(p. A8) “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.
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Caryn Reker of Jacksonville, Fla., remembers her father growing emotional while watching the Wishes fireworks show outside the ice-cream parlor on Disney World’s Main Street. When time came for her to spread his ashes, in 2006, she opted to do it in numerous spots around the area.
“It’s a sweet way to giggle and remember—he’s here. . . and there. . . and a little over there. . . yep, there, too,” she wrote in an email. She returned to Disney World last week to spread the ashes of her brother, an Epcot enthusiast who died this year.
. . .
Shanon Himebrook, a 41-year-old state-government employee from Kansas City, Mo., grew up making summer trips to Disney World with her father, a worker at a plastic factory in Indiana.
At Disney, “he wasn’t my tired, graveyard-shift Dad,” she said. “He was, ‘Let’s get you the Mouse ears! Let’s get your name stitched in it!’ It’s like, ‘I love this dad! Can we stay forever?’”
Ms. Himebrook spread his ashes earlier this year near the park gates.
. . .
Kym Pessolano DeBarth, a 47-year-old optometrist-office worker from Northfield, N.J., dumped a small amount of her mother’s ashes in the water underneath It’s a Small World. “I didn’t want to clog the filter,” she said.
In December , she’ll return to the park to commemorate the 15th anniversary of her mother’s death.
“Instead of going to a grave,” she said, “I go to Disney World.”
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(Note: bracketed year, and ellipses between paragraphs, added; ellipses internal to a sentence, in original.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Oct. 24, 2018, and has the title “Disney World’s Big Secret: It’s a Favorite Spot to Scatter Family Ashes.”)