Picture it. Magic Kingdom. June 2023.
That evening’s Nighttime Spectacular – Happily Ever After is just over an hour away. And you’ve just realized your wallet has gone missing. Where do you begin?
Our party had just finished helping fill laugh canisters at Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. We exited out into a torrential downpour in the warm Florida evening. It was one of those fast, flood-worthy rains that frequent Florida in the summer.
Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor
We dashed over to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin to seek shelter. Thankfully, the queue was empty and dry. The rain and Evil Emperor Zurg will NOT keep us down, no matter how soaked we are!
After saving the galaxy (AGAIN!), I soon discovered that somewhere, my wallet had gone missing. Was it while contemplating a Flynn’s Arcade Shirt at Tomorrowland Launch Depot? On our ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover? During our laughter at Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor? Or was it during the dash into Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin? All I knew was it was missing, and with it, my driver’s license, cash, credit cards, Disney Gift Cards, etc.
I’ve had MANY experiences at Walt Disney World, but this was a first for me. Here’s what I experienced and learned that guests should do.
First, we checked with the cast members at the previous attractions we visited. After each guest exits the ride vehicles, cast members check for left items, and hold them for a short period of time at the exit of each attraction.
Second, we next checked the last gift shop where I knew I had the wallet. In this case, I made a purchase at Tomorrowland Launch Depot, and so we headed over to Space Mountain. After speaking with cast members there, I learned that while my wallet was not in their secure storage area, items of particular value (including wallets) are often taken to the gift shops before being brought to Lost and Found so they can be secured properly. They could not say if it had been there, and I was next advised to check at Lost and Found at the front of the park before leaving for the evening. The cast members at Tomorrowland Launch Depot noted that it could take 1-2 hours for items to be cataloged and ready for pickup once they arrived at Lost and Found.
Pro-Tip: If you’re traveling with Disney Gift Cards, be sure to have them registered at DisneyGiftCard.com. I was able to pick up a gift card at one of the nearby gift shops and transfer all the remaining funds on the cards in my missing wallet over to the new card to “protect” the funds.
Third, we tried to enjoy the rest of our evening! When I learned that it could take some time for my wallet to make its way to Lost and Found, there was nothing more I could do. We headed to the hub to watch Happily Ever After before heading off for a few more attractions to end the night.
We were spending time with a college friend and current cast member. Her previous experience involved working at the front desk and club lounges of the Deluxe resorts. She advised that if I didn’t get an update from Lost and Found within 48 hours, I should file a police report. It would likely make it an easier process for the airline and TSA if my wallet and ID did not turn up. This was something she had frequently had to assist resort guests with.
When it finally came time to head back to Coronado Springs, we headed down Main Street to visit Lost and Found. Magic Kingdom’s Lost and Found is located in the Main Street Chamber of Commerce building (to the left of City Hall). I gave the cast member a description of my missing wallet, where I thought it may have gone missing, and the approximate timing of when I realized it was missing. She asked me to wait while she checked in the back.
After a few minutes, I had an update. They did not have my wallet. I didn’t like this news; however, it was the first night of our visit, so it could still turn up after the park closed. I tried not to fixate on the difficulties I’d have trying to fly home without ID.
The cast member at Lost and Found kindly directed me on how to file a lost and found report online once I got back to the resort. They advised that if the wallet was returned after we left the park or was found during a closing sweep of an attraction, it would be taken to the centralized Lost and Found location at Disney Springs, and I’d be notified. And with that, we headed to the buses back to Coronado Springs.
Coronado Springs at Night
Once back at the resort, I completed the report form online. Disney uses a software program from Chargerback to manage their Lost and Found. During the process, you’ll be routed to an external site for the report. At this point, I was trying not to become convinced I’d never see my trusty Disneyland 60th wallet again. Worse yet was the prospect of having to get a new driver’s license at the local DMV once I was back home. After completing the report form, I promptly received an email letting me know that “the search is underway for your lost item!”
The following morning, I woke to a follow-up email letting me know that the “search continued for my missing item.” Not wanting to ruin our day, our intrepid gang headed to Hollywood Studios. Around 3pm that afternoon (approximately 18 hours after I first noticed my wallet was missing), we were having drinks at Oga’s Cantina when I received my next email from the Chargerback system. This one with the subject “Good News! We May Have Found Your Item.” The email emphasized that they may have found the item.
I was provided two options in the email: pick up the item or they could ship it to me. Since our plan for the following morning included brunch at Disney Springs, I opted for the pickup option. The Walt Disney World resort’s centralized Lost and Found center is located at Disney Springs in the Town Center area. This is directly next to the resort bus load/unload area at Disney Springs. It was a quick process to let them know I had received an email my wallet may have been found, and I was promptly reunited with my wallet. Everything was present in the wallet except for the small amount of cash I was carrying. Overall, not a bad outcome. The cast member let me know the record showed it was turned in by a guest before park closing at Magic Kingdom.
Thankfully, this meant I didn’t need to file a police report for my flight home; however, I had already prepared myself on what I’d need to consider for my flight flying home without an ID.
Flying When Your ID Goes Missing
If, however, you cannot be reunited with your missing wallet/ID before a flight home, there are a few things you should be sure to do if you’re flying domestically:
1) File a police report and carry a copy with you to the airport. Check with the front desk or call the local non-emergency police number for assistance.
2) Arrive at the airport early (3-4 hours) as there will likely be additional processes that will be required once at the airport. These processes will likely be both at your airline’s check-in counter and during the TSA screening process.
3) Once arriving, visit your airline check-in desk as they will need to complete an identification process and may need to issue a special boarding pass, depending on the airline.
4) When proceeding through TSA, be prepared for an additional identification process, and note that if TSA cannot verify your identity, you will not be permitted through security or on your flight. If you are cleared, additional security screening, including a pat down and manual search of any carry-on bags may be conducted.
5) If you have other forms of ID, keep them handy as it may assist in the ID process. This includes credit cards, student IDs, business cards, a piece of mail or prescription with your mailing address on it can help expedite this process. If any of these have a photo, it will help aid in the process.
Lost and Found at Disneyland
Two months later, I also got to experience Lost and Found at the Disneyland resort. The night before we checked out, I realized my noise-canceling headphones were missing. We were staying at the Grand Californian Resort and Spa, and at some point, the headphones went missing. With Disneyland, they use the same Chargerback system, which is available on Disneyland’s site.
Unfortunately, they were not located before I had to fly home. A few days after I returned home, I received another email stating, “We May Have Found Your Item,” and I chose to have it shipped to me. Three days later, I had a package from Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Spa with my missing headphones!
While it’s never convenient when something goes missing on vacation, I have to say I’m impressed with the results that Disney’s systems provided on both coasts! Need help planning your next Disney Vacation or Adventure? Please don’t hesitate to reach out; our services are free of charge at Dreams Unlimited Travel.
Mike is a Dreams Unlimited Travel Agent who lives just outside of the Chicagoland Area with his husband Adam and their fur kids (Jack-Jack, Blossom, and Salieri). His fondest family memories date back to the early 1980s with regular visits to Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
Mike remains a kid at heart who has no intentions of growing up any time soon!