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Podcast: Imagineer Rolly Crump on designing the Haunted Mansion


Jeff sez, "On episode 5 of the DoomBuggies Spook Show podcast (MP3), designer Rolly Crump gives a very candid interview in which he talks about his career working on Disneyland's Haunted Mansion with Walt Disney at WED Imagineering, and tells personal stories including the time he spent working with co-tinkerer Yale Gracey designing special effects for the Haunted Mansion, and how he was drummed out of the Haunted Mansion project after Walt died."

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House for sale, complete with rideable scale railroad and trainyard

Marty sez, "I've seen lots of homes for sale but this one is quite unique. A rideable scale railroad encircles the property, complete with a trainyard, trestles, the works."

“Railway Resort” is Apparently a Thing (An Amazing Thing)

Themepunk's dream-job

Dave sends in, "A job advert for an educational designer at LEGO in Denmark posted on the Guardian's job boards. Looks like only teachers need apply!" Cory 2

Abandoned Santa parks of the world


All around the world, there are abandoned Santa Claus parks -- Christmas-themed amusement parks that passed their prime and shut their gates. Atlas Obscura did a deep trawl through Flickr and other online photo repositories and rounded up a gallery of amazing pictures of decaying, unloved Christmas parks from every corner of the globe.

Rudolph and Ruins: Photographs of Abandoned Santa Parks [Allison Meier/Atlas Obscura]

(via Neatorama)

(Image: Park Alalbandel (5), a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from paulk's photostream)

Misney pays tribute to New Weird and the early Haunted Mansion with new comic


The original concept for Disneyland's Haunted Mansion was a walk-through "Museum of the Weird" featuring spooky exhibits (as always, the best place to read about this is Long Forgotten, far and away the top site for Haunted Mansion history, theory and context). This has been revived for a Marvel/Disney series of comics that pick up on the "New Weird" genre motifs and also kicks off a new series of comics based on Disney attractions and their storied histories.

This is pretty danged awesome. Spooky wunderkammers, surreal horror, and theme-parks? Please add me to your mailing list.

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Beijing's "mystery rooms": single-room funhouses


Eric Jou reports on Beijing's hot mystery room businesses, in which customers are locked into single-room funhouses where they have to solve a mystery in order to escape. Some mysteries are supernatural, others are crime-scenes, and others are "hospital-themed." They're inspired by similar video-games and cost less than a movie-ticket to play.

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Naked haunted house run-through


Shocktoberfest, a spook-house in Sinking Spring, PA, is running a Naked and Scared Challenge where customers traverse the maze in the altogether. It's advertised as a means of self-diagnosing "Gymnophobia - the fear of being nude."

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Banksy's anti-BP dolphin ride


Graffiti/street artist Banksy has built and installed a BP-leak-themed dolphin ride on Brighton Pier. The coin-op ride offers trenchant commentary on the light liability borne by BP for its role in the poisoning of the gulf. Plus, it looks like a lot of fun!

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Audio memoir of original Disney Imagineer, with free sex-and-drugs excerpt!

Last week, I blogged about More Cute Stories: Volume 1, an audio memoir of Rolly Crump, one of the Imagineers who help build Disneyland and maintain it in its early years. I've had a chance to listen to it since then and it is fantastic. Crump is a charming raconteur, and he treats us to many fascinating remembrances that shine light on the personalities, engineering, business reality, and weird and wild times that made up the early years of Disneyland.

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Audiobook memoir of Disney Imagineering legend Rolly Crump: More Cute Stories

Jeff sez, "After the success of It's Kind Of A Cute Story, Disney Legend Rolly Crump's memoir, Bamboo Forest Publishing is proud to announce the release of More Cute Stories, Volume 1: Disneyland History (CD/MP3). This high-quality recording includes nearly fifty minutes of all new stories about Disneyland that weren't included in the book, told by Rolly himself. No one can tell a tale quite like Rolly, so we decided that having the man himself actually tell you these brand new stories was the best way to preserve them!"

I'm getting a review copy of this and I'm really excited; Crump is an amazing raconteur and was part of some of the critical moments in themepark history.

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Kickstarting a Coney Island 3D scanning studio and 3D printed miniature model of Luna Park

Fred Kahl, a Coney Island performer and magician, is kickstarting a project to put a 3D scanning/printing studio and a 3D printed miniature Coney Island at Coney Island's Luna Park. He's developed a cheap 3D scanner based on a Kinekt, and will release the full plans to Thingiverse once he's fully funded. He's looking for $15K (he's already crested $10K), and $25 gets you scanned in his NY studio ($60 gets you scanned and printed).

A 3D Scanning Portrait Studio based in America's Playground- Coney Island, NY (Thanks, Fred!)

Overgrown, abandoned rollercoaster


From the Abandoned Geography Tumblr: an overgrown and abandoned rollercoaster in Hubei Province, China.

Abandoned roller coaster in Hubei Province, China

Aireal: generating the sensation of physical contact in thin air

Aireal is a Disney Research/University of Illinois project that can generate the sensation of interacting with physical objects in thin air, by acoustically firing precisely aimed puffs of air:

In practice, Aireal can do anything from creating a button for you to touch in midair to crafting whole textures by pulsing its bubbles to mimic water, stone, and sand. This is all very neat, but maybe even more important, Aireal has an inherent convenience factor. A single Aireal could conceivably support multiple people, and a grid of Aireals could create extremely immersive rooms, creating sensations like a flock of birds flying by. And for the end user, taking part is never more complicated than standing somewhere. It’s capable of creating a virtual tactile environment without forcing everyone to strap on strange peripherals.

Disney’s Crazy Invention Lets You Feel Phantom Objects Floating In Air [Mark Wilson/Fast Company]

(via Beyond the Beyond)

Spectacular footage of Disneyland 1955

DisneyHistory has edited together scraps of found home movies from Disneyland in 1955, its opening year, harvesting only the sharpest, clearest shots highlighting the rarest and least-seen elements. The result is one of the most vivid views of that year I've ever seen. There's also a list of spot-the-rara-avis moments from the footage, including the "Closed Mondays" sign, the lingerie shop on Main Street; a performing organ grinder's monkey and Canal Boats of the World ("in which guests floated past dirt").

Disneyland Voce 1955

Photos of Space Mountain's construction


From the Imagineering Disney blog, a wonderful gallery of photos from the construction of Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. This is the original mountain, beating the Disneyland one to completion by two years:


Although the concept of Space Mountain was originally envisioned for Disneyland, the first Space Mountain to open was at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. After the Matterhorn Bobsleds opened at Disneyland in 1959 and were hugely popular, Disneyland management asked for a second thrill ride. Walt was on board but the plans for this second coaster were delayed for another decade. Disneyland didn't get their Space Mountain until 1977, more than two years after Magic Kingdom got theirs in 1975.

Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain Construction