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Memento Mori as shown in a photograph from D23.com.

Memento Mori is a Haunted Mansion themed gift shop at Walt Disney World's Liberty Square.

History

Background

Memento Mori was a shop built in the Hudson River Valley of upstate New York. It was built in the late 17th century and was the abode of the medium Madame Leota. The shop was established in the 1690s after Madame Leota fled her original home in Salem, Massachusetts due to the notorious witch trials which had occurred. The historic Witch Trials of Salem being an event in which several men and women were put on trial and executed for suspected, "witchcraft".

The shop was built a short distance away from Gracey Manor and was stocked with occult relics from regions beyond such as a Daguerreotype Camera capable of "Spirit Photography", an enchanted mirror, potions, bottled spirits, and spell books. It is unknown when or how Leota left the shop but it is known that she came to die and be buried in the family plot of the nearby Gracey Manor, having an apparent affiliation with the family which ran the mansion and going on to haunt it in death.

Following Leota's death, the shop was continued to be run by shop-keepers of unknown relationship to the Madame while being watched over by Leota herself. These shop-keeps would vocalize ignorance when questioned of the paranormal elements of Memento Mori. The keepers also wore with the design of Madame Leota's face on it, not dissimilar from her tombstone in the plot in Gracey Manor and a brim resembling the mirror found within the shop. The shop was found adjacent to and was connected by a 2nd-story corridor to the Columbia Harbour House which had a landing overlooking the Haunted Mansion.

Development History

Memento Mori replaced the "Yankee Trader" shop which had previously taken up that space in Liberty Square. It was made as a sort of progression to the Leota's Vardo stand which used to sell Haunted Mansion themed merchandise. It was designed as an immersive gift-shop which was tied to the story of the nearby Haunted Mansion and elaborated on the attraction's mythology.

Description

Memento.png

Memento Mori serves as the Haunted Mansion's gift-shop and sells one-of-a-kind memorabilia themed around the Haunted Mansion. The shop also features "Spirit Photography" in which guests can have their pictures taken and the resulting photograph will switch in-between a mortal and ghoulish form.

In 2019, Spirit Photography would be discontinued and the space was turned into a space for new "Host a Ghost" jars inspired by the Bottled Spirit props on display in the store.

Several supernatural details are included in the shop such as:

  • The sign for the shop is an eye with the pupil featuring a carving of Madame Leota, it is also designed in such a way that it's pupil always appears to be watching you.
  • A portrait of Madame Leota shows her with her iconic crystal ball and spell-book. It changes under an ultraviolet light, with eyes glowing in the background taken from the Corridor of Doors. The changes also show a Black Cat at her feet, a Raven on her shoulder, green lights coming from her crystal ball, and glowing from the eye-sockets of the skull in her hand.
  • "Bottled Spirits" are seen on higher shelves.
  • A mirror where the apparition of Madame Leota materializes, accompanied by music, then vanishing after a few seconds.
  • Some cast members seem to disregard the paranormal happenings and seem to only take attention to the bottled spirits. Asking about anything else will most likely give the response "I don't know what you're talking about." As if nothing happened.

Other Appearances

Once Upon a Time

The shop as it appeared in Once Upon a Time

The shop briefly appeared in the tenth episode of the seventh season of the ABC television drama Once Upon a Time. The shop was shown to be the abode of Madame Leota who in this show is a member of a group of sorceresses known as the Coven of Witches. It is discovered by the characters of Zelena (The Wicked Witch of the West) and Captain Killian Jones (Captain Hook).

Trivia

  • The shop's name comes from the Latin expression "Memento Mori" which means "Remember you will die" and is also a play on the word memento which can be used to refer to souvenirs.
  • The shop's slogan being, "Relics from Regions Beyond" is an allusion to Madame Leota's incantation, "Let there be music from regions beyond" from the attraction.
  • In Liberty Square, the arrangement of the buildings are made to be analogous to the progression of architectural styles over the years (often being directly referenced in the numbers of the buildings). Due to this, it can be inferred that the building dates back to the late 17th-early/mid 18th century from its positioning in the park.
    • This matches up with Leota having started the shop following the Salem Witch trials.
  • The "Bottled Spirits" are a pun on how alcoholic beverages can also be referred to as "spirits" and are kept in bottles.
  • Some merchandise dates the shop as being "Est. 1879" as a reference to Disney World's (and the Haunted Mansion's) opening date but considering how Liberty Square's Madame Leota lived through the Salem Witch trials in the 1690s, this makes little-to-no sense.
  • In Once Upon a Time, a cymbal monkey toy is amongst Leota's property.
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