Hong Kong Disneyland – Mystic Manor

Mystic Manor - Magneto Carriage back

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 Two of the Mystic Manor Grand Photo Tour, covering the actual ride experience. The first half covers the queue and pre-show elements.

Note: Flash photography and AF illuminator lamps (the white/red/yellow light of the camera that turns on as it focuses) should not be used in Mystic Manor as a basic courtesy to other park guests. All of my photos in the Mystic Manor series are taken without flash and AF light.

Mystic Manor - Friendly CM

Here’s Leo, a Tokyo Disney Resort-calibre Cast Member in Hong Kong! Not only did he greet us with a smile once we were seated, he also posed for our photos!

Mystic Manor - Incoming artifacts

Acquisitions and Cataloguing

Mystic Manor - Acquisitions & Cataloguing

Our tour begins in the Acquisitions and Cataloguing room.

Mystic Manor - Acquisitions & Cataloguing 2

Lord Henry Mystic: “Hello there! I was looking for – There’s the music box I told you about. Now I must find my little friend…”

Lord Henry welcomes us briefly and disappears to find Albert. He mentions the Balinese Music Box, which was right in front of him.

Mystic Manor - Albert appears

Albert then comes out from his hiding spot when Lord Henry is gone.

Mystic Manor - Albert touches the box 2

He touches the jewel at the top of the box, opening the music box.

Mystic Manor - Music Dust 1

As music begins to play, jets of music dust rush out of the golden box.

Mystic Manor - Music Dust 2

The dust flies around the room, bringing objects to life!

Mystic Manor - Music Dust 3

Music Room

Mystic Manor - Musical Instruments

The carriages drift backwards into the brightly-lit Music Room.

Mystic Manor - Musical Instruments 5

Ornate musical instruments become animated and play the melody from the Balinese Music Box.

Mystic Manor - Musical Instruments 4

Mystic Manor - Musical Instruments 2

Albert is in awe of the effects brought by music dust, observing the magic from the pipe organ.

Mystic Manor - Musical Instruments 3

Mediterranean Antiquities

Mystic Manor - Mediterranean Antiquities 1

In this hallway filled with paintings and an exquisite vase showing Hercules battling the Nemean Lion, music dust enchants the artwork, making the subjects in the art alive.

Mystic Manor - Mediterranean Antiquities 2 Medusa

A beautiful painting of a young lady, with a touch of magic dust…

Mystic Manor - Mediterranean Antiquities 3 Gorgon

…transforms into Medusa.

Solarium

Mystic Manor - Solarium 1

Albert tempts fate in the Solarium, as he plays with the giant venus flytrap.

Mystic Manor - Solarium 2

The largest flytrap faces the Carriage, and as it roars, the lights in the Solarium goes out.

Slavic-Nordic Chamber

The carriages escape into the Slavic-Nordic Chamber.

Mystic Manor - Nordic Chamber

Here, the bewitched painting of a Nordic Winter God blows a blizzard, which leaves the frame engulfs the room with a wintery blast.

Mystic Manor - Nordic Chamber 2

The carriage rotates and faces a mirror, which becomes covered in ice and shatters.

Arms & Armour

Mystic Manor - Arms & Armor

Rushing out of the chilly chamber and into Arms & Armour, we see Albert evading a Samurai’s deadly katana. Hiding in the cannon barrel, he barely dodges each slice.

Mystic Manor - Arms & Armor 2

Mystic Manor - Arms & Armor 3

The cannon beside Albert blasts off, sending the carriage backwards. The path splits from here: depending on the carriage you’ve boarded, you will see different things for the rest of the Arms & Armour room.

Mystic Manor - Arms & Armor 4

Enchanted with magic dust, the armored helms start to sing.

Magic’s in the air today.
Stand beside me, don’t look away.
Try to find some words to say.
If you think you’re fine here, somebody’s got to pay.
Oh, running away from an ancient curse,
And hiding will only make it worse.

Mystic Manor - Arms & Armor 5

The other path shows a lone Mongolian armor laughing at his collection of helms.

Egyptian Antiquities

Mystic Manor - Egyptian Antiquities

In the room of Egyptian Antiquities, scarabs rush out from an open sarcophagus – dousing the chamber in darkness.

Tribal Arts

Mystic Manor - Tribal Arts

The carriages emerge into a noisy chamber – dominated by a large statue of a Tiki god. Lasers shoot out of its eyes, as lava flows out of its mouth. Other statues and totem poles chant the song of the music box… While some of them were not as friendly…

Mystic Manor - Tribal Arts 3

Weapons were fired and miss the carriages. However, Albert becomes trapped and whimpers for help!

Chinese Salon

Mystic Manor - Jade Monkey King

The music dust dances around the Chinese Salon, enchanting the large statue of the Monkey King. A storm begins to brew in the salon, making paintings flap in the wind – the music dust lifts a panda off a scroll…

Mystic Manor - Chinese Salon

As the wind stirs into a tornado in the room, the panda flies into another painting – with cranes.

Mystic Manor - Chinese Salon 2

Lightning bolts strike from the statue of the Monkey King, barely missing Albert who was hiding behind a painting.

Mystic Manor - Chinese Salon 3

Mystic Manor - Chinese Salon 4

Another bolt of lightning and the wall breaks apart. The storm grows ever more violent.

Mystic Manor - Chinese Salon 5

Albert jumps off a broken harp and catches the music box.

Return to Acquisitions and Cataloguing

Mystic Manor - Closing of the Box

Albert returns the music box into the Acquisitions and Cataloguing room. Clouds of music dust swarm around the room, flying back into the box.

Mystic Manor - Closing of the Box 2

The last jet of music dust returns as Albert touches the jewel of the music box.

Mystic Manor - Closing of the Box 3

The box closes and the room returns to normal.

Mystic Manor - Closing of the Box 4

Lord Henry reappears, happy to have found Albert.

“Albert! There you are. You didn’t touch that music box, did you? Hmm you never know, legends might just be true. Well I do you hope you enjoyed your visit to Mystic Manor! Cheerio!”

Mystic Manor - Safe at last 2

The most adorable monkey lies, and laughs to himself. Albert waves goodbye to guests, as the carriages move out of the room to the unload area.

Mystic Manor - Bronze Dragon

Unloading

Mystic Manor - Tapestries

The unload area is not some plain room with flat walls. As it is directly behind the loading area, it has the same level of detail. Still so much to see even after the ride is over.

Mystic Manor - Unloading Area 3

Clearly, Lord Henry has acquired way too many artifacts.

Mystic Manor - Unloading Area 2

Mystic Manor - Unloading Area

Mystic Manor - Exit bench

Review

Mystic Manor is probably one of the most technically advanced attractions I’ve ever experienced. And also the most amazing. An attraction of this quality can usually be only be found in Tokyo Disney Resort, so I am really glad to see Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland instead.

With licensed characters being a norm in theme parks nowadays, it’s a risk to build an expensive ride with all-new characters. Walt Disney Imagineering has once again succeeded with original characters – Lord Henry and Albert, which are memorable and easily recognizable. These characters are also part of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers universe, which spans multiple Disney theme parks.

Albert appears in several scenes throughout the attraction, and each time its always a joy to see its animatronic figures. The movements are so fluid and realistic – plus expressive: there’s magic in its eyes. I’ve noticed that Albert is configured to look at guests in carriages – making guests feel part of the experience than just an audience. The CGI version of Albert in the Chinese Salon has a different appearance and could be tweaked for consistency.

Music plays a major role in Mystic Manor, and Danny Elfman composed a memorable tune worthy of being a future Disney Parks classic. The same motif lingers in all parts of the attraction, starting as soon as the queue area. This is a modern twist on the classic “Haunted Mansion concept”. It’s a shame really that there is no soundtrack album for Mystic Manor (I’m sure if Mystic Manor was built at Tokyo Disney Resort, multiple CDs might’ve been released by now). Hong Kong Disneyland should consider releasing the complete soundtrack (the complete score, plus a ride-through mix!)

One highly-marketed feature of Mystic Manor is its heavy use of “4K projections” – something that Disney’s rival – Universal Studios – have been using so much that their park rides might soon be filled with nothing but projections. Disney does not abuse this technology, with most of the projections landing on non-traditional surfaces – that is: things that don’t look like a giant screen, or projections that naturally “leak” out of a screen.

The Chinese Salon scene is the only room that had heavy use of projections and flat walls. And I am sure the resolution of these projections are truly 4K – no pixelation even when viewed up close from the ride vehicles. It is also impossible to see the “seam” where different projections overlap. To break away from the flatness (literally), the wall does come apart. Plus, lightning and floating music dust lend dimension into the scene.

Mystic Manor and the Haunted Mansion
A lot of theme park fans felt that Mystic Manor is Hong Kong Disneyland’s answer to the Haunted Mansion. To me, I feel that apart from some similarities (which are most likely placed as tributes to the classic Disney dark ride), Mystic Manor feels more like a cousin to Tokyo DisneySea’s Tower of Terror. I won’t be surprised if Tokyo decides to build a copy of Mystic Manor after HKDL’s exclusivity period expires. Mystic Manor provides a tour experience, and feels is definitely like a museum than an abandoned house. There are no spirits or hauntings in the manor, and the grounds are kept spic-and-span.

To conclude: With a charming storyline, exotic premise and amazing technical execution, Mystic Manor is definitely an incredible attraction and the new flagship ride at Hong Kong Disneyland. This is one of those “can’t get enough” attractions.

Discussion

Music Dust
I’m surprised that there isn’t much discussion online about the music dust effect? There seems to be no good information about this online, apart from it being projected from lasers.

From what I’ve observed: the music dust is implemented in two ways: “Floating/Air” and “Surface” projections. I think that the “floating” effect is achieved by projecting laser beams onto a scrim-like material, or some fabric “substrate”. Notably, the floating effects can only be observed in the ride’s dark scenes – such as the Acquisitions and Cataloguing scenes, possibly because the effect would not be convincing if the substrate is visible. The surface projections are laser dots projected directly onto walls and props, thus they lack the full “3D floating” effect.


A Sparkling Christmas is held at Hong Kong Disneyland from now till 5 January 2014


Puppets in the Park | Christmas Illumination | Main Street, U.S.A. - Christmas Town
Flights of Fantasy parade - revisited | Mystic Point | Mystic Manor - Part One (Pre-show)
Mystic Manor - Part Two (The Ride) | Disney's Hollywood Hotel |

Hong Kong Disneyland - Photo Tour series

Mystic Point (under construction) | Main Street U.S.A. | Toy Story Land (Day)
Toy Story Land (Night) | Adventureland | Fantasyland | Grizzly Gulch
Grizzly Gulch: Big Grizzly Mountain | Tomorrowland | Flights of Fantasy parade
NEW: Mystic Point | Mystic Manor (Pre-show) | Mystic Manor (The Ride)
Disney's Hollywood Hotel | Frozen Village (Summer 2015)
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6 Responses to Hong Kong Disneyland – Mystic Manor

  1. Wee-Sen December 8, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    Hi Dejiki,

    After riding in all 4 different cars, here are some of my thoughts:

    1) My favourite car in order of preference is: Car 3, Car 1, Car 4, Car 2. This is due to that fact that Car 3 enters the Chinese salon first and gets to view all the effects.

    2) Cars 3 and 4 gets to view the Mongolian warrior and Cars 1 and 2 gets the singing armours.

    3) There are 2 different rooms for the Slavic Chamber each a mirror image from another. This is to prevent the 2 car paths from crossing each other in the armour room.

    4) The magic dust effect in the aquisitions room is likely fue to lasers being projected on very thin wires all over the room which does not reflect light so only seen when laser is projected on them.

    5) I liked the cannon that fired the smoke ring effect and the about to fire cross bow. Someone ducked in my car.

    6) Albert is very cute!!

    7) Mystic Manor won the THEA award for this yeat!!

    • Dejiki December 8, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

      Hi Wee-Sen! I do agree on Car 3 offers a better tour of the scenes. Seeing how the Chinese Salon scene comes to life is instrumental to ride experience. The only saving grace for entering that scene late (Car 2 and 4) is to see Albert waving goodbye (way too cute!) in the final scene.

  2. Dong-Ding December 10, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    When is the new entry of the Tokyo Disneyland Report ?

    • Dejiki December 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

      The Tokyo Disney Resort Grand Photo Tour will resume next week.

  3. SirEdge January 10, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    Really interesting thoughts on the magic dust effect.

    After essentially spoiling myself silly with on-ride videos, I was not that impressed with the magic dust. I expected them to look more detailed than what are probably different colored lasers or LEDs, or whatever.

    However, after experiencing Mystic Manor again, I appreciated it more, especially when I noticed some of them “floating” from what looked like scrims of some sort.

    I am really not a fan of projection effects and I felt these, on their own, were the weakest (but still good) effects in MM. The Hercules and Neaman Lion were a little disappointing, maybe because it just spins around, with the animation in it.

    I do love the way Medusa’s serpentine hair seems to pop out of the mosaic itself. This is something that was not evident in the ride videos.

    The Chinese salon was nice, but it kinda felt empty. I found it quite jarring to see the CG Albert, which in my AA-biased mind, feels a lot less impressive that the adorable Albert AAs. When the walls broke away, to reveal the second layer of screen, the effect became more convincing.

    This is particularly striking since they spend so much on Albert AAs, even for the preshow, which is impressive on so many levels. I think it would have been easier to believe an Albert shadow.

    I don’t know. While I didn’t exactly feel that the use of projectors was excessive, I do wish some effects were executed using more tangible techniques.

  4. Mike March 10, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    To create “magic dust” mid-air, lasers are projected on strips of gauze (scrim usually found in theatre for one-way lightings effects) rigged on motorized rigging system. They can be lowered or raised in a very short period of time. That is why there is always a moment of darkness when it allows the fabric to move into place without the audience seeing. The hanging bits and pieces can be easily seen in the second Acquisitions and Cataloguing room when the light from the previous scene spills in.

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