Spreading the ashes of one’s relative on Walt Disney World Resort property is not a novel idea and is often criticized by other fans. But it appears one woman’s attempt tragically ended before she could even have a chance.
Joyce Jackson, 78, was on her way to Disney World from her home in Wales when errant baggage handlers lost the bag containing her late husband’s ashes and their wedding rings.
Speaking with North Wales Live (via Manchester Evening News), Mrs. Jackson explained that she was flying to Central Florida to bury some of her husband Gordon’s ashes, along with their wedding rings, in the gardens of their favorite Disney World Resort hotel: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. But her Virgin Atlantic flight arrived at Orlando International Airport (MCO) without the bag carrying her valuables.
Mrs. Jackson explained:
“At Manchester Airport I was told I had to use the self-service bag drop. I did that and got a luggage label. A man put it on. It wasn’t a sticky label where you loop it round a handle and stick both ends together. It was more like a paper one. But it must have come off.
“But the worst thing about it was the ashes and rings were in the suitcase. I know you can’t take a person’s ashes with you so I only had a few ashes and our wedding rings. I was going to bury them in a garden at Caribbean Beach Resort. The main ashes are in a rose pot in our garden.”
The Jacksons were married for 57 years when Mr. Jackson had a fainting episode that caused him to fall and fracture his skull. He never woke up. According to his wife, he loved their trips to Disney World.
“Gordon absolutely loved it there,” she said, “He would talk to the characters. It wasn’t a pilgrimage, but I wanted to bury some of his ashes and our wedding rings there.”
But Mrs. Jackson had more than just her treasures in the lost luggage. She also had everything else she packed for what she suspected would be her last trip to “The Most Magical Place On Earth,” as she said: “I can’t go back because I can’t afford it and I’m 78.”
Enter yet another example of Disney World going the extra mile to help a Guest make the most of her trip while, as she said, Virgin Atlantic “didn’t care.”
“I had to wash my underwear every night with shower gel. But Disney were very good, considering it was not their problem. They gave me a toothbrush and arranged for a taxi to take me to a supermarket so I could buy hairspray and toothpaste. I also bought three dresses, a T-shirt and a bag.”
Even though she was unable to fulfill the mission of her trip, Mrs. Jackson made the most of her time there, and she said her husband would have been proud of her for pushing on.
“I couldn’t stay in a hotel room. I did go out every day. I had to enjoy it. I went on the boats and the cable cars – I went to the places that we loved. It was not a pilgrimage. It was not sad until they lost the suitcase then it was sad.”
While Virgin Atlantic has apologized, it is still unclear what happened to her suitcase.
It should also be mentioned at this time that Walt Disney World Resort does not allow or condone the spreading of ashes or any such burials on property, and it is unclear if Mrs. Jackson would have been able to get away with it.
That being said, it is not often we at Disney Fanatic are able to share a story that definitively covers the final chapter of Disney Park Fans’ story.
We at Disney Fanatic will continue to update our readers on Disney Parks news and stories as more developments come to light.