Walt Disney World (WDW) can provide a vacation experience of a lifetime, but losing a child there is a memory that no one would cherish. Prior planning may lessen the chances that a child in the party becomes separated and lost in Florida’s worldwide vacation destination.
Would a Child Know What to Do if Lost at Disney World?
Children can easily become distracted and lured by the many attractions at WDW. With large crowds, a person can become separated from the group very quickly, so it is important to discuss this issue with the child or children who are going on the trip. This could also be an opportunity for the adult to review a game plan, such as immediately seeking out a worker at WDW. Based on the child’s answers, the adult then as a chance to correct any erroneous ideas about what to do if lost. Ask questions like:
- Where is everyone going to meet after using the restroom (many have more than one exit)?
- What would you do if you got separated from the rest of the family?
- Who do you think would be a safe person to approach?
A child that gets separated from the group may be unable to talk or to be understood by a helpful employee, but it is important to teach a child to say his or her name and the names of the caregivers when she begins talking. Many children simply identify a caregiver as Mom, Dad, Grandma, etc. because they are unaware of the adult’s name.
Helping a child to be able to identify a cast member at WDW is also important. Each employee has training in what to do if a child is missing, and the people who work at Disney World can quickly communicate with others to help reunite a missing child with the rest of the group.
It may be helpful to assure the child that if he or she got lost that the others would be glad rather than mad that he sought appropriate help as some children may attempt to hide with the thought that he or she would get into trouble.
Clothing and Photos May Help to Find a Lost Child at WDW
Groups traveling to WDW may wish to wear matching shirts, hats, or wear other distinctive clothing that may stand out in a crowd with bright colors or unique designs. This could also help with a clothing description if someone should become lost.
Carrying recent pictures of each person in the group could also be helpful. Taking a digital picture at the start of each day may speed identification as well.
Have a Child Carry Identifying Information at Disney World
Ensuring that identifying information is on the child may be quite helpful in shortening the time to a reunion. This might be as simple as using a safety pin to attach a note to the child’s clothing. Conceal this identifying information, making sure that the child knows where it is located to prevent a stranger from looking at this information in order to gain a child’s trust. Wander Wear offers clip with a card containing identifying information as well as packages to add matching shirts, hats, and a children’s book about wandering.
Identifying information might also be in the form of metal tags that resemble dog tags worn around the neck, wrist, or other areas. Some computerized ID tags are also available that contain information on a USB flash drive. If the child has special needs like allergies, medical information should also be readily available with identification.
Several devices and actions may help to prevent a child from being separated from the rest of the group at Disney World. If the child is in a stroller, it is helpful to keep the seatbelt buckled and at least one hand on the stroller at all times. If folding a stroller, another adult or older child in the party may wish to hold the child or his hand. If only one adult is available, she may wish to have the child to keep at least one hand on the caregiver while she folds the stroller.
It is helpful to hold hands, particularly in congested areas. Family restrooms are available in various areas of the park. If using different facilities, decide ahead of time where to exit and meet.
Some caregivers choose to use a child safety harness that utilizes the same concept as a leash. Electronic devices can be placed on a child or on his or her clothing that can be activated by someone else in the party. Once activated, the device emits a noise that can help the caregiver to locate the child. Other devices involve technology, such as GPS tracking, and may be particularly helpful for children with special needs.
Stay Connected Using Technology if a Group Separates at Disney World
Some groups may split up while at Disney World. For example, one person may take everyone’s tickets to get a Fast Pass while the rest of the group enjoys another area of WDW or travels more slowly to the next destination. Cell phones can help groups stay connected and could let the others know if there is a change in plans. Some people may also utilize walkie talkies in the same manner. These do not carry roaming and other charges but have a limited range, such as one mile.
Preventing the Loss of a Kid at Walt Disney World
Although looking for Hidden Mickeys may be a fun pastime, hunting for a lost child could be a quite stressful event. Practicing problem-solving with the child before the trip may be very helpful if the unthinkable ever happened. Wearing identifying clothing and contact information, considering appropriate options for devices to prevent wandering or to find those that have, and staying connected through communication devices can mean the difference between a magical stay at WDW or a nightmare.