Constance Hatchaway, better known as The Black Widow Bride, is one of the ghostly characters from the popular Disney Parks ride, The Haunted Mansion, which appears in Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Florida, and Tokyo Disneyland. She is arguably the most villainous and/or most dangerous presence on the ride, being the ghost of a bride with a murderous past life.
She is a revamped version of the original Bride character that was introduced in 2006. Also in 2006, the Attic area she can be found in was also redesigned to reflect the new character interpretation and darker tone.
Her performance model is Julia Lee, but she is voiced by Kat Cressida.
The original Attic area feature black lights and shrunken voodoo heads that would occasionally spring out to scare visitors. The Bride would be swaying in the corner with a beating red heart seen within her. This was later changed to remove the heads and replace the Bride with a heroic character.
In May 2006, the Bride (now named Constance Hatchaway) and the Attic were redesigned to include new effects and introduce a darker storyline. This included scattered and stacked wedding gifts along with portraits of the redesigned Bride and her husbands. However, in each portrait, the husband's head would disappear and the Bride's voice would admit to beheading them. The Doom Buggies would then head for the window, where the Bride would be standing, reciting her wedding vows while a hatchet materialized and vanished in her hands. The Doom Buggy then goes out the window to the Graveyard, implying escaping from the ghost.
While her full backstory purposefully remains a mystery, parts of it are known. Constance Hatchaway was a beautiful woman who many men fell in love with. However, Constance herself was a gold digger who wanted nothing more than to be wealthy (presumably as a result of a poor childhood). To accomplish this, she married several wealthy men, including bankers, businessmen, farmers, and barons. However, she would then proceed to behead them with her hatchet and inherit all of their wealth. Despite her crime, the public never placed her as a suspect, though they did dub her "The Black Widow Bride".
Ambrose Harper (married in 1869)
Frank Banks (married in 1872)
The Marquis de Doom (married in 1874)
Reginald Caine (married in 1875)
George Hightower (married in 1877)
Her last husband was George Hightower, the owner of the titular mansion after William Gracey, who found out about her killings shortly before the wedding. After their marriage, Constance found out her husband's secret and had to dispose of him quickly. She proceeded to kill him by striking his head with her hatchet, but she did not manage to behead him. After murdering Hightower, Constance decided that she was satisfied with the wealth she had accumulated and settled down in her newly inherited mansion. She died later of unknown causes, though most speculate that it was old age.
The Haunted Mansion
After her death, Constance's spirit became enveloped by her sadistic, homicidal side. She became a permanent resident of the mansion's Attic, standing among her hordes of past wedding gifts and admitting to her crimes. She also became hostile towards any living being that came into the attic, brandishing her hatchet while cryptically repeating her wedding vows. In the ride, the visitors escape her out the window.
Before the attic, an elderly Constance can be seen sitting on George Hightower's gravestone in the Stretching Portrait Room.
The Haunted Mansion Comic Book Series
Constance is a minor villain in the comic book series The Haunted Mansion by Slave Labor Graphics, which ran for seven issues from 2006 to 2007. She only appears in the first issue.
Constance appears as a major antagonist in the Haunted Mansion miniseries of the 2016 comic book series Disney Kingdoms by Marvel Comics. Here, she tries to get the main protagonist Danny Crowe to marry her, claiming she committed her past crimes simply because she loved weddings. It is also revealed that because she was one of the few to actually die on the property, she has a certain authority and power on the grounds; most notably, the ability to permanently destroy other ghosts by decapitating them with her spectral hatchet.
Though Constance never makes a direct appearance in the Ghost Post interactive game, her presence is felt in the greater story. A wedding invitation (for her marriage to the the Marquis de Doome) was among the first set of artifacts sent to players, which when chilled transformed into invitation to the diplomat's funeral. She is mentioned in a conversation heard between the Hitchhiking Ghosts over the Phantom Radio (with Gus wildly swinging around a hatchet as they do). It is also very heavily implied that Constance is behind the "Aunt Agony" advice section of the Grim Gazette, since the author makes frequent allusions to having had multiple husbands who died under unusual circumstances.
The Haunted Mansion: The Black Widow Bride
Constance reappears as the main antagonist of the online game based off the ride. Here, the player must guide the 998 other ghosts, including Constance's former husbands, to safety from her.
In the video game Epic Mickey, Horace Horsecollar asks Mickey Mouse to help him solve a mystery in the Lonesome Manor, another haunted mansion. Here, he wants to find evidence that the former mistress of the manor, Constance Hatchaway, killed her previous husbands, implying that Lonesome Manor either belonged to one of Constance's husbands or that it was a parody of the original Haunted Mansion with a different name. Her hatchet is found by Horace in the Library.
Kinect Disneyland Adventures
Constance appears as the final boss in the Haunted Mansion minigame.
Disney Crossy Road
Constance was one of the rarer unlockable characters in a brief weekend challenge.
In a Halloween bumper for Disney XD, Constance encounters the titular protagonists of the show Pickle and Peanut.
In another bumper, Huey, Dewy, and Louie from the 2017 DuckTales are looking for her wedding ring, but encounter the Hatbox Ghost instead of her.
While her personality in life is never fully revealed, it can be assumed that she was greedy and cold towards her victims. It is unknown if she felt any remorse, but due to her repeated murders, it is highly unlikely. Somewhere down the line, she began to enjoy the killings and became a sadist, openly loving killing her husbands.
After death, her ghost was completely consumed by her murderous side, as she gleefully admits to her murders and threatens to kill the visitors.
In the photos found in the Attic, Constance (in life), was a beautiful woman with pale skin and blonde hair. In her later years, her hair became grey and her stature shrunk.
As a ghost, Constance can be seen in her wedding dress holding a hatchet. Her entire body and clothing is blue and opaque, and she has a permanent evil grin on her face.
Constance has no relation to the 2003 movie, The Haunted Mansion. However, the movie does focus on the concept of brides and weddings.
Constance appears in a short stage show at the Disney Parks that was held as a hard ticket event for the Haunted Mansion's 40th anniversary. The show was about her demise and shed some light upon the subject, but was gleefully inconsistent with the Stretching Portrait, since it featured her dying pretty young. It is generally considered non-canonical due to this.
One of Constance's murdered husbands, Frank Banks, is the Coffin Occupant in the Conservatory.
Constance placed #1 on "Top 10 OTHER Disney Villains" list by Animat of ElectricDragonProductions.
She does not appear in Disneyland Paris's Phantom Manor or Hong Kong Disneyland's Mystic Manor. Mystic Manor has no ghosts and is not intended to be scary (rather magical). Phantom Manor briefly features a bride, but it is confirmed to not be Constance and is, in fact, a heroine.
Constance is removed from the Nightmare Before Christmas themed Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay every Halloween and Christmas and replaced by a giant snake with Jack's naughty-or-nice list in its mouth and the long-lost Hatbox Ghost. All of her gifts are also replaced with Jack Skellington's Christmas presents.
In some merchandise and in The Haunted Mansion: The Black Widow Bride, Constance is portrayed with a beating heart like the past incarnations of the Bride character. However, the actual version in the Mansion and in continuity does not have this.