Book Review: Boundless Realm: Deep Explorations Inside Disney’s Haunted Mansion
Boundless Realm: Deep Explorations Inside Disney’s Haunted Mansion by Foxx Nolte takes a detailed look at the Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion. The author takes you on a tour of the Mansion and shares some of the references and possible inspirations for various elements. Along the way you learn more about the history of the mansion and its creators. He compares/contrasts the Walt Disney World version to the original at Disneyland and provides some thoughts on Disneyland Paris Phantom Manor too.
This book is not a history of the attraction or even the story of the attraction. It is an exploration of the concepts behind the mansion as well as a very detailed tour of the attraction. The author looks at traditional haunted house stories and how that influenced the creators of the Disney version. The book also discusses some of the legends that fans and cast members tell of the mansion and the stories behind it. The author shares some personal stories and explorations from visits as well as time being a cast member at the attraction.
The book is organized into three parts. The first is seven chapters titled “A House by a River”. The second is fourteen chapters entitled “The Old house and the Sea”. The final is a five part appendix. Part I discusses the placement of the mansion, the exterior design and elements. Part II takes you inside for a very detailed description of the interior and attraction itself. Part II is nearly 200 of the 343 pages. The appendices feature the Phantom Manor in Paris, more on Marc Davis & Claude Coats, The Sinister Eleven as well as four other haunted mansions (non Disney).
I found the discussion and description of the changes of the mansions over time to be among the most engaging parts of the book for me. Bringing attention to the small details and then their evolution over time and through renovations is really interesting to me.
Boundless Realm would make a great addition to any Haunted Mansion enthusiasts library and is an interesting read for any Disney Theme Park geek. If you are a casual fan of the parks or the attraction your mileage may vary as this is NOT a picture or guide book. I look forward to paying another visit to the Mansion soon.
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