Mystic Manor, the latest attraction to open at Hong Kong Disneyland, is an incredible dark ride. There are countless special effects, charming new characters and a light-hearted story – all weaved with an amazing soundtrack. But before we get to the ride itself, have a tour of the queue and pre-show experience.
Mystic Manor – in two parts
This is just Part One of the Mystic Manor Grand Photo Tour, covering the queue and pre-show. The second half will cover the actual ride experience. This is for two reasons: There is way too much content to pack into one entry, and some readers have requested for a “spoiler-free” feature.
But look to your left and you will notice a small garden, adorned with statues, which feels oddly like Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea.
Just like two of the Haunted Mansions worldwide (Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland), the entrance to the manor is for show, with guests having to enter from a side entrance at the basement.
The Mystic Manor plaque also has some resemblance to the iconic Haunted Mansion plaques.
Now, let’s go on the Manor Tour!
I couldn’t believe that Mystic Manor had such a short wait time. The longest I’ve seen was 30 minutes. It’s not that this attraction is unpopular. Despite having ride vehicles with low ride capacity, the ride is designed in such a way that all of its scenes would be running almost all the time. More on that in the next entry.
One of my visits to Mystic Manor is part of a guided tour, so we went into the manor via a shorter route for wheelchair access. It’s a real shame really, because this shortcut bypasses the amazing queue. But you get to look at some artifacts up close:
You also get to stare at the Manor, really close.
Let’s hop back to the normal line.
Mystic Manor is a private museum of rare art from around the world, built at Lord Henry’s outpost in a secluded rainforest. He decided to open a part of his home – the museum – to invited guests (which is everyone in Hong Kong Disneyland). This greatly differs from Harrison Hightower’s Hotel Hightower, which is constructed and open to public for an entirely different reason (and let’s not forget the way the Hightower acquired his collection).
Thus, Mystic Manor has a very welcoming and friendly atmosphere.
The first paintings you see tell the story of Albert. He was trapped in the web of a giant spider. After being rescued by Lord Henry, he became the trusted companion.
The scale model of the Manor and Mystic Point can also be seen in the queue area.
The next section is dedicated to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A.).
Don’t miss the S.E.A. group portrait in the hallway, showing some members gathering at Mystic Manor in 1899.
1899… The same year when Harrison Hightower disappeared. This is probably the last time Lord Henry met Hightower (carrying the Shiriki Utundu idol in this portrait).
Moving on, more portraits of Lord Henry’s distinguished friends. Can you spot the award-winning composer Danny Elfman?
The next part of the hallway shows paintings of Lord Henry’s adventures with Albert, including some moments of discovery. There is a glass case showing some exquisite pieces.
Snettisham Hoard Great Tore
Sutton Hoo Helmet
Yemeni Boudin Necklace
Egyptian Headpiece and Necklace
The paintings in the hallway feature some art pieces that guests would see in the ride later.
The path leads into a waiting area for the Presentation Room.
While waiting, have a look at the diagrams of Mystic Manor’s exhibition facilities.
This one shows a layout of the Mystic Manor Tour (which is rather accurate to some extent, but not the true layout).
A layout of the Explorer’s Club Restaurant can also be found here.
The doors finally open after some waiting, and we step into the Presentation room.
This pre-show room reminds me of both the Foyer and Expanding Rooms of the Haunted Mansion.
Mystic Manor Pre-show script
Lord Henry Mystic: “Hello, can you hear me out there, from the back of the projection room? Ah! Welcome to Mystic Manor! 歡迎大家來到迷離大宅！Home to a world-class collection of art, antiquities and my personal residence. I am Lord Henry Mystic. The young fellow by my side is Albert – my travelling companion, confidant and…”
As Lord Henry welcomes guests to Mystic Manor, Albert interrupts the presentation.
Lord Henry: “Yes Albert, that’s you! Now run along, shoo! Ah well. For several years now, Albert and I have traveled the world, in search of rare and precious artifacts – for you to enjoy as you tour our home in Mystic Manor. These are just a few of our treasures!”
“And here’s our latest acquisition – an ancient music box. Legend has it that this charming music box has the power to bring inanimate objects to life – with a touch of its enchanting music. Superstition and nonsense!”
Most adorable character ever! In other news, I’m so glad to say that the Albert audio-animatronic figure is expressive and has very fluid movements. Fantastic execution by Garner Holt Productions.
“Oh my – well, we shall see when we open it shortly! Looks like that little fellow can’t keep his hands off that music box. Yes you like that box, don’t you? We’ll examine it later. Now, shoo, shoo!”
“Now what was I saying… Ye-oh, yes! Welcome one and all to Mystic Manor! Hmm, I think I better go find that little bugger. He’s always on to something!”
After the presentation (and some Albert mischief), we are guided to the loading area.
The clean and refined look of the previous rooms slowly morphs as the walls tear away to reveal the brickwork beneath.
It brings a subtle transition into the loading area – the exposed brick wall look.
Mystic Magneto Electric Carriage! Fancy name for the ride vehicle, but a wonder no less. This ride does not use any visible track, and apparently is powered with some RFID technology (though how that is implemented is never explained). Disney’s other trackless rides include Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (Tokyo Disneyland) and Aquatopia (Tokyo DisneySea). However, I’ve learned that Mystic Manor’s trackless technology is different from the Japan Disney parks.
There is no height requirement or minimum age to go on the Mystic Manor ride. However, young children must be accompanied with a supervising adult at all times. The safety sign also mentions that the ride may be frightening for children. Frankly speaking the ride is really mild, but there are some loud sound effects and moments of darkness, as well as large props with slightly scary expressions that some kids may find frightening.
Anyway, the loading area reminds me of Tower of Terror.. a lot. Actually this ride feels more like a closer cousin to Tower of Terror (without the drop) than Haunted Mansion.
Well firstly, there are tons of props for you to look at while waiting to board the ride vehicle.
Like seriously, a lot of things. Everywhere.
Look at the gates of the loading area. Custom-designed, with the Mystic Manor monogram. So much detail in this ride.
And there we have it – The Mystic Magneto Electric Carriage.
Each carriage seats a maximum of three guests in each row (though two adults comfortably in each). Maximum capacity of six guests per vehicle, then.
The Electrical Carriages are dispatched into the ride in groups of four, but usually travels in pairs. More on that in the next entry – but let me just say the ride is not random and each vehicle has a specific route. Some vehicles will bypass certain area of scenes in the ride. For the Full Mystic Manor experience, you have to go on this ride at least twice in different vehicles.
Front row or back row? Well it depends, but common sense: The first row lets you see the props up-close, while the back row provides a wider, more complete view of each scene.
In this shot, two carriages enter the first room of the ride: Acquisitions and Cataloguing.
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