As the daughter of Henry and Martha Ravenswood, Melanie was doted on by her wealthy parents from a young age. Nothing was considered too good for her and she had every luxury available bestowed on her. It was speculated that perhaps this is what steered her toward the common folk of Thunder Mesa, the town her father had helped build. This eventually led her to meet the man of her dreams, a train engineer working on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Eventually, the two made plans to be married and Melanie could not be happier. However, when her father learned that Melanie's fiancé planned to take her away from Thunder Mesa to start a new life, he became outraged, vowing to stop the wedding no matter what. Unfortunately, Thunder Mesa was struck by a major earthquake in 1860 which took place shortly before Melanie's planned wedding. Both of her parents died in the catastrophe along with hundreds of townsfolk.
Whether or not the tragedy got to Melanie is unknown, but she carried on plans for her wedding regardless. The day of her wedding came, and the blushing bride eagerly anticipated her groom's arrival. However, he never showed up and rather than give up hope. Melanie vowed to wait for him by claiming that he would never have abandoned her.
Days turned to weeks, to months, to years, and the bride became a recluse, living along in the manor and singing forlorn songs of lost love, pining for her fiancé. Some people said Melanie was mad, but most of them believed that perhaps that she couldn't leave even if she wanted to; that some force, be it her broken-yet-faithful heart or something more malevolent, kept her there indefinitely.
No one is entirely sure what became of Melanie - it seems impossible that she would still be alive after so many years, and yet locals claim they still can hear her singing on the evening air when it's quiet...along with sinister laughter and the sounds of a party, drifting from the old Ravenswood estate.
Melanie's presence is constantly felt throughout the attraction, her operatic voice often heard along with the music. Her first real appearance is in the foyer, where a disembodied voice tells guests of the beauty that once lived in this house - her visage appears briefly in an ornate mirror on the wall as the voice speaks.
Later, in the Stretching Room, four portraits on the walls depict Melanie in different settings, which stretch to reveal a gruesome fate for her in each one: Melanie wades in a stream while some sort of river monster reaches for her ankles; Melanie seated in a boat about to go over a waterfall; Melanie and her beau enjoying a picnic as a snake, spider, scorpion and an army of ants move toward them; and Melanie in a rose garden, a skeletal corpse crawling from a grave in the foreground. When the lights go out and the ceiling vanishes, it is revealed that the Phantom killed Melanie's soon-to-be groom by hanging him from the rafters, thus setting the central conflict in motion.
Exiting the room into the Gallery of Morphing Portraits, guests can see a large portrait of Melanie in her wedding dress hanging at the end of the hall.
After boarding their doom buggies, guests ascend a staircase and are greeted by Melanie, standing in an alcove and bowing politely to them as they pass; moments later, she appears halfway down the Endless Hallway, holding a candelabra as if warning guests not to proceed that way. She seems to fade in and out of sight, though the candelabra remains floating in midair.
Melanie is next seen in the ballroom, surrounded by ghostly wedding guests. The ghosts vanish and reappear on occasion, though Melanie and the Phantom both remain present in the scene, the latter standing in a upper window and cackling away at the heartbroken bride; following this, guests pass into the bride's boudoir where Melanie now an old woman sits weeping in front of a large vanity mirror. The mirror has fogged over in such a way that it appears to make the shape of a skull.
Just after escaping Phantom Canyon, a skeleton dressed in rotting bridal garments is seen floating in a corona of light, one bony hand pointing the way for guests to go. Upon exiting their doom buggies into the manor's wine cellar, guests can see a tiny version of Melanie standing among the casks and barrels, telling them to hurry back.
Outside, careful observers might see Melanie in one of the manor windows.
- In the Boot Hill Cemetery, an unmarked, ornate black tomb sits near the graves of Henry and Martha Ravenswood. Guests who touch it feel the sensation of a beating heart. This is thought to be Melanie's grave, as well as a tribute to the original Bride of the Haunted Mansion.
- Melanie's singing voice was provided by Imagineer Katherine Meyering, who has had operatic training.