Apparently, people go to Disney Parks to spread their loved one’s ashes—but it’s not the best idea

Ever notice how The Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland always shuts down mid-ride? That might be because someone was caught scattering a loved one’s ashes inside the ride. Scattering someone’s ashes at a Disney Park sounds like a beautiful (or slightly creepy) way to honor the legacy of your Disney-loving family member or friend, but according to the custodians who work in Disney Parks, those ashes often end up in an industrial-sized vacuum.

"No code is kept more under wraps at Disney World than the call for a 'HEPA cleanup.' It means that, once again, a park guest has scattered the cremated ashes of a loved one somewhere in the park, and an ultrafine 'HEPA' vacuum is needed to suck them up," park custodians told The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reported that guests scatter ashes almost anywhere, but the most popular spot is The Haunted Mansion.

“The Haunted Mansion probably has so much human ashes in it that it’s not even funny,” said one Disneyland custodian.

Each time someone is caught scattering ashes, they stop the ride for “technical difficulties,” and then immediately vacuum the remains. Anaheim police outside Disneyland have confirmed that they’ve escorted people off the property after catching them in the act. According to the WSJ, most people sneak the ashes in through pill bottles or plastic bags and largely pull it off…until later a janitor comes by with a HEPA vacuum and has to clean it up.


A 2007 LA Times article reported about a woman caught scattering ashes on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, which morphed into an urban legend about secret scatterings at Disney Parks. But this isn’t legend—it’s happening at least once a month. It’s also kind of sad, because what one person thinks is a loving send-off for their family member is actually going straight to a vacuum in the sky.