7 Things You Didn't Know About The Phantom Manor At Disneyland Paris

We uncover all the spooky secrets of Disneyland Paris' haunted mansion.

Disneyland Paris Phantom Manor

Ghostly rides have been a long time staple of any Disney park and Disneyland Paris is no exception.

Sitting atop a hill over looking Big Thunder Mountain in Frontierland stands Phantom Manor. Here guests can get to experience the spookiest ride in the park.

As with other Disney parks, the ride beckons you to join the spirits as you visit their world. We see a sad and lonely Bride as she mourns the loss of her beloved whom had promised to take her away from the mining town. Yet a mysterious Phantom stalks her as she roams her empty home and invites ghosts to take up residence at what was formally Ravenswood Manor.

The Phantom Manor, though similar to the Haunted Mansion in Disney's US parks and Toyko Disneyland, has its own striking differences, including a storyline found no where else in any Disney park.

Just like visitors to Phantom Manor we uncover all the secrets of this haunted mansion.

Here are 7 things that you might not know about this famous Disneyland Paris attraction...

7. It Has An Official Backstory

Disneyland Paris Phantom Manor

Unlike Walt Disney World and Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, the Phantom Manor has an official backstory which Disney have specifically included.

The Phantom Manor is the story of Henry Ravenswood and his daughter Melanie. Ravenwood built the manor after becoming rich from mining gold at the Big Thunder Mining Company.

Those native to the area believed that the Thunder Bird a spirit which lived within the mountain and would eventually materialise in the form of an earthquake should its treasure be disturbed.

Melanie grew up and became involved with numerous suitors, only for them to die mysteriously. She would eventually fall in love with a young man who promised to take her away from the town of Thunder Mesa. But her father did not approve of the couple.

Ravenswood and his wife were killed when an earthquake eventually destroyed much of Thunder Mesa.

Upon Melanie's wedding day a mysterious phantom appeared in the manor. He took away her fiancé and hung him in the attic. Never knowing what happened to her love Melanie wandered the house in her wedding dress, and was never seen by the town again.

If you pay attention you can spot her loves and the story as you venture through Phantom Manor.

Jen Gallie hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.

Jim Hill Media

Phantom Manor: The Full Story of the Ravenswood Family

JHM newest contributor Jean de Lutèce makes a spectacular debut with an in-depth article about Disneyland Paris' ghostly attraction, Phantom Manor. Read and enjoy!

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Jim Hill here. It seems like only days ago that JimHillMedia.com put out the word that we were looking for new columnists to help the site cover the Disneyland Paris Resort as well as the Tokyo Disneyland Resort. Well, imagine my surprise when some really great writers came out of the woodwork and actually took me up on my offer.

One of these guys was Jean de Lutèce. Whose wonderful article about Phantom Manor immediately follows this introduction. Now — given that Jean is a guy who likes his privacy — I can't tell you too much about his background. Other than to say: de Lutèce is the real deal, folks. He's a man who really knows what's what when it comes to the Disneyland Paris theme park.

Jean's promised to send along a new article about DLP every two weeks or so. And — if all of his columns are as good as this Phantom Manor story — well … we're all in for a real treat, folks.

Okay. Enough with the fawning introduction. Let me get out of the way here so you can enjoy the intelligent and informed writing of JHM's newest columnist, Jean de Lutèce.

I picked up a copy of Alain Littaye and Didier Ghez's book about the creation of "Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality" when it was originally released in April 2002 (take a look at last week's "Why For" column in order to learn how you can get ahold of this amazing book) and realized that this art-book was what I had been waiting for for 10 years, since the Parisian park actually opened.

However, while the book was filled with almost 300 drawings and renderings coming from WDI, while I learned many fascinating anecdotes both about the creative process, the mythology of the attractions and the minute details of the park, I also realized that I knew stories and further details that were not mentioned in Alain and Didier's work. I strongly suspect that this was due to Disney's editing of the volume.

In any case, when Jim mentioned that he was looking for a French contributor, the opportunity was too good to let go and I jumped on the occasion. I would finally be able to share the anecdotes and stories I had gathered about Disneyland Paris during almost 15 years while speaking with Imagineers both in the US and in Paris. Which is why I will try to deliver to JimHillMedia.com one column every 2 weeks about some lesser known aspects of the French Magic Kingdom, most of them not discussed in "From Sketch to Reality."

And since we are close to Halloween, I am bound to start with a piece of mythology that has intrigued and baffled more than one enthusiast of the French park, the Ravenshood Mansion, better known as Phantom Manor.

To try and understand Phantom Manor's story, let's move back in time to the era when it did not fall to pieces, let's move back to… its golden age, as it did indeed all start with Gold.

In Disneyland Paris, the center of Frontierland is Big Thunder Mountain, unlike in the US parks where Tom Sawyer Island holds the center stage. And according to WDI's mythology, most of the land was built from 1849 to 1890 (with the notable exceptions of Fort Comstock that was established earlier and of Cottonwood Creek Ranch that appeared later – more on this in a future story). Big Thunder Mountain, the gold mine, which was at the origin of it all, was owned by a man called Henry Ravenswood. It also happened to be regarded by the local Indians, from the Shoshoni's tribe, as a sacred place. Anyone who would disturb the Thunder Bird god that protects it would endure its wrath. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Thanks to the gold mine Henry Ravenswood became wealthy, extremely wealthy. And as many "nouveaux riches" at the time, he decided to build himself a house in the richest part of town, a manor, in fact, inspired by the architecture of San Francisco's nicest residences, a style obviously out of place in the little town of Thunder Mesa that surrounds the mine. This provided him a way to display his fortune by also showing that he could attract the best craftsmen from all around the world. In the ballroom, within the attraction, through a painting done by Julie Svendsen, you will have a chance to discover the house as it existed when Henry was at his most successful.

Now, all of this is mentioned in "From Sketch to Reality." What isn't are the details of what happened next, as explained in some early WDI "fact sheets" from the attraction as well as stories told by my Imagineer friends.

Early in the year 1859, Henry Ravenswood and his wife, Martha, were delighted to announce the engagement of their 22 year old daughter Mary Murphy Ravenswood with 30 year old Frank Ballard. Unfortunately Frank planned to leave Thunder Mesa with his future wife. When he mentioned those plans to his father in law on the day of the wedding, Henry Ravenswood became enraged and killed him on the spot: Frank Ballard was hung to his death in the Manor's stretching room.

Not aware of what had just happened, Mary waited desperately for the groom with the guests. Of course Frank never appeared. For months she became reclusive. She had learned the terrible truth. Hating her father, she retreated to séances to try and get in touch with the spirit of her fiancé. She died before the year was over.

A few months later, in 1860, her father's mine was struck by the wrath of the Thunder Bird god. His financial interests went belly up, bankruptcy loomed. Ruined, hated till the end by his late daughter, Henry Ravenswood, lived for a few more months, mean and sour, till his passing at the age of 65. Upon his death he assumed the form of The Phantom and it is his conflict with his defunct daughter that guests discover when they visit Phantom Manor.

Now, interestingly enough, a few "minor" characters also were given a "back story" by the Imagineers. It is not the case of Henry's wife, Martha, whose death in 1960, the same year as her husband's remains a mystery. The fate of The Bride's mother in law, is better known, however. Ma Ballard, was suffering from Osteoporosis which resulted in her backbone being curved. So much so, in fact, that her upper torso rested over her lower when she reclined to rest. Since her self-irony was at least as strong as her infirmity she insisted on her favorite ditty to be engraved on her tomb: "Over my Dead Body." She died in 1859, a few months after her son Frank.

Of course, being French, I must admit that the back story that I prefer is the most risqué of them all, the one that every adult visitor can enjoy when he visits the cemetery of Boot Hill, behind the manor. Jasper Jones and Anna Jones were the manor's servant and maid. They lived a few year longer than their masters. And while Jasper "kept his master happy," Anna… "kept his master happier." Only in France!

Now you have it, the complete, in-depth, all-you-had-always-wanted-to-know story of Phantom Manor. But before I conclude this piece, here are a few more details you may not have noticed. Did you know that:

Vincent Price was originally supposed to be the Ghost Host at Disneyland Paris. His voice was actually recorded in both English and French. But the concept of the attraction evolved and WDI was not able to use Vincent Price's voice in Paris. The voice you now hear in French is that of Gérard Chevalier, though Vincent Price's laugh was kept and you hear it in the stretching room.

The great industrial barons, from the 1800s loved to furnish their mansions with items gathered during their trips around the world. Henry Ravenswood, according to the mythology created by the Imagineers, was no exception, but, in his case, the purchases were made by the props people from WDI. While traveling to gather props for Adventureland they were able to buy carpets in Turkey, just as he would have done in his time. As to the silverware in Phantom Manor's main hall, it comes from London while the lace is from Belgium and the furniture mostly from Holland.

When you go through the ballroom, there are little skulls that come surging out of the organ.

Outside the manor, there is a ghost with a candle that flits from window to window and you can also, at times, spot The Phantom and The Bride behind the top window.

Finally, in Boot Hill, notice the very subtle sound effects that can be heard from time to time: sounds of mourning and of the wind howling …

A JimHillMedia.com exclusive: Your first look at “Home on the Range”

“Designing Disney” reveals secrets of theme park design

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Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

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Seward Johnson bronzes add a surreal, artistic touch to NYC’s Garment District

Greetings from NYC. Nancy and I drove down from New Hampshire yesterday because we'll be checking out Disney Consumer Products ' annual Holiday Showcase later today.

Anyway … After checking into our hotel (i.e., The Paul. Which is located down in NYC's NoMad district), we decided to grab some dinner. Which is how we wound up at the Melt Shop .

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Which is this restaurant that only sells grilled cheese sandwiches. This comfort food was delicious, but kind of on the heavy side.

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Which is why — given that it was a beautiful summer night — we'd then try and walk off our meals. We started our stroll down by the Empire State Building …

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… and eventually wound up just below Times Square (right behind where the Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year's Eve Ball is kept).

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But you know what we discovered en route? Right in the heart of Manhattan's Garment District along Broadway between 36th and 41st? This incredibly cool series of life-like and life-sized sculptures that Seward Johnson has created .

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And — yes — that is Abraham Lincoln (who seems to have slipped out of WDW's Hall of Presidents when no one was looking and is now leading tourists around Times Square). These 18 painted bronze pieces (which were just installed late this past Sunday night / early Monday morning) range from the surreal to the all-too-real.

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Some of these pieces look like typical New Yorkers. Like the business woman planning out her day …

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… the postman delivering the mail …

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… the hot dog vendor working at his cart …

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… the street musician playing for tourists …

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Not to mention the tourists themselves.

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But right alongside the bronze businessmen …

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… and the tired grandmother hauling her groceries home …

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… there were also statues representing people who were from out-of-town …

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… or — for that matter — out-of-time.

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These were the Seward Johnson pieces that genuinely beguiled. Famous impressionist paintings brought to life in three dimensions.

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Some of them so lifelike that you actually had to pause for a moment (especially as day gave way to night in the city) and say to yourself "Is that one of the bronzes? Or just someone pretending to be one of these bronzes?"

Mind you, for those of you who aren't big fans of the impressionists …

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… there's also an array of American icons. Among them Marilyn Monroe …

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… and that farmer couple from Grant Wood's "American Gothic."

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But for those of you who know your NYC history, it's hard to beat that piece which recreates Alfred Eisenstaedt 's famous photograph of V-J Day in Times Square.

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By the way, a 25-foot-tall version of this particular Seward Johnson piece ( which — FYI — is entitled "Embracing Peace") will actually be placed in Times Square for a few days on or around  August 14th to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Victory Over Japan Day (V-J Day).

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By the way, if you'd like to check these Seward Johnson bronzes in person (which — it should be noted — are part of the part of the Garment District Alliance 's new public art offering) — you'd best schedule a trip to the City sometime over the next three months. For these pieces will only be on display now through September 15th. 

Wondering what you should “Boldly Go” see at the movies next year? The 2015 Licensing Expo offers you some clues

Greeting from the 2015 Licensing Expo , which is being held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

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I have to admit that I enjoy covering the Licensing Expo. Mostly becomes it allows bloggers & entertainment writers like myself to get a peek over the horizon. Scope out some of the major motion pictures & TV shows that today's vertically integrated entertainment conglomerates (Remember when these companies used to be called movie studios?) will be sending our way over the next two years or so.

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Take — for example — all of " The Secret Life of Pets " banners that greeted Expo attendees as they made their way to the show floor today. I actually got to see some footage from this new Illumination Entertainment production (which will hit theaters on July 8, 2016) the last time I was in Vegas. Which was for CinemaCon back in April. And the five or so minutes of film that I viewed suggested that "The Secret Life of Pets" will be a really funny animated feature.

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Mind you, Universal Pictures wanted to make sure that Expo attendees remembered that there was another Illumination Entertainment production coming-to-a-theater-near-them before "The Secret Life of Pets" (And that's " Minions ," the "Despicable Me" prequel. Which premieres at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival next week but won't be screened stateside 'til July 10th of this year). Which is why they had three minions who were made entirely out of LEGOS loitering out in the lobby.

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And Warner Bros. — because they wanted " Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice " to start trending on Twitter today — brought the Batmobile to Las Vegas.

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Not to mention full-sized macquettes of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Just so conventioneers could then see what these DC superheroes would actually look like in this eagerly anticipated, March 25, 2016 release.

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That's the thing that can sometimes be a wee bit frustrating about the Licensing Expo. It's all about delayed gratification. You'll come around a corner and see this 100 foot-long ad for " The Peanuts Movie " and think "Hey, that looks great. I want to see that Blue Sky Studios production right now." It's only then that you notice the fine print and realize that "The Peanuts Movie" doesn't actually open in theaters 'til November 6th of this year.

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And fan of Blue Sky's " Ice Age " film franchise are in for an even longer wait. Given that the latest installment in that top grossing series doesn't arrive in theaters 'til July 15, 2016.

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Of course, if you're one of those people who needs immediate gratification when it comes to your entertainment, there was stuff like that to be found at this year's Licensing Expo. Take — for example — how the WWE booth was actually shaped like a wrestling ring. Which — I'm guessing — meant that if the executives of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. didn't like the offer that you were making, they were then allowed to toss you out over the top rope, Royal Rumble -style.

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I also have to admit that — as a longtime Star Trek fan — it was cool to see the enormous Starship Enterprise that hung in place over the CBS booth. Not to mention getting a glimpse of the official Star Trek 50th Anniversary logo.

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I was also pleased to see lots of activity in The Jim Henson Company booth. Which suggests that JHC has actually finally carved out a post- Muppets identity for itself.

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Likewise for all of us who were getting a little concerned about DreamWorks Animation (what with all the layoffs & write-downs & projects that were put into turnaround or outright cancelled last year), it was nice to see that booth bustling.

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Every so often, you'd come across some people who were promoting a movie that you weren't entirely sure that you actually wanted to see (EX: " Angry Birds ," which Sony Pictures Entertainment / Columbia Pictures will be releasing to theaters on May 20, 2016). But then you remembered that Clay Kaytis — who's this hugely talented former Walt Disney Animation Studios animator — is riding herd on "Angry Birds" with Fergal Reilly . And you'd think "Well, if Clay's working on 'Angry Birds,' I'm sure this animated feature will turn out fine."

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Mind you, there were reminders at this year's Licensing Expo of great animated features that we're never going to get to see now. I still can't believe — especially after that brilliant proof-of-concept footage popped up online last year — that Sony execs decided not to go forward with  production of Genndy Tartakovsky 's "Popeye" movie.  But that's the cruel thing about the entertainment business, folks. It will sometime break your heart.

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And make no mistake about this. The Licensing Expo is all about business. That point was clearly driven home at this year's show when — as you walked through the doors of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center — the first thing that you saw was the Hasbros Booth. Which was this gleaming, sleek two story-tall affair full of people who were negotiating deals & signing contracts for all of the would-be summer blockbusters that have already announced release dates for 2019 & beyond.

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"But what about The Walt Disney Company?," you ask. "Weren't they represented on the show floor at this year's Licensing Expo?" Not really, not. I mean, sure. There were a few companies there hyping Disney-related products. Take — for example — the Disney Wikkeez people.

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I'm assuming that some Disney Consumer Products exec is hoping that Wikkeez will eventually become the new Tsum Tsum. But to be blunt, these little hard plastic figures don't seem to have the same huggable charm that those stackable plush do. But I've been wrong before. So let's see what happens with Disney Wikkeez once they start showing up on the shelves of the Company's North American retail partners.

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And speaking of Disney's retail partners … They were meeting with Mouse House executives behind closed doors one floor down from the official show floor for this year's Licensing Expo.

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And the theme for this year's invitation-only Disney shindig? "Timeless Stories" involving the Disney , Pixar , Marvel & Lucasfilm brands that would then appeal to "tomorrow's consumer."

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And just to sort of hammer home the idea that Disney is no longer the Company which cornered the market when it comes to little girls (i.e., its Disney Princess and Disney Fairies franchises), check out this wall-sized Star Wars -related image that DCP put up just outside of one of its many private meeting rooms. "See?," this carefully crafted photo screams. "It isn't just little boys who want to wield the Force. Little girls also want to grow up and be Lords of the Sith."

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One final, kind-of-ironic note: According to this banner, Paramount Pictures will be releasing a movie called "Amusement Park" to theaters sometime in 2017.  

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Well, given all the "Blackfish" -related issues that have been dogged SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment over the past two years, I'm just hoping that they'll still be in the amusement park business come 2017.

Your thoughts?

It takes more than three circles to craft a Classic version of Mickey Mouse

You know what Mickey Mouse looks like, right? Little guy, big ears?

Truth be told, Disney's corporate symbol has a lot of different looks. If Mickey's interacting with Guests at Disneyland Park (especially this summer, when the Happiest Place on Earth is celebrating its 60th anniversary ), he looks & dresses like this.

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Or when he's appearing in one of those Emmy Award-winning shorts that Disney Television Animation has produced (EX: "Bronco Busted," which debuts on the Disney Channel tonight at 8 p.m. ET / PT), Mickey is drawn in a such a way that he looks hip, cool, edgy & retro all at the same time.

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Looking ahead to 2017 now, when Disney Junior rolls out " Mickey and the Roadster Racers ," this brand-new animated series will feature a sportier version of Disney's corporate symbol. One that Mouse House managers hope will persuade preschool boys to more fully embrace this now 86 year-old character.

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That's what most people don't realize about the Mouse. The Walt Disney Company deliberately tailors Mickey's look, even his style of movement, depending on what sort of project / production he's appearing in.

Take — for example — Disney California Adventure Park 's " World of Color: Celebrate! " Because Disney's main mouse would be co-hosting this new nighttime lagoon show with ace emcee Neil Patrick Harris , Eric Goldberg really had to step up Mickey's game. Which is why this master Disney animator created several minutes of all-new Mouse animation which then showed that Mickey was just as skilled a showman as Neil was.

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Better yet, let's take a look at what the folks at Avalanche Studios just went through as they attempted to create a Classic version of Mickey & Minnie. One that would then allow this popular pair to become part of Disney Infinity 3.0.

"I won't lie to you. We were under a lot of pressure to get the look of this particular version of Mickey — he's called Red Pants Mickey around here — just right," said Jeff Bunker, the VP of Art Development at Avalanche Studios, during a recent phone interview. "When we brought Sorcerer Mickey into Disney Infinity 1.0 back in January of 2014, that one was relatively easy because … Well, everyone knows what Mickey Mouse looked like when he appeared in ' Fantasia .' "

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"But this time around, we were being asked to design THE Mickey & Minnie," Bunker continued. "And given that these Classic Disney characters have been around in various different forms for the better part of the last century … Well, which look was the right look?"

Which is why Jeff and his team at Avalanche Studios began watching hours & hours of Mickey Mouse shorts. As they tried to get a handle on which look would work best for these characters in Disney Infinity 3.0.

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"And we went all the way back to the very start of Mickey's career. We began with 'Steamboat Willie' and then watched all of those black & white Mickey shorts that Walt made back in the late 1920s & early 1930s. From there, we transitioned to his Technicolor shorts. Which is when Mickey went from being this pie-eyed, really feisty character to more of a well-behaved leading man," Bunker recalled. "We then finished out our Mouse marathon by watching all of those new Mickey shorts that Paul Rudish & his team have been creating for Disney Television Animation. Those cartoons really recapture a lot of the spirit and wild slapstick fun that Mickey's early, black & white shorts had."

But given that the specific assignment that Avalanche Studios had been handed was to create the most appealing looking, likeable version of Mickey Mouse possible … In the end, Jeff and his team wound up borrowing bits & pieces from a lot of different versions of the world's most famous mouse. So that Classic Mickey would then look & move in a way that best fit the sort of gameplay which people would soon be able to experience with Disney Infinity 3.0.

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"That — in a lot of ways — was actually the toughest part of the Classic Mickey design project. You have to remember that one of the key creative conceits of  Disney Infinity is that all the characters which appear in this game are toys," Bunker stated. "Okay. So they're beautifully detailed, highly stylized toy versions of beloved Disney , Pixar , Marvel & Lucasfilm characters. But they're still supposed to be toys. So our Classic versions of Mickey & Minnie have the same sort of thickness & sturdiness to them that toys have. So that they'll then be able to fit right in with all of the rest of the characters that Avalanche Studios had previously designed for Disney Infinity."

And then there was the matter of coming up with just the right pose for Classic Mickey & Minnie. Which — to hear Jeff tell the story — involved input from a lot of Disney upper management.

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"Everyone within the Company seemed to have an opinion about how Mickey & Minnie should be posed. More to the point, if you Google Mickey, you then discover that there are literally thousands of poses out there for these two. Though — truth be told — a lot of those kind of play off the way Mickey poses when he's being Disney's corporate symbol," Bunker said. "But what I was most concerned about was that Mickey's pose had to work with Minnie's pose. Because we were bringing the Classic versions of these characters up into Disney Infinity 3.0 at the exact same time. And we wanted to make sure — especially for those fans who like to put their Disney Infinity figures on display — that Mickey's pose would then complement Minnie.

Which is why Jeff & the crew at Avalanche Studios decided — when it came to Classic Mickey & Minnie's pose — that they should go all the way back to the beginning. Which is why these two Disney icons are sculpted in such a way that it almost seems as though you're witnessing the very first time Mickey set eyes on Minnie.

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"And what was really great about that was — as soon as we began showing people within the Company this pose — everyone at Disney quickly got on board with the idea. I mean, the Classic Mickey that we sculpted for Disney Infinity 3.0 is clearly a very playful, spunky character. But at the same time, he's obviously got eyes for Minnie," Bunker concluded. "So in the end, we were able to come up with Classic versions of these characters that will work well within the creative confines of Disney Infinity 3.0 but at the same time please those Disney fans who just collect these figures because they like the way the Disney Infinity characters look."

So now that this particular design project is over, does Jeff regret that Mouse House upper management was so hands-on when it came to making sure that the Classic versions of Mickey & Minnie were specifically tailored to fit the look & style of gameplay found in Disney Infinity 3.0?

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"To be blunt, we go through this every time we add a new character to the game. The folks at Lucasfilm were just as hands-on when we were designing the versions of Darth Vader and Yoda that will also soon be appearing in Disney Infinity 3.0," Bunker laughed. "So in the end, if the character's creators AND the fans are happy, then I'm happy."

This article was originally posted on the Huffington Post's Entertainment page on Tuesday, June 9, 2015

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Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris Is, Hands Down, the Creepiest Attraction of Them All

Updated on 2/26/2020 at 6:20 PM

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Some argue that the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland is hands down the best ride in the park. While it definitely is a top contender, there's another Haunted Mansion in one of the sister locations that out-creeps the attraction in the Anaheim park by far.

The one at Disneyland Paris is actually called Phantom Manor , the only version that has a completely different name and appearance compared to the original and its global copycats. There is the exception of Hong Kong Disneyland's Mystic Manor , but it has a totally separate theme (exotic museum) from the rest, so it doesn't count.

Phantom Manor is definitely darker and spookier on every level, making it another great reason to visit Disneyland Paris . See four reasons ahead.

— Additional reporting by Haley Lyndes

The House Itself Looks Scarier

The House Itself Looks Scarier

Compared to the original Haunted Mansion, Paris's Phantom Manor has a noticeably eerier look and vibe. One of the main reasons for this difference could be because of its location. While Haunted Mansion is found in New Orleans Square, Phantom Manor is situated in Frontierland. A pristine mansion would seem out of place, making the more rundown look more suitable.

The Ride's Concept Is Centered Around the Bride

The bride is featured in the other versions of the ride, but isn't the main focus like she is in Phantom Manor. In fact, the entire premise of the ride in Paris revolves around her unfortunate wedding day. The whole backstory supposedly includes two brothers who owned Big Thunder Mine and built a mansion overlooking town. One of the brothers, Henry Ravenswood, had a lovely daughter named Melanie who he was extremely overprotective of. He forbade her to go into town or leave the house.

Bad luck ruined the estate in the following years: a earthquake crushed Henry, Melanie's mother passed from a weak heart, and close family friends continued to die off on the grounds, leaving Melanie alone. Finally, one day, when her love, Jake, convinced her to leave with him, Henry's angered spirit ruined the young couple's wedding day at the Manor. Jake was lured to the attic by a phantom and hung himself, making Melanie a widow bride and forever captive in her childhood home.

Pictured here is the section of the ride where Melanie is mourning in the attic on her wedding day. Though you don't see a hanging Jake, there's a light shining from the ceiling that suggests his death.

The Rest of the Characters Look Straight Out of a Traditional Haunted House

Though riders will notice similar rooms from the Haunted Mansion like the stretching elevator at the beginning, the portrait gallery, and the seance room, the graveyard scenes from the original Disneyland attraction are replaced by "phantom canyon." As you'll see in the next couple slides, more traditional spooky characters such as skeletons are found.

To also go along with the Frontierland theme, creepy Western characters are scattered throughout the canyon portion of the ride.

An Employee Was Found Dead Inside

An Employee Was Found Dead Inside

In April 2016, a 45-year-old male technician was found dead inside Phantom Manor the morning before the park was to open. It's believed that he was accidentally electrocuted as he was working on the lights.

  • Disneyland Paris

New Disneyland Paris Phantom Manor Book Review

in Disneyland Paris , Merchandise

Phantom Manor book

Early in August, Disneyland Paris released a new book dedicated to Phantom Manor . This book was highly anticipated by Disney fans and obviously, it ran out of stock pretty quickly! But, it is supposed to be back soon in Frontierland and hopefully on ShopDisneyFR too. But, is this book really good? Let’s see.

Available exclusively in Frontierland for now, the Phantom Manor book is sold 19,99€ ( Annual Passholders discount does not apply ) at Thunder Mesa Mercantile Building.

Related: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris

Phantom Manor book

What is Phantom Manor: The Decrypted Attraction about?

This book is the second book of a dedicated collection created by Mathias Dugoujon and Jeremie Noyer. The Phantom Manor book is about, of course, the Manor but also about how different it is from the Haunted Mansions around the world. The book also explains how Imagineers have been inspired by the attraction and the issues they had to face when restoring it last year .

Phantom Manor book

Since the storyline is now quite different from when the attraction originally opened in 1992, some details explaining these changes and the Phantom and bride stories are also explained within the 100 pages.

Written in French AND English, the book will delight Phantom Manor fans. So, make sure to check it out as soon as it gets back in stock! Unfortunately, the first edition had some minor impression issues so let’s hope these will be corrected for the next edition.

Actually, the English text sometimes lacks contrast, making it difficult to read since it is written in light purple on a dark purple background. The rest of the book, written in black on a white background is perfect. The issues only occurred in the bonus sidebars on certain pages so don’t let this discourage you from wanting to buy the book.

Phantom Manor book

Beyond that, the book is a treasure for Disney Parks fans as it is full of details, pictures, concept arts, and sometimes, archives! If you ever have a chance to grab it on ShopDisney or when in Disneyland Paris , I really encourage you to read it! And maybe, try to catch the Pirates of the Caribbean book, released last year for the 50th anniversary of the attraction.

If you dream of visiting Disneyland Paris we suggest you consider Academy Travel when booking your vacation, you might be able to get there for less than you think. An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner can take away the stress of planning a trip to Disneyland Paris plus ensure you receive all of the available discounts. Inside the Magic recommends Academy Travel, and you can  click here for a no-obligation travel quote.  Best of all Academy Travel has agents experienced not only with Disneyland Paris, but they can also assist you with anything else you want to see and experience in France.

Maureen is a French Disney influencer, known in France for her blog Hello Disneyland and her videos about Disneyland Paris! Former Art Director, she is now fully dedicated to her blog, providing tips and advice about the best way to enjoy Disneyland Paris! Follow her at Disneyland Paris on Instagram and Youtube .

Related: What Story Will Be Told in New ‘Haunted Mansion’ Film?

phantom manor explained


Disneyland Paris Shares History of the Music of Phantom Manor

Hi everyone!

Disneyland Paris loves to delve into its own history, and they often share information with us as part of Disneyland Paris InsidEars. This weekend they are sharing history of the music of Phantom Manor. The photos and text are all from Disney. Phantom Manor is one of my favorite attractions at Disneyland Paris (their version of the Haunted Mansion) and it is fun to learn a little more about it.

phantom manor explained

All photos and text copyright Disneyland Paris

The music of Phantom Manor is one of the most popular with the Disneyland Paris Guests and fans. As Thomas from the Phantom Manor Legends website explains, “The fact that the creators of the attraction thought about the music early on, underlines the importance of music in transmitting history and emotion to the Guest”.

From Pirates to Ghosts

The themed music for Phantom Manor is first and foremost is the famous “Grim Grinning Ghosts (the screaming song)”, originally composed for the Haunted Mansion attraction located at Disneyland Resort in California. The lyrics are the work of X. Atencio, who wrote the lyrics to ‘Yo Ho! (A Pirate’s Life For Me)” a few years earlier. As Author and Screenwriter, his role was to combine the attraction’s two atmospheres, namely the macabre and the humorous. Thus, from the very beginning, he presents his ghosts as both scary “Grim Grinning Ghosts” and kind “come out to socialize”.

phantom manor explained

A similar process can be found in the music composed by Buddy Baker (Impressions of France, The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh). There are dissonant intervals, creating a strange and even frightening feeling, but the composer carefully avoided the “augmented fourth”, nicknamed the “Diabolus in Musica”. This results in both a heavy and an airy light mood, typical of what Walt Disney had imagined for his attraction.  

phantom manor explained

Buddy Baker

Funeral and Triumphal Symphony

Once the original script for Phantom Manor was put together, it seemed obvious to Jeff Burke, the Imagineer in charge of designing Frontierland, that Melanie Ravenswood’s tragic story needed to be told in a way that was different to the American and Japanese versions of the attraction. Given the multicultural dimension of Disneyland Paris, it was not possible to use a narrator as in the other versions. Music, therefore, had a crucial role to play, both in terms of atmosphere and narration.

phantom manor explained

A first experimentation was attempted by the illustrator and musician Christian Hope, in collaboration with Musician, Marco Monahan and Sound Engineer, Paul Ricchiuti. The aim of these artists was to articulate the gothic atmosphere of this new version as much as possible. To do so, they had the idea of adapting the original music, switching from a walking rhythm to a waltz, using a synthesizer to recreate symphonic sounds. This proved to be conclusive, and it was time to consider moving on to using a real orchestra.

At the time, composer John Debney (The Emperor’s New Groove) was working on the music for “It’s a Small World,” and it was the Imagineer in charge of Fantasyland, Tom Morris, who had the idea of introducing the composer to his colleague at Frontierland.  John Debney knew Buddy Baker well, so he saw this request as a form of tribute to his mentor. He turned the music of Phantom Manor into a huge “theme and variations” symphony, while keeping a feverish jazzy feeling for the Catacomb scene. It was also his idea to add Melanie’s solo voice, echoing from beyond the grave.

phantom manor explained

The orchestration by John Debney and Brad Dechter ( Atlantis: The Last Empire ), which readily borrows from Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Danse Macabre” (“Dance of Death”), features the classical orchestra and adds a few special instruments…

The bass flute is a tribute to Buddy Baker’s original score, included in the original boarding scene.

The organ, recorded in church in London, creates a mystical aspect reminiscent of Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

The harpsicord piano, or detuned piano, is perfectly suited for the saloon scene in Phantom Canyon.

As for the Vibraslap (a percussion producing a kind of shrill sound) and Xylophone sounds, they are ideally suited for the Catacombs’ ambiance: The skeletons play music with their own bones as in “The Skeleton Dance”  (1929), the first cartoon in the “Silly Symphonies” series.

phantom manor explained

The music box resounding in the garden around the gazebo, is last but not least. It particularly evokes the attraction’s theme song and was also written by John Debney. A manufacturer of traditional music boxes engraved the music on a metal disc, as was done in the late 19th century for mechanical instruments such as the Polyphon or the Symphonion music boxes. Imagineer Glenn Barker, Sound Designer, brought his own music box to the Walt Disney Imagineering studio and played the disc there to record it. The result is a sound as if it arose from the past, as authentic as it is haunting… Enough to put Guests in the right mood even before they enter the manor!

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Phantom Manor Photo Tour & Review

Phantom Manor is a ride in Disneyland Paris’ Frontierland that is essentially their take on the Haunted Mansion attractions found at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland. (Hong Kong Disneyland has Mystic Manor, which shares some bloodlines with Haunted Mansion, as well.) Phantom Manor has a story that is quite different than Haunted Mansion, but the story takes place in many scenes that are also found in the Haunted Mansion. The Stretching Room is there, the Seance Room, and the Ballroom, among other places.

Phantom Manor was our favorite attraction in Disneyland Paris (with Frontierland being our favorite land), so we experienced this attraction a lot, giving me plenty of chances to photograph it. I’ve noticed that it’s probably the Disneyland Paris attraction about which most Disney fans are curious, so I thought I’d throw together a blog post with a photo “ride-through” of sorts. I’ve already shared my Phantom Manor review and a bit of background in our trip report , so it won’t cover everything.

Here’s just enough backstory so that you can understand what’s going on in the photos below: Phantom Manor was built on Boot Hill by Henry Ravenswood after he struck gold (and became rich) in Big Thunder Mountain and founded the Thunder Mesa Mining Company, which was a boom for Thunder Mesa (Frontierland). His daughter was Melanie Ravenswood; she’s the Bride in Phantom Manor. The ground was supposedly haunted and Ravenswood was warned not to build there, but he did anyway, and was killed in an earthquake caused by evil forces. Or something.

On Melanie’s wedding day, an evil Phantom appeared at the manor and hanged her husband-to-be (you can see both in the Stretching Room when the ceiling is illuminated). The Bride, unaware of this, went about the wedding day as normal, waiting for him. She continued to wait, thinking he’d show up eventually. As she grew old waiting, the Phantom invited his dead buddies into the Manor to party. And that’s what guests see…

There is some seriously extensive backstory for Phantom Manor and Frontierland in general, and this just scratches the surface and reduces it to its most basic terms. For further reading, see Doombuggies.com’s Phantom Manor page and Ravenswood Manor for info about Frontierland in general .

Photos don’t do the attraction justice (and it’s really difficult to photograph this ride), but for those interested in Phantom Manor, it should be a fascinating look at the attraction. Of course, given the nature of the article, there will be spoilers.


Unlike the U.S. versions, about which Walt Disney is famously quoted as having said, “We’ll take care of the outside, and let the ghosts take care of the inside,” the exterior of Phantom Manor is dilapidated. In fact, it bears a striking resemblance to Bates’ Manor from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Since Phantom Manor is set in Frontierland’s “ghost town” of Thunder Mesa, the reason for the look is that a distinguished mansion simply would not have thematically fit. It works in Liberty Square and New Orleans Square because these lands are otherwise gorgeous, idealized visions of their source material. Frontierland is typically not idealized, especially not in Disneyland Paris.

Here are some photos of the exterior of the Manor. As you can see, it lends itself to black & white:


The queue for Phantom Manor is outside, with some cover here and there. The queue takes guests through a stroll of the grounds of the Manor, winding past a gazebo with a tea setting and music box, a fountain, statues, and some decaying structures.

This area isn’t exactly photogenic, but here are a few photos of it, anyway.


Stretching Room

At the time of our visit, the Stretching Room seemed very similar to the ones in the US parks, with the exception of the narration being in French. We don’t speak French nearly well enough to have been able to understand any of the narration, but interestingly, a reader sent me an audio track of the original English narration used for a short time when the attraction opened in 1992. This narration was recorded by Vincent Price, and is exceptional. It’s similar to the US versions, with some phrase-changes that make a big difference to anyone who knows the Haunted Mansion script by heart, but would probably be inconsequential to a casual guest. There is a much greater focus on lost youth and beauty, which makes a lot of sense given the story of Phantom Manor. If you don’t mind spoilers (or have already seen Phantom Manor), I highly recommend Martin’s Phantom Manor ride-through video with the original Vincent Price narration .

Here are some photos from the Stretching Room:

DSC_2957 as Smart Object-1

Portrait Gallery

With regard to the Portrait Gallery, Phantom Manor is similar to Disneyland, in that you walk through the Gallery as part of the pre-show queue as opposed to riding through like in Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland. The highlight and biggest difference here is the huge portrait of the Bride at the end of the hall.


Early Hallways

This encompasses a variety of distinct areas in Phantom Manor, from the Endless Hallway to the hallway with the piano player to the narrow hallway with rattling doors and the clock. All of these scenes are very similar to the Haunted Mansion, and seem to build suspense for the first big scene in the attraction, the Seance Room.

Here are some photos from these scenes:


Seance Room

Just as she does in the Haunted Mansion, Madame Leota appears in the Seance Room in a fortune teller’s crystal ball. Likewise, she chants various incantations and has tarot cards around a table. Some of her lines are in English, and some reference going to the wedding reception next. A favorite line of mine is, “Join now the spirits in nuptial doom, a ravishing bride, a vanishing groom.”


Wedding Reception/Ballroom

This is very similar to the Ballroom scene in the Haunted Mansion, except it’s a wedding reception here. The Bride stands on a staircase as guests enter with presents, and the Phantom stands ominously in an open window. It works perfectly as a wedding reception, and it’s really surprising how little is different about the scene to accommodate that shift in the story.


Bride’s Boudoir/Attic

This is the attic scene in other versions, and is somewhat similar to those versions, except the Bride sits crying in front of a skull shaped mirror instead of being portrayed as a killer. Some materials online state that she’s now an old lady, but I didn’t notice that through her wedding veil. Perhaps my vision is just bad.


Phantom Canyon

The climax of the attraction is definitely Phantom Manor, which replaces the Graveyard scenes in the regular Haunted Mansion. This starts with the Phantom digging graves, continues with your Doombuggy (seemingly) sinking into the ground and past skeletons, and entering a ghostly version of Thunder Mesa, dubbed Phantom Canyon. With its color palette and weird imagery, it feels almost like a nightmare hallucination. This scene is the greatest departure from the Haunted Mansion, bearing almost no resemblance to the original at all, except for the music and the presence of the singing busts.


Exit/Boot Hill Graveyard

The Doombuggies leave Phantom Canyon as the Bride (now a skeleton) points towards the exit. The standard “ghost follows you home” mirror scene occurs, with a skeleton above your Doombuggy. After unload there’s a mini-Bride.

The Boot Hill Graveyard is a dedicated area guests can visit after leaving Phantom Manor, and it includes various nods to the attraction’s roots and its creative team. My favorite is the “Hole in the Wallet Gang,” an obvious reference to the team that created Phantom Manor, and its spend-y ways.


As I said in my review, Phantom Manor is a very bold and ambitious move by the Imagineers to use one of Disney’s most iconic attractions as the framework for an attraction that is fundamentally the same, but radically different in execution and result. For that alone, I’ve got to applaud those Imagineers. It’s akin to making a sequel to The Godfather. If successful, you get The Godfather Part II, a great movie on its own. If you fail, you get The Godfather Part III, which is universally recognized as a flaming pile of goat feces. Some dedicated Haunted Mansion fans don’t hold Phantom Manor in too high of esteem, but if it didn’t share bloodlines with their precious Haunted Mansion, I’m sure they’d love it, too. For me, variety is the spice of life, and a great (largely) different attraction that is very well done is a definite win.

Your Thoughts…

Have you experienced Phantom Manor? If so, what do you think of it? Share any other comments or questions you have in the comments!

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Written by Tom Bricker

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So, do you ride a cart or something or walk by your feet in this ride?

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When I went last weekend, they were running it on one “stretching room” (due to lower demand).

This gave me an opportunity to try the attraction a little differently – after being deposited at the lower level (well, not really the lower level, but I don’t think I’m spoiling it for anyone ;-)), let the crowd go ahead while you take in the pictures in the hallway. If you time it right, you can walk up and board a doom buggy with nobody ahead or behind you.

I’m not sure how feasible this is at the other parks, but this was a great way to do the attraction – it sent a slight chill down my spine.

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Great write up Tom. We enjoyed it a lot. I love the “Wild West Ghost Town” feel. Awesome pics.

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Great pics and really interesting report.

I remember reading one reason for the decayed look to the mansion is the language issue. In the states it’s nice and easy to put up a sign saying Haunted Mansion but this doesn’t work in Europe so the imagineers went with a decayed look to warn guests of what was inside.

Another favourite homage to the original mansions i love is the mayor of Phantom Canyon – he speaks some of the ghost hosts welcome lines & looks just like Dreamfinder from the original journey into imagination 🙂

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Very interesting about conveying the nature of the attraction through the look. Thanks for sharing!

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Gorgeous photos! I think this ride looks a little spookier than Haunted Mansion. The dog is definitely creepy!

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Hai.. Wow superb images.. U are providing too good information which i dont know.. Thank u for sharing..

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so how do you get these “difficult to shot” photos to look so great? What shutter speed do you typically use to compensate for the movement of the doombuggie? Really enjoy your photos!!

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I was actually thinking the same thing! Since the doombuggie is moving, what shutter speed to you use?

You can check out the EXIF data for settings on each photo by clicking the “I” on the photo page. I change my settings for each photo based on the scene.

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Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this incredible report. It has made my day much nicer. You gave me the chance to forget some problems that have been tormeting me and at least for a while I was able to get rid of bad thoughts and return to DLP and ride this great attraction.

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Nice shots! I especially love the black and whites at the beginning!

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phantom manor explained

  • Apr 5, 2021

10 Secrets of Phantom Manor

phantom manor explained

By Galaad Spectre

Phantom Manor is one of the most mysterious, beautiful, and beloved attractions of Disneyland Paris. Opened in 1992, and located in the Frontierland section of the park, this unique version of the classic Haunted Mansion ride features an original storyline that ties it with the rest of the land. The manor belongs to the Ravenswood family, who became rich by striking gold in Big Thunder Mountain, and the western town of Thunder Mesa flourished thanks to this discovery. But their future was less glorious, as they were cursed for the disturbance of this sacred place. Henry and Martha Ravenswood died in a massive earthquake that destroyed the town in 1860, and even their daughter, Melanie, was doomed to a cruel fate on her wedding day, despite surviving the disaster. The attraction is brimming with details that give more depth to its story, and it went through some relevant changes during its 2019 huge refurbishment.

I am Galaad from the Phantom Manor Legends crew, a fan website dedicated to Disneyland Paris’ most iconic attraction, and all different versions of The Haunted Mansion around the world, and I will be your guide. Without further ado, here are 10 secrets and fun facts you may not know about Phantom Manor.


As you approach the gate of the Ravenswood estate, you can see a plaque with the attraction’s name. Designed to resemble The Haunted Mansion’s iconic plaque, Phantom Manor adds its own twist to reflect its darker tone. In the lower part of the plaque, you’ll find the Latin motto « Non Omnis Moriar ». This line comes from the Odes of Latin poet Horace (Book III, Ode 30) and means ‘I will not die completely’. A sign of the Master’s great culture or a sinister omen? That’s yours to decide. In any case, it’s a good quote to kickstart a ghost story.

2. The Hearts

Since the 2019 refurbishment, the portrait of Melanie Ravenswood that greeted guests in the Foyer was replaced by another painting, where she is pictured with her father, Henry. They stand in front of the ramshackle manor, and the garden around them is dead and grey... only to transform in front of your eyes, revealing a happier vision of the past. The most intriguing detail of this portrait are the hearts engraved in the tree trunk. In the gloomier version of the picture, there are four hearts with damaged letters etched inside of them. Even if the letters are difficult to read, by zooming to the max we can distinguish an M within all of them. A link is then easily made to the four unlucky suitors who courted Melanie. When the portrait changes, only one heart is preserved, maybe representing the first and true love of the young Bride.

phantom manor explained

3. A Vanishing Groom

From 1992 to 2018, flashes of lightning used to reveal a ghastly murder scene in the ceiling of the stretching room as the Phantom could be seen hanging a man from the rafters. This poor soul was Melanie’s fiancé. In the new version, the noose is empty, and the groom was removed. The current meaning of this scene is that the Phantom is now directly threatening the guests. To find a way out, there’s always... his way!

phantom manor explained

4. The Haunted Gallery

The classic changing portraits of Marc Davis have been replaced by new exclusive pictures created by Disney Artist, Greg Pro. Their goal is to enhance the storytelling and western theme of the ride. However, they still pay homage to The Haunted Mansion’s original paintings: the knight and his steed transforming into skeletal ghosts are repurposed here as a cowboy and his horse. Likewise, the portrait of the Phantom is an equivalent of Master Gracey’s "the aging man." There is also a tribute to the classic Ballroom duellists, one of them being replaced by Henry Ravenswood himself, while the ghost ship on fire is an exact replica of The Flying Dutchman from The Pirates of the Caribbean movies. At the end of the hallway, the Bride’s portrait, painted by Julie Svenden, stayed the same, but a new detail was added: the shadow of her overprotective father can now be seen over her shoulder under black light or when taking flash pictures. He’s always near, and always watching.

5. Barry Claude

In the Music Room, mortuary flower crowns with the four suitors' names are arranged around the piano. The picture of one of the suitors, Barry Claude, can be seen on top of the instrument itself. This poor guy is also the one whose skeletal hand bursts through the mausoleum’s slab in the last scene, still holding the ring he wanted to offer to Melanie. There’s definitely something special about him: he was the last suitor to die, and probably the most insistent in asking for the young lady’s hand.

phantom manor explained

6. The Gargoyles

In Phantom Manor, Madame Leota’s seance circle is adorned with griffin-like gargoyles similar to those you can see in the Evil Queen’s dungeon scene in Snow White’s ride in California. Another set of griffin statues, also originating from Snow White, can be spotted next to the fireplace in the Ballroom. In Disneyland Paris, the same statue is holding the spell book with the poison apple recipe in the queue of the Fantasyland ride.

7. Music changes

When the attraction reopened in May 2019, the Ballroom scene’s soundtrack had been changed to that of The Haunted Mansion. During the three days of soft opening, numerous fans complained about this change on social media, insisting that this tune didn’t fit the dark and melancholic atmosphere of the scene. Disneyland Paris listened to their complaints, and brought back the original score by John Debney. For only three days in its history, Phantom Manor featured the Haunted Mansion Ballroom’s music.

8. The Boudoir Letters

Phantom Manor doesn’t include the attic set-piece, replacing it with the Bride’s Boudoir instead. Melanie is crying over her lost lover in front of her mirror. Many details are hidden in this room and one of the most interesting is on her dressing table, just beyond the guests' reach. There we can find some handwritten letters that have been a recurrent subject of discussion, theories, and questions for the fans over the years. Some seem to be love letters, but an apology letter from a son to his father can also be found. Here’s one, translated from french : « Lady Melanie, It is now time to confess to your father the love you have for me, I can't stand anymore to see your beauty blended with (unreadable) of beasts who keep under glass your sweet and voluptuous position. So it is time to offer yourself to me. I kiss desire. »

phantom manor explained

9. Dead Pets

The undead dog that accompanies the Phantom in the graveyard scene does in fact have a name! He’s called Goliath. In an early draft of the attraction’s storyline, which ended up being scrapped during the development process in the late ’80s, he was the faithful dog of the Ravenswood family, belonging specifically to Henry’s brother, Arthur Ravenswood. Goliath was supposed to have his own grave in Boot Hill cemetery near the ride’s exit. There is also another dead pet who can be spotted in the attraction. The dry mummified corpse of a cat used to lay on the Catacomb’s floor. He was later moved to the train station scene. Rumors say it’s a real dead cat since he looks very realistic and Cast Members insist in keeping our questions about it unanswered. Real or fake? It’s up to you to decide.

phantom manor explained

10. Family Affairs

Boot Hill cemetery is the final resting place of the Ravenswood family. You can pay a visit to the Master of the house and his wife Martha, but judging by their epitaph, their marriage wasn’t that idyllic: « Quarreled and Fought as Man and Wife, Now Silent Together beyond this Life ». Another tombstone sheds more light on what was going on. Indeed, if you look at the servants' graves, you can read that « Jasper Jones, Loyal Manservant, Kept the Master Happy » and « Anna Jones, Faithful Chambermaid, Kept the Master happIER ». Yes, if Mrs. Ravenswood was fighting with her husband, it’s because he was cheating on her with the maid. And that’s probably the dirtiest secret in Disneyland Paris!

phantom manor explained

Of course, there are plenty of other fun facts about Phantom Manor, but the list would be too long for one single article. If you want to learn more about this amazing ride, check out our website . All of our content is available in English. You can also follow us on Facebook. We’re just dying to have you...

Huge thanks to Creepy Kingdom for this collaboration and to Mal’, Kou’, Thomas, and Romain for their corrections!

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Disneyland Paris tips, advice & planning

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Hotel, restaurant & ride reviews for all disneyland paris attractions, phantom manor.

Phantom Manor

Many years ago, Ravenswood Manor was a beautiful, love-filled Manor house sitting atop the hill overlooking thunder Mesa below. This peace & tranquillity was not to last however and now the locals refer to it as simply “Phantom Manor” due to the ghostly goings on.

This dark family ride is suitable for all ages (it is Disney after all) but please be warned that little ones may find it a bit unnerving. There is a moment on the downward lift section where the room is plunged into total darkness & occasionally screams can be heard from inside the mansion and also inside the room!

This attraction is based on the Haunted Mansion ride at Walt Disney World but the story is unique to Disneyland Paris. Phantom Manor at DLP is also a much darker, some say spookier, experience. The whole area is based around the story of Big Thunder Mountain mines & the family which owned the lands, the Ravenwoods. The attraction is more than just a ride & is split into 4 distinct sections.

  • Phantom Manor queue area – Fabulously ghoulish statues & spooky lighting leading from the gates to the Manor doorway itself
  • The walkthrough – Starting inside the foyer of the mansion you are taken into an elevator room which “stretches” before leaving & walking toward the ride itself.
  • Main ride area – Upon entering a “Doom Buggy” you will begin your journey through the haunted Manor before heading into a “town” area…. of course, not a regular town!
  • Graveyard Area – Upon leaving the ride you can turn left & see the graves of former residents of the Manor & nearby town…. if you dare!

Phantom Manor Story Line

Henry Ravenswood (born in 1795) was a lucky settler who struck Gold & founded his own mining company, Thunder Mesa Mining Co . As his mining operation grew, so did the town of Thunder Mesa & the surrounding area (Frontierland). Henry Ravenswood became rich beyond his dreams & built himself a huge mansion on top of Boot Hill where he and his wife took residence. In 1842 his wife Martha gave birth to a child, Melanie Ravenswood .

Melanie grew up to be a beautiful woman & fell madly in love with a local engineer who worked on the mine trains in Big Thunder Mountain. Henry Ravenswood feared that Melanie’s new found love would see her leave Thunder Mesa to start a new life & he became incensed with rage and tried everything he could to stop the lovers being wed. It was around this time that a huge tragedy befell the town as an Earthquake hit Thunder Mesa. Henry & his wife Martha were tragically killed. You can read about the Indian curse which is said to have caused the earthquake on  Big Thunder Mountain HERE .

Some weeks later, the wedding date arrived. While Melanie prepared for the ceremony, a mysterious Phantom lured her groom to the attic upon where he was hanged from the rafters by the neck. In the grand ballroom, Melanie sat alone, weeping, for hours as guests slowly left the manor one by one. Eventually there was just Melanie left & a handful of servants. She could not face the reality that the love of her life was never going to turn up & she never, ever, gave up hope of him joining her to complete the wedding ceremony.

Melanie never took off her wedding dress & held onto her bouquet as she wandered hopelessly through the many hallways & rooms of the mansion house…… searching for her love. After some time even the servants left the house & Melanie was completely alone……. well….. not completely alone as the Phantom continued to roam the Manor too, laughing manically as Melanie searched aimlessly for her lost love.

As the years passed by the Phantom began to fill the house with his dead demonic friends for an eternal party. The evil & darkness began to change the very structure of the house. Walls began to creak & even the pictures themselves became possessed with evil. Cobwebs grew everywhere & the house decayed with every passing year. Wandering the halls, Melanie would sing soft melancholy songs to her groom whilst all around the ghouls & ghosts revelled in their eternal party. Everywhere Melanie went she was reminded of her wedding day.

phantom manor hallway

Many believe that Melanie still searches through the house & the Phantom continues to taunt her even in death as he did in life. Rumour has it that the Phantom was in fact her father Henry Ravenswood who is manically proud of himself for keeping his daughter with him for eternity and finally stopping the young innocent engineer from taking his beloved child away from him. Others say that it is the curse of the Indian Thunder Bird god which manifested as a phantom spirit and took revenge on the young girl & the entire town for consecrating the sacred Indian area.

Perhaps we will never know ? Are you brave enough to investigate Phantom Manor for yourself ?

Phantom Manor Top Tips This attraction is busiest in the mornings so try and ride in late afternoon for shorter queue times Take your time in the queue area and after exiting as there is so much more to this attraction than the ride itself. This is a great phot opportunity with Phantom Manor as a backdrop & the Cast Member at the gates will happily take your photo for you Riding at night is extra spooky !! At night-time keep an eye on the windows at the front of the house & you may just spot some unusual goings on entering & exiting the buggies is via a moving walkway so please be careful, especially with younger children. Look in the mirrors at the end of the ride & check your reflection. Is that something on top of your doom buggy ? Eeeeeek!!!

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Melanie Ravenswood

  • View history
  • 1 Background
  • 2.1.1 Original (1992-2018)
  • 2.1.2 Post-Refurbishment (2019-present)
  • 2.2 Disney Parks

Background [ ]

Melanie Ravenswood was born to Henry Ravenswood and Martha Ravenswood in 1842. Her father was a Western settler who struck gold in Big Thunder Mountain and founded the Big Thunder Mining Company , thus creating the town of Thunder Mesa . Ravenswood became rich and built himself a grand Victorian manor high on Boot Hill overlooking Big Thunder Mountain, where Melanie was raised.

However, Big Thunder Mountain was rumored by Natives to be home to the Thunder Bird —a powerful spirit possessing a treasure. According to the legend, its wrath could be materialized into a terrible earthquake. However, Ravenswood would not believe such stories. Time went by and the gold in Big Thunder Mountain ran out, making miners dig deeper into the Mountain.

Years later, Melanie grew from a young girl into a beautiful young woman. Four suitors were seeking a hands of Melanie but they ended being killed by her father, Henry Ravenswood. Melanie became engaged to a train engineer named Jake Evans who planned to take her far away from Thunder Mesa, much to the dismay of Henry.

Henry did everything he could to stop the wedding, but his useless attempts were put to a stop when a terrible earthquake killed him and his wife in 1860. It seemed that the Thunder Bird had been awakened and the family was never heard from again. After several years, the story of what really happened came out from underneath the rubble:

On Melanie's wedding day, a mysterious Phantom unknown to anyone appeared at the manor. While Melanie was preparing in her room, the Phantom lured her suitor up to the attic, where he hanged him by the neck from the rafters.

In the ballroom, the bride sat alone. Hours went by with no sign of the groom. Guests slowly filed away, leaving Melanie alone in the house with the staff of maids and butlers. "Someday", she told herself, "he will come". And so, having never taken off her wedding dress or dropped her bouquet, in preparation for her loved one's return, she wandered the house aimlessly, singing melancholy songs of lost love.

The Phantom was still in the house, laughing at her human devotion to her intended husband. One by one, he invited his dead, demonic friends from the afterlife to fill the house in an eternal party. The shape of the house was slowly transformed by the forces of evil.

To this day, it is believed that the manor is still haunted by the evil spirits and that Melanie remains vigilant in the search for her lost love.

Appearances [ ]

Phantom manor [ ], original (1992-2018) [ ].

4710802928 ecef5b589b b

Melanie Ravenswood in the Foyer Mirror (1992-2018), from Character Central

Before guests entered the manor, Melanie could be seen looking down at the guests from inside of a window. When they entered, she could first be seen in the foyer of the attraction. Her portrait was in the mirror hanging above the entrance to the stretching room, and would fade in and fade out, as the Phantom spoke to the guests.

Four portraits of Melanie were in the stretching room. Like at The Haunted Mansion , the portraits changed from innocuous and innocent to dark and sinister. They depicted the following:

  • Melanie in a pink dress... stepping through a creek, where a river monster is about to grab her
  • Melanie holding a parasol... in a boat that is about to go over a waterfall
  • Melanie holding a rose... in a garden above a grave where a skeleton is clawing his way out
  • Melanie and her fiancee... at a picnic about to be overtaken by bugs and snakes

A portrait of Melanie could be seen at the end of the portrait gallery, dressed in her wedding gown and holding a bouquet of roses.

After guests boarded their doom buggies, Melanie greeted them, holding a bouquet and a candlestick. She bowed her head, as they passed by. In later years, her veil was pulled over her face, most likely to cover for the animatronic's face not working properly. In the endless hallway, she held onto a candelabra, disappearing and reappearing as guests rode by. She stood on the balcony of the ballroom, looking down at her wedding guests and up at the Phantom, who stood a window laughing at her. Though the wedding guests disappeared and reappeared, she remained.

She sat at her dresser in her boudoir, now an old woman, crying and rubbing her eyes with a tissue. Tear-stained letters between her, her fiancee, a friend, and her father could be seen sitting on a table, and the wedding portrait from the queue was here, as well. When guests left Phantom Canyon, Melanie, now a skeleton dressed in rags, pointed to the way out and guiding the guests to safety.

Once they exited their doom buggies, a smaller version of Melanie stood in a wine cellar, holding onto her bouquet, urging them to hurry back.

Post-Refurbishment (2019-present) [ ]


Melanie Ravenswood in the "Mirror Scene" (2019 - present)

Melanie's presence in the attraction after the 2019 refurbishment differed from the original attraction.

She is first seen in the foyer, in a portrait with her father, Henry Ravenswood. She is dressed in her wedding gown, while he clutches onto her shoulders. As the Phantom speaks, the portrait fades into one of Melanie and her father during the manor's prime, and she is now dressed in a blue gown with a happier expression.

Melanie still appears in the stretching room, but with new portraits of her four suitors. When the doors close and the music begins, Melanie disappears from the portrait, and their grim demises are revealed.

  • Captain Rowan D. Falls, captain of the Mark Twain Riverboats ... in a boat above a waterfall
  • Ignatius "Iggy" Knight, a dynamite manufacturer... in a cavern filled with lit explosives
  • Barry Claude, an oil-field master... in a tree stump, where a bear is right underneath him
  • Sawyer Bottom, owner of the Thunder Mesa sawmill... on a log going down his sawmill

Her wedding portrait at the end of the portrait gallery remained, but enhanced with a black light silhouette of her father behind her.

Once guests board their doom buggies, she is first seen in the endless hallway, alongside the Phantom. He looms over her, as she holds onto a candlestick. They disappear and reappear every few seconds. In the ballroom, she stands on the balcony, overlooking the party, while the Phantom stands behind her. She still sits in her boudoir, now as a young woman, crying while the Phantom stares at her through the mirror.

At the end of the attraction, in the hall of mirrors, she sits in the doom buggies with the guests, much like the Hitchhiking Ghosts , deliriously asking them to marry her. Her voice can still be heard as they exit, but the small Melanie is gone.

Disney Parks [ ]


Melanie Ravenswood at Disneyland Paris, from Phantom Manor Legends

Melanie has made sporadic appearances in the Disney Parks , usually during live shows, parades, and special events at Disneyland Paris .

Melanie appeared at the end of the Frontierland segment of C'est Magique , a revue-style show at the Fantasy Festival Stage , in the early years of the park. Her dress was slimmer with a large slit on the side so that she could move more easily. She moved across the stage to the center, where she was carried upstage by the Phantom. She moved to join one of the groups of dancers, until the song ended, where she crossed the stage and exited on the opposite side.

Melanie joined the Mickey's Halloween Celebration parade in 2018, in a new gown with short sleeves, long gloves, and blue accents on her skirt. She appeared on the Illusion Manor float, alongside the Phantom, occasionally going into the Phantom to trade places with Mickey Mouse . During the show stop, she danced on one of the stages in the hub with the Phantom and four zombie dancers. She appeared in the Halloween parade at Disneyland Paris in 2018 and 2019, walking down the parade route with the Phantom and a group of dancers.

When Phantom Manor reopened on May 3, 2019, Melanie could be seen walking around the manor's grounds. She didn't speak to guests, and only stared at them curiously, before rushing away. On the manor's porch, the Phantom shielded her from the rest of the guests, acting possessive towards her.

Melanie made her debut as a meet and greet character at the "100 Character Night" event on September 13, 2019. She stood in front of the sarcophagus in the Boot Hill, alongside the Phantom. Her costume featured a beating red heart, as an homage to the bride from the Haunted Mansion.

  • Melanie planned on running away with her fiancé, in defiance of her father, much like how Christine wanted to elope with Raoul in defiance of the Phantom.
  • The scene in Melanie's boudoir, of the Phantom staring at her through the mirror, could be an homage to the Phantom speaking to Christine through her mirror.
  • Both Melanie and Christine are notable for their operatic singing.
  • Melanie was also inspired by Miss Havisham from Charles Dicken's Great Expectations . Like Melanie, Havisham remained in her wedding dress since the day she was jilted, though more out of bitterness instead of devotion.
  • While the 2019 refurbishment removed most of the references to him, such as his stretching portrait and his corpse in the attic, nothing in the attraction contradicts his existence. Madame Leota's incantations reference the "vanishing groom" and Melanie wandering in her gown implies that Jake still exists in the story.
  • In the Boot Hill cemetery, a large sarcophagus stood next to the graves of Henry and Martha Ravenswood. The thumping of a beating heart could be heard and felt. It could be Melanie's final resting place.
  • In the Disney Sing Along tape Let's Go the Disneyland Paris , the Disneyland Paris version of Disneyland Fun , a bride character appears at Phantom Manor. However, she more resembles the original attic bride, with her blonde hair and beating heart, than she does Melanie.
  • One of Melanie's suitors, Captain Rowan D. Falls, shares a last name with Dr. Albert Falls , the founder of the Jungle Cruise and member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers , implying they're related. One of Constance's husbands, George Hightower , is a possible relative of Harrison Hightower III , another member of S.E.A.. However, this could be a coincidence.
  • Before the refurbishment, Melanie can be seen as an elderly woman in her boudoir, which implied that she died of old age. However, after the refurbishment added the portrait of Melanie and her father to the foyer, there is a noose hanging from a tree besides heart carvings on a tree presumably made by Mélanie, implying she might have commit suicide by hanging on the tree after giving up looking for her long lost groom or at-least considered it.
  • An early draft of The Haunted Mansion by Ken Anderson involved an ill-fated wedding, which inspired Melanie's story in Phantom Manor.
  • Her hairstyle in the original stretching portraits is an homage to the tightrope girl stretching portrait from The Haunted Mansion.
  • Melanie will ask guests regardless of their sex or gender to marry her, implying her to be attracted to women in addition to men. However, it's likely she is asking male guests.

Gallery [ ]

Melanie in the grand hall, surrounded by wedding gifts

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phantom manor explained

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Tsaritsyno: The idyllic palace park where Muscovites escape the big city (PHOTOS)

phantom manor explained

Tsaritsyno Park offers one of the most impressive examples of Russian garden design from the 18 th and 19 th centuries. Located in southern Moscow, it is just a short walk from (you guessed it!) Tsaritsyno metro station .

phantom manor explained

Visitors often crowd around an enormous fountain near the park’s entrance, but you’ll find the palace towers a bit farther away among the trees.  

phantom manor explained

The estate originally belonged to Dimitrie Cantemir, a Moldavian prince allied with Imperial Russia. He built a church and a wooden palace on the site .

phantom manor explained

His French-style garden was designed according to the baroque architectural styles of that time and included pathways and flowerbeds that were made according to strict geometrical rules .

phantom manor explained

Catherine the Great fell in love with the estate so much that she decided to buy it. At the time, English-style gardens that artistically imitated natural landscapes were popular, and so two gardeners named John Munro and Francis Reid were brought over from England to work on the estate .

phantom manor explained

There’s nothing better than wandering through the forest along the winding cobblestone pathways, which are lined with antique statues and pavilions with huge pillars. As you walk, you hear the melodic singing of birds, which heightens the whole experience and takes you away from the chaos of the city center .

Monument to the architects Vasilii Bazhenov and Matvei Kazakov

Monument to the architects Vasilii Bazhenov and Matvei Kazakov

Tsaritsyno’s construction began in 1779 under the supervision of architect Vasili Bazhenov. Unfortunately, just as construction work was almost complete, Catherine visited the palace and expressed dissatisfaction with its design. In 1785, she ordered the palace to be demolished and rebuilt. This time, she tasked Matvey Kazakov, one of Bazhenov’s students, with overseeing the project .

Main palace

Kazakov designed a three-story building that he hoped would capture the glory of Catherine’s reign. However, when work was suspended for three years due to a lack of funds, the empress ordered him to alter the plans, advising him to construct a two-story building and simplify the design of the roof .

phantom manor explained

Following Catherine’s death in 1796, work on the project came to a standstill once again, and the unfinished palace was left in ruins throughout the 19 th century. Local residents ransacked the place, removing window frames as well as stone walls .

phantom manor explained

Between 1950 and 1980, the ruins of the Grand Palace even became an unexpected rock-climbing site .

phantom manor explained

This finally changed between 2006 and 2007, when the city undertook a huge construction project to restore the park and architectural complex, bringing it back to its original beauty and splendor .

phantom manor explained

The main building still contains ornate reception rooms, but the annexes have been turned into a museum.

You might even stumble upon a ballroom scene in the middle of the forest, like something straight out of a movie, except with older people gathering to dance to electro or disco music .

phantom manor explained

These vast green spaces serve as a haven for Muscovites looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and find respite in a tranquil, serene setting. A lot of people come here just to lounge on the grass, play badminton or take a peaceful stroll in the shade .

phantom manor explained

If you wander around the forest, you might even come across a strange sight under the treetops: a sacred site maintained by local followers of Shamanism. Here you’ll find totem poles decorated with ribbons, symbols and all sorts of offerings, such as pieces of bread, semolina or candy (which you can see being stolen from right under our noses by a squirrel in the picture above).

Read more: What to do in Kolomenskoye, one of Moscow's oldest parks

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phantom manor explained

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Half-Life Wiki

  • Articles under construction
  • Towns and cities
  • City 17 locations
  • Combine locations
  • References to Nineteen Eighty-Four
  • Viktor Antonov designs
  • Eric Kirchmer designs
  • View history

City 17 [3] [4] is a grand city in Eastern Europe that has existed since before the Seven Hour War . Later taken over by the Combine , it became their main headquarters on Earth . [3] Dominated by the imposing Citadel and surrounded by the desolate Wasteland , it is the only location in Half-Life 2: Episode One , and one of two major locations in Half-Life 2 . It also made an appearance in Half-Life: Alyx .

  • 1.1 Architecture
  • 1.3 Transportation systems
  • 2.1 Half-Life 2
  • 2.2 Half-Life 2: Episode One
  • 2.3 Half-Life 2: Episode Two
  • 2.4 Half-Life: Alyx
  • 3.1 Background and origins of City 17
  • 5.1.1 Reference images
  • 5.1.2 Concept art
  • 5.1.3 Screenshots
  • 5.2.1 Screenshots
  • 5.3 Logos and posters
  • 6 List of appearances
  • 7 References

Overview [ ]

Architecture [ ].

HalfLife2 City17 TrainStationSquare

The Trainstation Plaza, under surveillance by Civil Protection units and equipment, with a " Breencast " monitor, which Doctor Breen uses to address City 17 citizens.

City 17 visually resembles a post-Soviet harbor city featuring mostly Eastern European architecture. [1] It features architecture styles dating from pre-World War II neoclassicism, post-war classical designs, Soviet modernism, and post-Soviet contemporary designs. [1]

Upon the Combine's arrival on Earth , many buildings were augmented using their own style of architecture [3] with the intent of restricting citizen movement throughout the city. [ source? ]

In addition, large television screens were installed in several public areas to address citizens regarding the Combine. [3] At the heart of the city is the Citadel , a giant skyscraper which serves as the hub of the Combine. [3]

The core of the city consists predominately of wall-to-wall buildings, with blocks of clustered low-rises made out of a variety of old and new buildings. Under Combine rule, certain residential buildings in the city are used as accommodations for citizens. [3] Conditions in such housings are typically seen as poor, with very few luxuries and constant inspection and raids by Civil Protection . [3] [5] However, some city infrastructure, such as power plants, are maintained by the Combine, and electricity is made widely available from both traditional sources and Combine generators. [3] The Combine themselves occupied some former government buildings, such as the Overwatch Nexus , to help keep control over the city. [3]

The city was large enough to provide all necessary needs for the citizens before the Combine's occupation. This is supported by the presence of a hospital , several cafés and restaurants, office buildings, and underground city systems, most of which are still intact but abandoned. [3] [6] [7]

The outskirts of City 17 features industrial districts and additional Soviet-style housing, [3] most of which are considered off-limits to citizens. The industrial districts are seen linked to the city via railway lines and canals . [3] [1] [6] [7]

As there was little emphasis on maintaining non-essential parts of the city, many areas of City 17 suffered from urban decay prior to the Citadel's explosion. [3]

Transportation systems [ ]


A Combine Razor Train passes by a canal and residential apartments.

Half Life 2 Car Wrecks

All of the Half-Life 2 Car Wrecks

City 17's transportation system had considerable variety. In addition to highways and city streets, City 17 includes underground road tunnels that traveled beneath the city; during the Resistance uprising against the Combine, portions of the tunnels could be seen, badly damaged, with areas flooded with toxic substances. [3] Several railway lines run throughout the city, with at least two large train stations connecting City 17 to other Combine controlled cities . [3] [6] The Combine maximized the use of these transportation systems, developing ground-based APCs to patrol roads while utilizing pre-invasion trains and their own form of trains to transport citizens and goods in and out of City 17. [3] [6] [7] The presence of unused tramways on a street also suggest that the city once provided tram services before the Combine rule. [3] There are also cars. The cars don't drive, the are the car wrecks that appear almost every videogame episode of Half-Life 2 . The vehicles appear all around City-17 and locations beyond. The car wrecks are real-life vehicle models that are formed abandoned.

List the models of the Car Wrecks in Half-Life 2 :

  • White and Old Pink Hatchback Wreck - 1961 Trabant 601
  • Orange Hatchback Wreck - 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit/Golf
  • Lapis Blue Hatchback Wreck - 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit/Golf
  • Dark Blue Sedan Wreck - 1964 Moskvitch 2140
  • Yellow and White Sedan Wreck - 1964 Moskvitch 2140
  • White Sedan Wreck - 1969 Volga GAZ-24
  • Navy Blue Sedan Wreck - 1969 Volga GAZ-24
  • Dark Green Sedan Wreck - 1971 ZAZ 968 Zaporozets
  • Light-Dark White Sedan Wreck - 1971 ZAZ 968 Zaporozets
  • White Van Wreck - 1969 RAF-2203 Latvija
  • Dark Blue Truck Wreck - 1963 Avia A31
  • Light Blue Flatbed Truck Wreck - 1952 GAZ-53
  • Scarlet Semi-Truck Wreck - 1970 LIAZ Škoda 706 RT

Canals toxic citadel shell

A city canal containing hazardous materials.

A network of canals is also prevalent in and around City 17. [3] Much of the inner city canals, however, were made defunct after the Combine's draining of large bodies of water around City 17 left much of the area's canal system dry. [3] [1] However, the industrial district canal systems remains usable, albeit shallower, with certain portions of the canals contaminated with hazardous materials . [3]

Appearances [ ]

Half-life 2 [ ].

Gordon was pulled from stasis by the G-Man and left standing in a train pulling into a station . Leaving the train after hearing the other passenger's comment, "I didn't see you get on", Gordon faced a large screen monitor with the administrator, Doctor Breen , smiling calmly down at the depressed citizens and welcoming them to City 17.

After failing a security check, Gordon was taken away by a Civil Protection officer for interrogation. Fortunately, he was delivered to an undercover Barney Calhoun who helped him escape from the train station. Exiting the station, Gordon finds himself in a plaza, with the ever imposing Citadel far ahead, and further evidence of the Combine's power in the city. Gordon's brief journey through the city revealed the level of repression by the Combine and the level of fear and dread among citizens.

After stumbling his way into a building being raided by Civil Protection, Gordon is identified as a "miscount" [8] and is pursued by Civil Protection units over the rooftops and ledges of buildings before being rescued by Alyx Vance . Alyx brings Gordon to Dr. Kleiner 's lab in a nearby building. There, Gordon is fitted with an HEV suit and is set to be teleported with Alyx to Dr. Eli Vance 's lab in Black Mesa East . While Alyx successfully arrives at the destination, the teleport malfunctions as Gordon is about to be teleported, sending him to several locations (including Doctor Breen's office in the Citadel), and eventually back to City 17, just outside Kleiner's lab.

After being given a Crowbar from Barney, Gordon is advised to venture along railway lines, canals, sewage systems, and the wider canal routes to leave City 17 and reach Black Mesa East. Along the way, it is learned that parts of the route are also under attack by Combine units. An alert was put out from the Citadel to capture or kill Gordon after the teleportation incident at Breen's office. As Gordon reaches the wider canals, an Airboat is prepared by rebels to transport Gordon out of the city. As he rides the Airboat, Hunter-Choppers and additional Combine units pursue him once more but are eventually evaded and defeated as he reaches Black Mesa East and escapes the city.

Citadel View

A view over City 17 from the Citadel, as seen by Gordon Freeman in a Stalker pod . The skybox texture used to represent City 17 from a bird's eye view is actually a nighttime satellite image of New York City, showing the Downtown and Wiliiamsburg areas of Brooklyn, a portion of Maspeth in Queens and parts of the Lower East Side of Manhattan (see Google Maps for comparison). [9] [10]

After Gordon and Alyx's failed attempt to rescue Eli and associate Judith Mossman at Nova Prospekt (in which Judith ends up teleporting Eli to the Citadel), they attempt to teleport back to Kleiner's lab, but find that they have reached their destination a week later in time, although it seems to Alyx and Gordon as though their teleportation was instantaneous. They learn that Gordon and Alyx's attack on Nova Prospekt sparked an uprising among City 17's citizens that sent the city into chaos: Combine units and citizens are fighting against each other, and powerful, more lethal weapons and equipment are being deployed in full force, damaging much of the city. While Gordon and Alyx race to the Citadel to rescue Eli, Alyx is knocked out, captured, and brought to the Citadel. Gordon eventually reaches the foot of the Citadel, with the aid of Barney and Alyx's robotic pet, Dog , and enters the structure to rescue Eli and Alyx and to confront Doctor Breen.

The final stage of the game reveals that Gordon, upon releasing Eli and Alyx and damaging the dark energy reactor that would power Breen's teleportation off of the planet, was about to trigger a massive explosion of the reactor that would "bring down the whole Citadel" and destroy the entire city. At the moment of the reactor's explosion, however, the G-Man reappears, stopping time, and transports Gordon back into stasis to await further assignment.

Half-Life 2: Episode One [ ]

Alyx City 17 Citadel meltdown

Alyx and Gordon watching the Citadel's reactor meltdown resuming.

Half-Life 2: Episode One takes place against a backdrop of a mass exodus from the doomed city, at the heart of which the Citadel has become a ticking time bomb. Hoping to open a portal to send valuable information back to the Combine leaders, the surviving Combine soldiers inside the Citadel deactivated the containment system for the Citadel's core. Though Gordon and Alyx manage to reactivate the system, it only buys a short amount of time. As they move further away from the Citadel, they witness its condition deteriorate.

City 17 ruined street tracks

A ravaged City 17 street, close to the walls of the Citadel.

The city itself, especially the regions closest to the Citadel, had been damaged beyond recognition by Striders following the events of Half-Life 2 , though regions further out, such as a hospital and the train station, were still intact. Most of the railroad infrastructure was undamaged, though any train leaving the Citadel was subject to falling debris. Antlions roamed the city unchecked, and the remaining Combine forces struggled to keep order in the ruins.

The citizens of City 17, heeding the warnings of the Resistance , were all but gone during Gordon and Alyx's flight from the city. Only a few remained, pinned down by any surviving Combine troops and Civil Protection units. Thanks to the efforts of Gordon and Barney Calhoun, the last of the city's citizens were evacuated via train, despite the best efforts of the surviving Combine forces.

When the Citadel detonated, the explosion was powerful enough to send debris flying for miles and landing outside city limits.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two [ ]

City17 destroyed

Concept art of Alyx, Dog and a rebel watching the destroyed city.

In a scene from Half-Life 2: Episode Two , the remains of City 17 can be seen from the countryside. A tornado-like vortex can be seen rising from what was the Citadel, and the center of the city is scattered with pieces of the Citadel. The outskirts of the city appear no less damaged and it is doubtful that there is anyone left alive in the ruins.

Half-Life: Alyx [ ]

In Half-Life: Alyx , the majority of the game takes place in City 17 , mostly inside the Quarantine Zone , a Xen-infested area closed off from the rest of the city. The Citadel is shown in its early construction development. Alyx lives in an apartment with a view to the Citadel.

A map of City 17 and the Quarantine Zone can be seen in the loading screens of the game, showing the player's progress.

Behind the scenes [ ]

  • In the Half-Life 2 Beta, many traces of an older concept of City 17 can be found in the files and the WC mappack, mostly being in the vein of American design and last modified from 2000 to 2002. To support this, even the vehicles such as the cars were different, being GMC or Chevrolet and of brush design rather than models. All of the aforementioned material is absent in the retail version of Half-Life 2 . The Half-Life 2 Car Wrecks are modeled 3D inside the entire Half-Life 2 .
  • The playable Half-Life 2 Beta texture files contain several worn-out vintage posters used in many WC mappack maps. Originally fruit crate labels, they were directly taken from the "Fruit Crate Labels" page of the Encore Editions website . Another is also found here .

Gallery [ ]

Pre-release [ ], reference images [ ].

A real world reference image for City 17.

Concept art [ ]

Early City 17 concept art.

Screenshots [ ]

Get your free tvs

Logos and posters [ ]

List of appearances [ ].

  • Half-Life 2 (First appearance)
  • Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
  • Half-Life 2: Deathmatch (Non- canonical appearance)
  • Half-Life 2: Episode One
  • Half-Life 2: Episode Two
  • The Final Hours of Portal 2
  • Half-Life: Alyx

References [ ]

  • ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
  • ↑ WC mappack
  • ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 Half-Life 2
  • ↑ Breencast
  • ↑ The Half-Life 2 chapter Point Insertion
  • ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Half-Life 2: Episode One
  • ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Half-Life 2: Episode Two
  • ↑ The Overwatch Voice in the Half-Life 2 chapter Point Insertion
  • ↑ https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/o8z4hu/halflife_the_citadels_height_strikes_back/
  • ↑ https://www.pcgamer.com/half-life-2s-citadel-is-3-times-taller-than-everyone-thought-says-guy-who-spent-9-years-thinking-about-it/

See also [ ]

  • Half-Life 2 original storyline#City 17
  • Road Transport
  • Half-Life 2 Car Wrecks
  • Half-Life 2
  • 1 The G-Man
  • 3 Gordon Freeman

The Red Square and beyond: a guide to Moscow’s neighbourhoods

Apr 23, 2019 • 6 min read

The Red Square, Kremlin and St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow at night © Mordolff / Getty Images

The Red Square, Kremlin and St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow at night © Mordolff / Getty Images

One of the world’s largest cities, Moscow is a true metropolis whose ancient neighbourhoods are interspersed with newly built high-rises, inhabited by people from all over the former Soviet Union.

It’s also the city of rings: the innermost is the Kremlin itself; further away are the former defensive rings, Boulevard Ring and Garden Ring; still further are the Third Ring Road and the MKAD, which delineates the city’s borders. There’s an ongoing joke that Moscow Mayor is the Lord of the Rings. Most sights are contained within the Garden Ring, although for some more authentic neighbourhoods one has to venture further out. To help you explore Moscow’s diversity, we picked our favourite ’hoods – but this list is by no means exhaustive.

Evening view of Moscow's Red Square from the Kremlin towards St Basil's Cathedral

The Red Square and around

It can be argued that Moscow, or even the whole of Russia, starts at the  Red Square  – it’s an absolute must-see for any visitor. After standing in line to check out Lenin’s granite  mausoleum , go to GUM , Moscow's oldest department store. Full of luxury shops, it’s famous for the glass roof designed by one of Russia’s most celebrated architects, Vladimir Shukhov. Apart from architectural wonders, GUM has several places to eat including the Soviet-style cafeteria Stolovaya No 57 where you can sample mysterious-sounding delicacies such as the ‘herring in a fur coat’.

On the opposite side of GUM, Kremlin ’s walls and towers rise above the Red Square. Walk through the Alexander Garden  and past the grotto to the Kremlin’s entrance. It’s a treasure trove for any art and history lover: ancient gold-domed churches, icons galore and the resting place of Moscow tsars.

On the other side of the Red Square is Moscow's symbol,  St Basil's Cathedral with its multi-colored domes. Right behind it is the newly built Zaryadye Park , which showcases flora from all over Russia; another attraction is the floating bridge jutting out above the embankment and the Moscow river. A glass pavilion nearby hosts Voskhod , a space-themed restaurant with dishes from all 15 former Soviet Union republics. It’s a perfect spot for a classy evening meal and there’s often live music.

People chilling out at a pond in central Moscow on a summer day

Patriarch’s Ponds

The Patriarch’s Ponds (aka Patriki) is a historical neighbourhood, celebrated in Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel Master and Margarita . Located right off Tverskaya street, Moscow’s main thoroughfare, Patriki recently became the city’s most happening quarter. It has some of the most elegant architecture, including several buildings by art-nouveau genius Fyodor Shekhtel. Narrow streets here have a cozy feel, with recently widened sidewalks and bike lanes. In the summer it becomes party central.

Start by checking out free exhibitions or one of the cutting-edge performances at the experimental theatre Praktika . But make no mistake, the neighbourhood’s main attraction are its bars and restaurants. Patriki’s residents are well-off Russians and expats, so it’s no wonder that  Moscow’s recent culinary revolution started here. Uilliam’s , one of the pioneers of this foodie movement, still rules over the scene with its floor-to-ceiling windows. Also try AQ Chicken  for everything chicken-related, Patara  for a taste of Georgian cuisine, and Cutfish for some great sushi. Finish your gastronomic tour with original cocktails at Pinch or the Moscow outpost of NYC restaurant Saxon+Parole .

Old red-brick buildings of the former Arma factory in Moscow

Around Kursky train station

For a long time, Kursky train station was surrounded by semi-abandoned factories and the area was best avoided. It all changed in the late 2000s, when a dilapidated wine factory was turned into Winzavod , a mecca for fans of contemporary art. Today these red-brick buildings are occupied by some of Moscow’s leading galleries. After taking in all the art, pop in the small wine bar Barrell  for a glass from burgeoning wineries of Russia’s south or grab a bite at Khitrye Lyudi  cafe.

Right next to Winzavod is Artplay , another refurbished factory full of design and furniture shops and large exhibition spaces.  It’s also home to  Pluton , one of the latest additions to Moscow’s dance scene. Other Pluton residents are the multimedia art gallery Proun  and another lunch option,  Shanhaika , with authentic Chinese cuisine.

A short walk away is Arma, where a cluster of circular gas holders has been turned into offices, restaurants and clubs including Gazgolder  (it belongs to one of Russia’s most famous rappers, Basta). Apart from hip-hop concerts, Gazgolder organises regular techno parties that sometimes go non-stop from Friday to Monday.

Colourful facade and onion-shaped domes of a Russian Orthodox church in Moscow

If you’re interested in religious architecture, Taganka is the place to go. First of all, see the old Moscow at Krutitskoye Podvorye – one of those places where nothing seems to have changed in centuries. The monastery was founded in the 13th century, but in the 16th century it became the home of Moscow metropolitans and most of the surviving buildings are from that epoch. Take a tour of the grounds, and don’t miss the interior and icons of the Assumption Cathedral.

Your next stop is the Rogozhskoe settlement of ‘old believers’, a branch that split from Russian Orthodoxy in the 17th century. The settlement is dominated by an 80m-tall bell tower. The yellow-coloured Intercession Church, built in neoclassical style with baroque elements, has an important collection of icons. Next to the church grounds is the popular Trapeznaya cafeteria, with Russian food cooked using traditional recipes – a perfect spot for lunch.

A short ride away is Andronikov Monastery, which today houses the Rublyov Museum  in the old monks’ quarters. There’s a great collection of ancient Orthodox icons although none by Andrei Rublyov, who was a monk here in the 15th century. The main attraction at the monastery is the small Saviour’s Cathedral, considered the oldest surviving church in Moscow.

Finish the day at the craft-beer cluster around Taganskaya metro station. Varka offers both Russian and imported labels, with the Burger Heroes stand serving arguably the best burgers in town. Craft & Draft looks more like a respectable old-fashioned pub, with decent food, 20 beers on tap and a hundred types of bottled brews.

Elaborate facade with statues and balcony on a mansion in Moscow

Khamovniki is Moscow’s ancient textile district, named after the word kham  (a type of cloth). Two main thoroughfares, Ostozhenka and Prechistenka, cut through the neighbourhood parallel to each other. The former turned into the so-called ‘Golden Mile’ of Moscow in the 1990s, with the highest real-estate prices and some of the best examples of new Russian architecture, while the latter is still mostly lined up with impressive 19th-century mansions.

Khamovniki is somewhat of a literary quarter, as several museums devoted to Russia’s best-known writers – among them  Leo Tolstoy , Alexander Pushkin  and Ivan Turgenev – popped up here during the last century. There’s also plenty to see for an art lover. The  Multimedia Art Museum regularly hosts exhibitions by some of the best photographers from all over the world, as well as contemporary art. Several galleries, including RuArts  and Kournikova Gallery , have also found home in Khamovniki.

When you’ve had your fill of literature and art, stop by Gorod Sad on Ostozhenka, an outpost of a local health-food chain, and order dishes such as pumpkin soup or grilled vegetables salads. Afterwards, head to Dom 12 , which is located just off Ostozhenka street. This restaurant and wine bar is frequented by the city’s intellectuals and its schedule includes lectures, book presentations and film screenings, while in the summer guests migrate to a lovely courtyard.


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phantom manor explained

Keep Falling in Love With Games

The story behind Metro 2033 and its grim post-apocalyptic sequels

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If you’re an avid gamer, chances are you’ve heard of the first-person shooter series “Metro” based on the  book series  of the same name. They’re adored by critics and loved by their fans, and for good reason.

Metro Franchise: The Setting

Post-apocalyptic moscow, metro: last light, metro exodus, metro 2033 to exodus: the full recap.

But what if you played the Metro games a while ago and can’t remember the synopses? What if you need a quick refresher on what happened across the three mainline entries?

That’s what we’re here to look at today. Read on to get a quick overview of the Metro trilogy, which includes “Metro 2033,” “Last Light,” and “Exodus.”

Before we dive into the plot of each mainline entry in  the Metro  series, we should establish the context for all the games. Metro is known as a post-apocalyptic franchise, so let’s clear up why the world ended in the first place.

The beginning of the apocalypse in the Metro universe started in 2013 when a multi-nation nuclear where thousands of nuclear warheads rained from the skies. In the series, this is referred to as World War III or “the Beginning.”

It’s hard to find clear details about the event, as the story of the apocalypse in the Metro games is given by Russian survivors following the conflict. The game takes place in Moscow, where a nuclear bomb hit the city.

Who initiated World War III in these games isn’t clear, but Russia was just one of many nations crippled by the nuclear holocaust. Regardless of who started what, the world of Metro became a barren nuclear wasteland.

phantom manor explained

A nuclear winter followed the war, as a lack of sunlight and critical radiation levels either killed all plant life or greatly mutated them. There were some humans who survived the attacks, and they soon became mutated as well.

These mutated humans are known in the game as Dark Ones. They possess resistance to radiation and share a hive mind. There are also mutated animals roaming the wastelands as well.

During the initial attack, soldiers took refuge in tanks and other equipment. Meanwhile, civilians hid in pre-made bunkers or metro train stations.

These underground Metro stations are the starting point of your journey in the games. The Metro inhabitants aim to reclaim their lives while finding everything they can to survive.

There, factions were created among the survivors, and with that came alliances and eventually conflict. The main protagonist of the games, Artyom, finds himself navigating these conflicts in the Russian Metro.

phantom manor explained

“Metro 2033” is the first game in  the Metro series , and is based on the 2005 Metro 2033 book by Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was released in 2010 and takes place a few decades after World War III.

As mentioned before, you take on the role of Artyom, a young man who was born right before the war. It takes place over the course of eight days and revolves around a plot to exterminate the Dark Ones.

The plot begins when Artyom and Alex, his adopted father, learn about a new mutant species that are threatening humanity. A group of soldiers called the Spartan Rangers plan to head out and face a new threat, the Dark Ones.

One of the Rangers, Hunter, asks Artyom if he could take his ranger token to a man named Miller if he doesn’t return. Hunter doesn’t return, prompting Artyom to venture to the Polis station where he intends to find Miller.

Artyom’s journey involves fighting off different factions and even surviving a capture. Other rangers assist Artyom getting to the Polis station, even dodging a conflict between Nazis and Communists along the way. 

Artyom helps out a few survivors at Hole Station and fights through another Nazi stronghold before he reaches Polis. There, he teams up with Miller to venture outside and destroy the Dark Ones once and for all. 

phantom manor explained

Three years after “Metro 2033,” its sequel, “ Metro: Last Light ” was released. It takes place a year after the first game, with Artyom now a Ranger. His group occupied the facility used to destroy the Dark Ones.

The plot is kickstarted when a mystic named Khan visits the facility and talks about surviving a Dark One attack. Artyom and Miller’s daughter, Anna, are sent to kill the creature.

They find the Dark One in question, though it’s discovered to be a child. Artyom is then captured by a Nazi group, then escapes with the help of a group called the Red Line. 

Artyom is immediately captured by the Red Line after his escape and finds out that they’re targeting the same facility the Rangers are at. He escapes the Red Line with the help of Khan and locates the Dark One.

Through flashbacks, Artyom discovers that the Dark Ones actually saved him from mutants when he was a child. He becomes determined to protect the child Dark One and to take it to Polis. 

Artyom is then confronted by a Ranger traitor and his Red Line captors. The child Dark One discovers their plan to destroy all non-Red Line members with a special weapon. 

The game provides the player to uncover two endings: both have the Red Line fall. In one ending, Artyom dies while another reveals that there are more Dark Ones who become the key to humanity’s survival.

phantom manor explained

“Metro Exodus” is the  third installment  of the Metro game series, taking place in 2036. The game follows the ending in which the Dark Ones awaken and help humanity and where Artyom lives.

Artyom and Anna flee Moscow using a train confiscated from the Hanza, a powerful group in the Russian wasteland. They’re joined by Miller and the other Rangers.

He reveals that NATO took control of most of Russia after the War. The Russian government tricked the world into thinking there were no other survivors to prevent more bombing.

They receive a radio transmission to rally survivors at Mount Yamantau. The group travels across the country to the rallying point, only to discover that the transmission was a trap set by a cannibal group.

With Anna suffering from illness, the group survives the cannibals and seeks out a safe, radiation-free zone. In the “good” ending of the game, Miller sacrifices himself to save Artyom from sickness.

The Spartan Rangers admit Artyom as their leader as they succeed in saving Anna. The game ends with Artyom returning to Moscow to reveal the truth about the outside world.

Now that you’ve gotten the recap for Metro 2033 and the other two games in the series, you’re ready to take on the next game in the series. Make sure to use this guide whenever you need a refresher on the franchise!

Looking for a place to buy some of the best games out there on the market? Check out  our catalog  today and find your next favorite franchise!

Also, be sure to read our articles about the other great post-apo games , as well as the Wasteland series .


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