It’s hard to truly grasp the scope of the lost and found operation at Walt Disney World resort. Tens of thousands of guests lose thousands of items every day. Working at Magic Kingdom Guest Relations, I became part of the system that tries to reunite guests with their lost items. Seeing the items guests lose every day, I saw some patterns I hope will help you keep all of your belongings.
Sunglasses and hats are easy to lose.
Sunglasses and hats are far and beyond the most often lost items in the park. The lost and found has more Ray Bans than a Sunglasses Hut. While I’m sure your Gucci shades look really cute, you will be very disappointed when you inevitably leave them in the pouch of Space Mountain. And those warnings to stow your hats and sunglasses on the wildest ride in the wilderness are no joke: huge bags filled with hats and sunglasses are lugged every night by Cast Members from the roller coasters who spent the evening clearing the track of lost items. It’s often difficult to reunite guests with their lost sunglasses or hats just because of the sheer volume that must be sorted through to find the right ones, especially at the end of the night.
MagicBand also get lost often.
Not far behind hats and sunglasses in volume at the lost and found are MagicBands. MagicBands rarely just fall off; they’re designed to stay on throughout a full day of theme park fun. So just keep them on your wrist, or store them securely if you don’t want to wear it. If you’re staying at a resort and lose your MagicBand, you can get it replaced with a generic gray MagicBand. If you aren’t a resort guest, you can either buy a new MagicBand yourself, get a replacement card, or wait and see if your MagicBand shows up at the lost and found.
Parking strollers correctly is important.
Scientific studies estimate that there are a bajillion strollers in a Walt Disney World park at any given time.* If everyone left their strollers wherever they pleased, there would be nowhere to walk. Cast Members are quick to move abandoned strollers into stroller parking, and stroller parking often must be rearranged to accommodate more strollers. So as much as you would love to leave your precious belongings in a stroller that will not be touched, a stroller is not a good place to store your items. You belongings are liable to fall out or be picked up—accidentally or maliciously—by another guest. This is especially true for strollers rented at the park, which all look identical and are often grabbed by the wrong family.
*This is not actual science. Bajillion is not a number recognized by the mathematical community.
No item is too small.
Pretty much anything brought to the lost and found by a Cast Member or guest is going to be kept. Pins without backs, children’s plastic jewelry, and even loose cash are commonly returned to lost and found. So don’t assume your tiny earring is lost forever. Even if your item seems too small to be picked up, it can’t hurt to check—you may be surprised to find that someone returned it.
Unattended items do not stay unattended for long.
Your backpack cannot save your seat for the parade while you run to Casey’s for a hot dog. You will lose both your spot and your bag. Security has to investigate any “abandoned” bags, so it will be a while before your bag even makes it back to lost and found.
It’s never too late.
Most lost and found items are brought in at the end of the night, when all of the Cast Members are doing a final sweep of their areas. Just because your item wasn’t brought to the lost and found before you left the park doesn’t mean it won’t be returned. Keep calling the Theme Park Lost and Found. On my last post about lost and found at Walt Disney World, many commenters told stories about their found items being mailed to them weeks after their vacation.
Disney guests are good people.
Guests are, understandably, panicked to have lost a valuable item, often because they are worried that it has been stolen. But I have good news: No matter how valuable the item you lost, you and your item will probably be reunited. Eagle-eyed Cast Members are on the lookout for lost items. But even more often, Walt Disney World guests are willing to help other guests by handing off lost items to Cast Members. Try not to lose your items, but if you do, have faith in your fellow Disney fans.
Disclaimer: While I am a Cast Member, this article is based on my own experience and does not necessarily reflect the policies of the Walt Disney Company.
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