So, we made our way over to Magic Kingdom for 7pm dinner reservations. We got there a few minutes early, so we walked the kids up to the castle so they could see it. Our reservations were for Tony's. It's a sweet little restaurant near the front of the park, and it known for it's Italian charm and being the place where Lady and the Tramp fell in love. The kids love this place, so we were sure to put it on our list of reservations.
Isaiah is always sure to be sporting a smile for pictures.
Addison looking WAY too old to be Addison.
My delicious dessert. I never post food pictures, but come on! This entire thing is edible. Even the art on the plate!!The place was PACKED which was a shock to us because we'd been dealing with such low crowds until then. We waited for a really long time, then we were finally called back and took our seats. It was here that we realized that all the kids menus had changed, so all the work we had done the week before to get all the kids orders was going to be for nothing. We made some adjustments, then ordered. Our food was tasty, and we had a nice time other than Isaiah using his silverware as a bow and arrow on his sisters. We ate, paid, and had just enough time(as I had planned)to make our way outside for the light parade and fireworks show.
As is par for the course, we were not able to bring our strollers in the building which means we have our hands full of kids. I made a head count before we walked out to be sure we had everyone. Once we made our way down the stairs of the restaurant and Manly stepped over to get our stroller I did an additional head count to be sure we still had everyone. Imagine my surprise when I counted: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,..... I counted again. Maybe I had missed the baby(who I was holding in the carrier): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,..... That's when I went through birth order to figure out who it was. Olivia: CHECK. Emma Claire: CHECK. Addison: CHECK. Isaiah...Isaiah...Oh my sweet Lord, Isaiah was missing. I panicked, because that's what I do. I yelled over to Manly(who was coming back with both strollers) that Isaiah wasn't with us, but that he couldn't be far because I'd just done a count before we walked out. He stayed calm and cool and told me to walk back into the restaurant and look because maybe he'd stopped at the TV where "Lady and the Tramp" was playing.
I walked back in, did a scan of the little people, asked our server, then came back out to scan the crowd outside the restaurant again. That's when a woman whom we'd been dining near came over and asked his name and age so that she could help me look. Manly had me walk over to the security guard and also inform him as to what was going on. We showed him the picture from our phone we had taken that morning as a security measure(in case something like this were to happen). This photo showed them not only what he looked like, but what he was wearing. We told him his name and age, and how long he'd been missing. By this time it was approximately 5 minutes. Just so you know, in Disney time that's like 5 hours.
He wanted us to all stay put, but I could not stay there while my baby boy was missing, so I had Manly stay there with the kids and the strollers and I started yelling out his name in the crowd(which was really getting thick in anticipation for the light parade). There were LOTS of people helping us look. Even the wait staff from the restaurant stopped what they were doing and helped. Our sweet little waitress came out of the restaurant and went to each exit security guard and let them know what was going on. Because we were so close to the gate I kept thinking he might have tried to go on a bus or with someone on the train. Basically the possibilities were limitless.
I started crying out to the Lord in desperation. I kept praying, "Lord. You know where my baby is. Guide my heart to where he is, Lord. Bring him back to me. Bring him back to me. Guide my steps, Lord. Show me where to look. Bring him back to me." I was, by this point(10 minutes in) SOBBING. I knew that in just 5 minutes the entire park was going to go dark for the parade, and at that point finding him was going to get a WHOLE lot harder. I also knew that once the lights were out they'd stay that way until the park closed and the masses of people who were watching the parade and fireworks left. All of these things are flooding through my mind while I keep yelling, "IIISAAAAAIAHHHHH!" and asking anyone who would help to look for him.
Once we hit about 12 minutes I went back to where Manly was and just didn't know what else to do and where else to look. That's when he said, "We went through all the security precautions we could. We went over the plan. He's smart. He'll know what to do. He'll be found. It just might take a while." I just kept pacing back and forth yelling out for him until (after 14 minutes)the lady who had been helping me since the start yelled over at me and pointed behind me. She said, "I think they found him!"
I turned around, and there, like something out of a movie, came this troop of security officers, cast members, the waitress, and MY BABY was right there in the middle of them all. I fell to my knees and grabbed him in a hug unlike any I've ever given any of my children. He said, "I was behind you. I was walking behind you, but it wasn't you. It was another momma. Then I saw the train. Then I cried because I was lost, so I found a lady and I showed her my tag like you said."
I just held him and sobbed. Imagining what could have happened to him. Imagining my life without him. Imagining what must have gone through his sweet tiny mind when he realized he was lost. I stood and hugged EVERY one of the workers who had brought him safely back to me. By this time most of them were crying too.
I brought him back to the rest of the family who was also sobbing. Everyone reunited just in time for the lights to go down and the parade to start. I didn't take my hands off of his little head for the rest of the night. I watched the parade and fireworks with tear filled eyes, and even now, when I think about it I cry. I am so overjoyed that the Lord saw fit to bring our boy back to us.
I'm also so thankful for the security at WDW. I mean, this is a well oiled machine. Someone later told me that not one single child has ever gone missing from Magic Kingdom. The security guard who had originally found him and read his tag gave me his tag back and said, "You should be proud of yourself. This tag is the best idea you ever had. More people should do this!"
Please, if you are planning a trip to Disney or really ANYWHERE, take the proper precautions. I have NEVER lost a child before. Ever. It can happen to ANYONE. Not just the crazy people who brought 6 kids 8 and under to Disney World. I was later on the bus with a lady with two children, and she had lost her daughter before there too. I can not stress to you enough!! MAKE A SECURITY PLAN AND STICK TO IT!!
SO, want to hear the rest of the story? We've gotten bits and pieces from Isaiah since then, but from what we can tell, I did a head count, and walked down the stairs with them in front of me. Apparently, this is when Isaiah followed the sudo mom. After he had walked for a minute he looked up, saw that it wasn't me, then looked around. After that he saw the train. He started to head over to see the train(because he heard the whistle), then remembered he was lost again. That's when he went over to a stand where they sale park memorabilia. Because we had gone over our safety plan with him he knew he could trust anyone with a name tag to help him, so he found the lady that was manning the booth, told her he was lost, and pointed to the security tag we had pinned on the inside of his shirt. She then took the tag, read it, then alerted the security officers. They came and got him and brought him back to us. Somewhere in there she let him pick out an "I'm lost souvenir", so when he came back to us he was carrying a light up Mickey toy.
After this dramatic episode things sort of went downhill as far as Smittles Do Disney 2013, but more to come on that...
You can see the girls all holding hands. This was after he'd been found, and they were all still really scared. I thought this was a sweet picture of them loving on each other.
Manly and Eli watching the parade. Manly has his other hand on Isaiah.
Everyone safe and sound.