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13 Spooktacular Days

Day 5 - October 23, 2013   

Over the past four days we have taken a glimpse at the history of The Haunted Mansion, but starting today we are going to be diving into all the details that make this attraction so amazing starting at the graveyard guests walk through in the queue.

When the Haunted Mansion first opened up in 1971 guests didn't get to stroll through the graveyard like guests can today. In fact, the entire graveyard experience consisted of gazing upon the tombstones on the hill. While most of the tombstones can still be found that way, three important ones have been moved so guests can see them a little closer.

All of the tombstones (both on the hill and in the line itself) have clever rhymes written upon them describing the demise of different people. In addition to being something humorous for guests to read while waiting in line, they are actually nods to Imagineers that worked on the attraction. Beginning with the three you pass in line, here are the tombstones with a brief description of who they are mentioning!

Marc Davis
In Memory of Our Patriarch
Dear Departed Grandpa Marc

Grandpa Marc is mentioning Marc Davis who has been described as the grandfather of theme park designers. Beginning as an animator for characters like Tinker Bell and Cruella De Ville, Marc went on to help give the look and feel of many attractions including Country Bear Jamboree, Pirates of the Caribbean, and of course Haunted Mansion.

X Attencio tombstone
Requiescat Francis Xavier
No time off for good Behavior
R.I.P.

Francis Xavier is a nod to X. Attencio. X. was given the duty of creating a song for the Haunted Mansion by Walt himself. While he had never written a song before he came up with two Disney park hits: Grim Grinning Ghosts and Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)!

Yale Gracey tombstone
Master Gracey laid to rest
No Mourning please at his request
Farewell

Master Gracey, who is considered by many to be the owner of the Mansion, refers to Yale Gracey, the head of special effects. He was in charge of all the special effects found within the attraction.

Martin
Here lies a man named Martin
The lights went out on this old Spartan

This is a reference to Bill Martin who was the head architect for the project. In addition to working on the Haunted Mansion, Bill helped with the overall look for the Magic Kingdom!

Dave tombstone
Dear Departed Brother Dave
He chased a bear into a cave

Dave Burkhart worked in the model shop in the late 1960s and was one of the prominent people who worked on the models for The Haunted Mansion.

Uncle Myle tombstone
In Memorium Uncle Myall
Here you'll lie for quite a while

Uncle Myall refers to Imagineer Chuck Myall who worked closely with Bill Martin for the architecture design of the mansion.

Gordan's tombostone
RIP Good Friend Gordon
Now you've crossed the River Jordan

Gordon Williams was the head of the sound department during the time The Haunted Mansion was being created.

Huet's tombstone
Rest in Peace Cousin Huet
We all know you didn't do it

Imagineer Ralph Huet created a lot of the set designs within the attraction.

Wendell
Here rests Wathel R. Bender
He rode to glory on a fender
Peaceful Rest

Wathel Rogers was one of the main designers of Audio-Animatronics and was responsible for programming the majority of the Audio-Animatronics that were present at the Magic Kingdom on opening day!

Fred's tombstone haunted mansion
Here lies good old Fred
A Great big rock fell on his head
RIP

Fred Joerger was one of the Imagineers that started the model shop for Walt Disney Imagineering and created several of the miniatures for the characters in the Haunted Mansion.

Seweell's name
RIP Mister Sewell
The victim of a dirty duel
Peaceful Rest

Mister Sewell refers to Bob Sewell who was one of the head members of the model shop during the construction of The Haunted Mansion.

Claude's tombstone
At  peaceful rest lies Brother Claude
Planted here beneath this sod

Claude Coats was a background painter who worked on films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs eventually design the backgrounds and look of the Mansion itself!

Leota Tombs
Dear sweet Leota,
Beloved by all
In regions beyond now,
But having a ball

Leota's face and name were based off Leota Toombs (this was her actual last name) who worked for Walt Disney Imagineering. Due to her having a beautiful face she became the face figure for Leota in the ball. However, her voice wasn't used in that part of the attraction. Imagineers did add her voice later in the attraction. Leota's voice was provided towards the end of the attraction to the small figure, known as Little Leota, who urges guests to "hurry back."

 

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