Yes, you can lose a child at the park--and everything turn out ok


Dec 23, 2017
Thankfully, I have never lost DD, but I did take a photo of her every day of our trip, just in case. She just thought I was capturing her cute outfits. Even though it was just the two of us on our trips, we were constantly divided by people pushing through the crowds. Even when it's not a crowded area, we have people push right in between the two of us. Even though she is 13 now, we will occasionally hold hands in the parks, just so we don't get separated.


Earning My Ears
Mar 22, 2011
A couple of trips ago I was walking with my son down Hollywood Boulevard and we saw a little guy, probably 5 or so standing in the street crying. I asked him if he was lost, and we stood there with him for a few minutes. We didn't see anyone looking for him. We took him to the nearest food place and told a cast member we had a boy with "lost parents". They took it from there. I told my son (again) to always look for a person with a name tag and ask for help. I think he really "got it" after seeing that poor kid.


Yes, that is a hidden Mickey on my dog's rump.
Feb 5, 2020
Glad to hear it all turned out. The "3-minute hour" comment really brought back some memories of the old "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" play area. Fortunately, there was only one entrance/exit, however the play area itself had terrible line-of-sight from a parental point of view.

Our first time there, we only had one kiddo, and he was about 3. He ran into a dark tunnel, and my wife lost him while trying to follow. I was stationed outside, but there were several exits to said tunnel system, most of which were out of sight. My wife popped out of one of the tunnels, asking if I had seen MiniMarkLT1. When I said no, the stress went to overload for both of us. I told her I would go by the exit of the play area. She was frantically looking, and a cast member asked if I needed help. I explained the situation, and approximately 53 minutes of lost-kid-time (2 minutes in actual time) later, we were reunited.

Our kids loved the HISTK play area, and we got it down pat- figured out the places my wife and I could stand to get the best view. But there wasn't a single time we went there, where there wasn't at least 1 lost-kid incident (for another family). It would start with a crying parent or kid, then you'd see the CMs start helping, and within a few minutes, all would be fine.
  • MIndy S

    Jul 1, 2016
    I lost my 4yo daughter at the DinoLand area in AK while my husband went off to ride Expedition Everest on a Rider Swap. I couldn't even tell you what happened, she was right beside me and then she wasn't. I think she walked around the little car that we were standing beside and I just lost sight of her. It was also very crowded in that particular area of the park. I was in total panic, walking around the area yelling for her, until I found her right near where I last saw her. I will never forget that feeling.

    My husband walked up right at the end of the ordeal and could read the panic on my face. I don't think he will ever let me forget the moment I lost our daughter at WDW.

    This stuff happens, and it is terrifying. But all of the suggestions on this thread are great! (ex. talk to the kids about finding a cast member, take a picture the morning of, have them carry your info, etc)


    DIS Veteran
    Mar 29, 2017
    We lost our 6 year old DD. We were coming out of a meet and greet with tinkerbell. It was very late and a long day, I told my mom, sisters, and brother that I was going to run into the center of the square and look at the castle before we headed out. I thought DD was with them, apparently they walked off thinking she was with me. Well I stood there a good 5 min enjoying the castle changing color secure in the knowledge (false as it was) that my kids were with my family. I then leave, waking back towards them, all of a sudden I hear them call out where is Kid! I’m like what do you mean where is she, you have her. My brother took off at a dead run looking for her, my sister took off in another direction I started looking in my general area. My mom stayed with my youngest sister and my son. As soon as we bolted a CM saw that, and then called out to my mom asking who we were looking for. She gave them DD’s name and there she was. Poor DD was crying, and the worst is that is was like a min for us because of how fast the CM responded to us moving to find her (they must have been looking for frantic adults) but it was like 5 min for poor DD. To this day she will not let me got lost in crowds, and my parents got her a device that works off of cell so she can communicate with us, like a walkie talkie, and more importantly we have GPS tracking on her. It may seem like overkill but she likes to play with the other neighborhood kids and it’s an added piece of mind when they are at someone else’s house or yard. And it will be coming on our next Disney trip.


    Aussie Wendy
    Jan 7, 2014
    we lost our 19 month old in Pete's Sideshop Shop - it was horrendous. It took about 10 mins to locate her we had a wonderful CM keeping us calm - but yep, you find them and all is well in the world.


    Earning My Ears
    Aug 10, 2009
    We just did the parks and left on March 7th (then did a Disney cruise from 7th to the 14th so we just got back and are getting back to the crazy real world). I have a 9 and 5 year old and in the heavy crowds they did not leave my hand. Its way to easy for such small people to get shuffled away from us, but if I have their hand I can pull them through crowds or part the crowds to let us through without worrying. If I can't do side by side i put one in from of me with my hand on their arm from behind to do single file. I know its just Disney and probably the safest place in the world but the crowds scare us.
  • anotherfakename

    Earning My Ears
    Jul 19, 2010
    I lost my son at The Contemporary when he was 2. He had been getting up all week at 4:30am so we would go to the lobby to watch the movies there. Well, I was trying to get him to head back to the room to wake the others at 6:30ish. He was farting around and I did the old "Fine, then Mommy's going to leave without you." and I turned away from him and took maybe 2 or 3 steps. I turned around and he was gone, completely gone. No sign of him. I truly thought we would find him dead. My blood ran cold. I found a custodian who alerted the main desk. They were surprisingly lackadaisical.

    I eventually found him in the lobby. In the 2 seconds I turned away from him, evidently the elevator door opened and he had run on and pushed Floor 2, the only floor he was tall enough to reach. A housekeeper found him. His name band with my phone number on it had been on his ankle, since he messed with them and had been wearing shorts the previous day, but it had fallen down into his socks. No one even noticed it. My husband and all the other kids slept through the whole thing.


    DIS Veteran
    Jun 26, 2003
    I too lost my daughter at Disney. We were walking into Indiana Jones with tons of others. DD6 at the time got separated. Panic sets in. We had bought the kids silver bracelets with our phone #on back of them and had advised them if they ever got lost to show a cast member (or worker - we used these all the time not only at Disney). We found her shortly after and she was calmly showing her bracelet to a cast member. We were all panicking and she was fine...


    Earning My Ears
    Apr 5, 2020
    My mom once lost my brother in the parks. A CM brought him to her and she said "how did you know he belonged to me?" The answer - "You're standing on a bench screaming his name hysterically." So...I guess if all else fails try that.


    Feb 15, 2009
    Hi, just thought I’d share this small story with you to point out how good the Disney cast members are.
    We were in Hollywood studios and my younger daughter and I had stopped in a shop near the entrance whilst my husband and elder daughter were going on another ride before catching the bus “home” to our hotel.
    I was in a queue waiting to pay for something and my daughter decided she’d had enough of standing around so asked if she could go through an arch to sit on a low windowsill. As I could see this area from my spot I said of course she could. Within 2 minutes of her sitting there alone a CM had gone over and asked her if she knew where her parents were (I saw her point in my direction but didn’t know what conversation they were having at this point) and they sat with her talking about all things Disney till I had paid and gone over to her. As I arrived they stood up and said what a lovely daughter I had then disappeared almost as quick as they had appeared.
    This made me feel more relaxed and less panicked when I invariably lost site of her for seconds during other times of the holiday, she liked to hide behind me or her dad or sister and then jump out when we couldn’t see her.

    I am very thankful to all CMs
  • butterscotchcollins

    Drop Chicken
    Jul 12, 2019
    When I was about 15 we were at Blizzard Beach and my parents let me and my older sister (18) go with a friend to ride slides by ourselves. I guess they assumed since it's not a big park they'd run into us from time to time or be able to find us to check on us. Cut to an hour later, we're emerging from the lazy river and there are our parents with 2 security guards, my mother crying hysterically. She asked where we'd been and we gave her the run down of all the slides and pools - turns out they kept just missing us and were looking for us for well over half an hour, and we had no idea! Needless to say she was relieved and didn't let us go off on our own again :)

    Also, there are security measures in place that even regular park CMs don't know about - Disney is one of the safest places you can be.


    DIS Veteran
    Nov 7, 2010
    Great advice to tell her to look for a CM! That's what I did when my DD was younger too.

    Now that she's a bit older and has a tiny bit more freedom, our plan (anywhere) is always to go back to the last place we were together, which is normally very close by. It works well at Disney but also in stores, etc.


    DIS Veteran
    Jan 12, 2017
    I myself was lost in DHS (then MGM) when I was a kid. There was a parade going on (they had those in MGM back then) and I stopped to watch it and the rest of my family headed to the exits.We always traveled in big groups (still do) and everyone assumed I was with someone else, until they got back to the resort (treehouse at what was then the Disney Institute) and noticed I wasn’t there. My dad headed right back to the park while my mom called security at the park who then started looking for me. I was like 10 or 11 and had been to Disney enough times to know the bus system, so when I realized my fam was gone I got on a bus to our resort. When I showed up at the treehouse my mother was freaking out, and I was so angry that they left me. Every time we stay in a treehouse or go to DHS my parents bring this up. I never went to a CM which would’ve saved a lot of time for security and my dad looking for me so I now tell my kids that that’s the first thing they should do.


    DIS Veteran
    Oct 31, 2018
    Gavin DeBecker, the national expert on safety and security, has the following advice about what to tell children in case they ever get lost:
    In his fantastic book “Protecting the Gift,” De Becker explains that a scared, immobile, vulnerable child is actually an ideal potential victim to a predator. Instead of teaching “Stranger Danger,” he says, parents need to teach children how to pick the safest stranger, and feel confident in approaching that person and asking for help.
    How can a child pick the safest stranger in any given situation? It’s simple—the child should pick a woman. De Becker explains why, saying that this rule works “because it’s practical (there will almost always be a woman around) and simple (easy to teach, easy to learn, easy to do).” Furthermore, he says, “a woman approached by a lost child asking for help is likely to stop whatever she is doing, commit to that child, and not rest until the child is safe.” It may not be politically correct, but it is statistically correct and the safe thing to do.
    If you are ready to put this concept in to action, and help equip your child, even just a little bit, for a situation that we all hope will never occur, here are two practical steps you can take.
    1. Teach your child that if he or she is ever alone or lost, go to a woman.
    2. Practice with your child looking at strangers in a public place. Talk about which one would be the best person to ask for help from if your child was lost. Discuss why.
    A parent’s physical proximity and active supervision will generally always be the best protection against predators, but these two steps can give your child accurate and helpful guidance and the confidence to take appropriate action if you are ever separated.


    DIS Veteran
    Aug 7, 2014
    My girls thought they were lost at the gift shop in Norway in Epcot! I walked to the side of the store and they went to the other side, then when they could not find me, they went to a CM who called me.
    I was proud of them for doing that but also thought they were silly because we were in the same store.

    I did have a mom moment getting on a bus and freaking out because I did not know where my 2 year old was...he was on my back in his carrier.

    And yes, I always tell my kids if they are lost to find a MOM with KIDS rather than just a woman. The only place that may not work is if we are hiking.


    Jul 24, 2018
    Gavin DeBecker, the national expert on safety and security, has the following advice about what to tell children in case they ever get lost:
    Parents must be teaching their kids that because of how many lost kids approach me asking for help finding their family.

    Something a security CM told me once was that if you find a lost kid at WDW, the best thing to do is stay with the kid and then send someone in your group off to find and retrieve CM or get another reliable guest to find a CM. You don't want to remove the kid from that spot because their parent is probably looking for them in that area and a CM can be aways off. Seems logical but I guess a lot of guests take the kid with them when finding a CM.

    Also, there are a lot of off-duty CP CMs out and about enjoying the parks. One young lost boy was having difficulty calming down and there were two off-duty CMs who came over immediately and probably six more stopped to ask if we needed help within just a few minutes.


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