How to Not Lose Your Child at Disney World and What to Do When You Do


Fortunately, I’ve never said I’m perfect. And, I’ve never said the same of my kids. Because, guess what? Even when they have never once wandered off on you, gotten lost or been distracted, it can happen to you/them. And it happens very quickly! And, seemingly even faster at Disney World.

Yes, my kids were separated from their adult counterparts while at Disney World. Yes, with an s, as in plural. (If you are here to shame me or tell me I’m awful, just step away from your computer or click that little red box with the “x” or red circle right now….we don’t need any of that here!)

Before I get into the what do you do if you lose them and how the parks handle it (amazingly, by the way), we tried to take many necessary steps to make sure it didn’t happen.

how to not lose your child at disney world and what to do when you do

1. I took a picture every day of what they are wearing and how they looked that day. It’s the first question you will be asked and when you are frazzled and your heart is racing a million times a minute, you probably won’t remember.

2. We told the girls everyday if they get separated from us to immediately find an adult with a Disney name tag and let them know they can’t find they parents. We reminded them that if they can’t see us, stand in one spot.  Otherwise, they will get more separated.

3. We reviewed my phone number and name should they need to give it to a cast member.

4. We walked slowly, always had our heads on swivel and had the older girls hold onto our hands or the stroller handle when walking through the park.

5. We had the littlest two in the stroller or a carrier almost at all times.

outfit pictures every day

{What they wore Monday.}

Should you get separated from your children, you’ll want to alert a cast member immediately and stay in the same place where you last saw them.

We have a couple different stories to pull from, so I thought it would be best to tell them all separately.

At the pool

The two oldest were at the pool at the Yacht club with grandma playing in the lazy river, the slides and more. They are both good swimmers, but getting on the big slide involves leaving the main pool area and walking across a sidewalk. The oldest yelled to grandma where she was going, but grandma didn’t hear and the oldest took off. Grandma assumed she was going one place (the slide) and gave her the time it should take to return. When she didn’t return, grandma got worried. She immediately asked a pool cast member what to do when we can’t find a child. They asked what she was wearing, what color her hair was and her name and got on their radio. Grandma said they had my oldest standing next to her within 30 seconds (where they promptly left the pool for a bit of a reminder about wandering off).

I asked the oldest what the cast member did and she said they came up to her and asked if her name was X and that she needed to come with them. At first, this freaked me out…she went with a stranger who knew her name. I questioned her and asked why she went with a stranger who knew her name and she said she did because she made sure they had a name tag on. Whew. She was listening to that part! And, she never even realized grandma didn’t know where she was.

Yacht Club Pool

On the docks

The next time was even scarier. Grandma, grandpa, the four girls and I were waiting on the docks at the Yacht club to ride the boat to Epcot (sidenote: walking is faster, just walk!) We have the youngest two in the stroller and the oldest two are hanging out with us. Boats pull up on either side of the dock. One to Epcot and one to Hollywood Studios. We had previously been going on the Hollywood Studios side. As we gather to get on the Epcot boat, we try to find N (daughter number 2)…and grandma asks where she is (I thought she was with the grandparents, they thought she was with me) She’s no where to be found. I know she can swim, but I’m immediately screaming her name, running to the edge of the dock and trying to look for splashes.

As I hear the horn for the boat it dawns on me…she probably got on that boat. But, why isn’t she responding to me. Why can’t I see her. Finally, we spot her sitting on the back seat of the boat (just like pictured above) and not even realizing we aren’t on the boat with her. She finally heard our yells for her, right around the same time the Captain from the other boat radios for the boat to return to the dock so we can get N off. She wasn’t even worried because she didn’t realize we weren’t there.

The boat quickly turned around and brought her back to us. From then on, I don’t think she let go of the stroller unless it was to grab an adult hand.

At the boneyard (Animal Kingdom)

The youngest two and I were hanging at the bone yard playing on slides, stomping to make dinosaur sounds and climbing around. E went up to ride a slide and I stayed at the bottom to greet her. But, she never got to the bottom. After the first two experiences, I immediately found somebody who suggested going to the digging area. I didn’t realize where he sent me when he gestured a certain direction. I looked where I thought he gestured and didn’t find her. So, I went back to the front and found somebody with a radio. I knew what she was wearing, described her and in about 10 seconds they let me know she was off digging for bones.

At three, I shouldn’t have trusted that she would just stay on the slide and figured she would find a new friend (which she did) and wander off to a new area.

Once she was found, a cast member stayed with her until I got there and made sure she was found.

B splashing around

{B was in the stroller or carrier most of the time, so she couldn’t wander on us, but really enjoyed the bone yard!}

Props to the Disney World Cast Members

Every single time, they handled everything with great finesse. I know this is because of their extensive training and also because it happens all the time (they all repeatedly said that) and considering our frequency after going to parks several times, I tend to want to believe them.

Thankfully, our girls were found quickly and easily and none of them ever even knew they were lost…or maybe it was us that was lost.

Hopefully, it doesn’t happen to you or your children, but it if does, rest assured the cast will help you quickly find your child and get you reunited as fast as possible and without making you feel like you lost your kid.


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  1. Yep. It can definitely happen to anyone. And you’d think that having more adults around would help but something it makes it worse, “I thought she was with you!” and vice versa.
    At least the workers were very helpful. The workers were NOT helpful when we were at Disney and actually could have lost my child for me by sending him out of the ride line by himself and into the park on his own to search for a bathroom. What? And they never told him how to get back into line or get back to us. It was insanity. So glad I questioned what they were doing and was able to find him wandering around by himself. Insane.

  2. I think it’s brilliant the way you prepared them just in case, and it’s very lucky that you did!
    It sounds like the staff were amazing and were able to keep calm.

  3. I’m so glad your girls were found so quickly. We had this happen to us with our youngest when we went to Disney world a few years ago. Scariest moment of our lives. He went one way and we went another. But he was found quickly.

  4. It can definitely happen to anyone. Surprisingly it has only happened to me once, not at Disney but at Walmart. I’ve been telling Kay her whole life that if she kept running around us she was going to get lost, and one day when the store was really busy, she did. Honestly, both her dad and I were watching her like hawks and kept reminding her to hold onto the cart, but then she was just gone in the blink of an eye. I tell you what, she was so scared once she realized that she couldn’t find us that she has walked right next to the cart ever since! I guess sometimes kids have to learn things the hard way.

  5. pat chance says:

    Being one of the adults on this trip and the one who was “lost at the pool” I was very impressed with how quickly they brought the “lazy river” child back to us. It is definitely a good idea to take a photo at the beginning of the day for clothing identification.

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