Orlando International Airport has a secret room tucked away, largely out of sight from the main passenger areas of the complex, and most visitors–even frequent flyers to Disney World–will use the airport over and over again and never step one foot inside the hidden recesses of the secret chamber.
Frequent visitors to the Walt Disney World Resort whose vacations begin with a plane ride into Orlando are familiar with Orlando International Airport. They’re becoming familiar with the airport’s sparkly new Terminal C, which opened to passengers in September 2022 after nearly a decade of planning and construction. But few know about an unbelievable treasure trove at MCO, hidden deep within the belly of the massive airport.
Orlando International Airport is the seventh busiest airport in the United States and the seventh busiest airport in the world. In 2022, more than 50 million passengers arrived and/or departed MCO as part of their travel plans, whether for business reasons, personal plans, or vacation. That’s a lot of passengers–equal to almost 15% of the population of the United States. It’s quite a feat for any airport to handle the needs of so many passengers every year, but it’s perhaps an even greater feat to be responsible for the personal belongings–especially lost personal belongings–of 50 million people.
Enter MCO’s lost and found storage area, located in Terminal A–a wonderfully interesting place full of so many wonderfully interesting (and sometimes odd and questionable) items that it would take hours (or maybe even a day or two) to see them all. The sheer number of items left behind by either absent-minded, frustrated, rushed, forgetful, or otherwise stressed passengers is mind-boggling.
WESH reports that some of the things that have taken up temporary residence in MCO’s lost and found room “are so fanciful that it feels like you have been transported to a scene out of a Star Wars movie.” But then again, some of the things at lost and found are “so ordinary that it’s like walking into a drugstore.”
Among the most interesting things recently seen in Orlando International Airport’s treasure trove of lost (and some found) items was a Keurig coffee maker. Just imagine lugging one of those to the airport, only to leave it at a TSA checkpoint! There was also a karaoke machine, duty-free whiskey found left behind in the men’s restroom, and a refrigerator used to store cosmetics. (Yep, that’s a thing.)
MCO’s lost and found also has a seemingly endless supply of certain items. Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue can’t hold a candle to the inventory of winter outerwear inside Orlando International’s lost and found storage room. There are enough jackets and coats there to compete with any department store. Any department store in the North. In January. And cabinets at MCO’s secret room are nearly bursting open with personal electronics.
As would be expected, the room is full to the brim with theme park souvenirs, and every theme park resort in the Orlando area is represented: Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, Legoland, Peppa Pig Park . . . the list goes on and on. But without a doubt, the most frequently left-behind theme park souvenir at the Orlando airport is the coveted Star Wars light saber. Scores of the popular weapons from the Star Wars saga in various styles and colors call MCO home as they eagerly await the arrival of their respective owners.
Stuffed animals of every shape, color, character, and age also take up temporary residence within the secret corridors of lost and found at MCO. Many are brand-new, often purchased at an Orlando theme park resort, and others are, well . . . let’s just say they’ve been well-loved for a long time.
There’s also no shortage of canes and crutches of various sizes, shapes, colors, and conditions, as well as baseball caps, and almost enough hats for each of the 50 million passengers served at Orlando International Airport every year. (Ok, maybe not that many.)
There are even multiple containers in which the Social Security cards left behind or lost by frantic or perhaps distracted passengers wait to be picked up by, or mailed to, their owners. But among the most surprising and . . . um, interesting, things to ever find their respective ways into the hallowed wonderland of lost things at MCO are the ashes of a passenger’s loved one, false teeth, the bumper to an automobile (yep, a car bumper–and not from a Hot Wheels or Matchbox car), and even a wedding dress.
According to 13-year veteran MCO employee and Lost & Found Supervisor Patricia Sarria, the lost wedding dress had been accidentally left behind at the airport by the bride herself as she was traveling to her wedding location. But just when catastrophe seemed completely unavoidable, employees at Orlando International put on their superhero capes and saved the day, delivering the bride’s dress to her just in time for her special day.
“She actually had it in a piece of luggage, and she was crying,” Sarria explained, “but they were happy tears.”
Passengers who’ve lost something of value and importance to them can contact MCO’s Lost and Found division by clicking here and filling out an online form that allows passengers to give information about the item or items that were lost, the date of the loss, and how to contact the rightful owner, should the item be found.
Orlando International holds all lost items for a total of 30 days. If, after 30 days, no owner has been located, items are donated or auctioned off, depending on the item.