If you’re on vacation inside a big theme park and you lost a camera – or cell phone or sunglasses or earrings – all is not “lost.” First step: Check with a ride operator or store close to the point where you last saw the missing item. Guests tend to hand stuff to them first. Second step: Check with lost and found, a department found in every Orlando theme park.
Start at Guest Services, which is located near the entrance in all parks. Behind the scenes, each one has some kind of lost-and-found system to reunite guests with errant possessions, where workers move all items to a single local location that eventually makes its way to the front of the park. One problem, however, is that it takes time to move a lost item from Hogwarts castle, for example, to the other side of the lake in Islands of Adventure.
Problem one: Some rides don’t clear out lost possessions until the end of the day. If your hat blew off on Thunder Mountain Railroad, for example, operators won’t walk along the tracks until it’s safe – until the last train of the night has pulled into the station and shut down. In this case, you could hang around after park closing and wait – ask an operator early in the day as soon as you know something is missing.
Problem two: Your lost item might make it to Guest Services, but only after you leave the park – and you had no plans to return on this vacation. If this happens, take a minute to register the loss rather than mumble a “well, I’ll never see that again,” under your breath. Disney, specifically, has an intricate lost-and-found system in which employees check computer records and assertively attempt to reunite guests with their things.
I once left a camera on a bench near The Haunted Mansion in Disney’s Magic Kingdom and registered the loss with Guest Services. The camera was unmarked, but I noted that the internal light meter broke from its moorings and floated around inside the SLR lens. Eight weeks after my return home, the camera showed up in a box – postage paid by Disney – along with a note saying they hoped I enjoyed my vacation and would return again soon.
And a work-around: Guest Services may have the item you lost even if someone else lost it. Need a lens cap for your camera? Ask. All Disney parks pull out a box and suggest you search, and the Magic Kingdom (king of lost and found booty) has hundreds. The park collects over 200 pairs of lost sunglasses each day
Forgot to register a lost good inside the park before you left? Or discovered something missing only after you returned home? It’s still not too late:
Disney World lost and found: (407) 824-4245
Universal Orlando lost and found: (407) 224-4233, option 2
Sea World lost and found: (407) 363-2280