Stroller Parking Vengeance At Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Stroller Parking Vengence at Wildlife Express Train in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Stroller parking at the Wildlife Express Train was a mess as I’m sure it is at most places around the parks.  Guests just park their stroller near other strollers with no order at all.

We parked strollers like a parking lot where you would have an aisle on either side of the rows and strollers would be parked front to front and then guests could simply back their stroller out into the aisle and exit easily.

If Cast Members did not organize the strollers you would end up with one giant piled mess of strollers with no way to get to the first parked stroller out without having to move a pile of other guests strollers to get to yours.

Anyone who has worked stroller parking knows what I am talking about and if you don’t know, the next time you go to a Disney park just watch how guests park their strollers.  I can almost guarantee you the first person you watch will not park it in an orderly way.

 

Wildlife Express Stroller Parking

The thing about the Wildlife Express Train’s stroller-parking that made it extra cluttered was that it is the only visible stroller parking area by Kilimanjaro Safari’s.

Safari’s had their own stroller parking where you bring your stroller in the line with you and shortly through the queue there was stroller parking which was also close to the exit of the ride making it more convenient for the guest.  Many guests did not know about this so they would park their stroller at Wildlife Express stroller parking area which is visible from the Safari’s line entrance.

 

Stroller Parking Strategy

Every Cast Member has their own method for dealing with strollers and I was no different.  My optimal method was to park each new stroller as far from the entrance as our stroller parking area went.  Then as new strollers came in you would fill in the gaps with those strollers and then move all the strollers down the hill row by row.  It was not perfect but it worked for me and kept me busy continually moving rows down the hill.

Some Cast Members would park strollers based on how the guests acted.  If they were sweet and nice they would try to keep those strollers close to the exit so they would be found immediately.  If the guests were rude or did not listen they would put those strollers in the middle of the group making it most difficult for guests to get to their strollers.

It was a small way for Cast Members to get back at guests in really the only way they can without getting in trouble and whether you agree with revenge stroller parking or not, the only rules we had with stroller parking was to make sure they were lined up in an orderly fashion.  There were no other guidelines for it.

We parked our strollers there like cars in most parking lots where the cars are nose to nose.   So we had rows of two stroller’s front-facing front so guests could come in and get there stroller easiest.

 

You Will Never Be Done Park Strollers

I did my best to keep my emotions out it.  I always told myself when I got into that position that it was a position that you would never be done with.  Stroller parking was an ever moving beast and if you tried to “finish” it and it would stay neat and tidy you were setting yourself up to fail to begin with.

There were a couple of occasions that I did intentionally revenge park a stroller because of a rude guest.  Sometimes you would tell guests they were not allowed to park their stroller in the middle of the walkway to the train and they would just look at you as they walked away.

The number one situation we would have though is people parking their strollers in our already small crowded stroller parking area and then going on Kilimanjaro Safaris.

 

My Stroller Parking Revenge Story

My epic revenge stroller parking story begins on a busier day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I was at stroller parking and it was pretty full.  Our stroller parking area was above average that day.

I had actually straightened all the strollers in nice lines and had a moment to stand at greeter and greet guests welcoming them as well as answering any questions they might have.  For as busy as it was it was rare to have a moment to admire a well-straightened stroller parking area.  This is a rare phenomenon not often seen at Disney.

While standing at greeter with another Cast Member talking to guests a rush of guests showed up to the train.  Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade had just ended which always caused a rush following.

Guests in a hurry to get down to the train, one after the other parked their strollers in a cluttered mess right at the entrance.  I politely announced to everyone that they could either take their strollers with or park them in the stroller area but they could not park them in the middle of the entrance.  All the guests moved their stroller to the designated area or took them with on the train, except one.

One guest took her stroller pushed in just off the pathway into the wooded area still by the entrance and began back to the train.  Still being polite I said, “ma’am you can’t park your stroller in the woods.” She kept walking as she yelled back “not my problem” and got on the train.

Obviously, I was not too thrilled with this guest at this point.  My first thought was “this stroller is going to the bottom of the hill” which was as far away from the entrance that the designated area went.  I started to walk the stroller down the hill past all the other strollers which were a mess at this point.

As I walked by the mess of strollers I noticed there was another stroller that looked exactly like this stroller.  Then I noticed another and another.  There ended up being 5 total of the exact same stroller.  Not only were they the same but none of them had anything on the handles or on top that was a unique indicator.  That’s when I came up with my master plan.

 

My Master Plan

I decided that I was going to park this stroller still down towards the bottom of the hill with the front facing the top of the hill so the pattern was less noticeable from exiting the ride.  Then I took the other four strollers and placed one on each of the first three rows of strollers with the back of the stroller facing the top of the hill so they were most noticeable.  Then the fourth look-a-like stroller I put a couple more rows down a few from the first position to mix things up.

The setup was simple.  Now all I had to do was wait and hope I did not get bumped to a different position before they came back and that none of the other guests with that same stroller came back and took theirs.

 

It Feels Good When A Plan Comes Together

My stroller dream came true that day.  About 20 minutes later the guest came back.  I saw them walking up the path from the train and I got very excited to see this play out.  Sure enough, they went straight for the first stroller look-a-like stroller in the bunch.

She put her child in the stroller before realizing it was not theirs.  She looked up and saw the next stroller.  She must have thought there was no way there could be more than two of the same stroller because she strapped her kid into the second look-a-like stroller before she realized this one was not theirs either.  At this point I could see she was a little irritated.

She looked up and saw the third look-a-like stroller and said “there it is” but she made sure to check it this time.  She double checked the first two strollers to make sure she hadn’t made a mistake and then stood there a moment confused.  She walked down the rows and then saw the fourth look-a-like stroller.

Since this one was not on the end she had to kind of pull it out to check for their name that they had on their stroller.  From the top of the hill, I hear “you gotta be kidding me! Where is our stroller?” then her husband said, “where did you leave it?”

This was probably my favorite part because she looked up at me and was probably hoping a different Cast Member was standing there but in an instant our eyes met and I could see the rude encounter from her play out in her head.  She quickly looked away.

I thought for sure though she was going to come yell at me for moving her stroller because that happened ALL the time.  She did not though.  They walked up and down the rows of strollers for a couple more minutes before finding their actual stroller.

I am not a vindictive or vengeful person and as I stated at the beginning my plan was to simply put their stroller at the far side of stroller parking but when I saw that many of the same strollers that day I could not resist setting it up to make it as confusing as possible for that guest.

In the nine months I was at the Wildlife Express I never had any guests be that blatantly rude (Except for maybe this kid but I gave him a pass because he was like 8).  I felt like an evil genius after I pulled that off.  Just goes to show that after you work at Disney long enough you can start to predict how most guests will act or react.

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