Disney World is the happiest place on earth for many families. Unlike any other, it’s a vacation spot filled with magical rides, exciting attractions, and plenty of family-friendly fun.
But Disney World also has a dark side. The theme park is one of the top ten places children go missing in the U.S. every year. Children go missing at Disney World more often than they go missing at Disney Land, Disney California Adventure, or anywhere else in Orlando.
If you’ve ever worried about leaving your child unattended for a few minutes while you ride a ride, spend time in a specific park, or take in a show, you aren’t alone. There are plenty of parents who feel the same way. The good news is that most kids who go missing at Disney World are safe and well in just a few hours.
How many kids go missing at Disney World?
The simple answer is that no one knows for sure. This is because Disney doesn’t publish official statistics on this topic.
Researchers at the University of Central Florida have studied this issue extensively and have estimated that more than 100 kids go missing at Disney World every year.
Still, you’ll be happy to hear that most of these missing kids are reunited with their parents or guardians within the same time they’re reported missing.
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Why are kids going missing at Disney World?
While it’s difficult to say why so many more kids go missing at Disney World than at other similar theme parks (perhaps it comes down to theme park size), most missing kids go missing because they wander off.
There are just so many fascinating things for kids at Disney World. It can be challenging to keep a child’s curiosity in check, and it will sometimes get the better of them. This is why it’s essential to keep an eye on your little ones, even as they get older.
The other major factor is crowd size. To a small child, falling behind a few steps could mean wading through dozens of others in a crowd, and because they’re unable to see above the crowds, they’re unlikely to find you quickly.
How to keep your child safe at Disney World
Don’t worry! Disney World understands kids go missing at their theme park, and their employees (aka “cast members”) are trained to look out for missing kids.
There are a few things that you can do to help keep your child safe at Disney World.
Before heading to the park, talk to your kids about staying together. Instruct them to find the nearest cast member if they get separated from the group. Depending on their age, the cast member will escort them to the nearest baby care center or guest relations.
Always keep an eye on your kids while walking around Disney World, and if possible, hold hands when wading through particularly dense groups of people.
Bring your child’s favorite toy or book with them to Disney World. This will help keep them occupied and prevent your child from getting too lonely.
Monitor your child’s behavior at Disneyland Park and Disney World. If something seems off to you, or if you notice that your child is talking to or interacting with strangers, alert park staff or security.
Final Words: Is Disney World safe for kids?
Disney World is a fun place to visit, and it has little danger of physically harming a child.
That being said, anytime you’re in a public place with children, it’s essential to have a safety plan.
Keep an eye on your children, plan what to do if one of them goes missing, and try to steer clear of huge crowds.