Morbid Travel: Woman’s Ashes Buried on Disney Land Ride

In an article titled Woman Seen Scattering Ashes at Disneyland, the LA Times is reporting that “[s]urreptitious scattering of people’s remains at parks, golf courses and other unusual posts may be growing.”

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I’m a live-and-let-live kind of guy, but to me, Disney World/Land/Earth/Planet/Etc. is the Anti-Christ of travel destinations. Its canned, plastic facades; uber-happy, mute characters bouncing around like real world cartoons on lithium; and the insufferable, omnipresent, animatronic drones pumping pseduo-joyful drivel into your auditory canal from every nook and cranny in the park are enough to make me want to hurl.

And it represents all that is wrong with the American tourist mindset. Perhaps it’s elitist of me, but I know I’m not alone.

So why on Earth would anyone want their ashes eternally interred in the recycled water pools of Pirates of the Caribbean?

On Friday, workers at the Anaheim theme park spotted a guest on the ride sprinkling an unidentified substance into the water, prompting them to close the attraction and alert police.

… within hours of Friday’s incident, online columnists and bloggers who track news at the park said they began receiving e-mails from Disney employees claiming the episode was a case of the surreptitious scattering of human ashes.

Not only is this one incident disturbing on its face, but the fact that this may be indicative of an epidemic? – a blog that tracks various goings-on at Disney theme parksis reporting that:

To respond to this growing problem, Disneyland’s custodial department recently had to purchase special vacuums with very sophisticated HEPA filters that can capture the gritty ash of human remains while also capturing the small bone fragments that can also be present after cremation. The Cast Members who work in Attractions know the code words when calling the custodial hotline, and they tell the custodial dispatcher that they need a “HEPA Cleanup” as soon as possible.

I’m guessing the bit about “the gritty ash of human remains” is something that doesn’t find its way into Disney’s brochure.

Of all the options you have in death – you could choose to be buried at sea or launched into space or turned into a diamond – and you pick Pirates of the F’n Caribbean?

Is it just me? Am I the only grumpy, avuncular traveler who sees something wrong with this?

Founding Editor
  1. This is wrong on so many levels … where should I start?!?!
    Short thought: as long as people stick to the kind of amusement parks that I don’t visit, no problem. When they start scattering ashes around Uluru or out of the Trans-Siberian window then it’ll really, REALLY bother me. But then again … where would I want my ashes?

    But back to the point, surely if your loved one’s ashes are going to end up sucked up a vacuum in a “HEPA Cleanup” then scattering them somewhere like Disneyland is pretty undesirable anyway, surely. Perhaps they just need a friendly warning sign saying “all scattered ashes will be hoovered up and sent to the rubbish dump” and the whole thing would stop.

  2. That’s certainly the upside, Amanda: as long as these people aren’t visiting the same places I’m traveling to, I suppose it’s a good thing.

    Bottom line for me: if it makes them happy, then by all means let them spread their ashes in the land of Goofy and Pluto.

    I still it’s say it’s bizarre, but who am I to judge?

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