Tips for traveling with 2.5 year old

My sister-in-law is traveling with us and she and her husband are concerned about their 2 1/2 year-old getting lost. I wanted to see what advice you might have for me to give them. Would it help if we got him a magic band in case he did get lost? Appreciate y’all’s help.

My husband was also super worried about this. He wanted to buy a Tile and have the kids wear them. Ultimately we did nothing and after he said that he never felt worried. If it was ever so crowded that she felt like she might lose track of them just pick them up or put them in the stroller, but we were there on some fairly busy days and it never seemed like a possibility.

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Other ideas I saw is temporary tattoos or a necklace with the child’s name and the parents’ cell number, as an emergency back-up.


Years ago, actual more years than I want to think about, I created laminate badges for each child. The badge size was the same as a typical employee ID badge.

The front of the badge include the child’s picture, name, age, and our cell phone numbers. The back of the badge included pictures of the adults on the trip (Me, DW, MIL, FIL) and the resort(s) we were staying at.

They were pinned on using super-sized diaper safety pins.

For what its worth, DW was a summer time manger at a local amusement and their training always pointed out putting distinctive shoes on the child. Many abductors are prepared to modify a child’s clothing but very few are prepared to change shoes.

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My 2.5 year old loves to wander where he’s not supposed to (ask the NPS guards at Independence Hall this morning :woman_facepalming:t2:). The biggest issue for him at WDW is waiting in line - when he ducks under the posts/chains between queues. If it’s not too crowded and the line isn’t too long, I give him a bit more leeway and the surrounding guest have usually been empathetic. If it’s more crowded, it requires a lot of holding. Which gets tiresome. Particularly if yours is wriggly. So I’m pretty generous with snacks and distraction in lines. (Lollipops, goldfish, ice cream, tablet watching…)

As another poster said, if it’s a super crowded day, outside lines I’d just keep the kid in the stroller until you can find a spot to let him/her run around a bit (toddlers do need to run/expend energy!). But if it’s not too crowded, Disney is one of the few places I feel empowered and safe enough to let him explore!


It has been a while since I had a 2.5 year old, and I am not sure if it is acceptable anymore…

We used a leash system during heavy crowds when our DS and DD wanted to get out of the stroller and walk.

Also the ID badges on their shoes and distinctive clothing are always a good idea. We would also take a photo of DS and DD that morning with what they are wearing; just in case.


The location of the ID stuff is important. I’ve read that CMs are NOT allowed to reach inside any clothing or to remove any clothing to view the ID. For instance, something written on an arm that is covered by a sleeve is something a CM might not find.

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If for whatever reason they do lose sight of him, DONT look for him silently. You want to loudly say “I’m looking for a 2 year old, brown hair, red shirt, black shorts, gray shoes.” That way every adult in the area knows to be looking as well. And (god forbid) if it was a kidnap attempt, all of that attention is likely to dissuade the kidnapper.


Thanks everyone. Really good ideas. I’m going to pass them along and might even proactively work on some of the ideas. Earn some points with my in laws!

I’ve been told to snap a picture each morning so you can show people/CMs exactly what they are wearing.

I also bought some wristbands that you could write parent info/phone numbers on. I never actually used them and they just sit there in our Disney bag now :woman_facepalming:


You can buy an AirTag ($30), if they are in close proximity it’ll show you exactly where on your iphone. They have a android version too i believe. Watch some youtube videos on it and see if it works. You can buy a holder and clip it to their clothes or a watch band.

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I always get a free celebration button from guest relations and put my name and cell number on the back of it~
edit to add: (with a sharpie)…

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If Lost…
When the kids were little (they are now 15 & 20yo) I had custom silicone bracelets made for them that had “If Lost Call Mom (phone number)” and “If Lost Call Dad (phone number)” engraved into them. It cost less than $15 to get four of them. Ds wore his on his ankle during his first trip because we didn’t want it to fall off his wrist!

I preferred these bracelets over temporary tattoos, writing on their arms/legs w/ a marker, or tagging their shoes (especially since they wore Crocs a lot back then). These were durable, they went on before we left the house and didn’t come off again until we go home. They wore them in the airports, parks, baths, and while swimming.

After that first trip, we used the bracelets at museums, zoos, festivals, beaches, parks, etc for many years …until the kids learned our cell numbers.

In addition to the bracelets, we played the “Find the Cast Member” game to help them practice figuring out who was just a nice adult and who was a CM and could help them. We did this at least a few times a day and it was great way to kill time while waiting.

Carriers & Leashes
Dd never liked being carried in a carrier, but ds did. We were prepared w/ a “leash” for dd’s first trip and never needed it, …we far before starting to plan our trip that ds would need one.

Ds loved the carrier and I used one similar to an Ergo during our trip when he turned 2yo. Dd and I just came back from WDW last night and I can’t begin to share how many struggling parents I saw trying to carry fussy/tired/sleepy little ones (<3yo) without a carrier. Definitely either borrow or purchase a good carrier that works for toddlers, and practice using it before your trip. Ds was 32lbs that trip (we had to turn him in his car seat when we got home…otherwise I wouldn’t have remembered his weight 13 years later!) and we comfortably carried him in the carrier all over the parks. He even took his naps in it (facing in).

Ds was a bolter as a toddler. He would wander and run whenever he could, even on outings at home. We picked up a monkey backpack for him where we would loop the end of the monkeys tail around our wrist. While ds looked like he was wearing lederhosen in all the pictures…we didn’t lose him and he didn’t run away from us. The “leash” also gave him the autonomy to explore a bit while still staying safely with us.

Stroller Logistics
We put all the important/expensive stuff we needed in our large diaper backpack that one of us wore. In additon to the other important/expensive stuff, it generally only had about 2 diapers and a small travel pack of wipes. Under the strolller we used 1-2 plain plastic grocery bags to hold extra diapers and wipes (to replenish the backpack) as well as snacks and a change of clothes. The bags made it a ton easier to grab quickly when the stroller needed to be collapsed for transportation, and are a more generic option than a WDW bag that someone might mistaken as recently purchased merchandise and try to steal it.