John Debney was born the son of a Disney Studios producer and started his career under the mentorship of Grim Grinning Ghosts composer Buddy Baker, arranging music for attractions in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. For Disneyland Paris he arranged the music for Phantom Manor and “it’s a small world.” He eventually became a prolific Hollywood composer, scoring many blockbusters such as Iron Man 2, Bruce Almighty or The Passion of the Christ. He nevertheless returned to his former “haunts” when he arranged music for the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay of the Haunted Mansion.

Phantom Manor Music Releases

(Various Disneyland Paris CD Releases – 1998–2007)

This is the shortest of the medleys released and the only one published at Disneyland Paris itself. The quality of the audio is very decent but there seems to be little sense or purpose to the way the single audio cues are mixed together. It doesn’t represent the attraction’s experience very well and I hope we’ll eventually get a new suite from Disneyland Paris on a future release.

Grade: C

(The Haunted Mansion 30th Anniversary – 1999)

This almost thirteen-minute long track released in Disneyland and Walt Disney World follows the ride closely, and for a good reason: it was created in 1991 by Phantom Manor audio producer Greg Meader for a walk-through presentation of the attraction with French park officials. As a result, it’s not only the most complete and authentic of the tracks released but it’s part of the attraction’s history as well. As a bonus, you can hear the English narration recorded by horror legend Vincent Price over the opening scenes. One small caveat: as it was only intended for internal presentations and uses the actual mixed-down audio tracks, the music itself is in mono. Nevertheless, it’s my favorite mix of those released.

Grade: A

(The Haunted Mansion – 2009)

A high-quality thirteen-minute suite using the original stereo music tracks, the suite loosely follows the order of the attraction; unfortunately with several omissions, inaccuracies and inconsistencies. If you’re not easily distracted by these issues (as I was the first few times) it’s a great listen which highlights the quality of John Debney’s fantastic arrangements.

Grade: A–

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