Surveillance video of a woman taking the stroller went viral last month, touching a nerve among the hundreds of thousands of parents who leave their stroller unattended while they go on attractions at Disney World and other theme park resorts.
Michelle Craig, of Spring Hill, Fla., is facing the theft charges after the Texas woman to whom she allegedly sold the stroller online alerted authorities. Craig turned herself in at her local sheriff's office this week.
Apparently, this might not have been the only item stolen, as authorities found multiple luxury strollers, diaper bags and other items for sale online by Craig.
So what can you do to prevent someone stealing your stroller when you visit Disney or another major theme park with a toddler?
Actually, not much. Whatever you do, don't be the person who locks a stroller to a fence, post, or other permanent thing in a park. Park employees end up moving all those strollers around for a reason — to minimize their blocking the flow of other guests in the park. A locked stroller's gonna get its lock popped by park security, and no, they won't care about your ensuing complaint.
But that doesn't mean stroller theft should worry you. Keep in mind that millions of people visit theme parks without having anything stolen. (Lost? That's a completely different issue....) One of the reasons why this incident gained so much attention was because it's so rare.
Still, you can protect yourself from losing a stroller — whether by theft, intentional or accidental, or just forgetting where you put it in the sea of strollers outside any toddler-friendly attraction. Don't leave money, credit cards, mobile phones, official ID, or needed medication in an unattended stroller. Disney is super accommodating relative to other companies in allowing people to bring purses and bags onto rides. So take your bag with you.
You also can pull the "pour root beer over a diaper in a clear plastic bag and tie to to the handle" trick to nauseate potential thieves... or other confused parents who own the same model stroller as you. If you must bring an expensive stroller to Disney, just park it next to an even more expensive stroller, in the hopes that the thief will nab it and not yours.
Or you can just opt for the convenience of renting a stroller at the park, which you can have replaced whenever it is stolen, lost, or just forgotten.
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I'd like to suggest that Disney (a) only allow their strollers in the park, except for medical needs, and make the rental charge nominal; (b) install more lockers, LOTS more lockers, and make the price nominal. People won't need to carry everything around if lockers are accessible and affordable. I know the company wants every dime it can get, but the guest experience is being trashed by the nightmare of ever-expanding stroller corrals and crowding. They are more likely to get a higher number of return guests (and AP renewals) if the experience improves. Forum chats are full of frustrated guests and AP holders who are looking at other options due to the crowding and strollers.
Parents want to take kids to Disney parks; well, duh! (Although I still fail to understand how an infant can enjoy it) They should be able to use a stroller that doesn't cost a year's salary, and that doesn't make them look like Parentzillas. Using park strollers eliminates the theft problem, and makes it easier for the Cast Members to organize them.
And seriously, $1000 for a stroller? Seriously?
a) blame someone who has their property stolen as being the one at fault. That would be the scumbag who steals something that is at fault.
b) criticize someone for having a stroller that costs X amount. Is it outrageous for most of us to consider spending X on a stroller? Absolutely. Does it make you a target having such an unattended valuable at a theme park? Absolutely. But it doesn't make them a "moron", either ... it's their individual choice. At the end of the day, you accept an element of risk when you leave an item unattended.
c) criticize parents for turning Disney into a "sea of strollers." Many others have done a very good job of turning EPCOT into a "sea of obnoxious drunks" during Food and Wine. Or any other "sea of" obnoxious occurrence that happen in the parks.
Honestly, this is the biggest story about nothing. Cars are broken in to every day in Orlando. The story doesn't "go viral." It's part of life in a tourist town. Just like theft is part of life everywhere.
Stroller theft is not rare. The thief has other items, including strollers, sold on Craig's list. You think she's the only one?
You can't prevent stroller theft, but you can protect yourself. Get a GPS tracker and hide it on the stroller. And don't leave your belongs on an unattended stroller.
Blame the victim because "they can afford it". Stupidity at its finest. I am betting some of the people making these comments are the ones who pack full suitcases full of drink boxes and snacks, and try to cheap out in every way possible.
"But my kids are loud, noisy and obnoxious and I don't want to deal with carrying them or have them complaining about walking!" Then you shouldn't bring your loud, noisy & obnoxious kids to theme parks.
The only strollers that should be allowed are the small umbrella variety that fold easily. And yes, you would be required to fold them instead of "parking" them.
No one needs and $1800 stroller, but they wanted one, so they bought it. The thief you are defending also stole their keys and other items. I think you are taking joy in seeing someone's vacation ruined because they have more than you do.
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