[EXCLUSIVE] Phantom Manor to be rethemed to Beauty and the Beast

Yes, you read that right.

With Tower of Terror in America very close to completing its redesign to Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!, and CinéMagique now closed for a Marvel replacement, swapping out original attractions for popular brands and IPs seems to be the range for Disney right now. It may sound ludicrous – and it is – but the universally loved and fan favourite Phantom Manor is next to face the chopping board.

Several weeks ago, I was contacted by Disneyland Paris Imagineer Avril Poisson. As a self proclaimed Phantom Manor mega fan I was apparently the ideal candidate for this information to be passed on to. Through numerous emails and Skype conversations, Avril gave me some incredible details on what is planned when the 25th Anniversary comes to a close next year. Due to some legal tape I have had to hold back on telling anyone this information until after the AGM shareholders meeting that took place yesterday. A full log of my discussions with Avril will be found below but in summary, here is what I learned.

Phantom Manor will close in early May for an extensive, major retheme. Remarkably this hasn’t (and from what I understand, won’t) be officially announced as DLP don’t want any attention taken away from the anniversary celebrations. Like CinéMagique, I think you can expect my beloved Manor to simply close up the night before never to return.

The attraction will then begin a 12 month retheme based on the new live action Beauty and the Beast. Just like that of the Tower of Terror in Disney California Adventure, the push for the new and relevant will be making its way to Paris; at the cost of one of the most iconic original creations ever. It isn’t surprising DLP want to bring Disney’s latest release to their parks. Not only has it reached huge critical acclaim and financial success, the French setting makes it ideal for Disneyland Paris.

This will be permanent. Phantom Manor will soon be no more.  Avril wanted to make very clear that this will not be a simple, temporary overlay to Phantom Manor but a full retheme to the attraction. Each room and scene will be overhauled to fit the BatB scene.

Imagineers have worked closely with Walt Disney Pictures. This secret project has been in the works for Disneyland Paris for quite some time – ever since production began on the Beauty and the Beast film. Imagineers I am told made several set visits and were able to work off actual concept art and early footage to ensure the attraction is 100% accurate to the film.

This is part of the Walt Disney Company buyout. Disney are really pushing for this to happen, and so are taking the bill for this retheme. Although not confirmed, it is believed WDI is not happy with the current condition of Phantom Manor which is why it has been selected for its demise.

It may not stay in Frontierland. Of course, a Beauty and the Beast attraction doesn’t make any sense in the western town of Thunder Mesa. When asked about this, Avril simply hinted to “think further east”. Of course, to the right of Phantom Manor looking on the park map is Main Street U.S.A. Will a redevelopment project take place that merges the new attraction into our entrance land?

The attraction will be called Belle’s Enchanted Castle. Set, obviously, around the enchanted castle of the film, the entire Manor will be redesigned and – if need be – rebuilt to resemble that from the movie now in cinemas.

Lumiere will guide guests through the attraction while telling the story of the Beast. I assume this is a like for like replacement of the ghost host currently present in PM. From what I was told the stretch room will remain in design, but the decor altered and purpose to tell the story of the prince’s curse.

Doombuggies to be rethemed as teacups. Bizarre as it may sound, this is allegedly already greenlit with several doombuggies taken out of action for prototyping. I was told to expect something we saw from Chip in the film, with one unique ride vehicle of the bunch to represent Mrs Potts’ son.

Each and ever seen will be changed to fit Beauty and the Beast as followed:

– The ride loading/staircase will change to the castle’s staircase. All decor in the queue will change to fit the new theme. The “changing portraits” effect will stay but instead depict that of the Beast and his servants transforming from human to their new form.

– The corridor of doors will be lightened and feature projection mapped Plumette “cleaning up” the castle ahead of the new guest (you).

– The piano will remain but rather than a ghost playing it, it is of course Maestro Cadenza.

– Madame Leota will be changed to represent the famous Be Our Guest, complete with Lumiere and Cogsworth dancing to the new version.

– The ballroom will, as expected, change to the ballroom scene of the movie. Although projection mapping scenes from the movie is likely, the Pepper’s Ghost effect we remain “in some form”.

– The attic scene will become the west wing, with the enchanted rose “going to blow guests away”.

– The graveyard scene, home to my favourite version of the Phantom, will keep its outdoors theme but rather the castle outskirts, complete with animatronic wolves.

– Instead of going down to Phantom Canyon, guests will be transported back to the village for a rendition of the Mob Song, before returning to the castle for the dramatic confrontation between Gaston and the Beast.

– The attraction’s finale, currently featuring the hitchhiking ghost, will keep its mirrors but rather show our furniture friends transform back into their human selves; thanking you for joining them on the adventure.

The exterior of the attraction will be rethemed to represent the exterior of the enchanted castle, complete with fake snow. The current staircase that leads up to Phantom Manor will be entirely replaced with a much more movie accurate one.

Boot Hill will be completely demolished for a new store to be built, no  more information has been greenlit on that project yet.

Disney want this attraction out as soon as possible. In order to capitalise on the success of Beauty and the Beast, Disney and DLP are working hard to ensure the attraction is open before the expected launch of May 2018.

If successful, this may be the start of more rethemes. Despite sharing my concern, Avril told me they are certainly looking into the possibility of retheming other attractions to newer loved Disney properties. Although it may be speculation on her part, ‘It’s a small world’ becoming a Moana themed attraction was mentioned.

What do you think about this shocking revelation? Are you as surprised, saddened and confused as I am over the prospect of Phantom Manor – Disneyland Paris’ true claim to fame – leaving for good? Or are you excited that finally DLP are taking initiative and want to make the most of a new IP?

For the full log of my conversations with Imagineer Avail Poisson, see below.

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One thought on “[EXCLUSIVE] Phantom Manor to be rethemed to Beauty and the Beast

  1. OMG I am so excited about this! I visited Phantom Manor for the first time last year, and although it was a fun ride, it wasn’t scary and I felt it was out of date. However I completely appreciate the love it has from fans like yourself and I know how it feels when something is special to you is replaced with something “new”.
    BUT BATB is very special to me and I have always felt the park was lacking in BATB considering it’s Paris/France!? So for them to finally have a ride to represent my fav film is very exciting for me.
    I hope you get to visit Phantom Manor again before it closes x

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