Losing Your Stuff at Walt Disney World: What to Do When Something Goes Missing

by 35 Comments

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

You did a masterful job of packing for your trip to Walt Disney World. You brought everything you need. You’re off in the parks, enjoying your trip, then oooooh, you get that sinking feeling that something is not right. You had your phone/camera/jacket/hat/ticket right here and now it’s GONE. What do you do?

First, don’t panic. While not everything that’s lost at Walt Disney World is recovered, many, many mislaid items are returned to their rightful owners every day. Let me walk you through some of my “lost at Disney” experiences and tell you what happened and how we recovered.

Replacement

In my recent post about packing for a Disney vacation, I mentioned that you should take a photo of the back of your park tickets and any travel documents. I can verify that this is a worthwhile tip because earlier this year, I did lose a park ticket. Luckily, I had taken a photo of the bar code on the back. I brought the photo, still on my phone, to the guest relations office at the park. They scanned the code and immediately printed me a new ticket. No questions asked. Easy peasy.

Copy your tickets for rapid replacement if lost

  • Moral of the story: A quick photo can save you time and possibly lots of money.
  • Bonus tip: If you’re in super scout mode, you could take photos of your tickets with two different devices (in case you lose your phone with your ticket). An alternative to this include photocopying the tickets and leaving a copy in your room. You may also want to write your phone number of the ticket as another means of contact.
  • Bonus tip II: It also makes sense to photograph the contents of your luggage. This can facilitate claims if your bags are lost by an airline.

Immediate Return

I was dining at Animal Kingdom‘s Restaurantosaurus, back when it was still a character meal. I had my camera out on the table so that it would be at the ready when Donald and Goofy stopped by to “chat.” Great fun was had by all. The meal ended and we left.

We walked over to Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama, and I attempted to take some photos of my girls enjoying TriceraTop Spin. Ack, no camera. I realized that I must have left in the restaurant because we hadn’t been using it anywhere else recently. I ran back, described the camera to the hostess, and she brought it out to me a moment later. Whew, crisis averted.

Bring a Sharpie to label your acquisitions

  • Moral of the story: If you know you had the item recently and haven’t traveled far, retrace your steps and ask for cast assistance.
  • What we did wrong: Every time, and I do mean every time, you make a major change of venue in the parks, do a 2-second survey of your stuff. Pat your pockets and verify that you have your wallet, phone, camera, or whatever else is mission critical for your stay. The sooner you’re aware that you’ve lost something, the more likely you are to find it.
  • Bonus tip: I had actually put a name/number label on the camera. I had extra permanent stickers around the house from marking my kids’ gear for camp. You could also use a Sharpie or other marking device. It’s not pretty, but it’s better than having things disappear.

Return a Few Hours Later

On my most recent trip to Walt Disney World, my daughter lost her phone. We knew that she had it when we rode Test Track at 2:00pm because we used it to take photos on the attraction. When she went to use it at 3:30pm, when we were at UK pavilion at the other end of the park, it was gone. We had covered more than a mile of walking, so the phone could be anywhere. Since we were in World Showcase, we stopped by Guest Relations at the International Gateway. The cast member there told us that approximately every two hours, lost items from throughout the park are brought to the main Guest Relations office at the front of the park. She said that we should wait a bit longer and then head down there.

At 4:30pm we were at the main Epcot Guest Relations, described the phone to cast members, and within three minutes had it back in our hands. We had to fill out a claim form, verifying that we were reclaiming possession of the item, and then we were on our merry way again.

  • Moral of the story: If you’ve lost something and haven’t left the park, go to the main park Guest Relations office and describe your item. Keep checking back throughout the day.

Lost and Found is found at Guest Relations

Return the Next Day

This particular scenario hasn’t happened to me, but I did learn from Guest Relations that if you lose something in the parks, but don’t realize it until the next day, your next step is to contact the central Lost and Found office, which located near the Transportation and Ticket Center. At the end of each day, the collection of lost items from each park is sent to this central location. You can also call central Lost and Found at 407-824-4245. It’s worth checking back several times.

Return Several Days Later

It’s possible to lose an item at Walt Disney World even if it never leaves your room. A few years ago, against my better judgment, I let my daughter Josie bring Pinky on vacation with her. Pinky is her “lovey” – the most favorite stuffed bunny that she’s slept with every night since she was six months old. Having had experience with a lost lovey in another situation, I insisted that Pinky stay in our room at the Grand Floridian while we toured the parks. We came back to the room in the evening, and Pinky was gone. After ripping apart every crevice of the room, it became apparent that Pinky must have made her way out with the housekeeper.

My husband called the front desk and was eventually connected with the housekeeping manager. He explained the situation and learned that it is not uncommon for items left in or on beds to accidentally make their way into the hotel laundry when the sheets are being changed. We also learned that laundry at Walt Disney World is gigantic and centralized. The manager told us that it was impossible to know exactly when our particular load of sheets would be washed, but that it could take up to a week to make it through the system. Filters in the drying system are cleaned frequently of guest t-shirts, socks, and stuffed animals that were collected in error. We were told to check back.

After much searching, Disney found Pinky and returned her to us

And every day for a week, my husband called back the housekeeping manager. A full week later, Pinky was found in the laundry filter. Two days later, Disney FedEx-ed Pinky, looking a little hungover from her journey, to our home wearing a glamorous tiara and pink sunglasses, with a photo and note of apology from Cinderella. This was an honest mistake with, luckily, a happy ending.

  • Moral of the story I: If an item is absolutely irreplaceable, don’t travel with it.
  • Moral of the story II: If you do bring an irreplaceable item with you, do not leave it out in the room. Put it in a drawer or suitcase when you’re out. People think to do this valuables like computers, but the idea applies to anything.
  • Moral of the story III: Don’t give up. Keep pestering the Lost and Found folks at Disney. Even better, get the name of a specific cast member who can champion your cause. They really do want to help as much as possible.

Disney Contacts You

In the inverse of the above situation, I purposely left something in my hotel room on a recent trip. I had attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Part of my costume was a baseball cap that I knew we would never use again. It was in fine shape, so I left it out on the table in the room in hopes that it would eventually get donated somewhere.

Disney may contact you if they find something you've lost.

I was home for a few days when I got a postcard from the Pop Century telling me that they had an item left in my room and that I could contact them to claim it. While I didn’t need the hat back, I felt good knowing that someone was looking out for me.

  • Moral of the story: If there’s something you’re done with at Disney that you don’t want to take home, but still has value, leave a note. A typical example of this might be a novel you’ve finished and won’t reread. The note tells the housekeeper that you don’t need your item returned.

So folks, have I been unlucky to lose so many items at Walt Disney World, or lucky to have found them all? What have your experiences been with missing items in the parks or resorts? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
Posted on November 23, 2011

35 Responses to “Losing Your Stuff at Walt Disney World: What to Do When Something Goes Missing”

  • During my many WDW visits, I can only recall two lost items. Both occurred at Typhon Lagoon on separate visits. The first was a pair of flip flops which I had left near my spot while on the Lazy River. I didn’t really care about this and simply went to the gift shop and bought some new ones which lasted many years. The 2nd item was a baseball hat which I had obtained in the Caribbean Islands. It would not be replaceable and had 2 pins which also were not replaceable. I did check with Lost & Found but it was apparently lost for good.

  • We lost a lovey in the laundry too. Unfortunately, despite the Housekeeping Manager’s best efforts, Blue Bear was never found. (I suspect he didn’t survive the wash.) The night we reported it, the hotel manager sent someone out to buy a stuffed Mickey, a soft one that he could sleep with. The next day the Housekeeping Manager sent balloons and Duffy the Bear, with a note from Mickey of course. We miss Blue Bear but my son is now a Duffy fan for life.

    • That is wonderfully awesome. Thanks for sharing!

    • when i was a child, i lost a stuffed bunny to the laundry. as much as i love disney, they did not do anything out of their way for me. Would have been nice if they sent me a mickey plush. Luckily, the bunny i lost was a “second string” stuffed animal and taken on the trip just in case. if i had lost my kitty i slept with normally, i would have been heartbroken.

  • During a beach trip we decided to take my 21 month old son over for a day in the Magic Kingdom. We waited in line forever to meet Mickey and it was the hit of the day for my son. We got some great Photopass pics and then went to eat lunch at Columbia Harbour House. After lunch we went out and got ready to have another picture taken when I discovered the Photopass card was missing. I went straight back to the restaurant and frantically searched around our table and anywhere else I had walked. No luck. Before leaving I asked the cashier in the line we ordered in and they had found the card on the floor and still had it next to the register. It must have fallen out of my pocket when I paid. The pics were irreplaceable and we were so happy to have it back. Lesson learned. As soon as I get a Photopass I take a picture of the back of the card. As long as you have the number you can claim the pictures.

  • I’ve had 3 run-ins with Disney Lost and Found…..none of them ending well for us. In 2005 our daughters Minnie Mouse blanket, like Pinky, got mixed in with the sheets and taken down to the wash at Pop Century. It was a blanket we had purchased there that week, and Housekeeping never found it. Not that we were expecting it, but unlike your story, they never offered a replacement. In 2008 she left Figaro the cat on the ME bus back to Orlando. I know that ME is run by Mears, but neither Disney nor Mears found it. I had a wonderful Disney Fan from another site buy a new Figaro and mail it to my daughter, complete with a lovely letter detailing all of Figaro’s adventures while he was gone! it really made my daughter so happy. Lasty…..the worst possible loss….on DCL in 2009 I left my camera at breakfast in the Dining Room on debarkation morning. It contained over 4000 pictures from our week at Disney, and the cruise, and our VOW RENEWAL CEREMONY we had just celebrated on the ship. Devastated does not begin to describe my feelings when we got to the rental car location and noticed the camera missing. MONTHS of calls to DCL lost and found, my wedding planner, and the onboard coordinator I had dealt with never turned up the camera. All the pictures were lost. Now i have a memory card for every single day of our trip and change it out at the end of the day, so I will never again lose the entire trip of photos. Hard lesson to learn.

    • So sorry about your camera. That’s a great lesson for others though – don’t put all your eggs in one basket photo-wise. Back up nightly to your laptop, or use multiple memory cards and put them away for safekeeping at the end of the day.

  • Lost my sunglasses in or near Rafiki’s planet watch. A couple days later went to central lost & found, and there they were, with about 20 other people’s sunglasses from the same day! A little girl was there at the same time who got her favorite Donald Duck hat back. Obviously your lost item has to be found by a cast member or honest guest. So sorry it didn’t work out that way for some of you.

  • On our honeymoon 20 years ago, we spent 2 days at MK. After we left the park the second day, we realized we were missing our rental car keys… only when we got back to our car :-( Back on the tram to the park, we were directed by a cast member to Guest Relations.

    We explained we were missing our keys, and their first question: “Did you ride Space Mountain?” We had indeed ridden it earlier in the day. A quick call to the attraction, and they confirmed they had our keys! We walked back to Space Mountain, identified ourselves as the unlucky guests, and we’re handed our keys. We left for real this time with a huge thank you once again for Guest Relations. Honeymoon saved!

  • We accidentally left a Mickey ear hat — Stitch-themed — at the Indy stunt show. It had my son’s fairly uncommon name embroidered on it, but it was never turned in to Lost & Found. Disney stopped making the Stitch ones, so we couldn’t replace it. It made me feel bad that someone would keep a child’s ear hat that they found, even one with that child’s uncommon name on it.

  • I lost one of our park tickets on the 1st day. I think I left it in the Fast Pass machine & didn’t realize it until we returned to our hotel. 2 lessons here 1. Always make sure you have both your fast pass AND park ticket when you leave the kiosk. 2. The ticket booth cast member was able to give us a new ticket based on the number sequence of my other tickets. Added some time to our morning, but it wasn’t a disaster.

  • My dad lost a hat and a nice pair of sunglasses on splash mtn this fall during the big drop. We asked the cast members to check and were sent to guest relations and then finally to TTC. No luck but we were told that all wet hats are thrown away and I guess they never found the sunglasses. I also lost one of my sons drink bottles that had his name on it and was told that those are thrown away too. Moral of the story is to sit on your hat during the big drop when you are trying to be brave and keep your head up.

  • While at Typhoon Lagoon in August, I overheard a lifeguard talking to a trainee and she explained that several times a year castmembers are permitted to purchase unclaimed items from the central lost and found at a substanial savings. They were specifically talking about sunglasses (and the need for polarized lenses) selling for $.50 per pair. I would imagine other lost items also end up in these sales.

  • My 16 yr old daughter left her cell phone in a restroom at Epcot and we went to Lost and Found the very next day and there it was! Although ridiculous, you would have thought losing the phone was like having a limb amputated. Needless to say, so happy!

  • We lost our 2 year olds sandal on the very first day of our 10 day trip. Since we had an alternate pair of shoes, I didn’t get around to calling lost and found until 3 days later. By telling them the day and park I lost it in, they quickly looked for and found the sandal. We ended up not picking it up until the last day of our trip, but it was waiting for us, no problem.

    Also, have a ticket story. I had taken pics of all 14 people’s in our parties tickets with my phone. One afternoon, coming back to AK after our afternoon break, I realized I had left my immediate families tickets back at our house off property. Rather than making the 5 minute walk to car and 30 minute round trip to get the tickets, I was able to go to guest services and get new ones printed. That was one time my family was thankful for my obsessive Disney planning.

  • Yeah, we’ve had mixed experiences with Disney’s lost and found. The moral for us…..stop losing things!! :) None of them have been too bad, except for the cash that was stolen out of my husband’s wallet. The wallet was turned in but they took the cash. Nice. We’ve also lost a stuffed animal, 1 pair of sunglasses, and a pair of swim goggles. None of which were ever recovered. Just take an inventory of everything all the time.

  • We lost a backpack at The Land pavilion just before Illuminations which contained a change of clothes for our then 4 year old and most importantly baby Bambi and her autograph book. When we checked with Guest Services the Cast Member gave us the number for the Central Lost and Found to check with the next day. When the Cast Member asked what was in the bag and heard about the autograph book he rummaged under the desk and pulled out a new looking autograph book. He told her he had gone for a walk earlier that day and had picked up some autographs and handed it to her. It was full of autographs for many hard to find characters in addition to many we had seen. She was thrilled. And to top it off the backpack was turned in to Lost and Found and they were able to identify it was ours by my daughter’s name and address in the front of her autograph book.

  • This past Saturday was our last day at Saratoga Springs so we checked out and went swimming. about 1 1/2 hours before our bus pickup, I realized my wedding ring was gone. We searched the pool, but could not find it. I figured it might be the filtration system and reported it missing at the front desk. When thne realized that we were leaving in an hour, they went into high gear. I think they sent a lifguard in the pool to search for it. With 30 minutes to pickup, I recieved a call that they had found my ring. I have to send a bid THANKs to those CMs at SSR. A side note, my son lost his wallet at Animal Kingdom and we recovered it at quest relations.

  • I was reading over old posts and stumbled across this one- had to share our story. On our honeymoon, we rode Tower of Terror- a couple rides later I realized my cell phone, which had been in my pocket, was missing. We retraced our steps to that ride and ran in (with our mickey and minnie bride and groom hats on) to talk to a cast member. They gave me my phone and seeing that we were on our honeymoon, led us through a back hallway and gave us a special ride on our own car- all by ourselves with no wait in line! It was one of those special experiences that really makes Disney unique- we still talk about it almost 4 years later. =)

  • My daughter left her treasured baby blanket in our room when we checked out. I immediately contacted the L&F department at the hotel where we were staying and filled out a card. They told me that things are rarely retrived from the central laundry and were not very hopeful. I called several more times after we got home and they did not return my calls. Three months later, I read the story above about “Pinky” and decided to contact the Grand Floridian (even though we stayed at the Contemporary). The staff at GF contacted me within 24 hours of my first call to them and told me they had located the item at central laundry. We received the blanket a few days later and my daughter was so relieved to finally have it back. Thank God for the Grand Floridian Lost & Found department!

    • In all the blog posts I’ve written, this was the best comment I’ve ever gotten. I’m so very glad your daughter was able to get her blanket back!

  • I am SO frustrated. I just spent a few days at Bay Lake Tower – my home resort – and I used my WDW Mickey Mouse patchwork holiday scarf to decorate the room along with Disney advent calendars. Upon reaching the airport, I realized I did not grab those items off the headboard. I called immediately and there is no sign of it – the housekeeper didn’t turn it in and the people staying in the room claim they have no knowledge of it. This was a gift from my Dad who has since passed away. They stopped making this scarf last year – cannot tell you how upset I am over this. Any suggestions? Do I call the room and speak to the people? Is there a BLT manager – would that work? SO upset – ay ideas? Thank you! ºoº

  • I ended up coming down with the flu while we were packing to leave on December 10th and ended up forgetting two kids coats and my AWESOME designer white winter coat. I called VWL the next morning first thing and they had found the kids coats but my white coat was missing.. strange since they were all in the same closet. Mickey sent us the kids coats but no word on my coat which I’ve called about repeatedly. I’ve checked with the hotel L&F but I maybe I should check with central L&F too?

  • A Lost & Found story in reverse:
    While entering the gift shop of our resort, my son announced that he found $100. At first, we thought he was talking about some fake Mickey money, but sure enough, there was old Ben Franklin in my son’s hand. When we took it to one of the cashiers in the shop, she mentioned that another guest of the resort had just called down looking for a missing $100 bill.
    We felt relieved in a knowing that we had done a good deed for a stranger, and wandered on through the shop. A few minutes later the casher pointed us out to the man who came to retrieve the money. He was so happy to have the money back, he gave my son a $20 reward. To this day that is one of his favorite Disney memories.

  • I just have to say how helpful this info was for us last week. Going through security and MK last week, my son was carrying the “spare shoe bag”. Security doesn’t re-zip, 12 hours later, we get back to the hotel, realize we are missing one shoe. I took a picture of the shoe in our possession, followed the instructions on who to call from this site. I stayed on hold for 45 minutes, however, they guy got to me, asked me some “who/what/where” questions, put me on hold then reported/described a “purple shoe” that was found. it was IT! Hard to find the next-day Lost and Found, but we did. Twas a sad little place, one worker, resigned to the fact that “this camera” or “that phone” will never be found. My turn in line came up, showed her the picture the shoe I had. The girl left, came back with shoe in hand. I said “That’s it!”. The cast member girl had a big smile on her face, applause were had throughout the building and the Lost and Found cast member felt like this was the best thing of the day. She said “FINALLY, I’m able to send something home!!!” :)

  • Boy did we get lucky! My wife lost her phone during the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Talk about the sick feeling. I called the phone I don’t know how many times. Right around 12:15, I got a call from someone on her phone asking me what to do with it. He was standing right outside the L&F at the MK, so now I have to go pick it up after I drop off the fam at Hollywood. Phew! People can be great sometimes. Lesson learned – ALWAYS check your stuff!

  • My husband and I just returned from a trip to disney, we stayed at port Orleans French quarter. I must commend the housekeeping and lost and found there! I cannot believe that I had left a $20,000 necklace in the safe. We still had the key. Don’t ask me what I was thinking traveling with it like an idiot. I didn’t realize until we landed 1500 miles away. I called right away, and today my necklace arrived in the mail, overnight UPS. I will never forget the honesty of this staff.

  • During a December 2013 vacation I lost a gold chain with three charms on it. All components of this piece of jewellery had sentimental value to me, a combination of gifts from my late mother and darling daughter. I took the chain off the day of arrival to go swimming and placed it in a mesh makeup bag. In the excitement of Disney I didn’t give the chain another thought until I was at security at Orlando Airport and ready to fly home. I hoped all the way home that the chain was still in the bag where I had placed it. Unfortunately it wasn’t. I searched high and low for it and then called and emailed Disney regarding the chain but I feel my request has also gotten lost in the shuffle. I am still hoping that the chain turns up at home or at Disney before it goes to their sale of lost items. I know it was a big mistake to take it on vacation but the butterfly charm from my mother was an extra pair of heavenly wings for a nervous flyer.

  • I was at magic kingdom on February 14th 2014 I lost my wallet. I called lost and found no luck. Please help me my email address is gnarine@hotmail.com. Thanks.

  • We just left the Art of Animation Resort to find that my daughter’s beloved bunny that she has had since birth (she is almost 7) did not return with us. We have called the resort, spoken with housekeeping and lost and found and are pretty sure that it went with the laundry. We are hoping, hoping, hoping that it comes back to us. She has not realized that it is gone yet. I will keep calling lost and found to check on bunny… so upset… should I call the Grand Floridian? They seem to be more helpful maybe… thoughts??

Leave a reply, your thoughts are welcome!

Want a cool avatar next to your comments? Add one at Gravatar