Disney Theme Parks, also considered to be the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’, are a popular choice for people to scatter the ashes of their loved ones. The amusement parks attract millions of tourists each year from across the globe and while some visit the park for the once-in-a-lifetime experience, others do that to fulfil the last wishes of their loved ones. For years, these events have been reported on a monthly basis when any person is caught in the act. However, the phenomenon took the shape of an urban legend that recognized a few hotspots inside the park to throw the ashes.
A report by Wall Street Journal, published in 2018, confirmed the long-established urban myth stating that custodians at the Walt Disney Co. use code words to tackle these problems. ‘HEPA cleanup’ is the code used for such events that require a special vacuum filter designed to suck up very fine particles like ash residue.
Some common places for visitors to scatter these ashes are The Haunted Mansion, flower pots, magic Kingdom flower bed, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride or other spots and the park is shut down due to technical difficulties when such case is discovered. A story about The Haunted Mansion ride states that people believe that by scattering the ashes on the ride, they join the ghosts and live at the theme park forever, reports the Insider.
In April 2019, a woman was spotted on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride scattering an unidentified powdery substance into the water at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. Following it, the ride was closed down and police were informed. However, the report wasn’t filed due to a lack of proper description of the suspect, reports Los Angeles Times.
Authorities have addressed the growing problem from time to time and shared that many tourists ask for prior permission to scatter ashes on the premises, to which the answer is usually negative. Despite the prohibition, some sneak these ashes into the park by hiding them in medicine bottles, the bottom of the purse or makeup compacts and once they enter inside, all one has to do is find the right spot. Although, without prior permission, it violates the Health and Safety Code and Disney has made it clear that such incidents wouldn’t be tolerated or permitted.