It’s the Happiest Place on Earth! Disneyland and Disney World are the dream trips for kids all around the world, who want to experience the magic. Unfortunately, everything that makes Disney magical also can work to distract your children.
You may be walking through the park, enjoying the views, and trying to read the map when your child sees a character they’ve been wanting to meet or an item in a store they’d like to look at. Maybe they wander over, not realizing they’ve separated themselves from your group.
With the crowds, noise, and many places to see, it can be hard to spot a child who has wandered even just a few feet away.
Reconnecting lost children with their parents is something that Disney parks are all very familiar with. It happens all the time! There are a few things, however, that can make it easier for you to find a child that’s wandered away and some suggestions that can help keep that from happening at all.
Below is our list of tried and true techniques for keeping your kids safe at the Disney parks. This list is valid for Disney World and Disneyland unless noted otherwise.
During COVID-19 vacations and other times where colds and flus are rampant, it’s not a bad idea to help boost your kids immune systems before your vacation.
Ideas for this include drinking orange juice or otherwise getting them some vitamin C before you fly and arrive at the resorts.
Since COVID-19, wearing a mask is a new norm so having your kids wear one isn’t such a bad idea if both you and them are up for it. Disney actually makes their own park masks that you can purchase online.
Of course bringing your own hand sanitizer is a great idea. Using if after going on attractions and before you eat is an easy way to fight germs.
Take pictures each morning
Before you leave the parks each morning, snap a quick picture on your phone of your children. This way, you’ll know exactly what they were wearing and Disney can put out an accurate description of the child if they wander off, allowing them to be spotted more easily.
If you do end up looking for a child who has wandered away, the last thing you’ll want to be doing is trying to remember if they were wearing their Cinderella t-shirt or the Ariel one.
The cast members of Disneyland and Disney World are regularly trained in helping children who need it. When you arrive at the parks, take a moment to show your kids the name tags that the cast members wear. Tell them that these people are safe people to go to and ask for help if they get separated from you.
Remind them every day so they don’t forget. Don’t be afraid to ask a cast member to show your kids their name tag! If you spot one who doesn’t look too busy, they’ll be happy to let your kids take a close look at their nametag.
Magic Bands: Disney World Only
A relatively new bonus to visiting Disney is the new Magic Bands. These can be used to track the location of your child from within the park. Tell your children to not take off their Magic Bands, even if an adult asks them to.
Other ID Forms
These are good options for visitors to Disneyland since the Magic Bands aren’t available there. RoadID bracelets will show the child’s name, city, your name, and your phone number. The company also sells velcro tabs that can be attached to the child’s shoe.
There are also temporary tattoos you can buy with your contact info. If you’re looking to repurpose something you likely already own- consider using luggage tags! Just make sure the information is up to date and attach it to your child’s belt loop.
If you have kids who need two different restrooms or kids that are just a little too old to feel comfortable going into the opposite gender’s restroom, make use of the family restrooms so you can all go together and don’t have to worry about your child waiting outside the restroom alone.
This is especially good for larger groups but works just as well with groups of four. If there are four of you, assign two groups of two. Everyone has their partner that they need to stay close to and look out for.
Matching shirts offer two benefits. One, they make it easy to spot each other in the crowd. They also help cast members identify who the kids belong to in a group. Two, you are left with a souvenir of your trip together and a way to remember the time you all visited Disney.
There are a few items that help keep you and your children, particularly the younger ones, connected so that wandering off doesn’t happen at all. A good stroller or a leash help make sure that they stay by your side as you go throughout the parks together.
As an added benefit, strollers also give the little ones a way to rest or even nap throughout the day.
Walk Beside, Not Behind
Try and keep your children next to you as you walk through the parks instead of behind you. If they’re following you and stop to look at something, you won’t know right away because, contrary to popular belief, parents actually don’t have eyes in the backs of their heads.
It can be hard to keep yourself walking at the pace of your child, but walking more slowly can help you take in all the sights and sounds of Disney, and will help ensure that you notice as soon as your child stops to look at something, or starts to drift away.
Not Just the Younger Kids
It’s not just the younger kids who can get lost. Disney parks are large, sprawling places and can be confusing even to the oldest of us. Have a talk with all your kids about what to do if they get lost, even the teenagers.
With older ones, you can choose a rendezvous point and make a specific plan for meeting up if you get separated.
For more information about traveling with kids, take a look at our in-depth guide found here.
Booking Kids Tickets
Tickets to Disney don’t have to break the bank! Park Savers works with you to determine the best prices and group deals available and to save you a bundle on your tickets. We’re here to make your trip to Disney as affordable and fun as possible! Contact us today!
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.