Going to Disney is supposed to be a happy occasion full of joy. It’s supposed to be a vacation of a lifetime.
But what would happen if you child went missing or simply because separated from you in the theme park? How do you deal with that? How do you successfully find your child?
Well, in this article, we will try and get to the bottom of how many kids go missing at Disney World, and (much more importantly), I’ll discuss what you can do if you and your child become separated. We’ll also touch on how Disney will help you find your child, and a few tips you can implement to lessen the likelihood your child becomes separated in the first place.
Do Kids Go Missing at Disney?
With so many families visiting Disney World, it’s inevitable that, at times, kids will get separated or may temporarily go missing from their family for a brief amount of time.
But don’t panic when reading this.
While kids can potentially get lost every day because there are so many visitors in the theme parks, Disney is also one of the friendliest places on Earth.
No one wants to temporarily lose their child, but rest assured that Disney World is a happy family environment, and on the whole, everyone is in a good mood and wants to aid other people whenever they are in a distressed situation such as this.
And, to further ease your mind, there has not been any confirmed cases of a child kidnapping at Disney World. If a child goes missing at Disney World, he or she likely wandered off while a parent was preoccupied or distracted, and he or she will likely be found very soon afterward.
Disney understands the gravity of the situation if and when a child goes missing. They know losing a child is unimaginable. As such, they have a plan in place to decrease the likelihood of this happening and what to do if your child does indeed get separated.
Disney World Missing Child Protocol
The truth is that, yes, a child can indeed go missing at Disney World. In fact, a mother wrote about her experience of being at Disney and suddenly realizing that her child was no longer nearby.
Her child had somehow wandered off, and while her husband scrambled to inform Disney park officials, she eventually found her son—safe and sound.
This story actually feeds into the crux of my next point. If you happen to look down and realize you’ve been separated from your child at Disney World, be sure to immediately notify a Cast Member. They will instantly report a missing child alert to their supervisor and/or security by radio call. And, as what happened in the story I relayed to you above, Disney will begin searching for your child in the theme park.
In order for them to properly help you, you will be asked for a description of your child, so make sure you provide them with as much detail as possible regarding what they are wearing.
The supervisor or security will alert the central communication center. This will initiate a park-wide alert of your missing child, including their description. This allows all Cast Members in the park to assist in locating your missing child.
More than likely, you will be instructed to stay in the area where you first noticed your child missing. This may seem counterintuitive to you as a parent, as your instincts are telling you to locate your child. Cast Members specifically ask you to stay in the child’s last known position, in case your child is still nearby wandering around.
Take Photos of Your Child Every Morning
I think this is a particularly great moment to talk about one very smart safety tip. Before hopping in the car to go to Magic Kingdom or Epcot or whichever park you have a ticket for, be sure to take a photo of everyone in your party.
Take a full body shot, so you have photograph evidence of what your child looks like. Take a close up image of their face in the morning, and if they are going to wear a hat in the theme park, the a photo of them with the hat (or backpack or fanny pack, etc) on as well.
This is just a smart (and very quick) tip to implement, because should anyone in your party get separated (whether it’s a senior in your group or a child), you’ll be able to actually show Disney park officials exactly what your child looks like and what he or she was wearing. They won’t have to guess what kind of child they are searching for—they’ll know with 100% accuracy.
And, because we all carry cell phones now, you’ll be able to instantly provide a photo of your child to any Disney official that you’re interacting with. I know we have previously written about traveling to Disney World without a smartphone, but this particular topic today illustrates a big reason why bringing a cell phone to the parks is a good idea.
What Happens When a Child is Found?
Cast members are specifically trained on lost child protocol. They are trained to engage the child, extract relevant information, and keep the child calm. They will ask for the child’s name, parent’s names, phone number, and where the last place was that they saw their parents.
Once a Cast Member has located a missing child, they will escort them to the last known position of the parents. If the parents are found, the child is released back to the parents. If the parents are not found, they will escort the missing child to the Lost Child Center. The missing child will remain there until reunited with their parents.
Pre-Teens and Teens
If a child over 11 years of age is reported missing, the same park-wide alert is issued. Instead of bringing the child to the Baby Care Center, the missing child will be escorted to City Hall (Disneyland) or Chamber of Commerce (Disney World). Here, they can wait or leave a message for you. Both locations are updated with all information regarding current lost children.
Tips to Prevent Your Child From Going Missing
Here are a few things to always keep in mind.
Introduce Your Kids to Cast Members: When first entering the park, introduce your child to 2-3 Cast Members. This will get your child comfortable approaching a Cast Member if they need to. Make sure to point out the Cast Member’s name tag and uniform so your child knows who to go to.
Easily Accessible Contact Information: Keep your name, cell number, and any other emergent medical information safely pinned to your child’s clothes. This can be on the inside of a jacket or shirt sleeve.
Wear Bright or Distinguishable Clothing: Make sure your child does not easily blend in. Whether this be a crazy hair do, loud and obnoxious hats or accessories, or crazy colored shoes.
GPS Tracking Device: Give your child a traceable phone or even consider using an Apple Tag that’s affixed to a backpack or hat. This way, you can track their movement even if you get separated
Baby Care Center Locations
And lastly, here are some known child or baby care center locations inside Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney’s California Adventure.
Magic Kingdom: The baby care center at Magic Kingdom can be found right next to the First Aid Center, which is on the left-hand side of Main Street (just walk towards Cinderella’s Castle, past Casey’s Corner, and near the restrooms before you get to Crystal Palace.
Epcot: You’ll find the center at Epcot inside of the Odyssey Center, in between Test Track and the Mexico Pavilion in World Showcase/Showcase Plaza
Hollywood Studios: You’ll be able to find the baby care center at Hollywood Studios on the left-hand side, just as you enter the park.
Animal Kingdom: The baby care center at Animal Kingdom can be found on the right hand side of the building that houses Creature Comforts.
Disneyland Park: You can find this baby care center at the end of Main Street U.S.A next to First Aid.
Disney California Adventure Park: The center will be located directly next to the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop across from the Bakery Tour in Pacific Wharf.
We hope we were able to put your mind at ease relating to how many kids go missing at Disney and what you can do to prevent it. We want you to have a fantastic time at Disney and hope you will take precautionary steps to help significantly decrease the likelihood of you and your child getting separated.