|Behind the scenes|
Outside of the Haunted Mansion in New Orleans's Square, Madame Leota is shown to have at some point during her mortal life have been in possession of a Vardo (a caravan wagon which is commonly associated with Romani People) that she used to sell her talents as a Medium. The signs on the Cart say that she was a Psychic Medium who performed seances, crystal gazing, performed parlour tricks, brewed potions, sold mysterious tomes and cast magic spells.
Walt Disney World
In the Liberty Square Mansion's family plot Madame Leota is given a tombstone reading "Dear Sweet Leota, beloved by all in Regions Beyond now, but having a Ball". This tombstone alludes to Madame Leota either having been part of, or close to the family which owned the Haunted Mansion (likely the Graceys). So much so that she had her own boudoir within the estate and that she was buried in the Manor's Family Plot.
Madame Leota's past is also significantly expanded from outside of the Mansion. Outside of the Haunted Mansion's grounds is a shop called Memento Mori which is said to have been Madame Leota's home from back when she was a mortal. She is also said to have been a witch who fled from Salem during the infamous Witch Trials which would mean that Madame Leota would have been alive during the 1690s. She is also showed to have had been in posession of multiple magical items such as a Daguerreotype Camera capable of Spirit Photography, several potions, a bottled up glowing spirit and a mirror which Madame Leota's ghost uses to watch over her former abode from the Haunted Mansion. In this shop Madame Leota also appears in a portrait which depicts her holding a skull while standing in front of a table with tarot cards, her crystal ball, and her tome alongside a Black Cat and the Raven.
In Disneyland Paris's Phantom Manor attraction, Madame Leota is presence but it is unknown if this is the same Leota appearing in the mainstream mansion attractions due to having a different actress and it being unknown whether or not Phantom Manor exists in the same continuity as any of the Haunted Mansion attractions.
From what little is known of Phantom Manor's Madame Leota, in life she was a medium and fortune teller who either lived in, or who travelled to the town of Thunder Mesa. After her death she became a spirit in the infamous Ravenswood Manor where she summons spirits to haunt the undead wedding party of Mélanie Ravenswood. How she came to this however is unknown.
Her services were also advertised in the Thunder Mesa Daily Messenger.
In all versions of the Haunted Mansion, as well as Phantom Manor, Madame Leota can be found in the Séance Circle, either floating about the room or resting on a table in the center. She chants a plaintive incantation that conjures the spirits of the Mansion into visual form, so that guests can see the previously-invisible specters and haunts. Musical instruments and other objects levitate in the shadows in response to her supplications.
Walt Disney WorldMadame Leota's presence is slightly expanded in the Walt Disney World version of the attraction. In the family plot, guests pass her tombstone just before entering the Mansion. Those who stare long enough may notice the bronze face on the stone flick open very human eyes and stare at them for a moment. If guests pass through the Servant's Quarters they can also see a sign referencing Leota having had her own boudoir in the mansion.
Memento MoriHer presence extends beyond the Mansion to Liberty Square. The Memento Mori shop apparently belonged to Leota prior to her residence within the Haunted Mansion, the Medium having fled Salem, Massachusetts during the witch trials to settle in the Hudson River Valley and open the store; the rest of her story remains shrouded in mystery. In this shop Leota can sometimes be seen peering through a mirror hung on the wall, she also has a large portrait.
In Phantom Manor, Madame Leota chants in both English and French to call wayward souls to a ghostly wedding party. Misty shapes materialize around the room as guests pass through.
Her history and connection to Ravenswood Manor is completely unknown however in 2018 during the giant renovations being made to the attraction a poster could be found on the wall surrounding Phantom Manor which references her past in Thunder Mesa as having been a Medium and Fortune Teller.
Haunted Mansion Holiday
During the Holiday overlay at Disneyland, Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland's mansions, Madame Leota's crystal ball takes on the appearance of an ornament as she floats through the air, reciting "The 13 Days of Christmas" while large tarot cards with Nightmare Before Christmas characters on them spin overhead.
During the Haunted Mansion 50th Anniversary show at Disneyland, Madame Leota appeared in human form at the Fantasmic stage on Tom Sawyer's Island after her incantation was played. She appeared alongside four undead Cadaver Dans and proceeded to summon the Waltzing Dead who she controlled like marionettes.
In the film, Madame Leota was played by actress Jennifer Tilly and takes a prominent role in helping the Evers family uncover and break the curse on the Gracey Mansion. She is one of the only Ghosts to not pass on when the curse is lifted. At the end of the film, Leota and the Singing Busts become part of the Evers family and joins them in their vacation.
In the video game adoption, Madame Leota serves as the secondary protagonist, guiding the player character, Zeke Holloway, during his quest to restore the mansion while riding around in his satchel.
In this incarnation's backstory, Leota once served the Order of Shadows, the evil organization led by Atticus Thorn. After learning of their true intentions to conquer the afterlife, she was rescued by the last members of the Brotherhood of Souls, whom she joined with the intention of ending the threat of Atticus Thorn and the Order of Shadows. Later on, when Atticus attacked the mansion in search of the Beacon of Souls, the object which he sought to use to carry out his evil plan, he trapped Leota in her crystal ball, which limited her powers significantly. At the game's conclusion, she and the remaining ghosts become Zeke's mentors and guides in his career as an author.
While the video game Leota shares the same gypsy/Romani background to the ride and film counterparts, the noticeable difference here is her Southern accent, unlike the ride wherein she speaks with a sinister Eleanor Audley tone and accent. This implies that the video game Leota is a Romani who grew up in the American south. She was voiced by Lisa Donahey.
In the greater storyline for the comics inspired by the Ghost Gallery, Madame Leota is a wandering Roma who comes to Gracey Manor offering to use her powers to quiet the unruly spirits of the Mansion. She attempts to make amorous advances on William Gracey but is rebuffed, much to her scorn. Eventually her contact with the dead connects her to the vengeful souls of Gracey's former crew and reveals that he was once the pirate Captain Blood. Leota uses this knowledge to fool Gracey into thinking she had cleansed the Mansion, while secretly summoning the ghosts on the day his wedding to Emily de Clare.
The ghosts end up killing Emily, and Gracey strangles Leota to death in an act of revenge, though she died in the midst of a seance that was meant to summon the dead, causing the eventual discovery of the Mansion by wayward souls looking for a home. Leota's soul becomes bound to her crystal ball, and, despite this, does not realize she has died, only thinking she is still in a heavy psychic trance.
Disney Kingdoms Comics
Madame Leota is one of the benevolent spirits of the Mansion in the Disney Kingdoms story, using her supernatural powers to call Danny to the house. She believes he is the only hope to free the manor's spirits from the clutches of the nefarious Captain, and offers him advice.
Leota is one of the few spirits that actually died on the grounds of the Mansion, making her have some measure of supernatural power within the house. However, these powers are severely weakened thanks to the Captain's curse, proven when she is unable to re-manifest when the Captain smashes her crystal ball. Leota is restored only after Danny lifts the curse keeping the ghosts of the Mansion from haunting.
Tales from the Haunted Mansion
Leota is a reoccurring character in the Tales from the Haunted Mansion book series. She's first named in the second volume, Midnight at Madame Leota's, where the main character seeks her out to connect with his sister. According to the text, she was power enough to convince skeptics. When he comes to her seance circle, she gives her incantations from the ride and orders two ghosts to escort him to the ballroom, lest he be late.
She later appears in the fourth volume, Memento Mori. Prudence Pock walks past her tombstone, when she arrives at the mansion: she called her the "world's most powerful medium". She appears near the very end of the book, as Amicus Arcane is about to announce his successor. She is able to leave her seance room by lifting her crystal ball and flying it to another room.
Leota plays a major role in the Ghost Post story, at first being a force opposed to the Committee of Wandering Ghosts and their plans to recruit mortals to help the Haunted Mansion's residents. She gradually begins sensing the presence of the Phantom Radio app as the player uncovers more clues and listens in to her conversations, and eventually contacts the player through it to berate and challenge their psychic ability. Should the player prove they are attuned to the spirit world, Leota will begrudgingly accept that perhaps they can help after all, and then tasks them with finding some of the ghosts lost in the fog.
Eventually, Leota becomes more of a guide to the player, providing instructions and aid to uncovering the mystery. With the player's help, she is able to pinpoint the location of the Forgotten Room in the Mansion, and helps the player through a spirit board reading to learn an incantation to free the ghosts. By the end of the final challenge Leota has accepted the role these mortals have played, and recognizes them as true and worthy mediums to the spirit world.
In Epic Mickey, a spirit known as Madame Leona who is an unused prototype of Madame Leota appears in the Library of Lonesome Manor, where she tasks Mickey Mouse with restoring the damage done by the spirits and Blotlings.
In the seventh Kingdom Keepers novel, The Insider, Madame Leota makes an appearance as a villanous Overtaker in the Haunted Mansion's basement in Disneyland. She attempts to scare Maybeck and Charlene to death, but when presented with a mirror she retreats to the shadows, horrified of her own ugly face.
Once Upon a Time
Madame Leota briefly appeared in the seventh season of the ABC television drama Once Upon a Time alongside her shop Memento Mori where she was a member of a group of sorceresses known as the Coven of Witches.
Kinect Disneyland AdventuresMadame Leota appears as a main-antagonist in the video-game Kinect Disneyland Adventures where she traps the player inside of the Haunted Mansion after they disturb her during a ritual. She then proceeds to make the Stretching Room start stretching and later on is defeated by the player in her Séance Chamber by flashing a light at her.
- In the now defunct Superstar Limo ride, she had a cameo of sorts, summoning agents in a stretch limo.
- She makes a cameo in the queue area for Star Tours, with her crystal ball inside one of the suitcases that passes through the luggage scan. When he sees her suitcase, the droid scanning the luggage makes a reference to the ride.
- She also makes a cameo in Mickey's House of Villains, briefly being seen on a table during the song "It's Our House Now!"
- In the animated film The Princess and the Frog, which is set in New Orleans, Madame Leota's tombstone can be seen in the climax which takes place in a cemetery.
Disneyland/Walt Disney World
"Serpents, and spiders, tail of a rat…
Call in the spirits, wherever they're at!
Rap on a table, it's time to respond…
Send us a message from somewhere beyond!
Goblins and ghoulies from last Halloween...
Awaken the spirits with your tambourines!
Creepies and crawlies, toads in a pond…
Let there be music from regions beyond!
Wizards and witches, wherever you dwell...
Give us a hint… by ringing a bell!"
"Goblins and Ghoulies, creatures of fright,
We summon you now… to dance through the night!
Esprits et fantômes, sur vos fiers destriers,
Êscortez dans la nuit la belle fiancée!
Warlocks and Witches, answer this call!
Your presence is wanted at this ghostly ball!
Des douze coups de minuit aux mâtines sonnantes,
Nous valserons ensemble, macabre débutante!
Join now the Spirits in Nuptial Doom:
A ravishing Bride… a vanishing Groom."
Haunted Mansion Holiday
"On the Thirteenth day of Christmas, my Ghoul Love gave to me:
Thirteen Rings of Power, embracing strength that never ends,
Twelve signs of the zodiac that rule the future and transcend,
Eleven candles floating, their scent of mystery in the air,
Ten telling tea leaves, that swirl with secrets yet to share.
On the Ninth day of Christmas, my Ghoul Love gave to me:
Nine magic crystals, that sparkle with a force that is pure,
Eight balls of knowledge, that answer with a truth that is sure,
Seven pearls of wisdom, to keep my love bewitched to me,
Six mystic mirrors, reflecting futures yet to be.
On the Fifth day of Christmas, my Ghoul Love gave to me:
Five lucky charms, to understand the right from wrong,
Four wheels of fortune, to spin their rich and golden song,
Three lifelines, extending help to those in need,
Two passion potions, [so] that love and romance may succeed.
On the First day of Christmas, my Ghoul Love gave to me:
A Star! A brilliant star for my fortune card tree!"
The ugly Slobber.
Melt him away,
And away he will stay."
"Horntoads and lizards, fiddle and strum,
Please answer the roll by beating the drum.
Harpies and furies, old friends and new,
Blow on a horn, so we'll know that it's you."
- Madame Leota is named after Imagineer Leota "Toombs" Thomas, who also provided the face for the medium's spirit in the attraction. She is voiced by Eleanor Audley, the same woman who voiced Disney Villains Maleficent and Lady Tremaine in Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella respectively.
- Madame Leota has a spell-book open beside her table which has her incantations written upon it.
- In Phantom Manor, Leota is both portrayed and voiced by Oona Lind. This is the only version of Leota to be portrayed and voiced by the same actress.
- During the Haunted Mansion Holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare overlays, she is played by Kim Irvine, Leota Toombs' daughter, and voiced by Suzane Blakeslee, the current voice of Maleficent and Lady Tremaine.
- Depending on if you are in the California or Florida Haunted Mansion, Leota could have a drastically different backstory. This is because in the Liberty Square mansion she was implied to have survived the Salem Witch trials which would have meant she'd have been alive around the late 17th century while in the New Orleans mansion she was shown by her vardo to have been alive in New Orleans around the mansion's operation which would have been at some point in between the late 18th through early 20th century.
- She is said in the illustrated book The Haunted Mansion: Haunted Happenings to be the wife of Mr Gool.
- She was named in a piece of cut narration from the Ghost Host: "Perhaps Madame Leota can establish contact. She has a remarkable head for materializing... the disembodied..."
- In original concept art by Marc Davis, the character who would become Madame Leota was referred to as "the famous medium Madame Z" and she resembled an elderly cloaked woman. However this version of the character was vaguely referenced in Disney World's Big Thunder Mountain where a letter references a woman named Madame Zarkov who works in the Museum of the Weird as well as the now extinct Adventurer's Club where the same character made appearances.