It doesn’t matter how many times you have experienced an attraction, there is always something new to experience. Nearly every time I am on my all time favorite attraction, the Haunted Mansion, I find myself leaning over to my husband and whispering ‘was blank here last time?’ Every once in a full moon, there is something that has been added, but for the most part, the Disney details are so overwhelming that nine hundred and ninety nine technical details are just that easy to miss!
As much of a HM and animal lover as I am, I hasten to admit that the memorial spaces held for the non human happy haunts were not something I immediately discovered – and even still don’t spot them all on every doom buggy tour. From our furry friends, to our scaled and feathered ones, Disney has not forgotten humankind’s best friends!
Jed is Dead.
Poor lil Jed, we don’t know much about him, except he is dead. As dead as any dead animal has ever been, she says in her best Dwight Schrute voice. With no backstory on this cockatoo parrot, the best we can do is speculate on his demise. What we do know is that he perished in 1889 and was loved enough to be buried alongside his fellow animal companions in the Gracey Manor pet cemetery.
If I have to choose a history for a baby animal, I am 1000% of the time going with the whole ‘they were more loved than the children and died at the oldest possible age of natural causes’ spiel. Feel free to theorize wildly, but that’s what yours truly chooses to believe!
On the polar opposite end of the spectrum, we have the resident HM cat, who has the most detailed cause of death(s) than any of our other domesticated and wild animals buried in the pet cemetery. Poor kitty had some unfortunate luck…
- Bad Catnip 1855
- A shoe at two in 1856
- Sour milk, 1857
- Hairball 1858
- One bad year 1859
- Same year 1859
- Local dog 1860
- Fell off limb 1861
And the final cause of death (drumroll please!)
Doesn’t really specify, but the headstone states ‘Nine lives always goes so fast, poor Whiskers couldn’t make them last’.. Talk about anticlimactic.
Gone but not Frog-otten
Perhaps one of the most famed animal tombstones in all of the Haunted Mansion is J. Thaddeus Toad, more commonly known as Mr. Toad, though his tombstone is featured all the way in the back of the pet cemetery. While anyone who has enjoyed Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride before Winnie’s acid trip in a honey pot took over ( I actually love them both equally!) or if you’ve visited Disneyland in CA wherein the attraction is still in operation, Mr. T’s back story is no mystery. And you definitely pity the fool.
This hidden gem honoring the precarious lil toad in trousers is an homage placed perfectly alongside so many animals we have never heard of.
Send Rover Right Over
There is something so comforting and downright precious about the most basic domestic pet names, and you don’t get any more delightfully unoriginal than Rover. While we don’t know what took good ole’ Rover down in the end, this final resting place for man’s best friend is equipped with a flower basket and a not so poetic final memorandum:
‘Every dog has his day, too bad today was your last’ 1898 I would be satisfied with ‘he was a good boy’ but everyone grieves differently I suppose!
Eric Never Saw it Coming
If I can ever convince my husband to allow me to house more pets, I will one day have a snake named Eric. Coolest. Snake. Name. Ever. and considering this was a snake who was most likely hacked to pieces in supposed self defense – after all his tombstone reads ‘met his fate at the hands of a garden rake, rest in pieces’ 1882, it sure was nice of the Gracey Manor gardener at the time to take the liberty to honor poor lil Eric with a proper burial and homage. It’s the least they could do!
Waddling is not a Safe Form of Crossing the Road (I’m so Screwed)
Ducks are probably my favorite bird because well, have you seen the Disneyland Paris commercial?? Insert all the crying emojis
Our dear sweet Waddles did not die of natural causes, in fact his fate was quite gruesome: ‘Little Waddle saw the truck but little Waddle didn’t duck’ 1928
Waddle is the only nugget in the pet cemetery to have died this recently, the newest and hopefully last addition to this grim resting place.
Maizy and Her Daisies
The resident poodle of the Haunted Mansion graveyard is said to have passed away ‘in a few years prior to 1923’ with a headstone that reads ‘ So prim and proper and never lazy, all you do now is push up daisies’. While even the thought of a deceased puppy makes me sick to my tummy, I can appreciate imagineers ability to create a lighthearted experience with the pros and rhymes of the various markers.
Abu, is That You?
There is nothing more devastating perhaps than an unmarked grave. While the person, or in this case, monkey, was loved enough to be given a proper burial, we sure do put a lot of weight into a namesake in our society. We know Mr. or Misses monkey passed in 1871, but other than that, poor lil muffins life before death is a mystery!
A pet cemetery can be a scary, if not depressing place. Burying our animals can take the same toll on some of us as saying goodbye to our human loved ones. And while nothing can make the underlying thought of what a graveyard truly is dissipate, an eternal resting place, Disney has this way of making even death a not so frightening thing to confront.
Regardless of the blithe nature of the Haunted Mansion Pet Cemetery, it is probably a very unwise decision to bring fluffy, noodle or captain pickles’ remains to the pet graveyard. Even if we aren’t ever ready to say goodbye-who is, ever?- Sometimes, dead is better…
*All photo credit is Disney