- Burial Grounds
- Berm Family Members
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The Family Plot or Berm Graveyard is an area which appears in front of all of the Haunted Mansions where it is filled with tombstones marked with humorous epitaphs, often honouring imagineers.
- 1.1 The Original Eight:
- 1.2 The Updated Four:
- 2.1 The Original Tombstones:
- 2.2 The Other Tombstones:
- 2.3 The Crypt:
- 3 Tokyo Disneyland
- 4 Muppets Haunted Mansion
Disneyland [ ]
The New Orleans Square Mansion has a small family plot appearing over the pun crypts on a berm. There used to be only eight tombstones, but they were removed during the first Haunted Mansion Holiday . Replicas of the tombstones were reinstalled in the October of 2016, along with five new epitaphs.
The Original Eight: [ ]
- " Master Gracey laid to rest. No mourning please, at his request. Farewell". A tribute to imagineer and special effects wizard Yale Gracey who created many of the effects for the Haunted Mansion. His tombstone has a fresh rose placed atop it each morning and the dirt over his grave always appears freshly laid.
- " In memory of our patriarch dear departed Grandpa Marc ". A tribute to animator Marc Davis who made concept art for the Haunted Mansion.
- " At peaceful rest lies Brother Claude , planted here beneath this sod". A tribute to Claude Coats who was lead designer of the Haunted Mansion's architecture.
- " Requiescat Francis Xavier . No time off for good behavior. R.I.P.". A tribute to X Atencio who wrote the script for the Haunted Mansion, the lyrics for Grim Grinning Ghosts and provided the voice of the Coffin Occupant. He also contributed concept art.
- " Cousin Victor . He brewed a batch of bad elixir". A tribute to Haunted Mansion chief-architect, Vic Greene.
- " Here Lies Phineas Pock , laid to rest beneath this rock. R.I.P."
- " Rolo Rumkin . Lived and Died a Friendly Bumpkin." A tribute to concept artist Roland "Rolly" Crump who designed the Museum of the Weird .
- " Here Rests Wathel R. Bender . He Rode to Glory on a Fender. Peaceful Rest." A tribute to animator Wathel Rogers who assisted in building the animatronics in the Haunted Mansion.
The Updated Four: [ ]
- "R.I.P. Cam Irving . Probably Should’ve Thought of Swerving". A tribute to imagineer Kim Irvine who also provides the face of Madame Leota during Haunted Mansion Holiday .
- "In Final Rest, M. Dibjib . He Had to Eat That One Last Rib." and "Loyal Friend Esteban Pine . No Longer Has to Wait in Line". share a double tombstone. M. Dibjib is a tribute to imagineer Michael Dobrzycki and Esteban Pine is a tribute to Steve Pinedo.
- " Julia Shrub . Such a Good Sport When People Would Tease Her for Being So Short". A tribute to Disneyland landscaper Julie Bush.
- "Aqui Descansa Bradford Clemente . Demaisiado Beber de la Fuente". This tombstone's epitaph is written in Spanish and translates to "Here Rests Bradford Clemente. He drank too much from the fountain" along with the inscription of a grape hinting at what sort of fountain he died drinking from. The tombstone is a tribute to senior show designer Brad Clemens.
Walt Disney World [ ]
At Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion, there were originally twelve tribute headstones, but more have been added over time. Leota's headstone was added in 2002.
The Original Tombstones: [ ]
- " Master Gracey laid to rest. No mourning please, at his request. Farewell" In Walt Disney World's family plot his tombstone is given it's own isolated plot for guest's to take photos with. Here the ground by his grave is not freshly laid but instead coved with overgrown grass.
- "In memory of our patriarch dear departed Grandpa Marc ".
- "At peaceful rest lies Brother Claude , planted here beneath this sod".
- "Dear Sweet Leota , beloved by all. In regions beyond now, but having a ball". A tribute to imagineer Leota Toombs who provided the face of Madame Leota and the voice and face of the Ghostess . Her tombstone has a mould of her face which occasionally opens its eyes and looks around.
- "Requiescat Francis Xavier . No time off for good behavior. R.I.P."
- "Here Rests Wathel R. Bender . He Rode to Glory on a Fender. Peaceful Rest" .
- "Here lies good old Fred , a great big rock fell on his head". A tribute to Fred Joerger, who fabricated much of the rockwork in Disney parks.
- "Rest in Peace Cousin Huet , we all know you didn't do it". Tribute to Cliff Huet, the interior designer of the Mansion.
- "Dear Departed Brother Dave . He chased a bear into a cave". Tribute to model maker Dave Burkhart.
- "Here lies a man named Martin , the lights went out on this old Spartan". Tribute to Bud Martin, who worked in lighting effects.
- "R.I.P. Good friend Gordon , now you've crossed the River Jordan". Tribute for Gordon Williams, sound effect designer for the Mansion.
- "In Memoriam Uncle Myall , Here you'll lie for quite a while". Tribute to Chuck Myall, WED art director and project designer.
- "R.I.P. Mister Sewell , victim of a dirty duel". Tribute to Bob Sewell, who was the head of WED model shop
The Other Tombstones: [ ]
- "First lady of the opera, Our haunting Harriet . Searched for a tune, But never could carry it". A tribute to model maker and scenery designer Harriet Burns . Her tombstone also features the design of a viking helmet on it alluding to her being the female Opera Ghost found in the Graveyard , which would be put into proper spinoff use in Muppets Haunted Mansion .
- "He died in the fall, It's a fact not withstanding, But the judges admired His form on the landing". A tribute to Colin Campbell who illustrated the Story and Song of the Haunted Mansion book.
The Crypt: [ ]
- "Farewell forever, Mister Frees , your voice will carry on the breeze". A tribute to voice actor Paul Frees who voiced the Ghost Host .
- "Drink a toast to our friend Ken , raise your glass and don't say 'when'". A tribute to Ken Anderson , the unsung hero of the Haunted Mansion.
- "While Brother Roland here reposes his soul's above, or one supposes". A more direct tribute to Rolland "Rolly" Crump.
- "A train made a stain of absent minded Uncle Blaine . Rest in Peace". A tribute to Blaine Gibson who sculpted many of the animatronic ghosts for the Haunted Mansion.
Tokyo Disneyland [ ]
At Tokyo Disneyland's mansion, all of the epitaphs are reused from original tombstones but several of the names have been switched.
- " Mister West , laid to rest, no mourning please at his request ". A tribute to Mike West, the epitaph is reused from that of Master Gracey's tombstone. There is also a chain connecting the tombstone to the tombstone of his dead dog Digger .
- "Requiescat Chauncey Xavier , no time off for good behaviour ". The epitaph is reused from the tombstone of Francis Xavier.
- "At Peaceful Rest lies Brother Dodd , planted here beneath this sod ". The epitaph is reused from Brother Claude's tombstone.
- "Good Friend Borden , Now you've crossed the River Jordan ". Epitaph is reused from that of Gordon.
- " In memory of our patriarch dear departed Grandpa Marc ".
- "Here lies good old Fred , a great big rock fell on his head".
- "Dear Departed Brother Dave . He Chased a Bear into a Cave".
Muppets Haunted Mansion [ ]
The special's version of the family plot is somewhat merged with the larger graveyard with the Caretaker and his dog maintaining the grounds while trying to keep quiet to avoid awakening the spirits.
The Caretaker's song " Rest in Peace " highlights several ghosts from the Family Plot and sings their epitaphs while adding a new member.
- Good Old Fred
- Brother Claude
- Cousin Maude
- Cousin Huet
- Mary - "Wrote mysteries with masterful quill, not knowing the ink of words could kill"
The background of the scene includes a number of other tombstones both old and new.
- Grandpa Marc
- Master Gracey
- Francis Xavier
- "Dearly Departed Nicholette, here is where she is set"
- "Here Lies Frankie, A Dead Ringer" , presumably a tribute to Muppet performer Frank Oz.
- "Departed R. Grave, Home at Last"
- "Here Lies Kirk, His body went poof when he fell from the roof" - Tribute to Kirk Thatcher, the film's director
- "Here Lies N. Lively, Not Anymore" - Tribute to Imagineer Kevin Lively , an Imagineer show writer who worked on the film.
- Disney World's family plot has a shovel sticking out of the ground which is covered in a vine.
- The family affiliated with being buried in this plot is often semi-officially identified as being the Gracey Family .
- The Family Plot was the inspiration for Boot Hill in Phantom Manor .
- 1 Alistair Crump
- 2 Hatbox Ghost
- 3 Madame Leota
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For years, Jeff Heimbuch has been writing about Disney. Many of his articles have appeared in Celebrations Magazine. But Jeff has always had a little '626' inside him anxious to come out. Unlike his column's namesake, Stitch, he might not paint the Castle blue, but he will paint the park red with entertaining stories, fascinating insights, and daring ... experiments.
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The 13 Tombstones at The Haunted Mansion
Jeff heimbuch tells the tales of the tombstones.
- by Jeff Heimbuch, February 18, 2011
As my family and girlfriend will attest, my all-time favorite Disney World attraction is The Haunted Mansion. No matter what we do, where we're going, or what time we get there, it's the very first ride I go on. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
We get off the bus, we drop off our stuff in our room, and then we high-tail it to Liberty Square so I can satisfy my urge to party with the 999 happy haunts.
The Haunted Mansion Interactive Queue
Needless to say, I was (and still am) a bit worried when Disney announced they would be adding interactivity to the queue. Granted, these interactive queues have worked well in other areas of the park. The new Winnie the Pooh queue is tons of fun for kids and adults, and the games at Soarin' definitely make the wait time pass faster.
But then I heard where the new queue would go: in the graveyard!
The Tales Behind the Tombstones
Reading the tombstones near the entrance of The Haunted Mansion has always been a favorite activity of mine, especially when I'm able to explain to others what the inscriptions mean. I hope Disney doesn't abandon them altogether and integrates them respectfully into the new queue.
Since my column about the stories behind the names on the Main Street, U.S.A. store windows got such a good response, I've decided to present the stories behind the names on the 13 tombstones outside The Haunted Mansion.
Just like the windows, each tombstone is an 'insider' tribute to an Imagineer who helped make The Haunted Mansion the ghastly place that it is today.
HERE RESTS - WATHEL R. BENDER - HE RODE TO - GLORY ON - A FENDER - PEACEFUL - REST
Wathel Rogers worked as an animator on many Disney classic animated films like Pinocchio , Bambi , Alice In Wonderland , and Sleeping Beauty . In his spare time, he created model railroads and toys which caught the eye of Walt Disney.
As a result, Wathel helped Walt create 'Project Little Man', the first of Disney's many audio-animatronics. Wathel became known as 'Mr. Audio-Animatronics' and helped the company create some of its iconic figures, including Abraham Lincoln and the 'walking' Benjamin Franklin who stars in The American Adventure at EPCOT.
HERE LIES - GOOD OLD - FRED - A GREAT BIG ROCK - FELL ON HIS HEAD - R.I.P.
Fred Joerger was a set designer and model builder best-known for the rock formations he created from plaster. Fred crafted miniature models of Disney theme park attractions prior to their full-scale construction. He was also responsible for giving many attractions the Disney 'look', and he designed all of the rockwork you see at Disney World.
REST IN PEACE - COUSIN HUET - WE ALL KNOW - YOU DIDN'T DO IT
Cliff Huet was a lead interior designer for The Haunted Mansion and an architect for WED.
REQUIESCAT - FRANCIES XAVIER - NO TIME OFF - FOR GOOD - BEHAVIOR - RIP
X. Atencio (the X is for Xavier) joined Disney in 1938 and worked on many of Walt's animated features before transferring to WED in 1964 to help with such famous attractions as Pirates of the Carribbean, Adventure Thru Inner Space, and the Haunted Mansion.
He also co-wrote the catchy tune 'Grim Grinning Ghosts', which I have been known to hum from time to time! Atencio's voice can be heard pleading for release from within the coffin in the Mansion's conservatory.
click an image to expand:
Dave Burkhart and Bill Martin
Gordon Williams and Chuck Myall
The 'Pun' Crypt
DEAR SWEET LEOTA - BELOVED BY ALL - IN REGIONS BEYOND NOW, - HAVING A BALL
The newest tombstone to the Mansion cemetery is also one of the coolest. This stone moves up and down, and its pleasing face opens its eyes to look over the crowd entering into the Mansion - a wonderfully eerie touch!
Madame Leota is named after Leota Tombs , a WED artist. Leota's head was used to test the Mansion's seance room crystal ball, but the Imagineers liked it so much they kept it for the final version. This tombstone, and the character in the seance room, are both named in her honor.
DEAR DEPARTED - BROTHER - DAVE - HE CHASED A - BEAR INTO - A CAVE
Dave Burkhart was a model maker with Disney. After the Mansion, he worked as a field art producer and show designer on the Swiss Family Treehouse and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
In 1974 Dave became Superintendent of Decoration at Disneyland in charge of making the 'show aspects' of the park look good every day. He kept advancing in the company until his assignment in 1984 to the Tokyo Disneyland Project. There, he created the Show Quality Assurance Program to help Japanese management learn how to keep maintenance on par with the rest of the Disney Parks.
After leaving Disney in 1996, Dave worked for Universal Studios as the Creative Director for their theme park in Japan.
HERE LIES - A MAN NAMED - MARTIN - THE LIGHTS WENT - OUT ON THIS OLD - SPARTAN
After leaving 20th Century Fox, Bill Martin helped design and build Disneyland. Every Saturday, he'd walk the park with Walt to see how they could improve it. Bill also contributed to the creation of all dark ride track development.
In 1971, Bill was named Vice President of Design at WED. He was also responsible for the design of the Utilidors that run beneath that park and for the design of various watercraft, including the Admiral Joe Fowler and Richard F. Irvine riverboats that take guests to the Magic Kingdom.
RIP - GOOD FRIEND - GORDON - NOW YOU'VE - CROSSED THE - RIVER JORDON
Gordon Williams was an authority on audio-animatronics and an accomplished audio designer. He was behind almost all of the sound effects in The Haunted Mansion.
IN MEMORIUM - UNCLE MYALL - HERE YOU'LL LIE - FOR QUITE A WHILE
Chuck Myall was one of the master planners of Disney World as well as an art director and project designer for WED. His projects included Sleeping Beauty Castle, the monorail, and Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland.
RIP - MISTER SEWELL - THE VICTIM - OF A DIRTY - DUEL - PEACEFUL REST
Bob Sewell joined WED after Disneyland opened in 1955. Sewell was in charge of show installations at the park, and he was head of the Model Shop at WED for most of his years at Disney until his retirement in 1981.
IN MEMORY OF - OUR PATRIARCH - DEAR DEPARTED - GRANDPA - MARC
Marc Davis is one of Disney's legendary 'Nine Old Men'. He was one of the most creative forces in theme park design history. His concept art is well-known by many Disney fans, and were the origin of many audio-animatronic scenes found in both Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.
AT PEACEFUL - REST LIES - BROTHER - CLAUDE - PLANTED HERE - BENEATH THIS - SOD
Claude Coats was originally a background artist for Walt's animated films. Later, as a show designer, he helped bring Disneyland (and Walt Disney World) to life. He was largely responsible for designing The Haunted Mansion's interior environments.
MASTER GRACEY - LAID - TO REST - NO MOURNING - PLEASE - AT HIS - REQUEST - FAREWELL
Yale Gracey and Rolly Crump spent a year in a warehouse together doing nothing but coming up with special effects and gags for The Haunted Mansion.
While Rolly ultimately left the project, Gracey stayed on until the end, and was responsible for nearly all of Mansion's special effects. Yale was the 'master' of effects which earned him the title 'Master Gracey'.
Though there was never an official story behind the Mansion, this grave leads guests to believe that Master Gracey was the master of the house, and in turn, the Ghost Host that takes you on the tour. Disney never officially acknowledged the rumor, but it led to the character of Master Gracey in the The Haunted Mansion movie.
If you look closely, you'll see that the dirt around Master Gracey's grave is different than the dirt in front of the other graves. It looks as if he was just recently 'laid to rest!' Often, to pay their respects, Cast Members will place a red rose on the dirt as well.
The Haunted Mansion Crypts
Those are the 13 official tombstones of The Haunted Mansion. However, for a brief two-week period, there was another stone in the graveyard. It was put there to honor John Sullivan when he retired as President of the Magic Kingdom. What did it say? For me, at least, that's still a mystery...
In addition to the tombstones honoring the Imagineers, Disney also placed three crypts by the exit. The purpose of these crypts was to pass on clever puns, some of which are quire funny if you take the time to read them on your way out of the Mansion.
The first crypt contains the following dearly departed: C.U. Later, Dustn T. Dust, Asher Y Ashes, MT Tomb, Hail N. Hardy, I.M. Ready, Love U. Trudy, I. Trudy Deui, Rusty Gates, Pearl E. Gates, and Rustin Peese.
The second crypt, which bears the inscription ' In Spiritual Repose ', contains the bodies of I Ial Lushinashun, Bea Witch, Hap A Rition, Manny Festation, Metta Fisiks, Clare Voince, Wee. G. Bored, I. Emma Spook, and Paul Tergyst.
The final crypt pays homage to the French literary folktale of Bluebeard . It contains his loving wives, and it reads:
Blue Beard 1440 Here lieth his loving wives: Penelope - died 1434 Abigail - 1435 Anastasia - 1436 Prudence - 1437 Pheobe - 1438 Eugenia - 1439 Lucretia - Seven winsome wives Some fat, some thin Six of them were faithful But the seventh did him in
The Importance of Imagineer Tributes
I hope Disney recognizes that The Haunted Mansion tombstones are a vital part of its legacy. Though it's easy to overlook them or take them for granted, they add to the ghoulish delight and charm of the attraction, and they pay tribute to the Imagineers who created The Haunted Mansion.
Fingers crossed that they will be back soon!
So far, we've covered the Main Street Windows and The Haunted Mansion tombstones, but that only scratches the surface of the many Imagineer tributes hidden throughout the park. In upcoming weeks, I'll point more tributes so you can look for them youself the next time you're at Disney World.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter for updates!
Stuff Not to Skip
- The Haunted Mansion: Disneyland http://disneyland.disney.go.com/disneyland/haunted-mansion
- The Haunted Mansion: Disney World http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/magic-kingdom/attractions/haunted-mansion
- Jeff Heimbuch's Bamfer Productions http://www.bamferproductions.com
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The Tombstones and Creepy Old Crypts of the Haunted Mansion
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By Lou Mongello
I love the Haunted Mansion! To me, there is nothing else quite like it in any park in Walt Disney World. The nostalgia, the effects… it’s great.
Now, on to the questions (posed to me by someone during a recent trip to WDW, but asked of me more than once). Was the mausoleum at the exit always there? And are the names on the graves of real people or just made-up?
The mausoleum at the end of the attraction was always there, but may be overlooked by people who are still shaking, laughing, or running as they exit the Haunted Mansion. As far as the tombstones, they have always been there… and always will be, I believe.
After you pass through the menacing wrought-iron gates surrounding the Haunted Mansion, you will encounter the home’s cemetery, (conveniently located right outside the entrance). Here you will find a number of witty headstones with epitaphs (written by Disney Legend Xavier Atencio), not to the “dearly departed”, but in tribute to the many Imagineers who helped develop the Haunted Mansion.
Here is a list of the tombstone inscriptions and the Imagineers who inspired them:
Requiescat Francis Xavier, no time off for good behavior R.I.P.
Legendary Imagineer Francis Xavier “X” Atencio helped develop the Haunted Mansion storyline, wrote the theme song’s lyrics, and helped come up with the tombstone inscriptions.
Dear departed Brother Dave, he chased a bear into a cave
This stone was named after Dave Burkhart, who was the model builder for the Haunted Mansion.
At peaceful rest lies Brother Claude, planted here beneath this sod
Claude Coats was the Imagineer who came up with the layout of the OmniMover ride track for the Haunted Mansion, as well as numerous concept sketches
In memory of our patriarch, dear departed Grandpa Marc
Marc Davis, a legendary designer and artist for Disney, as responsible for almost all of the concept art for the Haunted Mansion, including many of the humorous characters and scenes.
Master Gracey laid to rest, no mourning please at his request Farewell
Yale Gracey was responsible for many of the special effects seen in the Haunted Mansion , including the stretching portraits and the séance room, as well as for a number of attractions throughout Walt Disney World.
Rest in peace Cousin Huet, we all know you didn’t do it
Cliff Huet was an architect and lead interior designer.
Here lies good old Fred, a great big rock fell on his head R.I.P.
This inscription is a tribute to Disney Legend Fred Joerger, an art director that created numerous plaster effects for the Haunted Mansion. He is also honored with his name on a window above Main Street, USA.
Here lies a man named Martin, the lights went out on this old Spartan
Bud Martin was the director of the Imagineering special effects department.
R.I.P. In memoriam Uncle Myall, here you’ll lie for quite a while
Chuck Myall was a designer at WED Enterprises who aided in the overall planning of the Magic Kingdom.
Wathel R. Bender, he rode to glory on a fender Peaceful rest
An innovator in the area of Audio-Animatronics, Wathel Rogers also helped program many of the figures in the Haunted Mansion
R.I.P. Mister Sewell, the victim of a dirty duel Peaceful rest
Bob Sewell was one of the head modelers at WED Enterprises
Good friend Gordon, now you’ve crossed the River Jordan
Gordon Williams designed much of the sound effects for the Mansion and assisted with the Audio-Animatronics programming
Dear sweet Leota, beloved by all In regions beyond now, but having a ball
The most recent addition to the “family plot”, how could we forget “little” Leota Toombs? She was an artist at WED whose face was used as the model for the head in the crystal ball for the seance scene, and so the character was named “Madame Leota” in her honor. Keep your “eyes” on the headstone for a little surprise – it opens its eyes every so often to see who’s coming over, then closes them again in silent vigilance.
As you exit the Haunted Mansion, you will also find a crypt on the left-hand side. The names found on the two crypts (with their tongue-in-cheek pronunciations in parentheses) are:
Asher T. Ashes (ashes to ashes) Wee G. Bord (ouija board) I. Trudy Dew (I truly do) Dustin T. Dust (dust to dust) Manny Festation (manifestation) Metta Fisiks (metaphysics) Pearl E. Gates (pearly gates) Rusty Gates (rusty gates) Hail N. Harty (hail and hearty) C.U. Later (see you later) Hal Lucinashun (hallucination) Rustin Peese (rest in peace) I.M. Ready (I am ready) Hap A. Rition (apparition) I. Emma Spook (I am a spook) Paul Tergyst (poltergeist) M.T. Tomb (empty tomb) Love U. Trudy (love you truly) Clare Voince (clairvoyance) Bea Witch (be a witch)
Lastly, there is poor Bluebeard’s final resting place. Maybe he was a good pirate, but he was not the luckiest guy when it comes to picking the ladies, it seems…
1440 BLUEBEARD here lieth his loving wives Penelope – died 1434 Abigail – 1435 Anastasia – 1436 Prudence – 1437 Pheobe – 1438 Eugenia – 1439 Lucretia – Seven winsome wives Some fat, some thin Six of them were faithful But the seventh did him in
Hope you enjoy the Haunted Mansion as much as I do.. and remember…
Hurry baaaaacccck…. hurry baaaaccckkk…. be sure to bring your “Death Certificate”, if you decide to join us!
Magically Speaking Featured Article Library of Congress ISSN:1556-3863
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Disneyland | We decode the hidden tributes behind all 13…
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Disneyland | we decode the hidden tributes behind all 13 haunted mansion tombstones at disneyland.
The Disney artists who designed the interiors, audio-animatronic characters, portraits, special effects and sight gags inside the Haunted Mansion never signed their artwork, but they still managed to leave their own personal signatures on the Disneyland attraction.
The witty epitaphs on the 13 tombstones in the hillside graveyard outside the Haunted Mansion in Anaheim pay tribute to the Disney Legends and Walt Disney Imagineers who helped bring the attraction to life and the Disneyland employees who have kept the eerie estate running since its 1969 debut.
The tombstones were removed in 2001 to make room for a pumpkin display on the berm hillside during the installation of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” holiday ride overlay. When the holidays were over, the removed tombstones were nowhere to be found. Imagineers created replicas of the original tombstones and added a few tributes to more contemporary cemetery caretakers when the graveyard was brought back in October 2016.
This faux tombstone memorializes Marc Davis, one of the original Disney Imagineers who worked on the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. This is located at the one in the queue line for Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in the Liberty Square area. (File photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Brother Claude is on this tombstone is an homage to Claude Coats, a Disney legend, who was one of the lead designers of the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. (File photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)
This one is an homage to Yale Gracey, a Disney legend, who created many of the original special effects bringing “ghosts to life” in the Haunted Mansion attraction. (Photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register/SCNG)
The Imagineers used cryptic ciphers to cleverly conceal the true identities of the tributes except to those able to crack the code. The epitaphs often featured rhyming couplets that made reference to characters created for the attraction’s elaborate backstory.
The popularity of the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay during the Halloween and Christmas seasons often leads to wait times stretching to 2 hours and beyond. The next time you find yourself winding through the Haunted Mansion queue, take a moment to pay your respects to the Disney elders who created the enduring attraction.
Here’s a rundown of the Imagineers, Disney Legends and Disneyland employees with tombstone tributes at the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland:
Original tombstone tributes from 1969
Tribute to: Marc Davis
Haunted Mansion contribution: Lead designer specializing in concept art, character design and sight gags. Created portraits in the Stretching Room.
Headstone inscription: In memory of our patriarch, dear departed Grandpa Marc
Tribute to: Claude Coats
Haunted Mansion contribution: Lead designer specializing in backgrounds and environments. Created paintings in Portrait Gallery. Developed Omnimover ride system layout.
Headstone inscription: At peaceful rest lies Brother Claude, Planted here beneath this sod
Tribute to: Yale Gracey
Haunted Mansion contribution: Special effects and visual illusions
Headstone inscription: Master Gracey laid to rest, No mourning please at his request
Tribute to: Rolly Crump
Haunted Mansion contribution: Designer and special effects
Headstone inscription: Rolo Rumkin lived and died a friendly bumpkin
Tribute to: X Atencio
Haunted Mansion contribution: Wrote Ghost Host script and “Grim Grinning Ghosts” song lyrics. Voiced the Coffin Occupant.
Headstone inscription: Requiescat Francis Xavier, No time off for good behavior R.I.P.
PHINEAS POCK Tribute to: Paul Frees
Haunted Mansion contribution: Voice of the Ghost Host narrator
Headstone inscription: Here lies Phineas Pock, Laid to rest beneath this rock R.I.P.
WATHEL R. BENDER
Tribute to: Wathel Rogers
Haunted Mansion contribution: Audio-animatronic figure animation
Headstone inscription: Here rests Wathel R. Bender, He rode to glory on a fender, Peaceful rest
Tribute to: Vic Greene
Haunted Mansion contribution: Architect
Headstone inscription: RIP Cousin Victor, He brewed a batch of bad elixir
Newly added tombstones in 2016
Tribute to: Julie Bush
Haunted Mansion contribution: Landscape architect
Headstone inscription: Julia Shrub, Such a good sport when people would tease her for being so short
Tribute to: Brad Clemens
Haunted Mansion contribution: Architect and show designer
Headstone inscription: Aqui descansa Bradford Clemente por Demaisiado beber de la fuente Translation: Here rests Bradford Clemente, He drank too much from the fountain
Tribute to: Kim Irvine
Haunted Mansion contribution: Art director and face of Madame Leota during Haunted Mansion Holiday
Headstone inscription: R.I.P. Cam Irving, Probably should’ve thought of swerving
Tribute to: Michael Dobrzycki
Haunted Mansion contribution: Concept artist and graphic designer
Headstone inscription: In final rest M. Dibjib, He had to eat that one last rib
Tribute to: Steve Pinedo
Haunted Mansion contribution: Show producer and designer
Headstone inscription: Loyal friend Esteban Pine, No longer has to wait in line
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Haunted Mansion Tombstones
By Kimi Thompson, Walt Disney Archives
When the Haunted Mansion was being developed for Disneyland, Walt Disney asked Imagineer X Atencio to help develop the storyline for the attraction. He even wrote the now-famous lyrics to the iconic theme song, “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” As a fun homage to the Imagineers who helped create the Haunted Mansion , X wrote epitaphs for the tombstones featured outside the attraction in the queue area– including one for himself that used his full name: Francis Xavier.
When the attraction later opened in the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort, the tombstones were again created using the same molds as their Disneyland counterparts. Years later, the original fiberglass tombstones from Florida’s Haunted Mansion were replaced with real stone versions—leaving the original tombstones to be proudly preserved by the Walt Disney Archives.
Don’t miss seeing the original versions from Magic Kingdom in our exhibit “Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic” which officially opens this weekend at the Bowers Museum!
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GALLERY: Have a Ball with These Cinderella Costumes From The Walt Disney Archives
A Cryptic Tour of The Haunted Mansion Tombstone Tributes at Walt Disney World
in Disney , Theme Parks , Walt Disney World
A cemetery or graveyard is where we retire when we’re done; a final memorial to our life and loved ones. These peaceful burial grounds are home to a diverse dedication of birth and death dates, photos, and other ways we remember those who have left us behind. Prior to the Civil War, many cemeteries were little more than family’s burial plots, located on the family homestead.
Given The Walt Disney Company’s attention to detail, it should come as no surprise that The Walt Disney Company included this representation of history at its Haunted Mansion attractions. Move over Hidden Mickeys , the tombstones in this cemetery serve a different purpose with hidden references to Imagineers hidden in plain sight. Most of the epithets engraved on the Haunted Mansion tombstones are a tribute to the Imagineers who worked on the attraction; much the same way an artist signs a painting. Shall we take a tour of these tombstones?
Our tour begins here in this cemetery (graveyards are attached to churches) where you see tributes to several artisans who paid their respects to the Haunted Mansion. Subtle, sometimes silly, statements that leave a final mark on this retirement home for ghosts can be found among the markers just outside the Haunted Mansion.
Originally these tributes took their place just to the right of the queue, taking advantage of the river view. Offering a few fiendishly fun inscriptions, by way playful rhymes, the fate of those buried is forever recorded. This small cemetery was removed in 2011 to make way for a new, interactive queue area. Not to worry though, some of the more prominent headstones were included in the new queue area. New tombs, markers, and walls were installed to accommodate the added eerie interactive elements.
Those markers that did not make into the new queue were placed just beyond the enhancements, along with additional tombstones and a few shovels. This new cemetery seems to have a few more residents. Other original tombstones can still be found in this new hillside resting place which can be seen to the left of the attraction’s entrance.
Imagineers “interred” at the Haunted Mansion
The first headstone is for Imagineer Marc Davis who worked on both the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean .
Yale Gracey (along with Rolly Crump) crafted and tested many of the effects seen in the Mansion. His effects skills earned him the title of “Master” Gracey as you see on this haunted tombstone.
Animator turned Imagineer, Xavier “X” Atencio worked on many classic Disney attractions and co-wrote “Grim Grinning Ghosts” His voice still “haunts” the mansion.
Animator turned audio-animatronic expert, Wathel Rogers is responsible for many of the iconic life-like figures at Disney attractions.
Disney background artist Claude Coats became a show designer for the company and helped to design the Mansion’s many environments.
Set designer Fred Joerger crafted many of the attraction models used in planning. He also created a lot of the rock work (plaster) seen at Disney parks.
WED’s architect Cliff Huet was the interior designer for the Haunted Mansion.
Bob Sewell was head of the WED model shop and was responsible for show instillation.
VP of Design at WED, Bill Martin crafted the tunnels (utilidors) at the Magic Kingdom
Chuck Myall worked for WED as an art director and project designer.
Harriet Burns was the first female Imagineer at WED, she was a model maker and scenic designer.
Model maker Dave Burkhart not only worked on the Haunted Mansion but also 20000 Leagues under the Sea and the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse at Walt Disney World.
The sound effects haunting the Mansion were designed by Gordon Williams .
The model and face of Madame Leota, Leota Tombs was an artist for WED. Her tombstone, at the entrance to the Haunted Mansion, is quite unique – blink and you might miss her doing the same.
Animator turned Imagineer, Roland “Rolly” Crump has worked on several animated movies and attractions for the Walt Disney Company, he contributed heavily to the Haunted Mansion.
Paul Frees ’ voice is easily recognized as the Ghost Host, he was also the voice Professor Ludwick Von Drake and narrator for several Disney attractions (as well as scores of animated features and product characters like the Pillsbury Dough Boy).
Disney writer and art director Ken Anderson came up with the wedding concept for the Haunted Mansion.
Blaine Gibson was a legendary artist and sculptor for Disney. In addition to many of the leaders found in the Hall of Presidents , he also sculpted many of the pirates for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction (which were also used as ghosts in the Haunted Mansion).
“Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion” was illustrated by Imagineer Collin Campbell .
Thurl Ravenscroft , whose deep voice can be heard belting out the Mansion’s theme song, “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” is tuned into the spirit realm via the large “Ravenscroft” organ in the interactive queue.
999 Happy Haunts. . .
These tombstones have no “official” story but are believed to be tied to a few of the Mansion’s ghostly inhabitants.
“Cousin Algernon” – the derby wearing member of the quartet of signing busts
Ezra – tall, skinny hitchhiking ghost also known as the “skeleton”
Gus – forever weighed down by ball and chain, this hitchhiking ghost is also known as the “Prisoner.”
Beauregard – a character created by Ken Anderson to be the living butler/tour guide of the Mansion
Ned Nub – another of the singing busts (first on the left)
Phineas Pock – possibly Phineas P Pock, another of the singing busts
Additional crypts can be found at the attraction’s exit. Aside from hauntingly humorous puns and ghostly gags, the “occupants,” have little significance in the creation or story of the attraction, short of possibly being part of the 999 ghosts that inhabit the Haunted Mansion.
The aforementioned crypts and a few of the prominent placeholders found in the Mansion’s cemetery can be reproduced at home, thanks to the free paper models that can be found on the Haunted Dimensions by Ray Keim website. Good Old Fred’s tombstone , Master Gracey’s Tombstone , Leota’s Tombstone , the Crypts , and the just added Francis Xavier (plus many more models) are all available for download on the site.
A creepy clever collection of who’s who in Haunted Mansion and Disney Imagineering, the tombstones at the Haunted Mansion are more than just another pretty (paranormal) set dressing. These sometimes silly, slightly spooky macabre markers of magic makers are a haunting homage to the significant sprits “buried” in the Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion cemetery.
Source and Images: Disney Dispatch , Haunted Mansion Wiki , Wikipedia, Haunted Dimensions , Michael Gavin
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Walt Disney World Resort
All in the Details: Behind the Haunted Mansion’s Tombstones
by Jennifer Fickley-Baker , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort
The tombstones at the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom Park showcase clever sayings, rhymes and play-on-words that really catch guests’ attention as they make their way into the attraction.
In this video, shared by Walt Disney Imagineering, we hear how many of these tombstones pay tribute to famous Disney Legends and Imagineers who helped create the attraction to life years ago. For example, one headstone’s reference to “Master Gracey” refers to Imagineer Yale Gracey, a special effects extraordinaire who brought the spirits of the Haunted Mansion to life, as well as “Grandpa Marc,” aka Marc Davis, who was the artist behind the stretching portraits. Other references include “Haunting Harriet” Harriet Burns, WED Enterprises’ first female employee who created models for the attraction, “Brother Claude” or Claude Coats, who developed the mansion’s interior and more.
Watch as Imagineers Daniel Joseph and Stacy Shoff offer up the details in the video above.
Want to learn more secrets of the Haunted Mansion? Check out the other videos in this series.
- All in the Details: ‘Happy Hints’ Hidden at The Haunted Mansion
- All in the Details: Myths & Legends of The Haunted Mansion
Destinations: Walt Disney World Resort , Magic Kingdom
Topics: Behind the Scenes
I love learning things like this! As an annual passholder, chatting with visiting guests in line on attractions is one of my favorite things! Pointing out certain things, letting them know to look for certain things in a ride, or even just small talk about park trivia! I wish that were a job at the park! Lol
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Disneyland restores tribute tombstones to Haunted Mansion
- by John Frost
- September 12, 2016 September 12, 2016
When the Haunted Mansion opened in 1969, the Imagineers who worked on the attraction cleverly left tributes to themselves in the form of witty, albeit morbid, tombstone epitaphs. The tombstones were located in and around the queue area of the attraction. Later, most of the tombstones were moved to a spot up on the berm that hid the show building from inside the park. Overtime all the tombstones were removed (most because they’d fallen into disrepair).
One of the first to go missing was my grandfather’s. It was told in my family that his widow from a subsequent marriage asked for it to be removed after he lost a battle with cancer and Disney obliged. I totally understand why that request was made, but now that generation has faded and Vic Greene’s great-grandchildren are in the parks. I think they deserve to see the tribute.
In 2013, I started a low-level campaign to get the tombstone restored. I spoke with a few imagineers who were working on the Haunted Mansion project out at Walt Disney World, wrote a blog post about it , and made a few social media posts too. But not much more than that. I don’t know if that had any impact or not, but I am happy to announce that as of the attraction’s reopening this week for its annual Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay, my grandfather’s tribute tombstone and 12 others have been restored to the hillside behind the Haunted Mansion.
Thanks to Disney fan Gregg Ziak we also have an idea of what the ‘Cousin Victor’ tombstone looked like in 1969. Ziak scanned some photos he took in fall of 1969 including the clearest photo I’ve ever seen of the original tombstone.
(Click to view larger)
Thanks to Pam, we have also have a look at today’s new versions. It’s a bit more detailed, but the same humorous epitaph is there.
“RIP Cousin Victor – He Brewed a Batch of Bad Elixir”
Here are the other twelve sayings from the new tombstones:
- In Memory of Our Patriarch Dear Departed Grandpa Marc
- Rolo Rumkin Lived and Died a Friendly Bumpkin
- Here Rests Wathel R. Bender He Rode to Glory on a Fender Peaceful Rest
- Requiescat Francis Xavier No Time Off for Good Behavior
- Master Gracey Laid to Rest No Mourning Please at His Request Farewell
- At Peaceful Rest Lies Brother Claude Planted Here Beneath This Sod
- Here Lies Phineas Pock Laid to Rest Beneath This Rock R.I.P.
- RIP Cam Irving Probably Should’ve Thought of Swerving
- In Final Rest M. Dibjib He Had to Eat That One Last Rib
- Loyal Friend Esteban Pine No Longer Has to Wait in Line
- Julia Shird Such a Good Sport When People Would Tease Her for Being So Short
- Aqui Descansa Bradford Clemente Demaisiado Beber de la Fuente
As far as I can tell the last four are completely new. Does anyone know if they were part of the original yard? They don’t appear at Walt Disney World’s recently revised graveyard either. For a look at more of the tombstones, check out this great Flickr album .
So a big thank you to the team who brought back this great bit of Disneyland history and gave all the tribute tombstones in the ‘family plots’ a fresh update. I hope these will be around for more generations to enjoy.
PS. Here’s a little bonus photo from Pam Smith. Also new this year at the Nightmare before Christmas version of the Haunted Mansion is a Sally audio-animatronic. Her eyes blink.
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10 thoughts on “Disneyland restores tribute tombstones to Haunted Mansion”
“Brother Claude” is Claude Coats!
Claudd Coats indeed! My girls are excited to see their Grandfather Coats’ headstone at Disneyland!
Great news about your grandfather’s tombstone! Glad it is back (along with all the others, of course). I remember when you first posted that, I brought it up on an internal company website, but I am not sure my sharing made it very far or not. But maybe it was one small part of the decision to take a look at restoring them…
Keep up the good work!
Thanks for doing your part! The result is terrific.
That is very cool. I’m glad for you and your family. That’s a wonderful way to remember your grandfather.
Love this! What a wonderful moment for your whole family.
I was very happy to hear that the photos I took of all the Disneyland tombstones back in 1969 including Vic Greene’s gave you some peace and happiness.
Back in the late 80s , I was working as a Park Decorator and I was given the task of recreating the orginal toumbstones, we did them in green foam, don’t think they still make that product anymore as it is cancer causing agent. we made them and they got a coating from the staff shop and were put in place, the coating was not hard and the pieces were pitted with thing s and eventually taken away.
Congratulations, John!! You must be very happy with this!
It’s great to see these return. The original eight are reproduced fairly closely and there are four brand new ones (no, they were not there before). By the way, it’s Julia SHRUB, not “Shird.” This appears to be a tribute to WDI landscape architect Julie Bush. “Cam Irving” is clearly a tribute to Kim Irvine.
I just wish they had all been placed more intelligently. There is literally no place for Julia’s grave. The stone is inches from the wall in front of it and inches above an existing tomb. Alas, the Cousin Victor stone is also placed in such a way as to make you wonder where poor Victor is buried.
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