Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Phantom Manor

Welcome to those of you joining me from Delightfully Disney and those of you just hopping aboard.  I am your 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail. 

Our topic this month on the blogorail was chosen by our resident Disneyland Paris expert, Amanda over at Manda’s Disney Blog.  I think this is Amanda’s payback for all the Walt Disney World topics that we, on the Magical Blogorail Black loop, have bombarded her with.  You see, until recently, she had never been to Walt Disney World in Florida.  Thanks, Amanda, for turning the tables on us with a topic on Disneyland Paris!  You go girl! 

Not having been to Disneyland Paris, or France for that matter, writing about the theme parks there is proving to be little bit difficult.  However, the question on the table is “What would you, or do you, look forward to the most if you were to visit Disneyland Paris?”   I should be able to answer the "would" part of that question, right?  I don’t have to go to “plan” a trip in my head. 

So, what would I look forward to on a visit?  Wow, where do I start?  There are so many, that I’ll just pick one. 

I’m going to say I would most look forward to seeing the alternate version of my favorite WDW attraction, The Haunted Mansion.  In Disneyland Paris, it’s called Phantom Manor.  I just watched a youtube video of it, and did a little research on it.  In typical Disney style, it appears amazing; and I love the backstory with its ties to Thunder Mesa and the Western River Expedition.  Thunder Mesa and the Western River Expedition was an original attraction concept developed by Marc Davis, WED artist and former Disney animator who was largely responsible for Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean.  This attraction would have been designed for Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom in Florida but for a variety of reasons, never came to be, so it’s interesting to see that concept brought forward in Disneyland Paris.  

Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris

Phantom Manor is located in the Frontierland section in Disneyland Paris. Sharing a similar theme with the Haunted Mansion attractions at the other Disney parks throughout the world, this version has a different plotline.

The influence for the story of the ride is Leroux's novel, The Phantom of the Opera, as well as many European gothic legends, which have been altered for the Western setting. The architectural style of the house is Victorian Second Empire, and bears a strong resemblance to Bates Manor from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.

The Story of Phantom Manor:
Henry Ravenswood was a Western settler who struck gold in Big Thunder Mountain and founded the Thunder Mesa Mining Company, thus creating the city of Thunder Mesa (and Frontierland as a whole). Ravenswood became rich and built himself a Victorian manor high on Boot Hill overlooking Big Thunder Mountain, where he raised a family and had a daughter, Melanie Ravenswood.  A series of unfortunate events culminated in a great earthquake which destroyed Henry's family and fortune.  

But all is not as it seems.  Henry's daughter may have been planning to marry against her father's wishes. The body we see hanging from the rafters at the beginning of the attraction may, in fact, be the unfortunate groom-to-have-been. And, perhaps, the Phantom of the Manor is Henry Ravenswood himself, driven to madness after losing his fortune and family. Perhaps the Phantom is doing whatever he can to keep his family together... forever.

Creepy, huh?

The ride mechanism is the same as the other versions.  Guests board Doombuggies, each buggy accommodating two adults, that traverse an Omnimover track through the Manor and associated ghostly scenes. 

In the Manor house guests see familiar sights such as a twitching suit of armor, corridor of doors, a demonic grandfather clock spinning backwards, and Madame Leota in her Séance Room.  Here she summons ghost and dark creatures to a mysterious ball: 
  • Goblins and Ghoulies, creatures of fright, we summon you now, to dance through the night!
  • Esprits et fantômes, sur vos fiers destriers, escortez dans la nuit la belle fiancée! (Spirits and Phantoms, on your proud Stallions, escort the beautiful Bride into the night!)
  • Warlocks and Witches, answer this call! Your presence is wanted at this ghostly ball!
  • Des douze coups de minuit aux mâtines sonnantes, nous valserons ensemble, macabre débutante! (As twelve strokes of midnight sound from the bells, we shall waltz together, gruesome debutante!)
  • Join now the Spirits in Nuptial Doom, a ravishing Bride, a vanishing Groom...    
As guest leave the Séance Room, they are taken into the Ballroom where a ghostly wedding party is taking place.  Drunken ghosts swing from the chandelier and elegantly dressed ghostly dancers twirl around the ballroom.  From the Ballroom, guests enter the Bride’s Boudoir where Melanie (now an old lady) weeps in front of a mirror.  Out the window the Doombuggies go (or were they pushed by the Phantom?) and down into a vast graveyard.  The Doombuggies then travel underground, past open coffins and the famous marble busts of four Phantoms singing “Grim Grinning Ghosts”.  Through a hole, the Doombuggies enter Phantom Canyon, a twisted, supernatural version of a post-earthquake Thunder Mesa.  Guests pass the ruined town hall where a mayor (whose dialogue consists of clips from the Haunted Mansion by Paul Frees, the original Ghost Host) stands, inviting guests to be the Manor's 1000th ghost.

The Phantom then leads guests towards the exit of the ride, where Melanie's corpse is pointing to the way out. The vehicles enter a chamber lined with large mirrors in which the ghostly image of the Phantom can be seen above the Doombuggies. Vehicles travel through the wine cellar, where Castmembers help them disembark their Doombuggies.

As guests walk towards daylight, a tiny figure of Melanie stands to the side of the passageway behind bars, telling guests to "hurry back" and to "bring their death certificates". Finally, guests exit into Boot Hill, a Cemetery filled with humorous gravestones.

So, that’s it for my pick of what I would most look forward to on a trip to Disneyland Paris.  Alas, I don’t see a trip to France in my near future, but I can always dream! 

Thank you for joining me today.  Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is The Disney Chick.
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Manda’s Disney Blog
2nd Stop ~ Mommy Mouseketeer
3rd Stop ~ Delightfully Disney
4th Stop ~ The Magical Mouse Pad
Final Stop ~ The Disney Chick


  1. I love Phantom Manor...and I'm not a fan of scary stuff!

  2. I would love to visit the Phantom Manor too. It would be so cool to see a different version.

  3. I've never been to DLP either, but I agree that it would be fun to see and compare the rides!

  4. great review! This sorda reminds me of the Psycho house!! :O

  5. Awesome! :D I loved seeing the Haunted Mansion! :D But Phantom Manor is still my fav! :P

  6. I would love to visit it since I'm such a big fan of the Haunted Mansion..