I am a diligent parent. My children have to hold my hand to cross the street or walk through a parking lot. When walking in crowds they need to be attached to me or their Dad in some way and when we are out and about, they need to walk ahead of me where I can see them. So when we registered our kids in the runDisney kids’ races, it was obvious that my husband or I would be running with them.

Race day arrived and my husband and I ran our 5k while the kids waited with their Nana. After our run we headed over to the 200m dash where I waited with Griffin while my husband took Kellen and Avery to the other side of the field with the other two kids for the 1 mile race. Griffin and I finished his race and I left him and Nana to join the other kids at the start line. We decided that Mike would run with Avery because she is the faster runner and he hadn’t run as much that day, and I would run with Kellen.

Here is where we went wrong:

  1. We assumed we could easily run a 1 mile race after getting up at 5am and running a 5k.
  2. We thought we could keep up with our kids under any circumstances.
  3. We underestimated their desire to do well in this race.

The race started and before I realized what was happening, my son who has been ill for months and refused to train for the run, took off like a bat out of …. well, you get the point. He was going way too fast and I knew he wasn’t going to be able to get through his mile at that pace, but there was no way I could catch him to tell him that.

While I lingered further and further behind, my husband and daughter passed me. She was slightly ahead of him and moving at a good pace too. He stopped for a quick hello (I was walking at this point, having given up all hope of catching Kellen), and when he got further ahead I saw him stop to walk with Kellen who had slowed to a walk. I picked up the pace. Eventually I caught up to Kellen who had run until his stomach hurt and his face was blotchy red, and we walked most of the rest of his mile. We had a chat about pacing yourself (too little, too late…I know) and he finished the race strong. Avery also finished the race strong, and fast. So fast that Mike lost her during the race and hadn’t been able to find her yet when we crossed the finish line. Thanks to Disney’s incredible event planning, I didn’t need to panic.

When you register your child for a runDisney race, you are given a bib with their participant number and first name on it, and it also has a matching parent claim ticket. No child can leave the race without the claim form. At the finish line of each kids race there are volunteers guiding everyone either to the “Kids with Parents” exit or the “Kids only” waiting area that is fenced in. Parents can’t leave with a child unless they can show a parent claim form with the matching number to the child’s bib, and kids who are alone can’t get out of the race area. It’s a great system, and it works too because we found Avery safe and sound and enjoying a cold glass of water in the kids waiting area. She was annoyed that she didn’t know where we were, until I told her we all lost her because she’s just too darn fast. Then she smiled and showed us her medal.

mickey and kids

I’m so grateful for Disney’s meticulous planning. It is just one more thing that has turned us into Disney fans who just keep coming back.

10 Replies to “And then we lost our daughter at Disney”

  1. Oh! I panicked reading the title! Way to go Disney for having such a great system in place to protect everyone! 😀

  2. I was expecting a much scarier story, and am so glad to hear it turned out well. Leave it to Disney to know how to do things right!

  3. Sounds like they have everything under control there and make it very safe! I went to Florida with my oldest when she was 5, it was just her and I. We went to Sea World for the day and they had a big huge jungle gym there that she wanted to go on, I was not comfortable with it but she was insistent, so figuring I could watch her from below I let her go. It wasn`t long before I lost track of her because the thing was huge, so I climbed this thing trying to locate her but didn`t see her by the time I got to the other end, I cannot explain the panic I started feeling, when I was on the other side I looked down and saw her on the next level and I hurried down to find she had disappeared again, at this point I am ready to have a full blown panic breakdown. I decide to go down to the bottom and look up again to see if I could see her, as I am standing there this little hand grabs mine and I look down to see my daughter, who says to me, “mommy you got lost“.

  4. What a awesome Plan Disney has in place! ITs such a awful feeling when you lose your child. ( My daughter thinks its a fun game to hide in the forest on me. NOT FUN! ) Im glad that they thought ahead and have rules in place so you cannot lose a child.

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