Back in the spring, Muppets fans rejoiced when it was revealed that Kermit and friends would be back in a new Halloween special on Disney+. Muppets Haunted Mansion will bring our favorite puppets to the iconic Disneyland Park attraction. And as with most Muppet endeavors, they'll be joined by a host of human celebrities as well. The guest list has been getting drip fed to us over the last few days, and while most are names that everybody would know, like Disneyland super fan and Big Shot star John Stamos, there's also a name that isn't known in every household, but is actually a major part of Haunted Mansion history who will appear, Walt Disney Imagineer Kim Irvine.
In a list of guest stars recently posted to The Muppets Instagram account, most people are going to recognize most of the names. John Stamos is, of course, a massive Disney nerd and currently the star of another series on Disney+, so seeing him isn't exactly a shock. Yvette Nicole Brown and Darren Criss, are also quite recognizable. The fourth image however, isn't going to mean much to you unless you also know who Rolly Crump, Joe Rohde, and X. Attencio are. (If you do, we should be friends)
Kim Irvine works for Walt Disney Imagineering, and her contributions can be found in Disney Parks all over the world, but her connection to the Haunted Mansion is a little more specific, as well as a little more personal. Irvine is the daughter of another former Imagineer, Leota Tombs. When the Haunted Mansion was first created in the 1960s, Tombs herself provided the face seen floating in the crystal ball midway through the ride. The character was also named after Tombs, as she's known as Madam Leota.
Decades later, when it was decided to give the Haunted Mansion an overlay during the holiday season, a lot about the ride was changed. Among the changes was some new dialogue for Madame Leota, meaning that a new recording would need to be made. By this time, Kim Irvine was working at Walt Disney Imagineering, and so it only made sense to have Leota Tombs' daughter become the Madame Leota for Haunted Mansion Holiday. If you get on the ride right now at Disneyland, Kim Irvine is the face you see.
Considering her connection to the Haunted Mansion, it's great that they were able to find a place for Kim Irvine to appear. To those of us that follow Walt Disney Imagineering, she is a superstar. She's as big a name as anybody here. One assumes that Madame Leota will make some sort of appearance in Muppets Haunted Mansion, the character is an iconic part of the attraction at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. It's possible that Irvine even did double duty as Leota in the show if anything new was needed from the character. Or maybe her maid character is named Leota.
What Disney superfan John Stamos will do in Muppets Haunted Mansion is unclear as he's just listed as a special appearance, like Irvine. But he has a scene with Pepe the King Prawn, so that's a big win for him. Muppets Haunted Mansion will arrive on Disney+ October 8.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.