People are Spreading Ashes at Disney Parks
Custodians at the Walt Disney Co. theme parks in Orlando, Fla., and Anaheim, Calif., use code words to disguise the messier aspects of their work from visitors. When a manager radios for a “Code V” cleanup, it means a patron has vomited. “Code U” signals urine. No code is kept more under wraps at Walt Disney World and Disneyland 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 (or “HEPA”) vacuum cleaner is needed to suck them up. Disney custodians say it happens about once a month. “Anyone who knew my mom knew Disney was her happy place,” said Jodie Jackson Wells, a business coach in Boca Raton, Fla., who in 2009 smuggled a pill bottle containing her mother’s ashes into Walt Disney World. Once inside, Ms. Wells helped spread ashes on the platform of It’s a Small World near a head-spinning bird, a moment in the ride that always made her mother laugh. Later in the day, overcome with grief, Ms. Wells hopped over the barricade surrounding the lawn outside Cinderella’s castle and ran across the grass, flinging them as she crossed. “I had two fistfuls of the ashes and I literally leapt like I was a dancer,” she said. Current and former custodians at Disney parks say identifying and vacuuming up human ashes is a signature and secret part of working at the Happiest Place on Earth. It is grisly work for them, but a cathartic release for the bereaved, who say treating Disney parks as a final resting place is the ultimate tribute to ardent fans. Human ashes have been spread in flower beds, on bushes and on Magic Kingdom lawns; outside the park gates and during fireworks displays; on Pirates of the Caribbean and in the moat underneath the flying elephants of the Dumbo ride. Most frequently of all, according to custodians and park workers, they’ve been dispersed throughout the Haunted Mansion, the 49-year-old attraction featuring an eerie old estate full of imaginary ghosts. “The Haunted Mansion probably has so much human ashes in it that it’s not even funny,” said one Disneyland custodian.
Disney is Looking to Reboot Pirates of the Caribbean
“Pirates of the Caribbean” may not be walking the plank just yet. Disney is “exploring” what’s being called a “reboot” of the franchise, and it’s in early talks with “Deadpool” screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to pen the script, Deadline reported Tuesday. Jerry Bruckheimer would return as producer, the entertainment site said. No deal has been finalized, however, and Disney had no comment, Variety noted. The last entry, 2017′s “Dead Men Tell No Tales” earned the least domestically ($172.5 million) by far of the franchise’s five films but still hauled in a robust $622.3 million internationally. Overall, the series has raked in $4.5 billion worldwide since it launched in 2003. So it wouldn’t be shocking if another swashbuckler should materialize ― with or without Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, the drunken pirate who has appeared in all five. Depp, whose divorce settlement with actress Amber Heard cost him a reported $7 million after he was accused of domestic violence, has reportedly lost “most” of an additional $650 million from movie roles.
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