With rates of cremation steadily increasing in the USA, more people are looking to find unusual places to scatter the remains of their loved ones. Now Disney has revealed that their theme parks are an unusually popular spot to scatter ashes.
Disney World's secret was revealed in the Wall Street Journal after being rumoured online for more than a decade. Park officials estimate there is an incident with human remains at least once a month and staff are on the lookout for activity that may tip them off and even have a special code to discreetly alert each other.
So what happens when someone scatters ashes at a Disney theme park? If it’s at an attraction, it’s closed and the guests are told there are technical difficulties and given Fast Passes to explore other rides. In fact, by far the most popular place to scatter human remains at Disney is the Haunted Mansion. One custodian is quoted as saying it “probably has so much human ashes in it that it’s not even funny.”
It’s not just the rides themselves though; ashes have been distributed in the flower beds, outside the park gates, on plants and in moats. Some people who have scattered ashes in the Happiest Place on Earth told the WSJ their motivation was simply to honour the happy memories they had with the person at the park.
However, it’s worth noting that if you’re caught in the act (it’s tough to do it discreetly) or if the remains are found afterwards, your loved one’s final wishes definitely won’t be carried out as the cleaning staff will be alerted and will use a special filter to unsentimentally vacuum them up and throw them in the trash. If you’re still around when it happens, you’ll also be escorted off the premises.
As well as being unpleasant for theme park staff to clean up human remains - to say the least - it’s also strictly against California law. State law lays out very strict guidelines about where you can scatter a loved one’s remains, which include cemeteries, mausoleums, churches or private property with the appropriate permission. The law in Florida is much more relaxed but it still remains against Disney policy.
If you’re still really keen to leave a part of yourself behind, some Disney fans have recommended alternatives like donating to a children’s charity.