29 March 2011 by Ricky Brigante - Inside the Magic
Walt Disney World may be home to swashbuckling pirates but one Disney guest’s adventure to recover his iPhone and other stolen belongings became the ultimate thrill ride.
The story begins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, where Dave Longstreth was vacationing with his family. While enjoying time at the pool, Longstreth left his bag unattended containing with two iPhones, two wallets containing credit cards and cash, identification, hotel room keys, and a digital camera. But even the magic of Disney didn’t stop a thief from stealing the bag, sending Longstreth on a chase across Disney property.
Longstreth noticed the missing bag after around 30 minutes of swimming and immediately sprang into action. With technology and a bit of know-how on his side, he raced back to his room (after getting a new key from the front desk) and used Apple’s “Find My iPhone” feature to discover that his belongings didn’t make it far, with the online tracking system telling him they were located at the resort’s boat dock.
After informing Disney security and making it to the dock, he spotted a suspicious-looking man in the small crowd who he believed to be the culprit. But security needed more than his hunch to question the man, who was boarding a ferry boat across the Seven Seas Lagoon toward the Magic Kingdom theme park. Fortunately for Longstreth, the patrol officer was familiar with Apple’s iPhone-tracking technology and saw that the iPhone was now crossing the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Longstreth describes the action-packed scene that followed:
By the time he downloaded the app and I was able to enter my account information and password the ferry was about 400 yards offshore and on its way to Magic Kingdom.The locator map came up and the iphone was showing up 400 yards offshore where the boat was! I said,“that’s it – he definitely is the one who took our stuff!”
The patrol officer got on his walkie talkie and phoned over to Magic Kingdom security and gave them the description of the boat, the man and told them what had happened. Then he told me to jump in his speed boat and he threw a life-vest on me. We took off for the boat at full speed. I crouched down and hung on as we flew threw the water, and I twiddled my thumbs as we crawled through the no wake zone and bit my nails as we were able to join chase again at high speed!
Ultimately, Disney recovered most of Longstreth’s belongings. Strangely, the thief took the time to “borrow” $25 from Longstreth in the Wilderness Lodge’s video arcade before making his way toward the Magic Kingdom. But it wouldn’t be a magical day for the caught culprit, as charges were being filed against him.
While this story had a happy ending, it’s clear that the moral is to never leave bags unattended, even while vacationing at the happiest place on Earth. GO BACK