Last week I mentioned my family was able to go to Disney with my mom, sister, and mother-in-law. Thank you Disney Animation Resort for having family units that fit all of us – splitting a hotel bill makes a huge difference on the cost. This trip had a lot of wonderful moments including my almost three year old arriving at the hotel saying, “I so excited!” and watching my five year old dancing to the music accompanying the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. Seeing their excitement was amazing… the tantrums not so much. Fortunately, I had prepared myself for this. Bad behavior can be easier to handle when you’re expecting it.
I find everyone has certain patterns in their life. For instance, every trip I’ve ever been on has something really unpleasant happen at the beginning of the trip, but I generally end up with great weather – it’s a fair trade off. On my last Disney trip (I have a bit of an addiction) upon arriving in America I was hauled off by airport security because when entering customs and asked if I had any fruit I said I had an apple – it was like I told them I had brought steak knives to practice juggling before stabbing someone; the customs agent was very upset. I offered to eat the apple or throw it out in the garbage can beside him, but that only made him angrier. End result? I was taken to a spot where the next security person didn’t care. In the end, it was just a big scare – thankfully. My worst trip start was on one of my youth group weekend retreats. My wife’s dad was pulled off life support two hours before I was supposed to meet the group. It was pretty brutal because I was in this spot of do I cancel the trip and upset thirty people or go for the weekend retreat and leave a grieving girlfriend? I went with going, which led to the most impactful youth retreat I ever ran with five kids giving their hearts to God and several others giving their hearts after, but then I had a girlfriend have resentment for the next five years. That was definitely worse than my apple experience.
For this trip I found myself waiting for something bad to happen the first day, but nothing did. We drove, parked, checked our bags, and got through airport security within an hour of leaving my mom’s house – God bless small airports like Hamilton; it’s a dream. Granted, we were at the airport for 430am, but it was fine and we all slept on the plane. When arriving in Sanford Florida airport, we discovered it’s way easier to navigate than Orlando, and I made sure no one had an apple going through customs, so we were good. Next, I had arranged to rent a van with car seats for my two girls through Turo, a car share program several clients recommended that’s essentially Uber without the driver. It was excellent. The day before I was sent a lockbox code and directions to where the van was parked. There were no lineups like I’d have renting a car or paperwork. It was get the key and go. Even though Sandford was further from our hotel than Orlando airport, it was quicker than the last time we went through Orlando and took the Disney bus (that’s even minus my security detour) – the small airport was so great. Plus, having the van let us stop at Walmart to pick up apples, cereal, and various snacks – it was super smooth. At night my wife and mother-in-law took the girls swimming at the hotel while my mom and I went to Disney Springs where I bought the greatest sandwich I’ve ever had – Earl of Sandwich is amazing! Even better, I had two hours kid free to look around the couple stores in Disney Springs that I really love – it was the greatest birthday I’ve ever had.
So if this trip didn’t have something bad happen at the start, guess what was brewing. Three days in, after a fantastic morning at Hollywood Studios and seeing my five year old be in love with the Muppets 3D (because the Muppets are awesome), we met up with my mom who was watching a sleeping three year old. By instinct I touched the pocket where my phone should be… and nothing – what? I checked my other pocket – nothing. I then pulled everything out of my backpack in case it was put in there – again, nothing. Panic kicked in hard. Everyone started looking, but nothing. I ran to an attendant for the ride and he said he would get me into the theater at the end of the current showing. He reassured me this happens all the time and when the show was over they’d put the house lights on and I could check where I sat… and again, nothing; it wasn’t there either. The worker told me to go to the front of the park and make a claim in the lost and found and reassured me that phones almost always turn up… but all I heard was “almost.”
I was really confused because it didn’t make sense that it would fall out of my pocket when I had gone two and a half days without a problem. I kept thinking there must have been a pickpocket. As my sister added, a distracted parent carrying a toddler would be an easy target – very helpful. I retraced my steps going to the bathroom and then the Mickey theatre where I remembered last having it – nothing. My next step was to report the phone lost at guest services. I will say Disney has a great lost and found set up. Nothing had been turned in, but they told me to put in a claim online and check back later. They added this happens all the time and they’re almost always found – again “almost.” When I asked about pickpockets the attendant told me they’ve never had an issue… but why would they admit it if they did? While I was waiting, I was talking to a father a bit older than me who said he was there because he lost $500 cash. That made me feel better (as rude as that sounds). At least I had hope to get what I lost. He was pretty much screwed and I felt bad for him.
Throughout the day I went back to guest services and each attendant said the same thing: Put in a claim on the website and not to worry because phones are almost always found. The second person added if it’s an iPhone, I should be able to locate it on another iPhone. That’s amazing… if you can remember your Apple ID. I tried a couple attempts on my sister’s phone (my wife has a Samsung like a sucker). Those, of course, didn’t work. Before the trip I had emailed myself all my passwords in case something went wrong, but I have double verification on it, which meant I needed my phone to open my email – kicker.
Later that night when we got back to the hotel, I tried one more Apple ID guess and this time I got it. It was such a huge relief. According to the locator, it was outside Muppets where we had been sitting – genius. I talked to the front desk and they told me the park was closed, but they were positive the cleaners would find it and we’d be notified. Guess what I didn’t receive in the morning. There was no notification because my phone wasn’t found. It was still outside Muppets. My sister and I went back to the front desk and this time the worker was pretty useless. The young lady the night before was amazing while this older woman was a cross between couldn’t care less and super stoned with the speed of the sloth from Zootopia. I’ve only had amazing service at Disney, but this person… Her response was the cleaners would find it later that night. When I reiterated they didn’t find it the night before and asked why they would find it tonight, she stared at me like I was crazy. When I asked if we could go get it ourselves, she told me I’d have to buy a ticket. That’s about $200 Canadian a person – no thanks; I’m cheap. I then told her I could press a button that would set off an alarm on my phone, but I didn’t want to scare anyone. I asked her if she could give a heads up to someone at Muppets. She replied she couldn’t do that even though the person the night before offered something similar. This useless woman then repeated the cleaners would find it. Fed up, I pressed the alarm and within minutes I could see my phone moving and stopping at guest services. My sister and I then hurried off to the Skyliner (the incredible new gondola set up at certain Disney hotels for transportation) and picked up my phone at the front of Hollywood Studios. It was an adventure… I wish I didn’t have.
So what lessons can I take from this experience:
- When we’re suffering, it’s good to let others do something for us to let them feel like they’re helping: My mom felt terrible for me and asked if she could buy me a drink. I wasn’t in the mood to feel better, but I accepted her offer of a Powerade because I knew it would help her feel better.
- Over focusing on something doesn’t make it better; it does the opposite: I did everything I could to find my phone and then I needed to do my best to carry on with my day. Our brain wants to over think when there isn’t resolution, but that doesn’t mean we should let it.
- Sometimes we need to let our subconscious have some space to remember things: Like randomly remembering a name (or password) when we couldn’t think of it earlier, our subconscious can give us answers when given space.
- We need to be considerate: I may have lost my phone, but I didn’t have a right to ruin everyone’s day. I wasn’t myself, but distraction helped me have good moments. I also made sure to sneak off by myself for a few minutes when needed to be upset.
- Don’t make any major decisions when you’re down: My credit card was in my phone case, but I didn’t cancel it because if I found it like I was told I would, I’d be messed over. Even if it was stolen, credit cards have insurance for that kind of thing, so I was safe.
- Avoid cash: I felt sorry for the man who lost his cash, but why cash? Disney isn’t a ma and pa shop. Use your credit card; it can be replaced.
- It’s easier to see the good when things are resolved: We need to try to see the good, but the good is generally easier to find after. When my phone was missing, I tried to tell myself it was good I lost my phone the day I did because it was the best day to lose it and I was lucky my sister had an iPhone, but that had limited help until my phone was found.
- People respond differently: When I got the right Apple ID, I was numb. When I saw someone had picked up my phone, I was numb. When I had my phone in my hand, I was numb. I didn’t start feeling anything until later that day. My sister, on the other hand, was elated each step of the way. We need to give each other space to respond as we do. Sometimes we’re too burnt out to have much, and that’s where I was at, which is okay. It was also nice to see my sister so happy.
- Learn from your mistakes: After losing my phone, we were all a little more careful.
- Push for what you know is right: If I had listened to the useless worker, I wouldn’t have gotten my phone back as soon as I did. Plus, it rained that day, so if my phone was outside like I think it was, it could’ve been ruined. Sometimes you just have to do what you think is right.
- BONUS: Know your Apple ID!
This week may you have something great happen.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people (like me)