With the large crowds at Walt Disney World and the busy foot traffic of the parks, nothing is more alarming than getting separated from your group. This was the situation for one lost teen who became separated from her family with a dead phone in EPCOT’s World Showcase.
Every day, the Walt Disney World Resort is filled with guests visiting from all over the world, excited to experience the magic of the Disney parks. Walt Disney World sees an average of 160,000 guests visiting its theme parks daily. Guests travel to Orlando to make unforgettable memories with their families.
In EPCOT, an average of over 35,000 visitors are enjoying the park at any given moment. For younger travelers, the crowds of the Disney parks can become overwhelming and lead to frightening situations if they become separated from their families. However, a language barrier can make separation even more overwhelming if traveling internationally to visit Walt Disney World.
One teen guest shared her experience of finding herself separated from her family in EPCOT’s World Showcase, without a way to contact them and with the sun setting quickly. This guest shared on social media, “I was a teen and was the only English-speaking person in my family. All my family went to Frozen’s Meet and Greet while I went to do all of the Kidcot Fun Stops. The sun was almost setting, my battery was dying, and I just ended up doing Mexico Pavilion, so we agreed to meet there.”
However, after waiting 15 minutes by herself, her phone was dead, and she could not contact her family. A Cast Member stepped in to see if she could help. The Cast Member immediately assessed the situation and started following the protocol for a lost child. The guest shared, “Seeing how seriously she took the situation made me stay calmer.”
After leading the lost teen to a park phone to call her parents, she quickly realized the phone could not make an international call. What this Cast Member did next surprised the teen but ultimately greatly helped the situation.
“[The Cast Member] PULLED HER PHONE OUT OF HER POCKET, started downloading Whatsapp so SHE could call my parents from her own cellphone. I know this may sound weird, but imagine how amazing this was to a teen who was not scared, just worried, because my parents don’t speak English and THEY had gotten lost.”
The EPCOT Cast Member was able to contact the parents and help direct them to the Mexico Pavilion. The family reunited before the nighttime fireworks show crowds took over. This Cast Member’s urgency and willingness to find a creative solution to the problem helped calm the lost teen and reach her worried parents.
Disney Cast Members receive thorough training for emergencies and de-escalation. This Disney World guest was grateful to the Cast Member who took a nontraditional approach to help herself and her parents. The teen shared, “Please, if you are that CM and you are reading this, I’m sorry because I’m sure you must have broken 700 Cast Members’ rules in 8 minutes by pulling your phone…But also, I am so grateful!”