Atencio was born in Walsenburg, Colorado, in 1919. He was a Disney artist from 1938 until 1965, when he became an Imagineer to help design the Disneyland Railroad's Primeval World diorama segment. He then contributed to various Disney attractions. He wrote the script for both Adventure Thru Inner Space and Pirates of the Caribbean, for which he also penned the lyrics to the theme song, "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" and provided the voices of various characters within the attraction, including the talking skull. He also wrote the script for the Haunted Mansion, including the lyrics to that attraction's theme song, "Grim Grinning Ghosts|Grim Grinning Ghosts (The Screaming Song)." Atencio's voice can also be heard emanating from the coffin in the Haunted Mansion's conservatory. In addition, in the Disneyland mansion, when the attraction comes to a temporary halt it is his voice that provides the emergency spiel. Another brief voice-over Atencio provided was for the Submarine Voyage Thru Liquid Space where he is addressed as "Bridge." He also wrote the lyrics to Buddy Baker's music for the retired Magic Kingdom attraction If You Had Wings.
Atencio served as a photo interpreter in the U.S. Army Air Forces from 1941 to 1945 during World War II, reaching the rank of captain in the 2nd Photo Tech Squadron. Stationed in England, he was part of team that would analyze aerial surveillance for military intelligence. He retired from The Walt Disney Company in 1984 and was named a Disney Legend in 1996. Atencio died on September 10, 2017, at the age of 98.
- U.S. Census, 1 January 1920, State of Colorado, County of Huerfano, enumeration district 83, p. 27-A.
- "Legendary Disney Animator and Imagineer Francis Xavier "X" Atencio passes away at age 98". The Walt Disney Company. https://d23.com/legendary-disney-animator-imagineer-francis-xavier-x-atencio-passes-away-age-98/?share_token=21428f813f. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
- Tchekmedyian, Alene (11 September 2017). "Francis Xavier Atencio dies; Disney animator who co-wrote 'Yo, Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)' was 98". http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-xavier-atencio-obit-20170911-story.html.
- Dalton, Andrew (12 September 2017). "‘Pinocchio,’ ‘Fantasia’ animator ‘X’ Atencio dead at 98 - The Washington Post". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20170912094756/http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/pinocchio-fantasia-animator-x-atencio-dead-at-98/2017/09/12/72c0b81e-9775-11e7-af6a-6555caaeb8dc_story.html.
- DoomBuggies.com. "History of the Haunted Mansion – Chapter Five: Developing a Spooky Soundtrack". http://www.doombuggies.com/history5.php. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
- National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.
- Passenger list of the Queen Mary, port of New York, 21 August 1945.
-  Archived January 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- Dunn, T., 2012, Nova (TV series): 3D Spies of WWII, DVD, United States
- Surrell, Jason. (2003). The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies. New York: Disney Editions. ISBN 0-7868-5419-7. Describes X Atencio's contributions to The Haunted Mansion.
- Surrell, Jason. (2005). Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies. New York: Disney Editions. ISBN 0-7868-5630-0. Describes X Atencio's contributions to Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Xavier Atencio at the Internet Movie Database
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