Let's face it, we've all lost someone before at a Disney park. When you're at a park with thousands of others, it's very easy to get lost. Finding that person, however, has never been easier in today's era of social media and technology but it hasn't always been that way.
Brittany Blake and her boyfriend, Regory Turco, visited the Florida theme park Epcot recently expecting to spend time together and ended up playing a large game of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego throughout most of the day.
So where did she turn to for help? That's where Facebook and the internet came in to help. She went to Facebook's group for Annual Passholders to increase her chances of finding him.
What did we do before cellphones and social media?
My wife has told me plenty of stories from the family's adventures visiting Walt Disney World growing up. As a family of six, they would visit all the parks within a one- to two-week span and twice a year. So what was their method of keeping in contact during their stay?
They always had a plan before they entered the parks. Getting lost was always a possibility, but if they could help it, they tried to stay in groups within the same park.
Her family always went to the same planned parks on particular days of their vacations to make sure their party stayed somewhat together even if they were separated. There were years she told me that they even purchased walkie-talkies, the predecessor to cellphones, to keep in contact once they did start to go off onto different rides.
What are the things you could plan if you did get lost?
- Meet up at the closest Customer Service Desk
- Meet up at the front of the park
- Meet back at the hotel room
So what happened with Brittany's story?
Brittany posted her concern to the group stating:
“Weird post but lost my boyfriend in Epcot today and haven’t been able to find him for hours because his phone is dead. If anyone sees him can they tell him to meet us at the Mexican pavilion?”
The internet got to work shortly after Blake posted the image of her boyfriend in his rather unique Hawaiian shirt. Following the post, the jokes started to roll in. Nikki Goodfellow posted, “That shirt is very distinctive. Someone should be able to spot him.” Another comment by Jeffrey Gitkos mentioned, "I did not see him but stitch has a similar shirt on."
The search turned into an event even to the point of having a custom hashtag created for the Epcot investigators using the terms, #FINDREGORY #FINDBRITTANYBF. The investment level of those conducting the "search and rescue" were high as everyone continued to look for the young couple.
How did the story end?
Within the first 2 hours, it took the internet with more than 1,300 people commenting and nearly 700 Facebook users reacting to the post to find Regory Turco. The story however ended on a happy note with Brittany Blake finally finding her boyfriend thanks to the internet detectives.
She posted an update stating, "Found on the frozen ride. He was drinking all day while looking for me."
One particular comment on Twitter joked how after all this, why hasn't he proposed to Brittany yet? After all this dedication on her behalf to find him it'd be hard not to imagine it happening soon.
Have fun with it, use photos. Embed Twitter and Facebook posts.
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— Elizabeth (@elibby01) March 17, 2019
What should you do to avoid losing your party?
The internet also has a plethora of answers for this, but anyone who visits Disney knows, you should always have a plan just in case this same situation happens to you. It's easy to get lost in a park with so many people surrounding you.
Just in case you do have a cellphone die on you, it's always good to travel with a cellphone cord in your pocket for recharge purposes. Or at the very least turn your devices off when you're not using them to conserve battery power.
If you don't bring a cellphone with you, things can get problematic if you don't have a plan, the time and a meeting place or specific time to meet at that place set up beforehand. “This is why we always have a designated meeting place if we get split up and can’t reach each other,” Michelle Biondolillo said.
Options you could use is simple landmarks such as the customer service booth or the front of the park. “We have a home base we go to if we manage to get separated or phones are dead or other variables,” Jennifer Cardona stated.
If you do lose your party, it's great to know that there are places on social media you can utilize to help you in your searches like what happened for Brittany and her boyfriend. Disney truly showed it can still be, "The Happiest Place On Earth" as the internet helped reunited this young couple.
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