For fans of the haunted mansion, Master Gracey’s grave has particular significance. Although the original stone was meant to honor Yale Gracey, the special effects guru whose childhood reading inspired the ballroom and hitchhiking ghost sequences, the grave has since been at the heart of rumors and legends. “Master,” in archaic use, meant a young boy not old enough to be called “Mister,” but guests visiting the Haunted Mansion quickly ascribed the title to the master of the manor.
Throughout the years, guests at Walt Disney World could find Master Gracey’s grave, freshly dug, at the side of the entrance queue, and numerous cast members made a habit of placing a rose on the freshly turned earth.
When the queue for the mansion was updated, Gracey’s grave was moved to the center of the new waiting area and severely truncated. Guests complained that the grave was too small to hold a body, and there was speculation that the tiny grave was a reference to the youth of the original “Master,” since the space could only hold a child’s grave. Shortly thereafter, the grave site was expanded, and now guests in the queue circle a full-sized space for Master Gracey’s grave.
The earth may no longer be freshly dug as it was on the old grave, but Cast Members’ affection for the erstwhile “master” of the manor has resurfaced. Once again Master Gracey’s grave is adorned…by a fresh rose.
What do you think of the updates? Are you glad to see the rose back…or did you never even know it was there before?