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Vote of the week: Dude, where's my car?

By Robert Niles
Published: September 18, 2009 at 12:17 PM
Let's talk about something potentially, well, embarrassing.

You've had a great, long, day in the park. You're thrilled, but exhausted. Maybe you're lugging several shopping bags, a stuffed animal or two... and a sleeping kid.

Somehow you make it on to the tram, and back off at what you thought was your stop. Except...

Where's your car?

Parking lot at SeaWorld Orlando

That's this week's question:

Tell us your horror stories, or, if you are the perfect among us, your best tips for always remembering where you parked that thing.

Have a great weekend!

Readers' Opinions

From Ben James on September 18, 2009 at 12:22 PM
Although the Iron Ride parks are notorious for having poor signage to help you. It is important to note that at WDW the tram operators can assist you with locating the aisle you park in. They keep a log of which rows they are parking and at what times to assist guests when they leave.

I do remember a time when I went to AK and took the bus to DHS. When I came back the driver thought I was nuts since it was after closing. But the bright side was, that it was only my car left in the lot at AK. I didn't know til after the trip that I could have moved my car for free to the other park.

From Anthony Murphy on September 18, 2009 at 12:25 PM
My family's rental was once hit by lightining in the parking lot of the Market Place. Valet found it fast!
From Joshua Counsil on September 18, 2009 at 12:43 PM
Remember, we're in the Itchy Lot.
From 4.36.109.30 on September 18, 2009 at 1:15 PM
I had to endure endless choruses of "we're parked to the left of the sky tower" comments when I was a kid. Of course, the whole lot is to the left of the sky tower!
From Gareth H on September 18, 2009 at 1:29 PM
Take a photo on your Camera phone of the row its parked in etc. Something you'll never be without.
From 155.91.45.231 on September 18, 2009 at 1:36 PM
Not really a parking story, but it is the funniest thing to happen to my car at a theme park.
When I got my licence at 17, my dad bought his company car with 90,000 miles on it and gave it to me. That summer, my best girlfriend and I got season passes to SF Great Adventure and hit it just about every day. One fateful day at the safari while driving through the monkeys, the primates ganged up on us and covered the car. A few kept us distracted on the hood while a few more yanked off the back bumper and made off dragging it to the jungle gym several hundred feet away. We didn't realize what happened until we saw them running off with it. We drove to the next checkpoint and told an employee. We had to come back when the safari closed so a keeper could go out and get it once the monkeys were in their night housing. The guys were nice enough to help us girls stick it in the trunk and tie it down.
From Andy Guinigundo on September 18, 2009 at 1:50 PM
I do the picture thing with my camera or phone camera. Still lost? Hit the panic button on your key fob when you're back to your row.

The picture idea helped my at the Minnie lot on top of DL parking structure last weekend! Actually made for a good pic too!

From brian lochridge on September 18, 2009 at 2:23 PM
My wife and I were leaving AK a few years back and on the tram I was bragging about when I was little I was always the one who remembered where we parked the car. I would always amaze my parents with my quick recall of Goofy 44 or Minnie 13. As we get off the tram I start walking to where I think the car is only to find nothing. 25-30min later after trying to locate the car we find it about 100yds away from where we started. It was getting to the point I was ready to call the cops since I was sure my car had been stolen. I even tried climbing a light to get the signal from my key chain a higher vantage point so the alarm would go off. Not a great experience.
From Edward Jordon on September 18, 2009 at 2:42 PM
Not only did we forget where we parked but we also forgot what color the rental car was. To make matters worse it started raining as we were looking for the car. I knew that we were parked somewhere near Planet Hollywood so I had to walk each row pushing the panic button. The final insult were the cars that would follow us thinking they could get our space only to be let down when we darted to the next row.
From Marc Ricketts on September 18, 2009 at 2:58 PM
I'll just say this: If you fly into Anaheim for one night just to see Paul McCartney, make a note of what the rental car looks like BEFORE you leave it in the Stadium parking lot. I have an app on my phone that will supposedly mark and guide you back with GPS, but haven't tried it yet. I've also done the take a picture of the location trick.
From TH Creative on September 18, 2009 at 3:12 PM
I'm posting this from my cell phone as I have been wandering around the Magic Kingdom parking lot looking for my Subaru since the summer of '84. I'd have found it by now if people would quit mistaking me for a member of ZZ Top and asking me for my autograph.
From TH Creative on September 18, 2009 at 3:12 PM
And for the record I found the cell phone. Thanks to whomever keeps paying the bill.
From 24.98.229.62 on September 18, 2009 at 6:10 PM
Cell phone pic idea is great, thank for posting that.
From Lee Dilley on September 18, 2009 at 6:26 PM
Oh, sure, we've lost the car before. The most memorable time was Spring Break 2008. We were at Epcot and noticed the sky getting dark indicating an approaching storm. So we made a break for the exit. We were parked fairly close to the exit so we did not need to wait for a tram. About the time we passed the monorail station the rain started to come down. The lightning started getting close as we began to get drenched. Of course my 11 year old son and his friend said they new where it was parked but what kind of self-respecting adult would listen to a kid? Finally after being out of breath from running and soaked to the bone, we listened to the kids and found the rental car. When we got back to our room at the All-Star Sports we turned on the TV and discovered that we were under a tornado warning. I think it was "car" karma...the night we arrived I spilled an entire Chik-Fil-A milkshake on myself while sitting in the driver's seat. Gotta love the rental cars.
From 70.118.203.205 on September 18, 2009 at 6:55 PM
It always cracks me up when we leave a theme park and half the cars in the parking lot are "panicking" as their poor owners try to hunt them down. I guess I just have a good memory or something as it's never happened to us (knock on wood). But I do find it entertaining to see so many cars honking and flashing across a nighttime parking lot. :-)
From Will Chilcote on September 19, 2009 at 5:46 AM
Definitely done this more than once. I'm infamously know for my horrible sense of direction. When I was in college, I lost my car for 4 hours. I had to get a friend to help me find it.
From Anthony Murphy on September 19, 2009 at 6:58 AM
I think there is an I Phone App for that!

Which brings up a cool story to put on the site: "How to survive a theme park on your I Phone Apps). It could include the parking app, Wait Watchers, and others I don't know about.

From Jeni K on September 19, 2009 at 10:04 AM
Never thought I would, but while at Universal Orlando one day, I forgot which parking ramp I was in.
From 71.53.145.100 on September 19, 2009 at 11:52 AM
Don't have it any longer but a friend hooked up to my car a chip that when I pressed the remote a loud " I'm over here STUPID" sounded. no way I couldn't find that car.
From Tiffany Alfonso on September 20, 2009 at 4:55 PM
The only time we lost our car was in Epcot, as we left the park on the MLK Day proper in 2007 (the same day that Soarin' closed down because paramedics escorted some 52-year-old man who died two days later), and after a few minutes, we found it.

I sometimes use a camera, but I have a fecund memory for remembering. I used a Pluto hat today (Muetti and I went to the Magic Kingdom.) to help me remember our lot row.

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