Being locals to WDW, my husband Matthew and I make regular trips into the parks almost every weekend. Having recently returned from several weeks up north visiting family, we were looking to get back into our routine. Alas, a severe head cold brought home with us delayed that plan. But two weeks after returning, we ventured out to EPCOT for a casual stroll and a few attractions.
The weather was perfect and the day ahead seemed promising. We rode Living with the Land, Soarin, and Journey Into Imagination with Figment before heading out on a journey around World Showcase. Mid-afternoon, we stopped to eat lunch at the American Pavilion in their outdoor seating area.
After finding a suitable table, we got settled by pulling Matthew’s wheelchair up and getting the small personal cooler off the back. I took off my Dreamers Do Travels cinch sack and set it down on the chair next to me, as I usually do. Lunch was delicious and relaxing, but soon enough it was time to pack up and head towards the front of the park for our Spaceship Earth Fastpass.
Things Don’t Go as Planned
Given that we always have three bags with us Matthew’s small black bag for essentials, my Dreamers Do Travels cinch sack, and our cooler), I have developed the habit of doing a quick check for all three bags each and every time we arrive at or leave a location. This plan has
served us well for years.
My plan on this day did not take into account two people still recovering from a rather nasty illness whose brains were not yet thinking 100% clearly. We walked all the way from the American Pavilion up to the front of the park, got in line for Spaceship Earth, boarded the ride,
and then – wham – as we were moving through the ride, I realized that I could not find my cinch sack anywhere. This was a problem because it contained my driver’s license, my keys, my annual passholder card, and one credit card, not to mention a few personal items.
Of course, we had to finish the entire ride before anything could be done. So we sat back and waited as patiently as we could. Once off the attraction and with Matthew safely in his wheelchair again, I approached a cast member and asked if they had found a cinch sack in
the waiting area. They had not. They suggested I head to Guest Services to report it missing.
At Guest Services, I informed them of the situation and that I had likely left it at the American Pavilion. The Cast Member (CM) called over to the American Pavilion, but got no answer. She then handed me a small white card that read:
Lost and Found – To report a lost item, please visit: disneyworld.com/lostandfound.
She asked if I had access to the internet on my phone and, if so, to visit that website to fill out the form with as many details as I possibly could. Once completed, she suggested that we also head back to the American Pavilion to inquire of the CMs there. Why? Because lost items found by or turned over to CMs are sometimes stored at the attraction until someone is
available to take them up to Guest Services. Given that it had been less than an hour since I had lost my bag, she thought it highly likely that it was still there.
Find a Cast Member
We traveled back to the American Pavilion and inquired of a CM working in the area where we had eaten. He listened carefully to my description of the bag and then headed out back where lost and found items are temporarily stored. While waiting, I received an email from the lost and found website confirming my report and giving me the option to either cancel the request or follow up with more information.
Moments later the CM walked out holding my Dreamers Do Travels cinch! I am sure that you can imagine my relief. He thanked me for having a bag with such a unique design because it made it easier to identify among all the other lost and found items back there.
Since my bag was found, I went back to the email I had just received and followed the instructions to cancel the report. Phew!
What if I had not found my item? What would have happened? Well, the long and short of it is
1. Disney’s Lost and Found website now had my name, phone number, email address, and a complete description of the lost item. Once the lost item made it up to the Lost and Found central location, CMs would have worked to match the lost item with a report in the lost and found database and then notified me within 48 hours via email, or phone if necessary.
2. In the meantime, I could continue searching on my own at the various places I had been throughout the day to see if it were still stored at those attractions awaiting transfer.
3. It is entirely possible that my item would be lost forever. It’s disappointing and
sometimes very inconvenient, but it happens. In that event, I would have to do what any person does when something valuable is lost: report the loss to the appropriate agencies (e.g. bank, DMV, etc.) and replace it.
The CM I spoke to said that items that were unique and clearly marked with some sort of name are more likely to be recovered than something generic – such as a pair of sunglasses. So, think about that when choosing the items you carry with you into the park. If possible, choose unique items that stand out or find a way to make generic items more easily identified.