The Most Important Thing You Can Teach Your Kids Before Your Vacation

Last week my daughter and I saw a scene that is all too common at Walt Disney World. The scenario was slightly different this time, but it was still something that should not have happened. A boy who was probably about ten years old was searching frantically for his younger sister. It appeared that the two of them had been allowed to leave the family for a few minutes, and when he turned his back, she was gone. The scare lasted only for a minute or so. The little sister had made her way back to the family and was waiting with them for her brother. She was wondering why he was upset with her. This was the first time that we have seen a brother searching alone for a lost sister, usually it is the parents who are frantically screaming a young child’s name.


While scenes like this are going to happen each day at Walt Disney World, there is one simple thing that you need to teach your children before you leave for Florida. Show them several pictures of cast members’ name tags and tell them to find someone wearing one immediately if they cannot find someone else that they know. When a lost child approaches a cast member, that will take priority over pretty much anything else. Usually Security will be called, and the child can safely wait with someone as other cast members try to locate the family. The opposite is also true. If you’re missing a child, one member of your party needs to tell the nearest cast member immediately. The Disney staff will do whatever it takes to assist you in looking for your child.

Once you arrive at the parks have your kids point out the cast members to you. Remind them that they can find cast members at the rides, in the stores, in the restaurants, and plenty of other places as well. Talk to some friendlier cast members so that your children will feel comfortable around them. You do not want them to hesitate to ask for help if they need it.


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Don’t assume that you and your children can’t get separated. Children are curious and Walt Disney World is filled with things that are meant to pique that curiosity. Hopefully your kids will stay by your side and you won’t have any anxious moments when you are unexpectedly apart. But you need to be prepared, just in case. I’ve seen children climb out of strollers without the parents noticing, kids who were told to ā€œwait right thereā€ wander off as soon as the parents looked away, and I’ve even heard of children wiggling out of the harness that the parents think will keep them close. Teaching your children to recognize the cast members’ name tags and explaining to find someone wearing one if they can’t find you could be the most important thing that you do to as you prepare for the vacation of a lifetime.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.