Theme park cast member stories: The Walt Disney World stroller police
Published: April 19, 2010 at 9:33 AM
You might have been a target of the Disney Stroller Police.
Yeah, I served on the force. People curse our work, but trust me, you don't want to try walking through a theme park without Stroller Police there to clear the way.
When you work at a theme park attraction, one of your responsibilities is to keep the area around the entrance clean and orderly. So when folks pull their kids from their strollers before coming inside, we follow behind to move those strollers into neat lines.
Once we get the stroller parking zone established in the morning, most folks follow along, parking their strollers at the end of the rows, or filling a space left empty by a previous visitor.
But some folks never do get the hint. They just leave the stroller wherever the kid got out, with no concern that it be blocking a pathway, an exit door, or even someone else's stroller. So we stroller cops would have to grab that stroller and push it into place.
Funny thing, though, is that most of those folks never complained. I always suspected that they had no idea where they'd left the stroller, nor did they care. They just came to assume that they'd find it somewhere in the line-up of the strollers in front of the attraction when they exited. To them, the stroller police were more like the stroller valets.
Let's talk about the real stroller felons, though:
The pack rats
These folks pack for a day at Disney World like they were hauling their kid across the Arctic tundra. The over-worn wheels of their top-heavy strollers barely roll as you try to wrestle the mess into place. I can understand why you might need to bring half the contents of your child's bedroom with you to occupy the kid if you were spending the afternoon waiting in line at the DMV. But this is Disney World, people. We've got plenty of stuff here to keep your children entertained.
Disney World is not a wilderness campsite. You don't need to pack out everything you brought in. So, really, it's okay to dump your soiled diapers in the bathroom someplace. You don't need to haul them around the park with you all day. Okay?
I couldn't afford a Ferrari, so I bought this stroller instead
Dad - and it is always Dad - charges toward the nearest cast member, pointing at his Deluxe, Top-of-the-Line Stroller Machine: "Hey, this is a very expensive stroller," he always says. "I know that you guys are supposed to move the strollers around, but we parked it in an okay place, and really don't want anyone touching it, okay?" Then he storms off, running after the rest of the family, who have hurried into the attraction queue early to enjoy a moment or two away from the presence of Daddy-with-issues. Of course, half the time Mr. Wonderful hasn't parked the stroller in "an okay place." But even if he did, for his performance, I guarantee that we will decide that next to his precious Ferrari substitute is the perfect place to relocate... Stinky McStroller (see above).
And the worst of the stroller felons?
Incredibly, some people are so afraid of their strollers being stolen, or even relocated, that they lock them to stanchions, lampposts or fences. Do this far enough away from the attraction, and maybe we won't notice. But when the Stroller Police see a locked stroller blocking an exit door or pathway next to an attraction, we call out the Stroller SWAT Team.
I only saw the Stroller SWAT Team in action once. Someone had locked a pack-rat stroller (ooh, a multiple offender!) to a lamppost outside Frontier Mercantile, blocking the breezeway to Adventureland that runs next to the Country Bear queue. The Bear Band host called the lead for advice. She delivered her response with a steely eye: "Call Security. Tell them to bring bolt cutters."
And they did. One snip, and the Stroller Police were free to relocate the offender... right next to a Stinky McStroller on the other side of the queue.
A few of us lingered to see who would claim it. A mom carrying a baby and dad lugging a toddler stopped short in front it, exchanged shocked glances to find their stroller not where they'd left it, and wheeled around to find a cast member to chew out. They saw us; Mom's eyes narrowed.... Then they noticed the 6'-2" security guard standing next to us, who stared right back at them, with a wry hint of smile on his face.
Mom and Dad immediately cast their eyes down into the stroller, where they laid the baby. Then they pushed away, turning their heads and keeping their eyes away from us.
Yeah, we're the Stroller Police. Don't mess with us.
For more of Robert's stories about working in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, visit themeparkinsider.com/stories.