Home » Here’s What REALLY Happens When You Lose Something at Walt Disney World…

    Here’s What REALLY Happens When You Lose Something at Walt Disney World…

    Broken sunglasses

    Hundreds of thousands of items are left behind and collected throughout the year at the sprawling Walt Disne World Resort. If you’re not careful with your belongings, they could end up among the mish-mash of neglected whatcha-ma-callits picked up in the parks, taking a long journey from their original drop point and potentially ending up in a Cast Member’s closet.

    Here are some things to bear in mind if you lose something – and an insight into the actual process that Cast Members go through to help you find your lost items.

    1. They’re often impossible to recover

    Broken sunglasses

    Sunglasses won’t stay whole for long on a ride track
    Image: brownpau, Flickr (license)

    Cast Members will do what they can to help you recover your lost items, but it’s important to understand that many things are impossible to recover in one piece. If you fail to heed the warnings about removing your hat and sunglasses on a roller coaster, those flyaway items could very well get smashed or shattered on the track. Attractions have hundreds of moving parts and heavy ride vehicles. If something falls into the ride path somewhere like Dinosaur, there’s virtually no chance of it surviving the day.

    If you’re thinking you’ll just send someone out to recover the item before it gets too damaged, think again. Ceasing ride operations is a big thing, and Cast Members can’t afford to do it for every pair of sunglasses that makes a wayward journey. After all, there are more than 200 pairs of sunglasses turned in each day.

    2. It’s not just sunglasses and cell phones


    Dentures aren’t that uncommon of a find.
    Image: Kathy McGraw, Flickr (license)

    Most lost and found boxes are pretty standard. You’ll find lots of cell phones that slipped out of pockets, hats blown off by the wind, and oh-so-many sunglasses. But there are some bizarre items that show up as well. Prosthetic limbs are not an uncommon item, as they’re often jostled loose on bumpy rides, and toupees come off just as easily as those hats. Among the stranger reports at lost and find are a glass eye, numerous pairs of dentures, and a potty trainer. Guests don’t just forget their small items. Entire diaper bags and strollers are turned in.

    Hotels also have their own lost and found collections. At the laundry facility where sheets and towels for the park’s hotels are handled, there’s an entire room dedicated to the clothing, blankets, and precious stuffed animals that turn up in the wash. Housekeepers uncover whole drawers of forgotten clothing and other intimate items. Cell phone chargers, as you might expect, are among the top items left behind in hotel rooms. If it comes into the park or hotel, chances are there’s someone, somewhere, who’s also managed to leave it behind.

    3. Unclaimed items take a long journey

    Guest Relations

    At the end of the day, Cast Members walk through each attraction to claim the salvageable lost items. This typically involves setting out on foot along the ride path and walking along or beside the track once ride operation has ceased. Cast Members also diligently check each vehicle morning and night for items left behind. A nightly walk through each restaurant and theme park area serves the same purpose.

    Items found during the day will stay relatively close to the place they were picked up. Things turned in from an attraction queue stay in the tower. Gift shops have their own lost and found locations. At the end of the day, all lost and found items migrate to the individual park’s lost and found, located at Guest Relations. If they linger there too long, the items go to the main lost and found at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC).

    4. The resort can’t hold them forever


    Your lost items will only stay around for a limited time.
    Image: Dineshraj Goomany, Flickr (license)

    Theme parks can’t keep your lost and found items forever, if for no other reason than the staggering quantity of things they accumulate. Disney’s Lost and Found is more cluttered than Ariel’s grotto. During the summer months, Walt Disney World retrieves over 100,000 lost items. During this season, over 1,000 lost and found items make it to the TTC each day. Even the slower winter season sees between 400 and 500 items hitting lost and found.

    Valuable items like prescription glasses, wallets, or cameras will stay at lost and found for 90 days. Less valuable things, such as sunglasses and hats, depart the facility in just 30 days. If you think you’re missing something you might have left in the park, it’s wise to go back for it as soon as you can.

    5. Cast Members can claim your stuff

    Cast Member

    Unclaimed lost and found items can go several places. Some things, like canes and wheelchairs, are donated to charities. Lost items that are still in good condition, such as all those sunglasses, are resold at Cast Member only stores for just a few dollars. If you’re a Cast Member in need of an umbrella stroller or new shades, this is by far the best way to go. You can even find designer names like Ray Bans and Oakleys that were left behind and never claimed.

    More valuable and distinctive items may also be claimed by the Cast Member that found them. This is a common practice in hotels, where individual housekeepers can easily lay claim to the items they find in their rooms. If you find a great camera or designer bag, you can put your claim on it and keep the item if it goes unclaimed for the specified period of time.

    If you don’t want your belongings to end up under a sale counter for a few dollars, keep a tight grip on what you bring into the park, and always heed those warnings about what can happen during a wild ride!