The Phantom is an evil spirit that haunts Phantom Manor. He serves as the main antagonist of the attraction's story and torments the ghost of Mélanie Ravenswood. In the 2019 refurb, he is explicitly Henry Ravenswood's vengeful shade, whereas the original kept his identity somewhat more ambiguous, though heavily implying he was Ravenswood.
The Phantom fills the role of the Ghost Host in the attraction, his voice guiding guests through most of the early parts of their tour.
According to the legend of Ravenswood Manor, the Phantom first appeared just after the fateful 1860 earthquake that devastated Thunder Mesa, on the day of Mélanie's wedding. He murdered the unfortunate groom by hanging him from the rafters in the attic, and his dark presence remained in the house to keep Melanie there.
In the updated 2019 storyline, it was made canon that the Phantom is in fact the ghost of Henry Ravenswood, the late-owner/founder of the Big Thunder Mining Company and the father of Mélanie. In life, Henry was a morally corrupt man who had murdered at-least four of his daughter's suitors out of a belief that they were not good enough for her; these men being Sawyer Bottom who strapped to a log in a lumber mill and sliced in half using an industrial buzzsaw, Captain Rowan D. Falls who he sent off of a waterfall in a row boat, Barry Claude who he had mauled by bears, and Ignatius Knight who he blew up with explosives. Ultimately Henry died in the earthquake of 1860 along with his wife Martha and returned from the afterlife to haunt the manor and forever keeps his daughter's soul prisoner.
During the attraction, guests encounter the Phantom many times. His disembodied voice greets the guests as they enter the foyer and delivers a speech about the manor, insisting that "beauty once lived in this house… and beauty lives here still", and prompting the mortals to take a tour of the Manor to see by themselves this alleged beauty. Unlike the Ghost Host, whose role the Phantom's voice fills in both the Foyer and the Stretching Room, the Phantom is not heard again during the rest of the tour, as he has left the guests on their own, attending to other ghostly matters throughout the manor instead.
He is first seen in the Stretching Room, standing among the rafters of the ceiling holding a noose. He seems to shadow the spirit of Melanie wherever she goes, appearing looming over her shoulder in the Endless Hallway, watching over the ghostly reenactment of Melanie's interrupted wedding and laughing, and in Mélanie's boudoir is reflected in her mirror as she weeps.
However, the Phantom's major entrance comes as riders enter the small graveyard behind the house. He stands with a shovel in hand and cackles at guests before their doom buggies tip backward into an open grave and descend into the catacombs.
The Phantom makes an appearance near the end of Phantom Canyon. He continues to laugh manically as he gestures to an open coffin (which might be his own, from which he just escaped, or an invitation for the guests to accept their demise and die).
Outside of the manor, sharp-eyed onlookers may spot the Phantom lurking behind one of the windows of the house.
While not much changed between the original version of the Phantom and the updated attraction, there were some noteworthy alterations.
- When he appears in the rafters of the Stretching Room, the noose he holds has a hanging corpse on the other end, explicitly revealing his murder of Melanie's groom.
- In the Grand Hall, he stands in one of the windows and laughs down at Melanie.
- The most dramatic change comes in Phantom Canyon, where appears as more of a decaying corpse with tattered clothes, likely implying that this is the Phantom's actual corpse.
- As guests passed the mirrors in the exit crypt, the Phantom's ghoulish form appears to be looming over the back of their doom buggy.
In the early years of the park, the Phantom was available for meet and greets outside of the attraction. He was removed in the early-2000s, possibly for being too scary.
Let's Go to Disneyland Paris
The Phantom appeared in the Disney Sing Along tape Let's Go to Disneyland Paris during the "Grim Grinning Ghosts" segment. At the beginning of the song, he made the scary trees come to life and danced with them. At the beginning of the third verse, he stood on the manor's porch, alongside the Bride. At the end of the song, he stepped out of the manor with the bride, and spoke to the Disney Villains. The union was broken up when Donald Duck stepped out of the house, scaring everyone. He and the bride ran back inside, while the rest of the villains scattered.
The Phantom appeared at the end of the Frontierland segment of the stage show C'est Magique. He stepped out from behind a stage door and carried Melanie down the stage. At the end of the song, they exited on opposite sides of the stage, stretching towards each other.
Mickey's Halloween Celebration
The Phantom appeared in the parade Mickey's Halloween Celebration on the Illusion Manor float. He was on the porch of the float, alongside Melanie. He was given a redesign, with a new, more colorful and sparkly costume. On the parade route, he talked to Mickey Mouse about the celebration.
This Phantom has become the standard Phantom costume character in the Disney Parks, and has made sporadic meet and greet appearances at special events in Disneyland Paris. He was given the fan nickname "Glitter Phantom", due to his extravagant costume.
Behind the ScenesWhile working on Phantom Manor, it was decided that the attraction would be focused on two characters from the Haunted Mansion - the Bride and the Ghost Host. The latter would take the form of an evil Phantom who killed her fiancé and tormented her for all of eternity.
When constructing a demo for Phantom Manor's soundtrack, Imagineers used Vincent Price's laughter at the end of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" as a placeholder for the Phantom. As time went on, Vincent Price became the Phantom, and they brought him in to read for the role. He tried to read the role in French, but couldn't get the pronunciation down. So, the engineers had him read the spiel in English.
Shortly after Phantom Manor opened, it was requested that a French narrator be used, instead. The spoken dialogue was re-recorded by French actor Gérard Chevalier, and only Price's laughter remained. An audio recreation of Phantom Manor with Price's narration was released on The Haunted Mansion: 30th Anniversary CD.
In 2018, it was announced that Vincent Price's narration would be returning to Phantom Manor, with the upcoming refurbishment. The original recordings were restored and spliced with a new French narration, similar to Madame Leota. Bernard Alane's new performance closely mimicked Price's speaking.
- He serves as Phantom Manor's counterpart to the Ghost Host, the Hitchhiking Ghosts the Caretaker and Master Gracey
- Bernard Alane, the current French voice of the Phantom, played Clopin in the French dub of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- In the S.E.A. storyline often associated with Mystic Manor, the owner of the Big Thunder Mining Company is a man named Barnabas T. Bullion rather than Henry Ravenswood.
- It was not until the 2019 anniversary updates to Phantom Manor that the Phantom was confirmed to be Henry Ravenswood, a connection that was somewhat ambiguous in the original. However, this had been a key idea of the Imagineers' all the way to the ride's inception. There were however some fans who speculated that the spirit could have been an inhuman spirit (akin to a demon) fixated on Mélanie in a Phantom of the Opera fashion or perhaps an incarnation of the Thunderbird brought upon to further the Ravenswood Family's suffering.
- The Phantom's character and design is partly inspired by Erik the Opera-Ghost from Gaston Leroux's Le Fantom d'Ôpera and/or one of it's adaptations, The Phantom of the Opera. This is also referenced in the attraction when the Phantom watches Mélanie from the reflection in her boudoir mirror, a visual taken from Phantom of the Opera.
- The original zombie Phantom in Phantom Canyon closely resembles the description of Erik in Leroux's novel, as well as Lon Cheney's Phantom in the 1925 Universal film.
- The Phantom's outfit of a Victorian suit with a long cape with a red interior, resembles the costume worn by Ratigan in The Great Mouse Detective, who was also played by Vincent Price. Though this is likely a coincidence.