A thief has made off with about $20,000 worth of attraction parts stolen from a Walt Disney World warehouse, including sails from the Peter Pan’s Flight attraction and seats from Space Mountain, The Orlando Sentinel reports.
If there’s one thing fans of Walt Disney World (and other Disney parks) love, it’s taking home souvenirs. From branded clothes to Christmas ornaments to toys and kitchen gadgets and everything in between, ranging in price from a couple of bucks to well into the thousands, guests can’t get enough of it. There are even online forums, message boards, and YouTube channels devoted to the latest merchandise to hit the shelves.
The overwhelming majority of that merchandise is purchased legally, save for a handful of scofflaws who try (and usually fail) to employ the five-finger discount.
But in this particular case, the merchandise that’s leaving the Florida resort was neither paid for, nor was it ever for sale to begin with.
A worker doing routine checks of a storage shed behind Epcot’s Test Track noticed that parts of two attractions were missing. The pilfered items include sails from the Peter Pan’s Flight attraction, and a “shell” plus seats from Space Mountain. The value of the missing items is believed to be around $20,000.
The theft was reported to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the items will ever be recovered, as police say that there were no serial numbers or other identifying information on the pieces.
As Medium reports, there’s a vast and lucrative black market for stolen Disney Parks gewgaws. Much of the market consists of stuff that you could legally purchase in the parks, although some of it, such as limited-edition trading pins, may be hard to come by. That’s why some enterprising guests are known to enter the parks as soon as a limited-edition hot commodity becomes available, buy as much as they can carry, and then resell it at a high markup. Or in some cases, people just steal it and then resell it.
However, it’s not just branded merchandise that’s available legally that gets bought and sold on the Disney black market. Parts of attractions are known to turn up for sale as well. For example, in May of this year, 24-year-old Patrick Allen Spikes, a former Walt Disney World employee, allegedly snuck into a backstage area of the Haunted Mansion and made off with props, costumes, wigs, and whatever else he could get his hands on. Some of the merchandise turned up for sale, including some items that, between them, commanded about $30,000.