As a Disney fan, I have read many books about the history of the Walt Disney Company and its many projects. However, it has been a long time since I have enjoyed a book as much as Phantom Manor Decrypted by Jeremie Noyer and Mathias Dugoujon. In nearly every way, this book is perfectly constructed and a must-own for any fan of Disney attractions.
The book is in both French and English, so there are no concerns regarding picking up the correct version. In fact, it was fun to read the French after the English translation to learn their own rendition of “Disney Speak.” The book is not too dense, making for an easy read, but the authors found the perfect way of crafting the transcript so it is breezy yet full of fun facts and interesting information. As a fan of the Haunted Mansion attractions stateside, I also appreciated how the book highlights Phantom Manor’s heritage while pointing out the differences and explaining their context.
The story goes from 1969 through the creation of Phantom Manor and even covers the recent refurbishment. And while many are familiar with the character of Master Gracey from Haunted Mansion lore, in many ways, the book is a love letter to Yale Gracey, the Imagineer who combined Marc Davis’s and Claude Coates’s aesthetics through the magic of Imagineering wizardry.
In addition to the fantastic fun facts and history, the book itself is a work of art. From its gorgeous embossed cover to its wallpaper inspired liners, the artistry is worthy of the legendary attraction. The mixture of archival photographs, concept art, and attraction imagery adds some visual diversity, which all plays a symphony of visuals that is a feast for the eyes.
To conclude, this book joins the ranks of Disneyland: Inside Story and The Nickle Tour as the highest echelon of Disney Parks literature. I cannot recommend it more highly. The book is now available at Disneyland Paris’s Frontierland at the Thunder Mesa Mercantile Building — be sure to pick one up on your next visit to the gorgeous resort.
FanBoy is a Disney dweeb who has worked at Disneyland and Walt Disney World