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You don’t want
any Lost Boys!
post was actually Raymond’s idea. We’ve been
watching ABC’c Once Upon a Time (love it!) and the main characters
are currently trying to escape from Neverland where Peter Pan and
the Lost Boys are a little bit Lord of the Flies-ish. For some
reason, it made Raymond think about one extremely memorable visit
to Disney World when we witnessed first hand what NOT
to do when your child gets lost.
Each member of The Fam can, to this day,
recall the specifics of our encounter with the parents of a missing
little girl named Sarah – the entire incident was so
disturbing it is burned forever into our memories. We were just
coming out of Mickey’s Philharmagic – right there near the exit, in
the middle of Fantasyland, Sarah’s mom and dad had let the worst
thing possible happen (no, not the fact that they lost Sarah) -
they panicked. Number one thing NOT to do if your child gets lost.
Do. Not. Panic. Sarah’s dad was frantically running back and forth,
up and down the walkway, calling for Sarah in a very upset tone of
voice. Sarah’s mom was standing in one place screaming Sarah’s name
over and over – Now, when I say screaming, I’m talking a scream
straight out of Friday the 13th – top of her
lungs, abject terror, over and over and over – eyes closed, just
screaming. Within seconds (literally), a Disney Cast Member was
beside Sarah’s mom – Ma’am? It’s OKAY! Here’s Sarah – and, of
course, has the beloved and much-missed Sarah in tow.
There are eyes and EARS
(ha!) everywhere at Disney World – never doubt it.
Cast Members are very well trained in dealing with lost family
members of any age. So here are my tips for keeping up with your
children and what to do if you lose your child in Disney
1. DO NOT
PANIC. Remain calm. Panic makes you irrational and
unproductive. Let your href="http://livingadisneylife.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/IMG_20161.jpg"> class="size-medium wp-image-507 alignright" alt="IMG_2016"
width="300" height="224" /> imagination run away and
you will not make good decisions. Carry your cell phone with you
and take a picture of your child as
you arrive at a park each day – this will help keep panic at bay
and allow you to answer the simplest question with ease (just in
case) – what does your child look like?
your child is not old enough to know
your full name and cell phone number,
label them. Yep, I said slap a label on
‘em. This can be a sticky label on a belt or a shoe
or a sewn-onto-clothing label, a pinned on label, or a
marks-a-lot-message-written-on-their-skin label. Our kids were not
prone to running off as toddlers, so we weren’t worried much about
losing them at that age, but be saw plenty of runners that needed
3. Use those cute little
backpacks with leashes. Years ago, when our kids
were small, there were only actual kid leashes and I just could NOT
go there. When I saw Joseph looking at a child about his age that
had a big strap on his arm attached to a leash, being pulled along,
I said, “See what happens to children who won’t stay close and hold
hands?” – Worked like a charm. (Oh, please, my children turned out
fine.) But now they have these adorable furry animal backpacks that
have a leash attached – looks less cruel and kids seem to actually
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width="300" height="225" />4. For kids a
little older – Make sure they can recognize Cast
Members and know what to say if/when lost. The Cast Members at
Disney are top notch – if you ask them for a practice run, they’ll
be glad to play along. Find a willing Cast Member, tell them what
you’re doing, then have your child go up to them and say whatever
“I’m lost” script you like. Have the Cast Member explain what would
happen in the event of an actual “losing”.
For kids even older than that – have a
meeting place picked out. When our children were about 9 and 13, I
remember we told them at the Magic Kingdom that if we got separated
for any reason, we would meet at the park bench with the Roy and
Minnie statues on it. This is also good when you get to the point
of allowing them a little freedom in the parks on their own. (After
age 14 now according to Disney rules) Make sure they have a way of
contacting you before you turn them loose, then give them a meeting
time and place.
know – if Cast Members cannot find the parents of a
lost child immediately, they escort the child to a certain area
(Baby Care Center) in the park. Alert a cast member immediately if
your child is missing and ask them for directions to where your
child will be taken. If you’re not alone, have someone stay where
the child was last seen while you go check at the Baby Care
Children and parents
become separated at Disney World all the time. If
you’re headed there on vacation, please make like a good Boy Scout
and be prepared.