Funeral Industry News

What if Disney Decided to Enter The Funeral Business?

March 29, 2010

What if Disney Decided to Enter The Funeral Business?

image??I can’t think of a happier place on earth. Anyone that has ever entered a Walt Disney World theme park has been amazed. The place is the pinnacle of theme parks for both kids and adults. Two years ago my wife and I took our girls to Disney World in Orlando, FL, and my now three year old remembers every single thing we did and is begging to go back.

I can’t imagine that there is anyone who has ever visited Walt Disney World and didn’t leave with a special magical memory. That’s what Disney World does, they create exciting experiences and magical memories.

What would happen if Disney World took their ability to create experiences and magical moments and brought that energy to their own brand of funeral homes? Would you be worried if they put one in your town?

The point of this post is not that I am hoping Disney brands their own funeral homes, but that I hope it inspires funeral directors to think more like Walt Disney did. There is no reason that a funeral can’t be an honoring and magical experience.

Our “Question of the Week” last week was, “Why is the Cremation Rate Climbing so Fast?” The majority of the comments referenced enforcing the value of the funeral service to families as well as creating memorable experiences (which would again enforce value). If this is what it would take to slow the rise in cremation then I think Disney would rock the industry.

I read the following in an article online this weekend:

I discovered this recently when an acquaintance of mine, a huge Disney fan, confided in me that her father?s ashes had been scattered ?Somewhere in Disney World.? When I inquired where, she only assured me that it was in a very private place and not in the parks. I figured this was a fluke, but when I did some research, I discovered numerous reports about spreading a loved one?s ashes in Disney parks, part of a trend that began in the late 90s and is prevalent enough today that Disney reportedly has special cleaning crews, armed with vacuums capable of picking up dust and bone fragments, for such occasions.

So is it true? Well, Disney won?t say for sure and really, I can?t blame them. It?s a rather depressing subject for such a happy place. Officially, Disney gets a handful of requests a year to scatter a loved-one?s ashes in the parks, which they turn down. Unofficially, it happens, just like Flash Mountain (people flashing when the camera takes their photo on Splash Mountain) happens. Disney can?t stop everything and there are only so many cameras. And really, what?s the harm? They either wash away in the rain or are cleaned up. Topping the list in popularity is, not surprisingly, The Haunted Mansion, followed by Pirates of the Caribbean and It?s a Small World. The latter, presumably, for that pesky mother-in-law you?ve just got to stick it to one last time.


People will save for years just to be able to afford to take a trip to Walt Disney World, but when we talk about saving and preplanning a funeral people don’t seem to buy into it. What if they were planning for a funeral that was guaranteed to give them a “Walt Disney World” type experience?

I maybe way off my rocker, but I don’t think so. With the baby boomers coming through your front door everyday for the next 10 – 15yrs I don’t think funerals that give you a “Walt Disney World” experience are that far stretched.

Think about the experience you are offering your families. Is it the type of service Walt Disney would offer?