Behind the Scenes with DoomBuggies.com
Letters to a fansite
"Thanks so much for your website.
"I could not agree more with you about your experiences and feelings about Disneyland. Even as I grow older and wiser about the commercial aspect of the place (which I was blissfully ignorant about as a kid, of course), I still hold a very special place in my heart for Disneyland. In fact, the magic of the place entranced me so strongly for so many years that I think it's part of what steered me towards my current career—visual effects for movies. We are currently working on the Pirates film here at ILM. Talk about coming full circle!
"I also think that there's something deeply strange and magical about the ride-experiences like Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean: the fact that it is a memory—an experience—from distant childhood that you can relive precisely as you experienced it as a young person is really captivating psychologically. It stirs emotions and sentiments from a long lost time. Imagine reliving down to the last detail anything else from when you were 11 years old. It's powerful magic. And I return again and again to relive it—even as my older, more jaded eyes see the smoke and mirrors, there is still that tingling of childhood magic that never fades entirely.
"Wow. What a rant. All in the way of saying thank you for your web pages."
Industrial Light and Magic
San Rafael, CA
So what's DoomBuggies.com all about? To be honest, I'm surprised at how infrequently I'm asked that question. You'd think that many folks would take a dim view of a website so fanatically dedicated to the minutiae of a ride at a theme park.
But that's simply not the case. With these two excerpts from the type of emails that I receive regularly, I hope my inspiration for the site is made clear. DoomBuggies.com is a celebration of imagination — it's as simple (and as complex) as that.
"What I love about the Haunted Mansion would have to be its architecture and its atmosphere. There is just so much detail… a feast for the eyes. This little world just completely engulfs me and takes me to another place. When I was a kid, I wanted to live there. When the Ghost Host would ask for volunteers, I would subtly raise my hand. I also love (I don’t know if it has been replaced) one of the bats that hold up the velvet ropes in the Doom Buggy room. It was worn down from all the hands that have touched it. It was neat to think of all the people that have passed through there over the years…including myself on other visits, family, friends. And there was the proof. Perhaps the only proof.
"I think that the creepiest and ironically most comforting aspect is that the Haunted Mansion doesn’t change. As I begin to learn more about the people who created it, it adds to the place’s surreal nature. The work that people did over 30 years ago continues as many of these people have passed on. It was cute at the time to put the name of Imagineers on the tombstones, etc. and now many of these people are actually dead. The voice of Paul Frees still echoes through the Mansion, but the man himself is no more. Madame Leota hasn’t aged a day but the person who supplied her visage no longer lives. It is as if the 999 ghosts are all the people who worked to put the Haunted Mansion together. Their energy and creative sparks continue to live on in the Mansion's netherworld as if they were continuing to live in this world.
"It is a comfort to know that no matter how many things change in your life, including yourself, that something can stay the way it always was."Jason McMahan
From the DoomBuggies.com
DoomBuggies.com was launched on October 31, 1997. Originally hosted on my "Hometown" space on AOL as "Chef Mayhem's Unofficial Tribute to the Haunted Mansion," the site quickly added the "DoomBuggies" domain name and a more robust hosting plan in early 1998. The site was designed partially as a means by which I could learn web design, but quickly turned into a fascinating hobby as my niche web site was discovered by both Disney and Haunted House fans around the world. In 1999, Disneyland contacted DoomBuggies, asking if I'd like to become a promotional partner for the "Art of the Haunted Mansion" 30th anniversary event, and the event went on to nearly double its expected attendance by the time all the registrations were tallied.
Since then, DoomBuggies has been involved promotionally in Walt Disney World's "999 Happy Haunts Events," and we were heavily involved with the grassroots promotional push behind Disney's Haunted Mansion film - in fact, director Rob Minkoff and producer Don Hahn have both said that the site provided great pre-production research material and inspiration to the people making the film. (Whatever your impressions of the film might be, you'll note that the production quality and lush set design are a top-notch tip of the hatbox - er, the hat - to Haunted Mansion fans.)
Today, thousands of Haunted Mansion fans routinely peruse the DoomBuggies forums and use our free "HauntedMansion.com" email services, and friendships are formed, stories are shared, contacts are made, and imagination is honored. If you'd like to offer some support to DoomBuggies, we're always very grateful for donations - or you can always buy our official souvenir book or t-shirt, or even join the fan club. Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and rest in peace...
If would like to join our jamboree
there's a simple rule that's compulsory:
Mortals pay a token fee,
Rest in peace, the haunting's free...
so hurry back, we would like your company!
- X. Atencio,
WED Imagineer / Haunted Mansion lyricist