Less Pictures, More Angst

Note: This post was written at the airport and on the plane on 9/4.

I’d normally be blasting pictures up to the site right now, but unfortunately, I’m returning home picture-less. On our third day of touring the Disneyland Resort (DLR), in late afternoon, we went to Grizzly River Run in Disney California Adventure (DCA). As this was our second time riding, we were aware of the existence of free two hour lockers just to the left of the ride queue entrance. The first time we went, we fortunately had DH’s plastic race cinch bag to protect our stuff. Unlike Kali River Rapids (the equivalent WDW ride), there’s no dry pouch in the center of the raft boats on this ride.

So, feeling particularly educated and smart, we trotted over to the lockers and put our stuff inside, including DH’s socks, wallet, phone, and medal; and my camera (with my brand new 14-150mm lens on it), wristlet, phone, spare battery, postcards, and animation academy drawings. The bag with my postcards was carabinered to my wristlet, and the wristlet was wrapped in my camera strap. We locked the locker at 5:35pm, and I even tugged on it to make sure it was closed properly before leaving. We had a fastpass, so our ride on Grizzly was done quickly. We were back at the locker at 6pm, and as I was pulling stuff out, we noticed that the bag containing my postcards was ripped open…and the wristlet attached to it, along with DH’s wallet and my camera, was gone. My wristlet had just a small amount of cash, one credit card, my ID, and my phone and spare battery in it. DH’s wallet had far more stuff in it. The camera was the most valuable thing and sadly, it’s probably what drew the thieves to our locker. Per the logs, our locker was re-opened using the PIN at 5:41pm, just six minutes after we left.

Whoever did it seems relatively amateur to me. They only managed one charge on one of DH’s credit cards before we cut it off at least 30-45 minutes after they had it in hand. The one purchase was at a kiosk in Downtown Disney, so they wasted that much time and didn’t even go very far. They took the time to detach the wristlet from the Disney bag by ripping it apart, which is an unnecessary risk. (Were they trying to be nice by leaving our souvenirs?) They left behind one loose credit card and DH’s phone, both relatively apparent.

According to the detective from the police department that works at Disney, this has happened a few times recently. They suspect the thieves are watching over people’s shoulders as they enter their PIN into the system or using a zoom lens on a camera to photograph the screen while someone enters their PIN. (This locker system confirms your PIN on the screen.) Given how amateur the effort was though, we’re suspicious that it was a crime of circumstance. That is, they saw the PIN and decided in that moment to commit the act vs. someone who is doing this regularly and stalking the machines. I don’t have that much of a criminal mind, but if I were doing such a thing, I’d have a totebag in hand and sweep the entire contents into the bag, lock it up, and walk away like I’m meeting up with my party. After all, the biggest risk is the person coming back in the moment that you’re there, so you want to minimize the time you’re in the act.

After realizing we’d been robbed, DH ran to get help while I stayed at the locker in case they wanted to see the scene. DH reported it to a cast member who called it into guest relations and told us to head to that area (near the front of the park) to proceed. We raced up to the front thinking that time was of the essence, but there wasn’t much effort to try to catch the people or anything. It was more a matter of documenting what happened, reporting to the police, and (for guest relations) doing what they could to remedy the situation. The guest relations staff were very nice and patient with us. We were both rattled and thus frantic. We were also sopping wet, having just gotten off the water ride. Guest relations took down our information and gave us new park passes and some vouchers for food for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. They gave us access to a guest lounge to collect ourselves and call some credit card companies to cancel our cards. Then, we went with park security to the security office to finish up a report for them and meet with the detective from the actual police to file the official report.

The detective let me get on his computer to see if I could track my phone, but I had no luck there. What I could find wasn’t accurate enough, and sadly, the thieves were not dumb enough to take pictures using the phone. They did launch my Facebook at 7pm, but the IPv6 address just told me Anaheim area…nothing specific. The detective tried calling the phone, but they let it go to voicemail. Having failed at tracking, I changed my passwords (disconnecting the accounts from the phone effectively) and called VZW to mark the SIM and phone as stolen. After the report was complete, a security guard escorted us out so we could head to the hotel and finish closing down accounts.

We ended up skipping dinner mostly. Later that evening, we returned to the park to see Fantasmic with some friends that were also in town for the race, and we got a Mickey pretzel and some sodas then. This morning, we had a character breakfast at the Grand Californian (Storytellers’ Cafe), so I got to hug Chip and Dale and a bunch of others. We ended up with a bit of vouchers leftover, so we bought snacks for the trip home (Mickey cookies and krispie treats). I just finished up a Mickey krispie while writing this.

All in all, it could have been much worse. Having one of our phones made life easier. Most of our stuff was in the hotel room. The thing I’m saddest about, of course, is losing the pictures that were on the camera. The camera itself is a serious loss monetarily, but the pictures are not replaceable.

Aside from the theft, we had a terrific visit to Disneyland. It’s a much more comfortable to tour than WDW simply because it’s not so vast. Cars Land (Radiator Springs Racers in particular) was amazing. World of Color kicks the ass of any show we have at WDW. I liked Disneyland’s Fantasmic better. Generally, I like the rides better. Their animation academy posts a schedule of characters, which allowed me to draw lots of characters I hadn’t done yet vs. having yet another Mickey drawing. Yes, the castle is much smaller, as is everything. However, despite this, it felt like Disneyland in particular didn’t have enough restrooms. Quite often, it was a significant walk to get to one, whereas at WDW, it always feels like one is right nearby. The other odd thing was seeing cast members out and about; because DLR doesn’t have Utilidors, you see more cast members on break, leaving for the day, or otherwise out of place with the surroundings.

Added on 9/6 while posting this: We did end up with some photos, from PhotoPass. There’s only a few, and they’re not necessarily terrific. But, it’s worth noting that Disney found our PhotoPass ID number so we could see our pictures, even though the PhotoPass card was among the stolen items. It also reminded me of some of the shots that got lost, which makes me sad and mad all over again. Behind and around the partners statue in Disneyland (that DH and I are photographed in front of), there’s mini-statues of many Disney characters, including Chip and Dale. I had a picture of me with that statue. I had a terrific picture of Ariel’s Grotto reflecting on the water. I had amazing night shots of Paradise Pier. Oh well…

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