Odds of recovering glasses lost on roller coaster?

March 21, 2018, 6:03 PM

I figured that there are a lot of roller coaster enthusiasts here, so it would be a good place to ask this question.

I don't know what I was thinking, but this past weekend, my family and I were at Knott's Berry Farm for the Boysenberry Festival, and we made a beeline to GhostRider when the park opened.

I usually put my eyeglasses in my pants pocket on roller coasters at Knott's, but this time I put both my glasses and my daughter's glasses in my shirt front pocket as we were getting into the train. Needless to say, the glasses were gone when we got back. We checked our car and the car behind us, but no luck.

I talked with the ride operators right away afterwards, but they said all we could do was to go to lost and found and report the lost glasses since they were not allowed to stop roller coaster from operating.

So I've been in touch with lost and found since Saturday morning, filing claims and following up by phone to their lost and found Department, which is only open Monday through Friday. Apparently they only check the track for Ghost Rider twice a week, and nothing has come yet.

So my question is, what are the odds of getting our glasses back? Do parks make some effort to return items from rides to their owners if they file a claim and are proactive in trying to get the items back?

A couple of related stories: my wife says she knows someone from work who went with a group to Disneyland including visitors from overseas. The two visitors lost their passports on Indiana Jones, and the park shut down the ride until they found the passports. Also, I once lost my rental car keys on the loop coaster at Adventure Dome in Las Vegas, but it turned out the car keys were at the bottom of the car when it came back from the next cycle.

Replies (20)

March 22, 2018, 5:58 AM

I think your chances are pretty close to zero on that one. First, you lost sunglasses, which are items that are typically cheap and indistinguishable. While a park might go out of its way to retrieve a passport (with someone's name in it) or keys (a critical item for a guest to be able to go home), they're not going to go out of their way to find a pair of sunglasses, or even cell phones that are typically destroyed upon impact.

I think your best bet is to return to Knott's in a couple of weeks and go to their Lost and Found office to see if they've turned up. Most parks have bins for items lost on rides (cell phones in one, glasses in another, and so on), and for nondescript, inexpensive items like sunglasses, they will allow guests to search through the bin to see if their item has turned up. Unless you have your name on the glasses or they are extremely unique, the park is not going to reach out to you even if they do happen to find them.

March 22, 2018, 6:31 AM

“shirt front pocket” ? What were you thinking? It’s not secure. Good luck.

March 22, 2018, 7:18 AM


Hey guys I was at Knott's Berry Farm the other day and I found several great pairs of free glasses, some fool must have dropped them... I love them...
Hahahahahaah....

Edited: March 23, 2018, 6:34 AM

I can only go by my experiences at Sea World and Busch Gardens, but both times I lost items they were recovered.
At Sea World I foolishly left my phone in my back pocket when riding the Mako. It was during our company outing and I was organising our group to all get on the ride at the same time. The Mako is very unforgiving for anything in the back pocket. Anyway with all the chaos going on I forgot that my phone was in my back pocket, and so a little while after getting off I realised it was gone !! Information told me they walk the ride and the ground underneath during the early morning hours. So I went back the next day to see if my phone was recovered. The guy came out with 4 phones and amazingly mine was one of them ... :)
You will usually find if items haven't been recovered in 24hrs then that's the end of it.
My 2nd close call was at Busch Gardens when riding the Cobra's Curse. I'd got my keys in my pocket, but as I found out a little while later the spinnning part of the ride applied centrifugal force and the rest is history. I went to Lost and Found about an hour later and there they were.
So beware of spinning rides and having loose items in your pockets !!
Sea World and Busch Gardens both said that keys are the No1 item they find, followed by glasses and phones. That's what the nets are for.

Edited: March 22, 2018, 8:42 AM

Really sorry to hear this. I'm at a point now where I can't read anything up close without mine so if I lost my glasses, I'd be in a terrible state.
Everyone maligns and mocks the humble fanny-pack, but I must say for things you really want to keep on you, but don't want to get lost they are perfect. Pop your glasses into a hard case so they are not crushed by the forces on the ride, put the case in the fanny pack ZIP IT UP and off you go. Just be sure to turn the fanny-pack so it is not directly behind you against the seat.
Sure, you may get made fun of, but you will still be able to see after the ride.

March 22, 2018, 10:25 AM

Life Pro Tip of Dubious Ethics: Lost sunglasses are to theme parks as lost cell phone chargers are to hotels. Go to the customer service desk, tell 'em you lost some, and they will haul out a bin filled with them. Take your pick.

When I worked Big Thunder at Disney, we dutifully walked the track after close every evening and turned in all the stuff we picked up to Lost and Found. But with each refurb, maintenance teams found stuff that had worked its way into nooks far under the track that nightly walk-throughs never found. It's a crapshoot.

Edited: March 22, 2018, 11:05 AM

Robert - you are right. I've had an Annual Pass to DLR for going on six years now. In that time, I've misplaced...well, we'll just say "several" Nikon lens caps. How often have I gone to my local camera supply shop to purchase replacement lens caps? Zero. How often have I gone to Disneyland Lost & Found to look for the lens cap I lost *Yesterday*? I'll just say "several".
Each time they haul out a box filled to the brim with nothing but Nikon lens caps and I rummage through until I find the one I need.
"Thanks Uncle Walt!"

March 22, 2018, 11:12 AM

While you are standing in line, analyze the people standing around you and take a car in front of someone who has really good hand-eye coordination. This way they will catch any items that you drop.

In the lost vs recovered items on coaster I am a +1. I caught someone's cell phone but have never lost an item.

March 22, 2018, 11:26 AM

It wasn't clear in my original post, but neither pair of glasses were sunglasses. Both were prescription glasses, so they wouldn't be of use to anyone except with a specific degree of near-sightedness.

The experience with Knott's customer service and the lost and found department has been fairly good so far. I'm fairly certain that recovering broken glasses or cell phones aren't a high priority for them, but at the same time finding lost items on a huge wooden roller coaster at nighttime probably isn't very easy, either.

March 22, 2018, 11:47 AM

I've been pretty lucky as I generally take my glasses off and put them in my bag before the ride. Occasionally have worn sunglasses but that's only on some of the "lighter" ones like Big Thunder, no way I'd risk it on the Hulk or such.

I mean, come on, they openly warn you in the speakers to "hold onto them hats and glasses" and such. Did lose a cap but just bought a new one as it would take hours for them to check for it and getting it back in great condition can be tricky.

March 22, 2018, 12:01 PM

Funny, my grandfather once lost his glasses in the exact same way on GhostRider. They were never recovered, but I can't say how intact they would have been after a hundred foot drop onto concrete.

In general, parks will search the area under rides and recover most items that are reasonably intact. If the glasses were found with minor damage (such as a cracked lens), they'd be recovered and sent to Lost and Found, but if they were smashed into a dozen pieces they'd probably be discarded. However, unless the item is easily distinguished from other similar items, you'd probably need to stop by Lost and Found in order to search the item bin for them.

March 23, 2018, 7:05 AM

This is why we can’t have nice duelling coasters. The sign and I’m sure the annoying repeating voice loop said secure all loose articles...

March 23, 2018, 7:53 AM

I would like to go to the Customer Service desk and rummage through their lost and found items, but I was told that all lost and found items were kept backstage.

You have to fill out a claim form where you describe the lost items and the description is matched against what has been turned in/found.

I was also told that lost items are kept for two weeks, which seems like too short a time if you don't live in easy driving distance or are from out of town.

Edited: March 23, 2018, 12:05 PM

Even after we told my niece to make sure her shoes were tied tight when going on rides (we were at Busch Gardens), she didn't listen to us. You can guess, she lost a shoe. Because we are from out of state and leaving Tampa that evening, they told us to check with lost and found at the end of the day. Luckily she had an extra pair of shoes for the remainder of the day and even luckier they did find the missing shoe. Her shoes were tied tight for the rest of the trip! ;)

I wear glasses and I make it a habit to put my stuff in lockers before any ride. It makes life a lot easier.

March 23, 2018, 12:52 PM

My dad lost his at the Miracle Strip in Panama City Florida in the 60s and ultimately got them back. In the 70s I was on the Dolenaga Mine Train at Six Flags Over Georgia and knocked mine off while waving to the other train. I was told when they would next walk the track, but they relented and did so earlier since our school bus was heading back to Birmingham before then, plus I was a belligerent little snot, and did know exactly where they had dropped.

Croakies have held them securely on my head even at 120 mph on Top Thrill Dragster in recent years. And putting my keys on a carabiner have prevented any from falling out of my jeans except on Stealth, but I guess that's a story for another day.

March 25, 2018, 9:59 PM

To be honest, it is probably not too great, but miracles happen. I have had many friends get things returned to them.

March 26, 2018, 11:55 AM

Your lost items are offerings to Themia the Goddess of physics and amusement rides. Do not ask for them back! Angering a Goddess and taking back an offering is a really bad idea. Themia knows who you are and can find you at any park you visit. In fact, take some unneeded trinkets and put them in your loose pockets as potential offerings to Themia. Keep Themia happy and you will avoid getting stuck on rides!

March 29, 2018, 5:16 PM

Just to let everyone know: I called into the park again on Tuesday and gave a description of both pairs of prescription glasses, and was told there were possible matches on both of them.

I was planning a visit to the park anyway today, but I was told to stop by Guest Relations (it actually turned out that I needed to go to the Information Desk), and after about 25-30 minutes of talking to the representative waiting, I got my glasses back. The fit is a little loose, but there is no visible damage to frame or lenses.

Turns out that they were found last Saturday, but Knott's lost and found has been swamped because of Boysenberry Festival. Thus the head of L&F didn't get back to me last week.

Nothing yet on my daughter's glasses, but they said they hold onto lost items for two weeks from When they are recovered. I will check with them again in about a week.

March 30, 2018, 12:07 PM

Glad to hear!! It was good idea to keep following up!

April 13, 2018, 9:50 AM

One more quick update: the Knott's employee who is in charge of the Lost and Found sent me an email earlier this week with photos of lost eyeglasses recovered during the last two or three weeks, not realizing that I had gotten my prescription glasses back a couple of weeks ago. He apologized that it had taken him a while to get back in touch, but he had been out sick and also been very busy with the Boysenberry Festival.

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