A favorite attraction of all Disney goers is certainly The Haunted Mansion. Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom have a version and millions of visitors ride them each year. Because of its popularity, more times than not there is a line to get onto the ride. Next time you are in the queue waiting, take a glance at the tombstones. Although catchy and funny, each has a story behind it.

Much like the windows of Main Street USA, the tombstones are a tribute to an Imagineer that helped to create The Haunted Mansion and make it the grim place that we all love. Join us as we tiptoe through the graveyard and learn a little more about some of the Imagineers that created such a treasured ride.

HM Tombstone

In memory of Our Patriarch, Dear Departed Grandpa Marc

This refers to Marc Davis, one of Walt’s ‘Nine Old Men’ who worked on worked on just about everything in the Haunted Mansion. He was an animator, Imagineer, and artist and one of the most creative forces in theme park design history. His concept art is the origin of many audio-animatronic scenes in The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Brother Dave

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

Dave Burkhart was a model maker for Disney. He began his career at Disney in 1967 as a model maker but later became a show designer and field art producer. He worked on The Haunted Mansion, Swiss Family Treehouse, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Wathel Bender

Here Rests Wathel R Bender, He Rode to Glory On A Fender. Peaceful Rest

An innovator in the field of audio-animatronics, Wathel Rogers played a major role in creating The Haunted Mansion haunts. In addition, he contributed to some of our other favorite characters, such as the figures in Carousel of Progress. He later became the Art Director for the Magic Kingdom.

Master Gracey

Master Gracey, Laid To Rest, No Mourning Please At His Request, Farewell

Yale Gracey was on The Haunted Mansion project from start to finish. He spent over a year coming up with the special effects and gags that are still present in the mansion today. He was the ‘master’ of effects, which earned him the title Master Gracey. He joined Disney in 1939 as a layout artist for Pinocchio and retired in 1975.

Requiescat, Francis Xavier, No Time Off For Good Behavior, RIP

Xavier Atencio was an animator but was best known for his contribution to many of the catchy songs in our favorite attractions. He contributed his talent to ‘Grim Grinning Ghosts’ and ‘Yo Ho A Pirates Life For Me.’ Cool fact: You can hear his voice in the Mansion’s conservatory – he’s the one pleading for release from the coffin.

Good Old Fred

Here Lies Good Old Fred, A Great Big Rock Fell On His Head, RIP

A set designer and model builder, Fred Joerger was best known for his plaster rock creations. He was involved in classic attractions such as The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Jungle Cruise, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.


Rest In Peace Cousin Huet, We all Know You Didn’t Do It

Cliff Huet was the Lead Interior Designer for The Haunted Mansion. Think he would have ever guessed that some of his creations would end up on purses?

We have crossed a few tombstones off of the list and know that you are dying to hear about the rest. Never fear. We’ll hurry back with the next edition.

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