A new report has confirmed, once and for all, one of Disneyland and Walt Disney World‘s most bittersweet urban legends: the joints are absolutely covered in human ashes, and it’s entirely likely visitors wearing Mickey Mouse ears amble past cremated remains each and every day.
The Wall Street Journal spoke to workers at the so-called happiest places on Earth, who said it is remarkably common for the bereaved to sprinkle the ashes of their loved ones around the parks.
Visitors spread ashes near the Magic Kingdom gardens or around Epcot so often that cleaners have adopted the term “HEPA cleanup”, referring to the ultrafine HEPA filters used in the custodial vacuum cleaners.
Yes, human ash piles are disposed of via vacuum cleaner. Another fun fact laid out in the article: cleaners have been chastised for using the term “Code Grandma”, which is the kind of grimly hilarious snipe absolutely verboten by The Mouse.
“The Haunted Mansion probably has so much human ashes in it that it’s not even funny,” one worker told the paper. If you are the superstitious type, please feel free to infer that The Haunted Mansion is actually haunted.
While the whole thing is certainly a touch morbid, punters who did leave the remnants of their beloved within those walls say the experience was cathartic and appropriate.
Kym Pessolano DeBarth, who admitted to leaving some of her mother’s ashes in the It’s A Small World river, said she preferred to visit a theme park to remember her mum than a gravesite.
At present, visitors spotted spreading ashes are asked to leave. One potential solution: sell Disney urns in the gift shop. And that’s not even addressing the possibility of cryogenics…