Bringing a “Lovey” to Walt Disney World: Pros and Cons

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Many young children are strongly attached to a transitional object, commonly known as a lovey. A lovey may be a blanket, doll, stuffed animal, or something else entirely (I know one child who would not go anywhere without a beloved rock), that provides comfort and helps them cope with changes such as daytime to nighttime or home to daycare.

That stuff lemur is in hundreds of our Disney World vacation photos.

A trip to a vacation destination like Walt Disney World seems like a logical place to bring a lovey. It’s an unfamiliar environment rife with new stimuli, of course you’d want your child to have his comfort item. But there are cons as well as pros to taking your child’s lovey along for the ride.

PROS

  • The child has something familiar to ease them into sleep, whether in a hotel room or while napping in a stroller.
  • The child has something familiar to comfort them during other challenge situations such as meeting costumed characters (BIG mice), hearing the LOUD bangs of fireworks, or being in the spooky cave on the Jungle Cruise attraction.
  • You will inevitably take lots of photos on your WDW vacation. If the lovey is in the pictures, you will have great documentation of your child with his favorite toy. That may be a memory you want to hold onto.

CONS

  • The potential for losing the lovey is high. Every change of venue, from airport to hotel to bus to stroller to theme park ride to restaurants, and so on, is an opportunity for something like a lovey to go astray. And unlike at home, when backtracking a well-known route might result in a happy reunion, the odds of recovery are less likely when you’re bopping around a massive theme park.
  • YOU may be so worried about losing the lovey that you have difficulty engaging with things in the park. And when I say YOU, I mean my husband who, during one trip, may have checked more on the location of our child’s lovey than he did on our child herself.
  • The potential for damage to the lovey is high. Can the lovey survive an inadvertent dunk in the hotel pool or a dousing with spilled chocolate ice cream? (I mean this both from a structural integrity standpoint and from the child’s emotional well-being standpoint.)
  • The child may be too distracted by the lovey to engage with things in the parks. Some children cling so tightly to their lovely that they are not free to explore new environments.
  • EVERY photo of your kid will have that darn lovey in it. The rattier and nastier the object becomes, the more the child will insist that it be in the photos.
Pinkie made her way home after staying at WDW longer than we did, but not without some sleepless nights.

If you decide, for whatever reason, not to bring the lovey on your trip, you should practice at home things like going new environments or going to sleep without it.

If you do decide to bring the lovey on your vacation, there are several things you can do to help the trip run smoothly.

First, find a way to label the lovely with your cell number or email address. Depending on what the lovey is, this might mean sewing or pinning a small fabric label onto it or attaching something like a luggage tag. If the lovey does get lost, an “ID bracelet” will go a long way toward helping you get it back. Whatever strategy you choose, make sure that you’re not introducing a choking hazard.

Second, consider whether you can limit the lovey’s exposure to the outside world by leaving it in the hotel room during the day. A word of caution though, my family’s largest lovey-related vacation disaster happened when we went the cautious route and left Pinkie, our daughter’s tiny pink bunny, “safely” on a bed in our hotel room. While changing the sheets, a mousekeeper accidentally scooped up Pinkie with the linens and sent her our with the wash. After nine days and dozens of phone calls, she was finally located in a dryer lint trap at Disney Central laundry, missing an ear and slightly matted, but otherwise fine. Our tale has a happy ending, Disney mailed Pinkie back to us with a sweet note from Cinderella about the lovey’s adventures, along with a pink tiara and sunglasses, but those nine days without her were an emotional roller coaster along the lines of Expedition Everest. Moral of the story: if you plan to leave a lovey in your hotel room, place it in a drawer or even the hotel safe, not tucked into a bed.

Have you brought your child’s lovey with you on vacation? Did you label it in any way? Have you ever lost a lovey on vacation? Give us your tips.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

6 thoughts on “Bringing a “Lovey” to Walt Disney World: Pros and Cons

  • July 18, 2021 at 6:01 pm
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    We have a leash we used for littles that tied the stuffy to the stroller, bag, or us as needed. It helped some!

    Reply
  • July 19, 2021 at 8:22 am
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    We got an id tag made at the local per shop that said “I mean a lot to someone. If found please call -“ with my cell number. Fortunately we never lost it but it was a bit of insurance.

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  • July 31, 2021 at 11:22 am
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    Our daughter’s little pink blanket bunny was lost on our trip just prior to the pandemic. It had her name embroidered on it but that was all. Filled out lost& found reports, visited guest services multiple times to no avail. It was devastating- my daughter had anxiety about her being lost & alone in the parks. Well we made up stories about which stuffy characters she was playing with each day, what rides she might be enjoying. I secretly ended up buying a replacement, having her name stitched on, washing it, dusting with it to try & get that “loved” look lol, washing & washing it over & over haha Then on our 1st trip back, Fifteen ‍♀️ 15! Months later, we snuck this bunny into guest services at MK, & a very kind & wonderful cast member magically presented this bunny to my daughter, in the arms of a plush Mickey Mouse, saying she had been well taken care of the whole time. Lots of tears (mine! Ha!) & hugging followed. And now. We can finally have a happily ever after!

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    • July 31, 2021 at 11:40 am
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      @Rebekah This is an EPIC story. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
      • August 1, 2021 at 2:48 pm
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        Aww thank you!!

  • July 31, 2021 at 6:28 pm
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    My daughter has taken a blanket and her stuffed cow on every WDW trip (and other vacations) since she was an infant. On MooMoo’s first trip I created a label out of silky material and stitched it on his butt. It said “my name is MooMoo and I belong to Sydney. If I get lost please call (cell number) immediately.” He’s only ever been allowed to go into the parks one day and it’s usually our last day since our luggage gets packed and he’s definitely a carry on item. I’ve redone the label a couple times over the years but he is still wearing his “tattoo” and is almost an adult getting ready to go to college.

    Reply

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