It's every parent's worst nightmare—you turn around for just a second, turn back and your child is gone. Thankfully, they can usually be found quickly in the immediate vicinity, but in a location like Disney World, it is easy to get lost. There are some things you can do to make it easier to keep track of your child in the busy, fast-paced Disney theme parks; and, some things you can do to find your child quickly if you are separated.
Finding a Lost Child
- Look for alternate exits; many rides and even restrooms have exits on opposite sides of the building. If your child went in one door, they may come out in an entirely different location.
- Split up if possible; have one parent or teen stay in the spot where you last saw your little one, and have the other look around.
- Notify the nearest cast member to let them know you have a lost child so a team of Disney employees can begin to look as well.
- Go to your designated meeting space, if you have one.
- If your child is small, look at the closest attraction, character or display that is of interest; in many cases, he may have simply stepped behind a display to get a closer look.
Keeping Track of Your Kids
- Make a note of what every child in your party is wearing, or take a picture with a digital camera each morning.
- Carry small children off of rides or out of shows where large numbers of people are exiting at the same time. It is easy to get lost in the sea of people exiting a large show like Mickey's Philharmagic or the Festival of the Lion King.
- Even children that don't typically wander can get distracted or lost in Disney World, there is simply so much to see. Take some time during your flight or drive to Disney and talk about sticking together.
- Be extra wary around areas with large concentrations of kids; at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique area in Fantasyland, you may lose your own little princess in a sea of "made over" Cinderellas and Snow Whites.
- Stick together during parades; little kids tend to migrate towards the action! Popular parades like the Main Street Electrical Parade and the Boo to You parade are heavily attended and you could get separated.
- Choose a meeting place in each park that is easy to find, but not overly crowded. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel is a good choice because it is easily recognizable and relatively small; the Tree of Life in the Animal Kingdom is not because there are so many trails and offshoots.
- Tell your child what you want her to do if she is lost. Some parents want the child to stay still, others prefer the child approach a female cast member.
- Write your phone number and information on a shoe tag or sticker that can be placed inside a garment, so it can be retrieved but not easily seen.
- Consider giving "big kids" a cell phone, just in case, even if they are not old enough to usually carry these items.
Disney World and the Disney theme parks are very safe, and most "lost" children have simply stepped behind a larger object or gotten distracted.