Kat Cressida: The Voice of Gracey Manor’s Femme Fatale

by | May 11, 2020 | Disney History, Disney Parks and Resorts, Lists and Trivia

Lurking in the dusty attic of Gracey Manor is a fiend with an insatiable bloodlust and a relentless desire to climb the social ladder. Her name is Constance Hatchaway. She is one of the Haunted Mansion’s most notorious residents. Guests find her dressed in a bridal gown and clutching a hatchet like a bridal bouquet. She is the last thing they see before being plunged into the grand celebration in the graveyard.

Despite her ghastly reputation, Constance has developed quite a cult following among Disney aficionados. Step over to Memento Mori (next door to the Haunted Mansion) and you can find an assortment of Constance memorabilia. She’s been immortalized as a Pop Funko figure, as a Wishables plush, and can even be purchased as a spirit trapped in a jar.

The voice of Constance Hatchaway is provided by actress Kat Cressida. Outside of the world of Disney, she has an enormous body of voice acting work including in classic cartoons like Dexter’s Laboratory and in popular video games like World of Warcraft, and the Skylanders series. Her Disney resume is equally impressive. Besides Constance Hatchaway, she provides the voice of Jessie in Toy Story Midway Mania (providing a perfect match for Joan Cusack’s voice), and the voice of the Little Girl Lost in the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Cressida’s Disney journey began as a child. Her father was a Disney Imagineer. As a result, she spent a lot of time in the parks and, naturally enough, fell in love with them. She begun acting early, performing Shakespeare at age four. The Bard was her focus in college as well. She attended UC Berkeley, graduating Cum Laude with honors.

After college, she appeared in popular television programs like Friends, Diagnosis Murder (with Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke), and Murder, She Wrote (with Disney legend Angela Lansbury). During her time in television, someone suggested that she explore the world of voice acting. It was this work that would eventually lead her back to Disney.

She auditioned for the part of Constance without knowing exactly what it was that she was auditioning for. She earned the part in 2006. In a 2019 interview with Irvine Weekly, Cressida recounted how it helped fulfill a childhood dream, recalling that she used to daydream, “ If only I could live in Disneyland, if only I could be a part of Disneyland.” She described earning the part as, “life-changing…because now all of a sudden this dream that I always wished on [had] happened.”

However, like most Disney fairytales, there were massive challenges to overcome on the way to happily ever after. In 2012, Cressida was diagnosed with a rare cancer known as Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans. A highly fatal form of cancer, Cressida was fortunate to have it detected early, though doctors said she was still in Stage 3 of the disease. The only hope was a ten hour surgery.

The operation was a success, but it left her without the ability to speak. Like Ariel in The Little Mermaid, she was left without her greatest gift. However, much like that Disney heroine, Cressida continued fighting, eventually defeating cancer and regaining her ability to speak and perform. It’s the sort of ending Walt himself might have written. Her story captures the essence of the words of the Emperor in Mulan, “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”

Today, Cressida performs her voice work and shares her passion for Disney through her various social media platforms (@katcressida on Instagram and Twitter). She regularly interacts with fans through social media, sharing her love for all things Disney.

Who knew there was such an inspiring story behind the wicked ghoul in the Haunted Mansion’s attic?

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