Monday, October 15, 2012

Designing Disneyland Paris Phantom Manor

In my previous articles showing you "why the Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to reality" book is so great i've show you the kind of documents you will find inside. In this new article to introduce you to the book if you don't own it yet i'll show you what kind of visuals you can expect on a specific chapter, and i choose the part about Phantom Manor, one of DLP most beloved attraction. In addition to great artwork and pictures you'll find an excerpt of Didier Ghez text - Didier being the one who wrote the text of the book. There we go.

Above:  a Julie Svendsen painting depicting what Phantom Manor would have looked like before it fell into ruin. I didn't reduced the size of the original scan on this one, so it's a "mini-poster" size, just click on it to enlarge the picture.

Below: a picture of Jeff Burke, DLP frontier land show-producer with Phantom Manor model.

Excerpts from Didier's text: "...As we continue to follow the story of Thunder Mesa, the town that surrounds Big Thunder Mountain, we stumble upon a rather frightful domicile—what might be considered the second scene of this “grand western”—the terrifying haunted house known as Phantom Manor.
Mr. Ravenswood was the wealthy owner of the Thunder Mesa Mining Company, the company that, so the story goes, operates the Big Thunder mine. Like many entrepreneurs who made their fortunes in this era, he built a mansion out West, inspired by the architecture of San Francisco—a style that certainly stood out in this little mining town.

Above: A model of the attraction. Notice the difference between the building on the left and the rendering below. The original barn concept has been cancelled.

Phantom Manor sits at the edge of Thunder Mesa, in the well-to-do part of town. In its heyday, the Manor was a truly magnificent residence. In the ballroom, a painting by Walt Disney Imagineering artist Julie Svendsen shows the Manor as it appeared, according to legend, before the mine had played out and the house fell into ruin.
A dilapidated house inside a Disney park? It was an idea that Walt Disney had always rejected, preferring the immaculate façade of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland in California. “We’ll take care of the outside of the mansion,” he once said, “and the ghosts will take care of the inside.” However, the Imagineers knew that in Europe the language barrier would make it very difficult to use descriptive signs. Communicating with symbols would be essential, so they designed the exterior of Phantom Manor to send the message that it has fallen into decay and that something mysterious might be waiting inside.

Above: a rendering for the Seance Room with Madame Leota by Christian Hope. Below: Phantom Manor ballroom by WDI artist Fernando Tenedora.

But the “decayed” façade would still be inside Disneyland Paris, so it would have to be aged carefully and artistically by adding a patina over the painted surfaces. The subtlety of this process was crucial to Ron Esposito. “Since bad weather comes in from the East, we aged the right side of Phantom Manor quite a bit, to give the appearance that harsh weather had been hitting the building for dozens of years. Brighter colors were used on the parts of the building that would have been more protected from the bad weather.”

As Jeff Burke notes, “The magnificent splendor of the Phantom Manor interior is a reminder that the owner was still at the height of his success. The mine was thriving, and he was proud that he had a beautiful daughter. She had fallen in love and was preparing for her wedding, but her fiancé had plans to take her away from Thunder Mesa and live in another town, which enraged the young woman’s father. No one really knows what happened next, so I’ll leave this part of the story to your imagination. The stretching portraits in the Manor’s doorless chamber depict the bride-to-be and give some telltale signs of the fate that awaited her. As for her young man, he can be found in the same chamber...hanging by a rope.”

Above: Concept design by Fernando Tenedora of the cemetary scene inside Phantom Manor. Below: Some of the skeletons that guests can meet when the doom buggy is going down in the cemetary scene of the ride.

We pass by the disembodied head of Madame Leota, floating in a crystal ball while she presides over a séance. Just as in the American versions of this attraction, the face is still that of late Imagineer Leota Toombs, but the French voice belongs to Oona Lind. Along the way, we meet up with the bride again, along with the lord of the manor, dubbed the “Phantom,” whose rage only increases over the course of our journey. By the end of the attraction, both the bride and the Phantom invite us to join them".

Above and below: Concept designs depicting the interior of Phantom Manor "Ghost Town".

Above: some of the ghostly inhabitants of the ghost town. Jeff Burke used for the town mayor, above, the same audio-animatronic who was used for Dreamfinder, the main character from Epcot's beloved Journey into Imagination attraction! 

Hope this article gave you a good idea of the kind of documents you will find in the book. All the pictures and renderings you saw in this article are inside the Disneyland PAris, From Sketch to reality book. And these are just a small selection of those include in the Phantom Manor chapter, in which you'll find many more. All along the book you'll see 250 WDI renderings - and 500 pictures of the park and attractions. There is so many pictures of every ride and attraction in this book that, virtually speaking, when i designed the book i remember that i did it so the one who will buy the book in the park will come back home with the park "under his arm"! That was the idea. Below, two more for the road!

Above: A concept design showing the last scene of Phantom Manor "Ghost Town".
Below: A picture of the Phantom, in his last appearance at the end of the ride.

One last thing: i realized recently that we begin to don't have that much copies available of the english edition. We still have some so you can place an order but i won't bet that we will have any of them in two months, so if you are interested by purchase a copy of this great book the sooner will be the better! Those of you who want to learn more about the book might have a look at the presentation article on the book web site HERE

Order your copy of the acclaimed Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book while there is still copies available! You'll find all infos to order an ENGLISH edition HERE and for the FRENCH edition it's HERE or you can pay with the one-click Paypal button below. Also, watch below the video showing the whole book!

Choose quantity and enjoy an additional discount !

Pictures: copyright Disney


Marco Antonio Garcia said...

This is my favorite Theme Park attraction of all time! A perfect dark ride.

Thanks for the documents Alain!

DLRPStuff said...

Thanks for this great post from your book and especially for the hq scan of the Phantom Manor painting showing it when was still new :)

Benjamin R said...

Like everything you can publish: that's a nice post, and since I'm reading this blog, nothing made me happier than the high resolution artwork of Julie Svendsen! What a wonderful portrait!