Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lost Kids at Walt Disney World

WDW Entrance Gate

Last February when my husband and I were at Walt Disney World without our boys it was quite a different experience!  I never once reached out to grab a small hand or had to carry a kid on my back to make sure they stayed with us and I never had to do a "head count" to make sure everyone was together!  But what we did experience was seeing a small girl, around the age of 8, panic and begin crying because she had lost her grandmother.  I immediately went to the girl and asked if she was lost while Jonathan went to find a cast member.  I asked where she last saw her grandmother and what her grandmother was wearing.  She couldn't answer either question.  I'm sure she was terrified and couldn't even think straight at this point. Once the cast member arrived, we stood back and stayed out of the way.  I did stick around long enough to see the girl reunited with the grandmother though!

What a nightmare!  Can you imagine losing you child at Walt Disney World?  I can't.  I hurt for those families who have ever been through this.  In thinking about how horrified I would be, I thought I would share some thoughts on how to, hopefully, prevent this from happening.  And, if it did happen, a few tips to help speed up the process of finding the lost child.

1. Before your family leaves the resort for the day, make notes of what each person is wearing.  Take a picture of each child in their outfit for the day on your cell phones and digital cameras.  That way if you are separated, you will be able to quickly tell a cast member what your child is wearing.  Make sure your kids know what mom and dad are wearing too so they can answer the question I was asking the little girl.
 Mickey Tie Dye Shirts

2. Consider wearing like clothes.  Many families will all wear the same Disney themed t-shirt.  This makes it very easy to spot your party and if you get separated you can tell the cast member your  kid is dressed just like you!  If you aren't a fan of all wearing the same Perry the Platypus shirt, consider all wearing the same color- red shirts for example.
safety tat

3. When you arrive at your resort, use a product like Safety-Tat to attach to your child that has your name and cell phone written on it.  If you don't want to do this, think about adding iron on labels to the inside of your kids clothing with the same information.   If both of these ideas aren't your cup of tea, make sure your child has your information somewhere on their body: a key chain attached to a belt loop, a laminated sheet of paper tucked inside a shoe, etc.

4. Once you get to the parks, utilize your cell phones or bring walkie talkies for each member of your party (if they are old enough to use them!).  This makes separations easy!
cast member name tag
5. Make sure your kids know what to do if you are separated. Show your kids what the cast members "look like."  Make sure they can identify the famous oval name tags that all cast members wear.  If they are separated, they need to find a cast member and stay put!  Usually parents will go to the last place they saw their child.

6. If your children are older, designate a specific meeting point in the park.  Make it very specific- not in front of the castle.  If you do become separated, everyone should know to head to that spot.

7. When your family is in a very crowded area (park openings and closings, parades, exits of shows, fireworks, etc) make sure all small kids are either in the strollers or are holding hands at all times!  This is a prime time for kids to get separated.

8. If your children are old enough to go into the restrooms by themselves, make sure they exit the same door they enter.  If the restroom has multiple exits, it's easy to get "lost" and not know where your party is located.

Hopefully if you follow these tips, everything will go smoothly!  What tips do you have to share?


  1. Jordan with Speaking of DisneyOctober 11, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Thanks for the tips! We are going in 19 days with our first child (2 1/2) and this has been one of my worst Disney fears! Although we travel both domestically & internationally with him and it is a 2:1 parent/child ratio, I'm still scared! I had already purchased the Safety-Tats for him to wear since he isn't old enough to know how to repeat a phone number or possibly even repeat his or our first & last name or where we are staying during a scary situation. I would rather be prepared then be regretful. Thanks alot!

  2. I'm glad they were helpful! Have a wonderful trip! I loved WDW when my son was 2!! :)

  3. The Lost Kidz App is being used by parents around the world as a personal amber alert system; ideal for when you lose track of your child at a theme park or in a shopping mall.