction hinges on how CG and/or fake the ghosts actually look in person. If it looks more fake than the previous version, I will have NERD RAEG. If it doesn’t, then I’ll love it.
If you have seen the new HM incarnation, what do you think about it?