How (NOT) to Lose Your Kid at Disney by Kate Melody

Let’s face it, Walt Disney World is big, crowded, and contains lots of things designed to interest your kids. It’s the perfect recipe for someone to get distracted, and in just a few minutes you realize you are one kid short! First let me reassure you that kids do get lost at Walt Disney World frequently, many times a day in fact. But thankfully no child has ever gone missing from a Disney Park. But just in case you do temporarily misplace a child while at Disney, I have a few suggestions for you both before and during your vacation.

First, I recommend prepping your kids on what to do should they become separated from you. If you have a local Disney Store, take them to the store and introduce them to a Cast Member that works there. Be sure to point out their signature name tag. Make sure your kids know that all Cast Members at Disney wear a name tag of this same size and style, and if they get lost that they should find a Cast Member and ask for help.

I also recommend labeling your kids in a discreet but useful manner. While your child may be able to recite your cell phone number to his Kindergarten teacher, under the fear and pressure of being lost, it might be more difficult for them to remember or communicate that information. Cast Members are prohibited from looking inside or removing your child’s clothing, so don’t plan on writing the info inside the back of their shirt for example.

There are several good options out there to put the necessary info on your child. My current favorite is to use a “Road ID”. Since I am a runner, I wear one of these handy bracelets when I run. It contains my name, year of birth, two emergency numbers and my allergy information. It is basically a rubber bracelet with a metal tag that you personalize with the needed info. My children now also have these bracelets, and they are available in sizes from toddler to adult. Not only are they great for Disney, but also when you send your child on a field trip or to summer camp. I also like that they are small enough that a stranger could not read the info from a distance.

Another popular option is Safety Tat. This is a temporary tattoo (kids love these things) that you again personalize with your phone number. They last on average 1 to 3 days. In the past we have also made personalized necklaces or our kids, similar to military dog tags. We called them their “safety tags” and the boys wore them every day along with their pin lanyards. I have always felt more comfortable knowing that the kids would not have to remember my phone number if frightened.

If you do realize you have lost your child, do not panic. Take a deep breath and look around, as they are most likely in the area. If you do not see them right away, find a Cast Member and ask for help. They will immediately alert other Cast Members in the area to look for your child.

I do have personal experience with this. On our most recent trip, while I was ogling the beautiful Pandora beads at Uptown Jewelers my husband received a phone call. He looked at me and asked, “Where’s Conor?” We suddenly realized we had lost one of our 4 children! Just a few minutes before there had been a child’s balloon that floated to the ceiling in the Tomorrowland Terrace and my 7 year old thought he’d like to watch how they got it down. Meanwhile, the rest of us headed down Main Street, USA. Thankfully, my son had used his knowledge to find a nearby Cast Member and showed them his Road ID! Within minutes we were reunited, and the Cast Member was very complimentary of my son’s ID bracelet. I was super proud of my son for doing what he had been taught, and he didn’t even seem to mind that we had lost him! So go prepared, don’t panic and ask for help, and you’re sure to have a happy ending!

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