What Happens When You Lose Your Kid at Disney?

What Happens When You Lose Your Kid at Disney?

Walt Disney World Parks are huge. Guests are in constant motion. Just try to walk down Main Street, U.S.A. in a straight line. You can’t do it. I promise.

I’ve visited the parks many times with kids between the ages of three months and 14 years. I feel I’m a pretty good parent, but I’ve briefly lost a child. Twice. Same child.

A Walt Disney World vacation can be anxiety-inducing, especially for parents of younger children. These parents can be concerned about losing or, uh, misplacing a child. Sometimes they opt for a backpack with a leash (get ready for judgment), a stroller, or a tracking device. But even the best plans can go awry in the parks. It’s easy to get caught up in the magic. The feelings. The rush. Then it happens. You do a quick head count and realize you’re down one.

There is no worse feeling. Pure panic. Trying to remember the clothes they were wearing. Scanning the crowds. Rescanning. And again. Frantically searching the immediate area.

Find a Cast Member

The first thing to do is find a Cast Member (CM). It doesn’t matter who you find. They’re all trained to help in these situations. It’s possible another Cast Member has already found your child. They are always on the lookout for children who are on their own. If they do find a child, they will remain with him/her in the area where he/she was found. And they will have another CM with them. They’ll communicate with other Cast Members to let them know the situation.

Tip: Snap a photo of your group first thing in the morning. You’ll be able to easily provide a description of what everyone was wearing in the event someone is separated from the group.

We lost our Child in Animal Kingdom. It was the classic miscommunication between the “adults” in the group: “I thought she was with you!”

As soon as we realized our daughter was missing, we immediately notified a Cast Member. My family stayed with the CM in the Theatre of the Lion King. I sprinted back to where we had last seen her: Pandora. I felt the biggest wave of relief (along with a burning sensation in my lungs and legs) when I saw her standing between two Cast Members. She was as happy as could be; in fact, she barely noticed that the rest of her family wasn’t there. Thankfully, we had had many conversations about what to do if you’re separated from your group. “Look for a Cast Member” stuck. Teach your kids to My kids know to look for Cast Member name tags.

Losing a child was definitely more stressful for my husband and me than for our daughter. It didn’t bother her at all. She just wanted to keep exploring the parks!