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It’s known as the “Happiest Place on Earth,” but even Disneyland has a few tricks up its sleeve. The popular Haunted Mansion attraction in the Anaheim, California, theme park takes guests on not one, but two rides, one of which is a cleverly concealed elevator. For those unfamiliar with the attraction, guests enter a spooky mansion and are led into an octagonal room. The walls of the room silently stretch upwards, elongating paintings hung from them to reveal the fates of those depicted. For instance, one posed gentleman is shown standing on a keg of dynamite. The lights go out as lightning and thunder fill the gallery.

At the Disneyland attraction, the room is, in fact, an Otis elevator with no ceiling and a shaft decorated to mimic the walls of the mansion. The elevator slowly lowers to give the illusion of a stretching room. This elevator effect was necessary to lower guests below the level of the park circling railroad. Once guests exit the elevator, they are led to the actual ride. Disneyland Paris utilizes an elevator for the same effect. However, at Orlando’s Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland, the attraction was built on stable ground with no need to lower guests. Both rooms stretch, but the floor remains stationary, while the ceiling itself rises (along with the portraits).   

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Elevator World | October 2011 Cover

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