Disneyland Paris’ Phantom Manor will finally reopen to guests today following a long refurbishment. And while the refurb period had to be extended, it seems to us like that was definitely worth it. Our friends at InsidEars recently invited Disney sites and blogs from all over the world to attend a soft re-opening of the beloved attraction before its official return — and boy is it good to have this classic back.
As part of this special preview, we were invited to Parc Disneyland after closing where we would get to experience the updated Phantom Manor and explore a little bit of Frontierland. Disney was kind enough to keep Big Thunder Mountain open as well.
When we entered the park, we were led through one of the Arcades and then across Main Street and finally over to Frontierland. Here, Cast Members were handing out special editions of the Thunder Mesa Daily Messenger. The newspaper was written in French on one side and English on the other.
Upon entering the Manor, we found ourselves in a parlor of sorts with a single portrait of Melanie Ravenswood and one of her fiances. A voice over reminds us that this home was once filled with beauty.
Next we were escorted into a windowless/doorless room with pictures of Ms. Ravenswood and her four beloved suitors. As the story goes, none on them ever lived to see their wedding day…how very mysterious.
Suddenly, the room began to stretch as the voice of the Phantom offered a chilling challenge: find a way out! If we couldn’t succeed, he had his own suggestion.
Once we “found our way out” we were in an elegant hallway filled with portraits and paintings that had their own morphing effects. Then we boarded our buggies to “tour” the Ravenswood Manor and grounds.
Throughout our journey, there were several things — both old and new — that we found to be quite impressive
- When you first enter the attraction, a short scene in the foyer brings some great color to the dark and eerie manor. Of course, the twist on the iconic stretching room is also a highlight.
- The Bride aka Melanie Ravenswood is now part of the loading area. She stands facing an enormous window, creating a spooky start to the ride.
- In what’s equivalent to the Haunted Mansion graveyard scene is a mysterious town complete with a “headless” mayor, saloon, and game room where unseen spirits are playing a game of poker. All of these looked fantastic.
- Ghost of The Bride “appearing” in your vehicle at the end of the ride asking “will you marry me?”
- Finally, the voice of the legendary Vincent Price has been reincorporated into the ride at long last, which was great to hear for ourselves.
- While we weren’t familiar with the soundtrack to the attraction, we gathered that Disneyland Paris added elements from the Haunted Mansion score. Fans quickly indicated they wanted the original score back and this morning, ED92 shared a tweet that Disney had indeed made the switch:
— ED92 (@ED92live) May 3, 2019
After riding the attraction, we exited to find Ms. Ravenswood had materialized outside of the Manor! Unfortunately, her appearance is not a regular feature of the attraction, she was special for this event, but she was a real walkaround character.
InsidEars also had a media station set up in one of the restaurants in Frontierland, so of course we had to take advantage of this perk. We were treated to trio playing country favorites on guitar, fiddle, and bass; beverages and pastries; and there was also a photo wall to promote the return of the attraction.
The next day we returned for another ride (perks of being an Infinity Passholder) and a look at Boot Hill and the graveyard.
Boot Hill and Ravenswood Graveyard
If Phantom Manor wasn’t already our favorite version of The Haunted Mansion, this refurbishment has taken it over the top. While stateside fans will surely recognize elements from other mansions, the Manor’s unique storyline, effects, and Audio-Animatronics make it a classic in its own right. In other words, if you have the chance to visit Disneyland Paris for yourself, you won’t want to miss the chance to pay a visit to Phantom Manor.