The Strange Thing That Occurs At Disney World's Haunted Mansion

You probably expect that Disney parks' staff members (they're actually called cast members) deal with a lot of strange things. After all, these are parks that let people live out their Disney fantasies. But there is one thing people have been doing in Disney World and Disneyland that's just not befitting the happiest place on Earth.

Though it's been an urban legend for years, The Wall Street Journal confirmed park visitors spread the ashes of their loved ones around Disney World and Disneyland. And nowhere are these ashes more prominent than in the Haunted Mansion ride. One park staff member even said there's so much human ash at the Haunted Mansion that "it's not even funny."

Disney parks even have a code for when a scattering occurs, "HEPA cleanup," referring to the special filter needed to suck ultrafine particles into a vacuum. (And if you hear code V or code U, that's referring to vomit and urine) But just because they've developed a way to call for clean up subtly doesn't mean they're happy to let people spread their loved ones' ashes all over the park. Gizmodo reported Disney reserves the right to escort anyone doing so out of the park and have called the police on violators before.

Pretty sure even the monorail has a dusting of ash from the Haunted Mansion

But apparently, this has not stopped people from wanting their family members to spend a few fleeting seconds in Mickey Mouse's home before being sucked into a vacuum. The Wall Street Journal talked to people who've smuggled ashes to the park. They said it wasn't easy to sneak their family members' remains past security, but they're willing so long as their grandfather or son or other loved one gets to spend more time in the place that gave them joy. One woman did feel slightly guilty; she only dropped a tiny amount of her mother's ashes in the It's a Small World ride because she didn't want to clog the filter. Which makes sense, because once the code is called, the entire ride is shut down for cleanup, and all those people standing in line for hours groan in frustration.

Lest you think people have stopped doing this sweet but also mechanically terrible act, of course not. The Los Angeles Times reported police were called on a woman seen scattering ashes in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland in 2019. The police declined to pursue the case due to a lack of a clear description of the woman.

So, if you have a loved one who is obsessed with Disney, think really hard if you want to hear the words "HEPA cleanup" right after you sweetly say goodbye to them, as a kid who's been patiently waiting to go on the ride cries. Do you want that on your conscience?