Ashes to Ashes...
The Haunted Mansion has long advertised itself as home to 999 happy haunts — but always looking for one more. Last Saturday night, December 14, guests took Disneyland up on its offer.
The small group of visitors arrived at the Mansion late in the evening and asked for their own stretching room (elevator). They explained that their 7-year-old boy died recently, and the Haunted Mansion was his favorite ride. They wanted to take time to pray and have a quick memorial service for him. Even though the queue was crowded, the lead granted their request.
The party proceeded through the attraction without incident, until their Doom Buggies were well on their way. Suddenly, via the hidden camera monitors, the host in the tower noticed one of the guests throwing a powdery substance out her Buggy. Instead of stopping the attraction, the operator repeatedly asked the party to not throw anything on the ride. When they didn't stop, he called a lead, but it was too late. The guests had exited and vanished into the crowded park.
A cast member was sent into the ride to investigate, and he detected what a smattering of dust, "gray, like ash." Disney couldn't take any chances. The crew cycled out the vehicles and evacuated the attraction. Soon, park security, the fire department, Anaheim police, and about every manager in the park were on the scene.
Investigators identified the substance as "human remains." Eventually custodians were called to clean the ride and disinfect the culprits' vehicles, Buggies 49 and 50. The closure lasted hours.
"I don't know what bothers me more, that these people could do this with no concern for the law or those who work there," said one onlooker. "Or that the cast member didn't stop the ride immediately — what if it had been something lethal? Or maybe it is the fact that they couldn't get it all and some went under the track and down into the ballroom and now it will always be there. Or maybe just the fact that now a majority of this boy's remains are in the bottom of a Disney trash can. I am horrified, however you look at it."