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Disney Vacation Day 2: The Stroller Incident

I'm not going to list what we did every day, but today started in the Magic Kingdom and was the location for something which had the potential not to ruin our vacation, but to put a serious dent in the enjoyment.

Carey'd misplaced her card, so we waited for her to get a new one (the old one was just turned around backwards in her wallet). We watched the opening ceremonies from outside the gates, and when we went inside, Carey picked up a small blue Mickey-shaped metallic piece of confetti. We put it in the stroller.

We then walked quickly straight for Dumbo - a ride Carey's guide said to ride first and then ride again if possible before the lines got too long. We rode the carousel. We rode the Pooh ride. Then we parked our stroller and went in two or three shows and rides (Peter Pan, the Philharmagic show, and perhaps another one or two).

Carey saw the stroller prior to us riding It's a Small World. When we came out of Small World, Carey said "wait here, I'll be right back." Five minutes later I see her waving, so we walk down to find that our stroller had been stolen. The person who stole the stroller had apparently taken my large Titleist umbrella out of the stroller before stealing it because the worker mentioned that he'd just found an umbrella lying on the ground moments before Carey showed up to get our stroller.

We'd done a fair amount of research into choosing the proper stroller for Disney World. We wanted something lightweight and easily folded for the bus rides, but also something that handled really well, wouldn't fall apart, and had the necessary storage and shade (cover) options. We settled on a Maclaren Volo. $130 at the local Babies 'R Us, Carey found a 2005 model on eBay for $70, and it included shipping, an extra cover, and a rain hood as well. We bought it in pink.

Carey filed a report with security. We found an identical model stroller nearby, but it was much dirtier, filled with clothes, and had the rain hood in the under-seat storage. We'd not brought the rain hood today.

After searching the immediate area - Carey, the security guard, and a Disney representative - they gave us a Disney stroller for the day and said basically "sorry, tough luck."

Carey was incredibly upset that someone would steal a stroller at Disney World. I found it somewhat ironic that our stroller was stolen while we were in a ride promoting unity and togetherness. Neither of us displayed this outwardly, though, and moved past it rather quickly since we still had a lot to do. Still, though, the nerve of someone to steal a stroller - who does that kind of thing?

Barely fifteen minutes later, we had parked our Disney stroller outside of Country Bear Jamboree - and I'd put my same huge black-and-white Titleist umbrella on top - and gone in to enjoy the show. When we came out, I noticed the same model stroller in the same color - and with the same minimal amount of wear - was parked right next to ours. A little pink sweater and hat was sitting inside, but after we calculated the odds of finding an identical (same color, model, etc.) four-year-old but brand new in wear and tear stroller to be about one in a thousand at best1, we noticed something that put it well beyond that: a single blue Mickey-shaped piece of confetti on the seat.

I would have just switched the clothes out into our Disney stroller and gone off with it, that's how certain I was that we'd found our stroller. We'd already spent 20 minutes filing the claim and whatnot, and I didn't want to cause a scene if the woman came to claim the stroller while we waited beside it. But Carey did the better thing and asked the Jamboree "cast member" to call the security guard over. He took quite awhile, but finally made it to the location.

Carey pointed out the clues - the same model number (a sticker on the stroller), the fact that it was a four-year-old model in the same color but with almost no wear except for the one mark we knew about, and most importantly, the confetti - and the guard/police guy was convinced. He gave us the stroller and we immediately took it into a shop to have a sign made for it and to put Sharpie marks (our name, our cell phone #s) on it for identification in the future if necessary.

The woman who stole the stroller apparently came to re-claim the hat and sweater. The guard talked with her and she admitted to taking out the umbrella because "she thought someone had taken her stroller." The guard said she couldn't describe the stroller very well (as would happen if you'd only had it for half an hour) and she hadn't filed a claim or reported the supposed theft to anyone.

I saw the woman - Carey didn't - and she had a daughter who appeared to be about four or five years old. How do you explain to a kid "hey, we're going to use this cute stroller over here…" and then again later explain why you no longer have a stroller? How do you explain that you stole some other kid's stroller at Disney World?

FWIW, Carey and I don't think there's even a small chance she had an identical stroller stolen from her. We're quite amazed that, when caught, she wanted to reclaim the hat/sweater! Though I don't think the kid should have been punished (by kicking them out of Disney World) for the mom's theft, I hope the woman at least felt a little shame. But then again, if you felt bad about stealing a stroller, you probably wouldn't do it to begin with. She stole it about 45 minutes after the park opened - it's not even like her kid had been complaining for hours about all the walking she'd been doing, driving her mom to the edge of sanity.

And how stupid do you have to be to take a huge black-and-white umbrella from a stroller you're stealing only to park right beside a stroller with the same umbrella on top about 45 minutes later?

Anyway, justice was served, and it had only been 90 minutes since we entered the park. In that time we'd been in/on about eight rides or shows and had our stroller stolen and recovered.

There were no further stroller incidents the rest of the week. But just a heads up if you're going anywhere on vacation: apparently some people are so scummy, so low, that they'd steal a stroller at Disney World. What a mom. šŸ˜›

Footnotes

  1. During the five and a half days at Disney World, we saw only three other strollers that were the same color and model as ours, and all of them were significantly older or more worn. One in a thousand is thus probably short of the better estimate, as we saw 5,000+ strollers per day.

11 Responses to "Disney Vacation Day 2: The Stroller Incident"

  1. I am also furious because this past weekend we had our $400 BOB jogging stroller stolen in the same vicinity your stroller was stolen (near Peter Pan and carousel). I think there is a racket in Orlando where crooks are taking strollers and re-selling them for big profits on Craigslist or Ebay. A nice day's pay if you steal a $400 stroller and sell it to someone for $150-200. Pathetic. If you are heading to Disney do not take a stroller you value. Funny thing is I invested in this pricey stroller because customers online said it was great at Disney. When I called lost and found at WDW they thought I was another woman who had the same model (color too) stolen at Hollywood Studios the same weekend. Clearly crooks have a real money making scam working at the Magic Kingdom. The local news in O-town needs to do an investigation on this.

    1. This is absolutely crazy. The same thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Very expensive stroller gone at Disney.

  2. This past May (2009) our stroller was stolen while we were on the Dumbo carousel and visiting with Ariel around 2pm. We reported it to security and although we carried on with our day it did put a damper on things, we have 3 little girls and had to tell one of them they now had to walk. Disney did give us a stroller, not as comfortable as the Maclaren classic we had, but at least we had something. At the end of the day right before the evening parade,8 ours later, my husband went bolting across the park, he had found our stroller!! It had been left outside a bathroom (round the corner from a small world) the girls autograph books and pens had been stolen, they had been given a private meeting with Cinderella by a park employee earlier in the day and were excited about her writing in their books, a few other things were missing, hat,sunglasses, but WHO steals a little girl's book!! The park did replace the book (without the autograph). My mother-in-law then came up with a great idea. We bought a bicycle lock and chained our two strollers together for the rest of the time we left them.We had a double stroller and a single, when we locked them we put them slightly at angle so anyone trying to move them would have a hard as all the wheels would not move the same direction.The park said we could doo this as long as we didn't chain them to any posts around the park.
    You just imagine everyone at 'Disney' to be happy and not to be doing things like this!!!

  3. We had our stroller stolen in July 2009 from outside the castle of the Magic Kingdom. This is the same area that the last two posters wrote about. My daughter and I were inside the park before it was open to eat breakfast with the princesses. When we came out, our stroller was gone. We suspect that, when the park opened, someone decided they didn't want to make their kid walk all day, and took the first stroller they saw. The ironic part about our stroller is that it was not an expensive stroller (probably less than $50), and there were really expensive ones right next to where ours had been parked. We purposefuuly took a cheap stroller just in case something like this were to happen, but our mistake was not locking the wheels with a bike lock and not putting a noticeable, unremoveable name tag on it.

    The cast members looked for it for an hour and called security. We filed a report and called lost and found every day, but to no avail. So, this was not a case of someone accidentally taking the wrong stroller.

    My 3-year-old daughter cried uncontrollably, and I had to take her back to the room for part of the day just to recover. Disney offered us a free stroller rental for the remainder of our stay, but this did not help with the long walks to and from the buses at the end of the day.

    Try explaining to young children why someone would take their stroller. I cannot imagine how the other "parent" (and I use that term loosely) explained to their child that taking a stroller was acceptable.

  4. My brand new 400 dollar stroller was stolen in Feb of 2009 in the Magic Kingdom out side of Buzz Blasters. I got a look at who I am sure stole it as she was hanging around me and my kids just watching before it happened. 40ish white female, grubby looking local. Security was ABSOLUTELY USELESS. What a joke they are, I hope they are never needed for anything serious. It took them 20 minutes to respond, then the guy tried to convince me it wasn't stolen. All the while my kids have to go through this on our first day in the park. Then he took me to security/ lost and found to fill out a report outside the park while he went to the bathroom for 30 minutes plus. I had to wait for him to sign off on it. Then to make matters worse these great Disney Cast Members that you hear are so super help full must have been on vacation that day and for the rest of my trip because we weren't even offered a free stroller to use in the park. Not that it mattered because ours was a double and Disney only has singles. HERE'S the kicker to the whole thing. Disney Security, Lost and Found and city hall all said this never happens. Then I ran into a Disneyland FIREFIGHTER who told me straight up that this happens 2 to 3 times a day and Im lucky I diddnt have my wallet, camera or more stolen. Lesson here is when he told me I was in L.A. , what did I expect.

  5. This is amazing! I just took my family to Disney this past weekend and had our Maclaren stroller stolen in Hollywood Studios. Security was as dumb as could be and told me it would turn up. It did in the parking lot two days later, broken and covered in beer. The diaper bag and all of our stuff was gone. Disney has been less then helpful and keep telling me its a matter for Orange County Police. OCP tell me that theres not much they can do! So, I'm just stuck. I am so upset over this. My daughter has a heart condition and to just say to a sick child; "Sorry, you have to walk everywhere" is just cruel. Disney is treating us like the bad guys. We spent money on this 'fun' trip and now my four year old only talks about the stroller being stolen and how she is afraid of people stealing all of her things. Not the message that I wanted to bring home from Disney. Did Disney help anyone that this has happened too?

    1. Hi Priscilla - so sorry to hear about your Maclaren. Disney did help my family out with a spare stroller and replaced my girls autograph books. Other than that I guess we are small fish with everyone else they have in the park. We were lucky to find our stroller at the end of the day, in a different area, but it made me sick that someone would do take it in the first place. the bicycle lock we bought worked great the rest of the trip,something I would def recommend to anyone taking a stroller to lock the wheels.

  6. In February 2010, our Maclauren stoller was stolen from the Japan pavilion in Epcot as we were eating dinner. We were annoyed by the theft, but were more upset by Disney's lackluster response. We waited some time for security to respond. The manager of the store in Japan could not have cared less. It was extremely frustrating because they kept referring to it as a "lost" stroller, when in fact it was stolen. They kept trying to convince me that a cast member had moved it when I knew that was not the case. Of course, our many calls to the Lost and Found were fruitless because it never turned up. We eventually received two one-day single park tickets, but only after I wrote a letter. I too felt like Disney down-played the theft.

  7. My daughter, son in law and their one year old and 3 year old were watching a show at Hollywood on Sunday October 30th 2011. When they came out they found their brand new expensive stroller has been stolen along with their jackets, diapers, baby bottles and the baby's new Puma shoes. They were visiting from Australia and now have a sour taste with Disneyworld. What lowlife would steal a baby's formula etc. I decided to google to see if anything like this happens and found this page. It seems as though there is quite a racket and I'm surprised Disney doesn't warn people or do anything about providing security on strollers etc. while families are inside watching shows. Shame on them. It has turned into a very expensive holiday for my family!!

  8. Stroller stolen today at stroller parking by Wedway People mover. A turquoise Chicco umbrella stroller i purchased a month ago in DC (after our car was broken into 45 minutes after arriving in capitol) . Certainly not top of the line, but with a two-year-old that still naps 3-4 hours aday, the seat reclines to a comfortable enough position that she will go to sleep for at least a few hours. Here's the thing, I am a local. We moved to Orlando because my father took a job years ago with Disney publicity. In high school I worked at Disney. As iI got older and we no longer worked there, we bought annual and seasonal passes etc. Not once in all of the DOZENS of times I have gone have I had a theft issue until today. Our stroller and rain gear (boots, rain coats, big red golf umbrella...forecast said rain all day and i came prepared...shame on me!) and the diaper bag was left for seven minutes while my spouse took our daughter on the ride. It was the first ride of the day and literally ruined the day. We wouldn't leave anything of great value, but all the items add up to a couple hundred dollars. We filed reports with security immediately and eventually filed with Orange County, though I am doughtful anything will come of it. Lesson learned. People are just crappy.

  9. Wow, so frustrating. Our beat up old umbrella stroller was stolen at dizzyland last week. We wasted an hour dealing with security, looking around (the place was super crowded because they never stop letting people in). They did give us a loaner.

    Remarkably, we also found ours... And the culprit! Somehow I resisted confronting the dirtbag and we notified security. He claimed that he thought it was his stroller. Finally, security convinced him to remove his nose-picking boy from the stroller and we got it back. The meager contents were intact (plus some added buggers).

    So yeah, lock the thing up, people.


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