It’s a Small World: Scattering Grandma’s Cremains at Disney World

Elizabeth Fournier
4 min readJul 21, 2020

Illegal, but oh so popular.

Photographer unknown

A darling lady came to visit me at the funeral parlour. She was all giggles as she confided that she once helped scatter her grandma’s ashes at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Apparently, she didn’t exactly tell the kids this was the specific reason they were all packed and heading on vacation in the Kia Sedona, but what would they have cared? It is the happiest place on Earth — for the living and in this case, the post-living.

The Sayonara Family prided themselves on taking care of business and doing it on the cheap. Grandma, who was now known as Miss Lovie Sayonara, would have approved.

Disney World offered active duty and retired soldiers a free five-day pass. That was pay dirt for a family who talked Desert Storm Veteran Uncle Rickey into coming by promising him he’d have the chance to ride front row on all the “big rides.” The other passes cost $99. The family of five stayed at one of the Disney-owned hotels to take advantage of the early admission days that came with being at the hotel. The plan was for the family to close down the park: Stay late to take advantage of smaller crowds, shorter lines and fewer people.

The park opened and they were off like banshees, but not to use a Fast Pass. They were focused on hitting the featured attractions on the purple-penned ash dispersion list. The family hauled toward Fantasyland. They did not stop for a PhotoPass opportunity; they did not stop at the Main Street Bakery, but they managed to wave back at the nice cast members with the big white Mickey hands.

They marched, en masse, through the Cinderella Castle, admired the lovely mosaics and strode with purpose towards The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. This was stop number one for grandma. A whirl through the honey and the Huffalump and a small pinch of grandma made its way out of the backpack and into the Winnie the Pooh Birthday Bash scene.

In Fantasyland, they stood in line near the Peter Pan ride, scanning the esplanade toward Snow White’s Scary Adventures, to find the window where the Wicked Queen opens the curtains to peer out every few seconds. A nip of grandma’s remains found its way into the bush below.

In the queue for Snow White’s Scary Adventures there is a golden apple that, when touched emits the voice of the witch, cackling with laughter. My friend touched that golden apple with a little something chalky in her hand.
Cinderella’s Golden Carousel was next. Find grandma over the pink horse there. At Indiana Jones, a pole says “Do Not Touch.” Touching it will cause spikes to come down through the ceiling. My friend fearlessly disregarded the rules with grandma again.

In the Haunted Mansion, her little cousin spotted the Hidden Mickey plates in the Ballroom and the Hidden Donald in a chair by the Endless Hallway. Cremains are now concealed yonder.

This tour with the ashes finally wrapped up at “It’s a Small World.” A clown in a hot air balloon holds a glittery sign that reads “Help Me.” The clown is the only character in the whole ride who is not smiling — he wears a little frown. The sign is just to keep him in character—it now holds spitballs of grandma’s bits.

Tragedy struck while they were still on that ride. All of grandma dropped and fanned out, accidently. A white fluff and puff sort of lingered and then sank. The people in the boat behind noticed and weren’t being quiet about their issues with it. My friend tried to use her hoodie as a makeshift mop but it wasn’t able to amass any slag. A few of them used their hands as scoopers. And a message suddenly came over the loudspeakers. They quickly were mortified to learn that the Small World is definitely not emergency potable water. They learned later that cast members are required to wade in that water weekly to scrub the boats with soap, and if you fall in that water during the ride, you are required to have a tetanus shot.

But all was not lost. As they sat with wet sleeves in their wooden water wagon, they looked at all the signs with the word Goodbye in different languages from all over the world. However, the sign that supposedly represents Japan is the Japanese word arigato, meaning thank you. Broad smiles came over their faces, for sayonara would have been more appropriate.

Snapped from inside Disney’s “It’s a Small World” attraction



Elizabeth Fournier

The Green Reaper, Eco-Mortician, TEDx Speaker, Radio host of UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN, Author of THE GREEN BURIAL GUIDEBOOK. Be excellent to each other!