The Happiest Place On Earth.

Source: Wikipedia

If you’ve decided you want your final remains to be cremated what plans have you made for your ashes? Yes, I know, that’s a macabre question, but ‘tis the season, and that’s going to be my excuse even though I am the sort of guy who might ask you that sort of thing out of the blue on a sunny day in May, mostly because I’m curious but also because it’s an interesting way to get to know strangers. Also it pretty much guarantees I’ll have the window seat to myself on the bus, but that’s another story.
What also got me thinking about that question, aside from simple curiosity, is a recent story about how frequently Disney park employees have to clean up an incinerated loved one who’s been brought for a final visit. According to the story about once a month park employees get wind of someone’s ashes and use a special vacuum to remove the lifeless loiterer and send them to a less family-friendly final resting place.
I have my own creative plans for my cremains, although I plan to go out with a big “Please Recycle” stamp and hope that any parts that can benefit someone else after I’m done using them get passed on. Still I appreciate that many peoples’ last wish is to be laid to rest in a place that made them happy, and the story did get me thinking about where, if I wanted a Disney disposal, I’d want to be consigned. My first choice–which I’ll come back to–turned out to be very popular, which reassures me that I’m not alone in my morbidity. And it does seem pretty obvious that I’m not. A lot of us tend to imagine that every smile is merely a portal to a dark underbelly. The film Escape From Tomorrow, parts of which were illicitly filmed at Disney World and Disney Land, even imagines Disney’s dark side, or at least one man’s experience of it.
Anyway the more I thought about it the more I thought, strange as it might sound, that I’d want to spend eternity on the monorail, or the Train Ride, because I like the idea of touring the park, never stopping in one place. I think I’d even prefer, and this is going to sound even stranger, the trams that carry visitors to and from the parking lots. I have very clear memories of my first visit to Disney World, memories which, when my family went back a few years later, seemed more like things I’d merely imagined rather than seen, my first experience with how memory is malleable. But the trams were the same, and that final ride back to our car in the dark, seeing other trams lit by a single bulb taking other people back to their cars, was the perfect cap to the day.
Of course my first choice is one that a lot of others also prefer:

Popular lore has always attached this gruesome ritual to one ride in particular: The Haunted Mansion. Current and former Disney employees say that riders carrying cremains onto the spooky attraction are a serious problem, with one Disneyland custodian telling The Wall Street Journal that the ride “probably has so much human ashes in it that it’s not even funny.”

No, it’s not funny. It’s hilarious.

 

22 Comments

  1. Ray V

    Having bee a funeral director for 36 years, I heard lots of varied plans for scattering. My favorite however, Chris, was from a man in East Stroudsburg, PA , back in 1995 who wanted me to keep his ashes until winter and to spread them on the sidewalk once it got icy. Unfortunately, I was not able to comply.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s just as well that you were unable to comply. Ashes on an icy sidewalk sounds pretty risky. I hope to be spread around somewhere out of the way.

      Reply
  2. Red

    I do want to be cremated – after any usable parts are recycled – but I have no idea what my survivors might do with the cremains. Something safe, I hope. I used to work at a State Park, and the idea that bits of me might wash up on a beach where kids are playing and eating dirt is upsetting. For the kids. They shouldn’t be turned into cannibals on my account.

    I did see an ad once for a company that will take your loved one’s cremains and compress them into a gemstone. That would be cool.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Turning cremains into a gemstone is a pretty cool idea and a nice way to guarantee you’ll be kept around and not disposed of somewhere you might end up being accidentally cannibalized. When I heard about people’s ashes being carried up in the space shuttle I thought that would be cool–a chance to leave the planet–but then I learned that they bring them back to Earth.

      Reply
  3. Veronica Anaya

    I think there are more places with this problem than we know. For instance, diehard Dallas Cowboy fans that voice their final resting place after their remains are cremated wish to be “scattered” on or near Arlington Stadium. I think to myself…..ewww First of all because I don’t care for the Dallas Cowboys and second because….ewww. Just the thought of sitting down to watch a game and ash could be floating freely onto your popcorn or nachos. But even at the college level, the University of Michigan (which I’m a die-hard fan) the have the same problem. These are not the same as having your final remains scattered at the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. I have decided that cremation is what I want, after I’ve donated the usable parts for the greater good and I wish to be flown to Michigan and my ashes gently sprinkled into Lake Michigan. I also like the idea from Red above, my remains being compressed into an awesome gemstone. I’m sure my boys would love to have their mom on a necklace or something. lol

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Being turned into a necklace would be a pretty interesting use for your remains, but I like the idea of being gently sprinkled into Lake Michigan better. You’ll always be part of a beautiful place that way, and less likely to end up in someone’s nachos. Although your ashes will probably find their way into the fish and you could end up being part of someone’s dinner of perch and pierogies.

      Reply
  4. Bryce Warden

    Oh hell no, Disney will not be my final resting place. People either love or loathe Disney, I’m in the latter group. I am curious about the movie though that sounds interesting. I plan to donate my organs – after that I prefer to be cremated, haven’t decided where I should be sprinkled yet, need to ponder that one.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The idea of being permanently interred in the Haunted Mansion makes me laugh but, yeah, it wouldn’t be my first choice either. Who wants to put up with that many tourists? I guess I’m old fashioned for thinking a final resting place should be restful.

      Reply
  5. Ann Koplow

    Hey, Chris. I’m going to Disney World in January. I’m usually on the lookout for anything hilarious, so I’ll let you know.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I hope you avoid the ashes but I also hope you enjoy at least one trip through the Haunted Mansion, or whatever your favorite ride may be.

      Reply
  6. Tom

    I have no plans for my cremains, whatsoever. I figure I’ll be gone by then. 😉

    But since no one else has made plans for them, either, they’re all yours, Chris. Do with ’em what you will! 😁

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Well, I’ve been looking for an excuse to visit Disney World, and it would tickle me to add someone’s remains to The Haunted Mansion. Although really I think I should defer to Mrs. C. regarding your remains.

      Reply
  7. Kristine @mumrevised

    By the time I plan to die, the only thing they won’t be able to recycle will be my skin and toe nails. Those they can burn and use to make bricks, thereby recycling the rest.
    Ps: “thanks to that old geezer and keep him in the freezer.” How do you find these songs?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Well, as Monty Python said, “I’ve left my body to science but I’m afraid they turned it down.”
      I consider myself very lucky to have friends who know my interest in novelty songs. “Magic Kingdom In The Sky” has actually been popping up on my playlist since 1998.

      Reply
  8. Grace

    Do with me what you will….

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I defer to Thing 1 and Thing 2 regarding what should be done with your mortal remains, but the main thing is I hope it’ll be a very long time before they have to make a decision.

      Reply
  9. Allison

    I said the other day, I wanted to be placed in some sort of unobtrusive container and given to Goodwill.

    That way, whoever buys the cookie jar deals with it.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I like the cut of your jib. Or cookie jar. I like the idea of someone buying something at Goodwill only to wonder what exactly the ashes are.

      Reply
  10. Arionis

    I wouldn’t ask for my ashes to be spread anywhere at Disneyland(world) because I wouldn’t want my loved ones to have to stand in the long lines or spring for the speed pass.

    My request is fairly mundane. I’d like for my ashes to be thrown off the ledge at McAfee Knob on the Appalachian Trail.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      McAfee Knob is a very beautiful place so there’s nothing wrong with a mundane request.
      Besides based on the article your request may be more unusual than being deposited in a Disney park.

      Reply
  11. Ellen Hawley

    Disneyland? I’d have said I don’t care what happens to my ashes, but you’ve made me realize that I’d be seriously pissed off if someone decided to leave them there. If, that is, I was capable of being pissed off once I was dead and cremated, which I seriously doubt. Still if anyone’s listening, don’t take a chance. Dump me someplace else.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The more I read about it the more I think cremation might not be the most environmentally friendly option for disposing of one’s mortal remains so I’ve considered being liquefied. Even so I’d want to be dumped somewhere well away from people to avoid any possible contamination. Yeah, Disneyland is a bad place to leave a cremated loved one. Somewhere remote is much better for everyone concerned–living or dead.

      Reply

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