It has taken me months to start this post because of sheer embarrassment, but if my story can provide insight to someone else…then it is worth sharing. Last summer we went to Disney World for a family vacation. My sister had planned the trip from wake-ups to bedtimes and we had the time of our lives. That would be minus the 15 minutes of terror when I realized I had lost my two kids in the park.
My husband had taken the kids on the train-ride around Magic Kingdom and I was shopping on Main Street. We were planning to meet at the train stop at the front of the park and continue our day. When the three of them got to the train stop my husband realized he had left our empty stroller at one of the other train stops and was staying on the train to go back to get it. The kids came off the train and started walking down the ramp that they thought was going to bring them to me. As I watched them exit the train I realized that the train exit ramp and the platform I was standing on did not meet in the same location. Before I could yell to them they were gone. I ran down a set of stairs hoping it would end where the kids came off the ramp, but the ramp was nowhere in sight and neither were Nicholas and Abby. I ran around like a maniac trying to find them, but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I found a young “cast member” (that is what they call the people who work in Disney) and told him I lost my kids. He didn’t really seem to jump with any urgency and I immediately knew I needed to find someone else to help me. The next cast member that I found was a woman who immediately sprung into action. She got on a radio and asked me what the kids looked like. She assured me that the kids would be found and that they would not get out of the park. Like a scene out of a movie I watched all of the cast members leap into action…as I kept saying “My son is 5 and my daughter is 3, they are blonde as blonde can be, she is wearing a red and white polka dot dress and he is wearing and black and red Mickey Mouse shirt.” My heart raced as I cried picturing how scared my babies must have been. The woman kept me calm by telling me that she lost her own son in the park a little over a week ago and that an undercover cast member had found him. I wish I had gotten her name…she knew how it felt to be a mom who was missing her greatest blessing and hugged me as we watched the scene unfold and wait for what seemed like an eternity. After about 15 minutes I heard a voice say, “We’ve got them.” I looked at the top of the train platform and ran to the steps to see my scared little ones walking toward me. They were holding hands and Nicholas (my mamma’s boy) was crying. I hugged them and never wanted to let go.
I am beyond grateful to the cast members who went above and beyond to find my kids and keep me calm. I wish I could have thanked them all, but the moment was so overwhelming that by the time I got it together everything had gone back to normal in The Magic Kingdom and they were all scattered about doing their jobs.
When I look back on this I really can’t BlAmE this on anyone. There was no way any of us could have known that the ramp and stairs didn’t meet up. It wasn’t like my kids had wondered off and weren’t paying attention…they thought they were walking and meeting me after getting off the train. What I did learn is that there are things I could have done PriOr to this incident that could have made finding them a little easier.
Before our trip we had purchased tattoos for the kids arms that said, “If lost call XXX-XXX-XXXX.” Did I have the tattoos on the kids arms that day? NO! What good were they doing in our hotel room?!!! My husband and I also realized we had never had a discussion with the kids telling them what to do if they got lost. We should have pointed out what cast members look like and told them to find one if they were lost. Someone else gave me a great suggestion to take a picture of my kids each morning on my phone so that if they are lost you can see exactly what they are wearing in case you forget and you can show the picture to anyone who is helping to find them. I also found a great idea on Pinterest where you make a bracelet with your phone number on it so that if they are lost someone can call you. Bottom line…if you ever get into the situation that I was in act fast and find someone who you feel can help you.
I hope you never find yourself in this predicament, but just in case here are some ideas to help others get your kids back to you safely.
Take a Picture of Your
Kids Each Morning
Cell Phone Bracelet
If Lost Tattoo
~Robyn (Jersey Girl)