Dude, Where’s My Canoe?

Mar 102004
Authors: Chris Hess

It takes a certain kind of person to steal from the Magic


That person is Scott DesBois.

Four years ago, on a schools-out trip to southern California

with his church youth group, DesBois might as well have taken the

white gloves right off of Mickey’s hands and the polka dots right

off of Minnie’s dress.

In the light of the heavy afternoon sun, Scott and a group of

friends were walking through Disneyland and noticed a bunch of

canoes tied to a dock. After walking down the stairs to the ride,

they realized it was closed.

However, this did not deter the group of young hooligans looking

for a good time.

“I mean, the canoes were only tied to the dock with a rope and

the paddles were right their underneath, so we were like, ‘Dude, we

could totally steal a canoe,'” DesBois said.

DesBois and his five partners in family-fun-park crime, which

included his youth group leader, Steve, returned to the lagoon

around 9:30 p.m. and all piled into one big canoe.

But their fun was short-lived.

“We didn’t get more than fifty feet from the dock when this huge

spotlight just hit us,” DesBois said. “This voice came over the

loudspeakers and told us to come back to the dock. I was


Once they returned to shore, canoe heist foiled, two Disneyland

security personnel greeted them and asked what they thought they

were doing.

Having seen a sign earlier advertising a canoe race for the next

day, Steve quickly replied that they were practicing for the race,

but the guards weren’t having it. The canoe-jackers were then

escorted behind stages and through the dark corners of Disneyland

to the “interrogation” rooms.

Once in the rooms, the culprits were surrounded by paintings of

Disney characters and beanbag chairs were stuffed in the corner,

making them feel not so much like criminals as two year olds being

sent to their rooms for being bad.

“I was with my buddies Will and Ben, and the guard kept trying

to intimidate us, but it’s kind of hard to be intimidated when

Dumbo and Mickey are all over the walls,” DesBois said. “When they

called our parents, everyone just laughed.”

Even though the boys were in the custody of the cartoon cops,

the shenanigans didn’t come to an end.

One girl that was in on the heist was freaking out because she

knew she would be in trouble if the guards got a hold of her

grandma back in Colorado. But, youth group leader Steve came to the


“Every time the guards would dial the number, Steve would dial

it on his cell phone, so they just kept getting a busy signal. It

was diabolical,” DesBois said.

Once the phone calls were done, the group was escorted out of

the park and placed on the official Disneyland record books for ten

years. Looking back on the event, DesBois can express nothing but


“I wanted to circle the lagoon so bad, it would’ve been


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