ED92 had some great infos from their reliable sources about a major update of Disneyland Paris Phantom Manor on which DLP Imagineers are apparently currently working on. It should happen in a not too far future, and the news looks great. I did an english translation of ED92 post and french readers can read it in french on ED92 HERE .
One more thing: you can choose to put what you'll read below in the "rumor box" as anything not yet officially confirmed is always supposed to be a rumor, but my feeling is that ED92 sources are reliable and so what is written is most probably right. As usual - and especially in the case of DLP - it doesn't mean that it will be done or that DLP imagineers will have the budget to do it but in this case - Phantom Manor - i'm pretty sure that they will do pretty soon an update of the ride as not only it is needed it but also because it'll be the last Disney "haunted" mansion who didn't had an update yet. Okay, here we go:
Although the date of this Phantom Manor 2.0 project is not yet decided, we can already tell you that this project is close to the heart of many people, even at the highest levels.
For now, the priority is to modernize the entire Phantom Manor existing infrastructure. As we have previously mentioned, the Portrait Gallery will abandon in this forthcoming renovation of DLP famous manor the old slides system for projector technology.
But other surprises should quickly appear. For instance, we had recently the pleasure to see the return of the Mirror Ghosts at the end of the ride, let's hope that this time everything will work fine over time.
Okay, let's make a long story short as Mrs. Leota is ready to read the future of the Manor in her crystal ball - D&M Note: or, as we should say the "séance lady" as it's not Mrs Leota head which is inside the crystal ball but someone else to whom DLP Imagineers didn't gave really a name and who is only known as the "séance lady" as she's the one directing the spirits session...
So, our adventure will starts here, outside the Manor because the famous attraction not only should be fully renovated, but the whole Thunder Mesa should gradually undergo a theming makeover to tell us the rich story of the cursed Ravenswood family.
While the patriarch, Henry, will be our host at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as the director of Big Thunder Mining Company, it's his daughter Melanie who will be more than ever the Phantom Manor star. As it is her story that DLP guests will discover, more clear and precise than ever.
We will not go through all the details, of course, as the project is still at this time under design. But many ideas are already advanced enough to have a better idea of what should be this Phantom Manor 2.0.
As you now have probably understood, Melanie, as the attraction star, will be much more present than she is right now. And this right from the boarding room as we will discover a beautiful young Melanie, in her wedding dress, sitting on the steps of the grand staircase of the hall, her still fresh wedding flowers bouquet at her feet.
D&M Note: I'm wondering if they will add a new Audio-Animatronic or simply move the AA of Mélanie that we currently see at the start of the ride. I'm betting on this second option.
The picture above is a home-made picture by ED92, but according to them it shows quite accurately what they were told by their sources.
Apparently the beauty didn't had her best day as she is crying, her face covered by her hands, and it's only between two sobs that she will lift her head toward us, before going back in her sadness.
Meanwhile, you will embark on new Doombuggies. Did i say new? Yes indeed, as to make Phantom manor ride story even more immersive and disturbing, and just like at the Haunted Mansion, the Doombuggies should be equipped with individual speakers which actually will give you the feeling that the Phantom of the manor will whisper the story of the endless fiancée right in your ear.
So, who says new story, says new recording, right? Well, not really, as WDI sound wizards are digging through Imagineering sound archives to find back all Phantom Manor original tapes and so to keep the magnificent original orchestral recordings, which will go through a well-deserved makeover to give us a sound more stunning than ever.
Most purists will ask: "All the tapes?". Yes, all of them as here is probably the most exciting of all the infos: As Phantom Manor specialists know, before DLP famous mansion opened its doors in 1992, the Phantom was voiced by legendary horror films actor, Vincent Price, and you can see at the bottom of this article a video shot during his recording sessions.
For reasons of understanding for DLP guests different nationalities, the whole french soundtrack, back in 1992, was re-recorded in french, keeping only the inimitable Vincent Price laugh. These recordings unfortunately happened to be Price last great performance as he passed away shortly after. But why am I actually doing such a digression? Because right now, deep in WDI archives is hidden the original tapes recording of Vincent Price, which are in fact the first version of the attraction, when the visit was to be fully guided and telling the story of Melanie!
Few knows about it, but during his recordings, Vincent Price recorded a version in French. Unfortunately his french was not understandable enough because of his accent, so at the end DLP Imagineers decided to keep only Vincent Price English version before asking a French actor to record it again in french. Actor, by the away, who was the one who was dubbing Vincent Price in the french version of Price movies.
So, now you've understood ... WDI should do wonders, a true miracle, as they plan to completely clean the original tapes, edit and tweak them with the latest technology and thus offer us in the ride the recordings of Vincent Price, in French or in English as needed!
D&M Note: I have some doubts about this part - to have Vincent Price voice all along the ride - as in fact his voice was recorded only for the part until guests load in the doombuggies and then Price had some lines at the very end of the ride when we face the mirror ghosts but not in-between, which mean that there is no tape existing with Vincent Price voice telling a story all along the ride like the ghost host is doing at DL Haunted Mansion. Which could mean that either DLP Imagineers will find someone else with a voice close to Vincent Price's voice - which is not going to be easy - or that they will be no off voice all along the ride. But in this case why putting on board speakers?
Above: Left to right: Vincent Price, Ken Lisi, Jeff Burke, Craig Fleming and Greg Meader enjoying a break during the recording sessions.
But while i talk on the subject, our doombuggy has already finished his visit ... We finally did not pay attention to all new Melanie appearances and to the new effects that should be added in the ride. Unfortunately, the wait for this new version might take a while and we don't know the date yet... WDI secrets are well kept. But who knows? Maybe by 2017 we will have the luck to ride this new version of Phantom Manor, and in the meantime we'll just have to wait to actually live it.
A famous Pumpkins King have already made an offer to transform Phantom Manor eventually in a winter residence, but that's another story that we'll keep for another day...
All my thanks to ED92 for their original post available in french HERE.
Thanks to David.G. Ravenswood of the great Ravenswood Manor website i share with you this rare video and once you've watched it jump to David's website where you'll learn more about the story and making-of of Phantom Manor a well as Big thunder Mountain and Thunder Mesa!
Pictures: copyright Disney, Alain Littaye, ED92