Let’s be honest… Disney World can be a zoo! From the crazy crowds to the loud sounds… there is a lot going on. So much can happen in the blink of an eye. And no matter how well-behaved our kids are, or how well we keep an eye on them, there is always a chance for people to get separated from their parties. Now, I don’t tell you this to put you in a panic; it’s just reality. It does happen every once in a while. My hope for this article is that IF it ever does happen to you, you and your family will be prepared, and it will just be a little hiccup in your trip.
- Tattoos- One of the best things I have ever discovered for little ones that might not be talking yet is tattoos for kids. They really are the best! I first discovered this when my son was 2. He talked A LOT, but he was not very clear. And also boy, could he run! I was terrified of losing him in the crowded parks and him not being able to tell anyone that he needed help. He didn’t like to stay in his stroller either. Anyway, while perusing through Esty, I discovered many shops that will print anything you want on tattoos. So I picked a shop and sent her the info I wanted (if lost, please call xxx-xxxx and that my son has food allergies). Once the tattoo was applied, it lasted about two days, so I only needed to put one on him every other morning. I also taught my son if he’s lost, he should “find a friend and show them your tattoo.” Thank goodness there was never a situation that they were actually needed, but it did give me peace of mind. (If you look really closely, you can see one on my son’s arm in the photo above.)
- Take a Picture of your child every day- This one is just for worse case scenario situations, but it’s always best to be prepared. Right before you leave your room for a day of fun at Disney, take a photo of your child. If the worst happens, and your child is lost, you might not remember exactly everything that they are wearing. When it comes to lost children, the more info you can give, the better.
- Meeting Points: This might not work very well for younger kids, but this is a great option for older kids that don’t have cell phones yet. Before you go to the parks each morning, go over a map of the park. Let them get familiar with the map and where everything is. Then, pick a location that’s easy to find but not overly crowded. Let that be your meeting point if they accidentally get separated from your group.
- Buddy system- If you are going with a large group of people (like a family reunion trip), the buddy system is a great way to keep everyone accounted for. Have an adult or teenager be ‘buddies’ with a younger kid of the group. That way, every child will always have someone that has a pair of eyes on them.
- Disney Button- If the tattoo route isn’t your thing, or maybe you have older kids that don’t want to wear it, use those free Disney buttons! If you go to any guest services around the park, just ask a cast member for a free button. Then, on the back, write your phone number or contact info.
- Matching shirts- Matching family shirts is a big trend in Disney, so make sure that if you do this as a means of safety and being able to easily identify your kid in a large crowd, make sure it’s something that stands out from the norm.
- Finding a friend- To my son, I call cast members “friends.” In his little mind, the phrase “cast member” doesn’t really mean anything to him. Also, to me, it just seems like a good way to ease his mind if he gets scared. A “friend” will always be around. Anyway, he knows what a cast members name tag looks like, so, if he gets separated from our group, all he has to do is look for a “friend” with that familiar name tag and then ask them for help.
- MagicBands- You can also write your phone number on the inside of the MagicBand. Just make sure to do with with a silver permanent marker, and make sure you let it dry before letting your child wear it.
- Child harnesses- Hey! Don’t knock it till you try it! Before I had my son, I thought the parents that put their children in harnesses were ridiculous. I swore that if I ever had a kid, I would NEVER do that…well… I ended up going against my pre-child self. When your kid is a little explorer and doesn’t like to sit in a stroller, then harness it is. I mean, think about it, what’s more restricting? A stroller or a harness? And honestly, don’t worry what other people think! You are the child’s parent. You do what you think is best for you and your family.
- Baby Care Centers- According to the Disney World website, if a lost child is found, a cast member will escort your child to the Baby Care Center while they wait for you to come get them. So as soon as you realize your child is missing, find a cast member right away. They will most likely phone into the child care centers to see if a child has been found.
Hopefully, this article will put your mind at ease and help you relax. Disney can be a crazy place, but if you implement a few of these ideas, you are sure to have a magical and safe time!
Thank you to @magicalshannonmarie, @mickeys_photoprapher, and @DougDoesDisney for the use of their amazing photos!