Although Disney World is one of the safest places you can be, there is always a chance for the unexpected and a parents worst nightmare of losing a child to happen. I hesitate to write this article on what is suppose to be an uplifting and exciting blog site dedicated to making the best Disney experience possible, but I also firmly believe you should always be prepared in case of an emergency. That being said, let’s get the scariest thing out of the way first, when you get separated from your child. Although my wife and I are very protective of our children, ok maybe overly protective, I am not a fan of a leash for kids, our kids are not animals after all. Before we go, we tell our kids what our expectations of them are, i.e. no running, hold each other’s hands or the stroller. Talk to your children about what to do if they become separated and who to go to. Before leaving for the parks in the morning take a picture of each child from head to toe (in an emergency you won’t have to worry about not remembering what they are wearing that day). It will also help the Castmembers, or in a worst case scenario, law enforcement to know what your child looks like. If you have a young child that doesn’t know their first and last name or a cell phone number, write the information with your name on the bottom of their shirt on the inside of it. You can also get bracelets that have important information written on the inside of it or there are also temporary tattoos. To get an idea for these items visit http://www.amazon.com and search kids safety bracelet, there will be a variety of items to choose from. I would recommend the single use water proof bracelets that need to be cut off to be removed or the temporary tattoos which cannot be easily removed with a simple wash. I would also place the tattoo under the Magic Band or on the ankle to avoid attracting a lot of unwanted attention. Do not put your child’s name on it, instead put your cell phone number and possibly your name. The reason for not putting your child’s name on the bracelet or tattoo is so a stranger cannot call out their name as if they know your child. If you put your name on it, your child would most likely ignore someone saying it since they know you as mom or dad. Disney employees are well trained in case of a child separation and can easily pick out a lost child. When this happens, flocks of Castmembers come out of the wood work to help the child. Through radio and other forms of communications, all Castmembers are alerted to the situation. When a child is reported missing, the child’s name and parents information is put into a database so when the child is found by a Castmember, the family can be reunited. This also works in reverse to. If the child is found before the parents report the separation, Castmembers will collect all information they can and enter it into the database.
I am hoping that with Magic Bands coming out, there will be an element of child security built into it. The technology is there to use the bands as a child ID, or the ability to flag a child’s location when they walk past an attraction or location of a Magic Band reader. However, there has been no word on this type of use for them.
Now that the hard topic is over, here are a few more things to help in case of an emergency. Always have your I.D. on you and your health insurance card, a medical alert bracelet also helps in a medical emergency. You never know when you need these items in a Disney park. A friend of mine once tripped over one of the curbs and had to go to a local hospital and get stitches. The aforementioned bracelets can also have medical information on them with allergy alerts for children.
Don’t carry a lot of money on you. You most likely will not be robbed while in Disney World, but losing or dropping a large sum of money is never a good thing. If you like to use cash instead of putting purchases on a credit card, you can always charge items to your room and before the week is over (the night before at the latest) pay the bill with the money you would have carried around with you in the parks. My wife and I carry a small amount of money on us for snacks or drinks that we can’t charge to our room. We also carry a credit card in case of an emergency or our Magic Band (key to the world card) doesn’t work for some reason.
Lastly, use your phone’s camera or a digital camera take a picture of the serial numbers on any important items, like park tickets, reservation numbers or travelers checks. Also take a picture of the number on your photo pass card, you can always type the number into your computer to retrieve the photos later on.
I would love to hear any safety tips you have. Please leave a comment below or over on Twitter @disneyhelp. Remember that all of these things are suggestions not guarantees. Find what works for you.