If I were ever asked where my favorite place in the world is, my answer would be The Haunted Mansion in Disney World. I recognize the strangeness of this response, but I also embrace it as part and parcel of who I am. As I've mentioned in posts earlier, I've naturally always gravitated to the macabre; at a very young age my favorite movie was Beetle Juice, and my preferred tv viewing was either The Addams Family or Twilight Zone episodes. My favorite book was In a Dark, Dark Room and I checked out the "Fairy Tale Theatre" video "The Boy Who Left Home To Find Out About The Shivers" (screw that princess crap) so many times my mother eventually bought it for me, seeing as we virtually owned it as it was. Needless to say, when my family took me on my first trip to Disney World and we rode the Haunted Mansion, in some ways, I felt like I had come home.
The ride has always had a pull on me, both when I am there in the park and when I am home. Kegan is wonderful to indulge and support me in my attachment, allowing me to adorn our home with merchandise and recognizing that I tend to be unable to help myself from buying Haunted Mansion related memorabilia.
A few years ago my students were going to write memoirs so I chose to write one along with them to model the process. I intended to write about my first ride on The Haunted Mansion and the story became about so much more than that. It was probably in that moment when I realized the true significance of this house on a hill in my life. I've been unbelievably lucky to go to Disney World many times, but my connection to the Haunted Mansion transcends my literal presence within the walls of the attraction. It's just a ride, I recognize that...but as the magic of Disney is apt to do...it's so much more than a ride to me. It's an escape, it's a microcosm of my childhood, it's a reminder that one can be happily haunted.