Disney World Issues Urgent Alert to Guests After Reported Kidnapping Crisis

A bustling crowd gathers in front of a large, ornate castle with blue spires and golden accents under a partly cloudy sky at an amusement park. Paths are lined with lampposts and foliage, with visitors walking, pushing strollers, and taking photos.
Credit: Inside the Magic

For many, a visit to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, evokes dreams of childhood wonder and carefree fun. However, a recent Amber Alert served as a stark reminder that the real world can sometimes intrude upon the meticulously crafted Disney experience.

On June 15, 2024, guests staying within the resort or in the surrounding Orlando area likely experienced a jarring disruption to their meticulously planned vacations. Many received an Amber Alert notification directly on their mobile phones, detailing the disappearance of a 12-year-old child. This alert, while a crucial tool for law enforcement, served as a sobering reminder of the anxieties that can lurk beneath the surface of even the most magical vacations.

Guests walking in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom behind Cinderella Castle

Credit: Ed Aguila, Inside the Magic

While a typical Disney vacation itinerary might involve strategizing for priority access to popular attractions like Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom or ensuring a prime viewing spot for the Happily Ever After fireworks show at Magic Kingdom, the Amber Alert undoubtedly shifted focus to a more serious concern. This incident highlights the Emergency Alert System’s (EAS) critical role in public safety, even within the seemingly self-contained world of Walt Disney World.

A 12-year-old girl named Makiya Cole had gone missing in Orlando, prompting a Florida Missing Child Alert. She was last seen in the Colyer Street area wearing specific clothing. Authorities describe her as 4 feet 3 inches tall, 100 pounds, with varying hair descriptions, including the possibility of blue-tipped hair. Multiple news sources have reported on the case, highlighting the urgency of finding Makiya Cole.

Now, we have confirmation that Makiya was found safe.

Local10 news shared, “The Florida Department of Law Enforcement canceled a Missing Child Alert Monday for a 12-year-old girl who they said vanished in Orlando. According to authorities, Makiya Cole was found safe, but they did not immediately disclose where she was located or what she had been doing during the time she was reported missing.”

A monorail train travels along an elevated track at dusk, reminiscent of Disney World. The sky features a warm glow near the horizon with scattered clouds, transitioning to a deep blue as it moves upward. Below, streetlights and an empty parking area can be seen with some foliage in the background.

Credit: ITM

Related: Disney “Refuses Involvement” in Tragic 13-Year-Old Murder Following Evidence Leak

Lost Child Procedures at Walt Disney World: Ensuring Guest Safety and Reunification

Walt Disney World prioritizes the safety and well-being of all guests, particularly children. In the event a child becomes separated from their parents or guardians, a well-defined protocol ensures a swift and efficient response from trained Ccst members.

It’s important to remember that instances of child abduction at Disney World are exceptionally rare. Most cases involve a temporary separation due to the park’s stimulating environment and the natural curiosity of young children. High guest numbers can also contribute to inadvertent separations.

Cast member Training and Response

A young girl in a pink dress and tiara hugs snow white, who wears her signature blue, red, and yellow costume, inside a warmly lit room with decorative walls.

Credit: Disney

Disney cast members undergo comprehensive training to effectively manage lost child situations. Regardless of where the separation occurs – Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, or even a Disney resort – cast members are equipped to handle the situation with empathy and professionalism.

Identifying Lost Children: Cast members are trained to identify children who appear lost or separated from their families. This could involve a child wandering alone or approaching a cast member directly for assistance.

Providing Comfort and Security: The primary focus of the cast member is to ensure the child feels safe and secure. They will create a calming atmosphere and reassure the child that help is on the way.

Gathering Information: Once the child is comfortable, the cast member will gather crucial information such as the child’s name, a description of their clothing, and any identifying details about their parents or guardians.

Alerting Security: Disney World utilizes a comprehensive security network. Cast members will immediately notify security to initiate a search and ensure all relevant personnel are aware of the situation.

Reunification Process

Statue of a man pointing, accompanied by a cartoon mouse, in front of a fairytale castle under a blue sky with clouds, surrounded by visitors.

Credit: Javier Parigini, Flickr

Locating Parents/Guardians: While security personnel search for the child’s family, other cast members will likely be assisting the parents or guardians who are reporting the child missing. They will gather a detailed description of the child and their last known location.

Communication and Coordination: Disney utilizes a central communication system to ensure all parties involved, including security, cast members in specific areas, and Guest Relations, are working collaboratively to locate the child.

Reunion: Once the child and their family are identified, a cast member will facilitate a joyful reunion. In most cases, the child will be brought to a designated reunification location, such as a Baby Care Center within the park, where they can be comfortably reunited with their family.

Additional Security Measures

Walt Disney World is committed to guest safety and employs a robust security system that includes extensive camera surveillance throughout the parks and resort properties. This security footage can be invaluable in reconstructing the events leading to a child’s separation and can be used to locate any guest at any point during their visit.

By combining well-trained cast members, a centralized communication system, and advanced security technology, Disney World ensures a swift and effective response to lost child situations. This prioritizes the safety and well-being of all guests, allowing families to focus on creating lasting memories during their visit.

Have you ever noticed a lost child at Walt Disney World Resort?

About Alessia Dunn

Orlando theme park lover who loves thrills and theming, with a side of entertainment. You can often catch me at Disney or Universal sipping a cocktail, or crying during Happily Ever After or Fantasmic.

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