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Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
I work in security at Disney World, the happiest place on Earth. Typically, I wouldn’t say where I work as obviously there are some pretty strict rules about things employees can put online, but I just don’t think I can tell this properly without that context. And, honestly, I think this may be it for me anyway with this job. I just can’t see myself working here any longer now.
I’ve been with the company for 23 years. The first 20 years I worked in the parks – nabbing shoplifters and rounding up people who were drinking too much for the heat. Occasionally there’d be a fight to break up, but people usually kept it pretty mild.
The heat and walking were getting too much for me the last few years so I asked to be transferred somewhere with air conditioning and the company moved me to one of their resorts. While the working conditions were 110% better as far as climate and comfort go, the guest issues were trickier – mainly domestics. I guess the expensive and stress of vacation got to a lot of people and I’d be called by neighboring rooms because some mom and dad were yelling at each other. I’d try to suggest they take a nap or go do separate activities for a bit and that would usually calm them down.
But none of that is what I’m here for. I’ve got to get this out while I have time.
Three days ago I got a call from management. Apparently a couple of days before that, housekeeping had gone into a room that should’ve been turned over that day (turned over is when one guest leaves by about 11:00 a.m. and the next guest checks in around 3:00 p.m.) and all of the guests’ items were still in the room. Housekeeping made a note of it and moved on, but during the next two days when they entered the room, everything was still there and untouched.
I went to check it out and sure enough, there was an empty room full of luggage, clothes, snacks, some toys, everything a family would need for a vacation. The manager had already looked up the previous reservation and it was for a family – dad, mom, two little kids. I tried to call the phone numbers they had given but all I got was voice mail. We were a bit stumped so I made the call that housekeeper could clean the room and take the family’s personal items to be held until we got in contact with someone.
I went digging into the reservation more. The family had arrived five days before housekeeping discovered all of their stuff. I found that the family had paid a parking fee and their vehicle description was listed. A quick walk of the parking lots and I had easily located their vehicle. So that ruled out a car accident or them deciding to just leave all their stuff behind.
Next, I saw that they had bought a dining plan. This is when a guest prepays for all of their food. They’re given a certain number of “credits” to use for meals. This family had only used three credits, and the last one was two days after they checked in. It appeared that the day they arrived, they got here late and probably just stayed on the resort. The next day, they used two credits at Epcot. The second park day, they used just one credit at the Magic Kingdom and it was at breakfast time.
Now, at Disney, we have something called Magic Bands. Magic Bands are worn by the guests and act as a room key, park ticket, credit card, dining reservation payment, FastPass (a system used to bypass lines), and more. It took some work, but I was finally able to look up this family’s FastPass history. The day they went to the Magic Kingdom, they had breakfast at a restaurant in the park, rode a couple of rides, and then rode their last ride, It’s a Small World, around 11:00 a.m. Then nothing.
Finally, it was time to bring in someone else on this. I called an old co-worker at the Magic Kingdom and asked him to pull security footage for It’s a Small World at the time they rode it and I made my way over there. When I got there, my friend was very confused, almost distraught, looking. He showed me what he found. There’s usually a camera in the direction of where rides load and unload. The footage showed them scanning their bands to use FastPasses for the ride and boarding the ride. The footage from the exit of the ride just showed the other people in their car exiting. They weren’t there.
Of course we thought the worse, maybe one of the kids had fallen out and mom and dad and the other kid got off in the middle of the ride to help and they all got injured or killed or stuck in machinery somewhere. So we shut down the ride. Middle of the damn day. Turned off that ear worm music and turned up the lights. My buddy and I walked that ride three times before we called in help. Eventually, there was close to ten cast members searching, and we didn’t find shit except for three cell phones and a hat.
I was right stumped. I’ve kept digging the past couple of days, and I’m not sure who to tell what I found next to. I’ve called the police and I suppose they’re on the way, but the company has a way of covering up things like this and I decided I can’t live with myself if I don’t put out some type of warning.
I kept digging into their reservation over the last couple of days and today I noticed they had purchased memory maker. There are photographers all over the parks and cameras in a lot of the rides and, with memory maker, the photos are all free. They automatically get added to a guest’s Disney account when the system knows their picture has been taken. And the system always knows. Everyone’s whereabouts are always known with the Magic Bands.
Well, I opened up their memory maker photo album and, I swear, there are 732 pictures. The first 30 or so are pretty normal. Epcot, a few rides, in front of the castle. But the rest. The rest are all in It’s a Small World. The rides only take one picture per go around. So it appears as though this family has ridden this ride over 700 times. The first picture was pretty normal. Everyone looked happy. It was a busy day, and we had a full car of guests. The next one is rough to look at. The car is empty except for this little family, and they look so darn confused. The next 10-15, I can see dad getting angry, yelling. Mom is holding onto her two kids like her life depends on it, and you can see the kids getting increasingly upset, crying. And it goes on, and on, and on. After 50 or so, it looks like they’re trying to get out. In one, the dad is missing. In another, they’re all gone. Maybe like they’ve bailed early in the ride and tried to walk out, but in the very next one, they’re all right back in that damn car. After around 450 or so, I only see the mom and kids. It’s just when I look closely I can see dad, maybe just his body now, slumped down in one of the other seats. Since about 675, there’s just mom and one kid. Another body in another seat. The mom and kid aren’t moving anymore. I think they’re still alive, just damn near catatonic. Looking straight ahead, pale.
And, y’all, I swear on my life, the dolls are moving or something. In some of these pictures, I can tell they aren’t where they should be. I even saw one with a doll in the car with this family.
I can’t look anymore, or I’m going to lose my lunch. I closed the album. Its file size has increased since I closed it. God, are there new pictures being added?
I see on security cameras that the local police department just arrived, so they’ll take over soon. I wish I knew what is going on, but I also wish this damn thing had never landed in my lap. I don’t think I’ll be able to update this. After I talk to the police, I think I’m going to walk out of here and never come back. I just wanted to get this out there, before Disney feeds the media some lies to cover up the reasons behind why a whole family vanished.
Because they didn’t vanish.
I know exactly where they are.