Do you let your guard down at Disney World? I find that I do. To most of us, Disney World is not only the happiest place on earth, it’s also one of the safest. It certainly feels like it. There are helpful cast members everywhere. You don’t have to look far to find security. Your surrounded by families. For the most part, the assumption that Disney is a safe place is well-founded. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be mindful of safety.
The best advice is simple: Take the same safety precautions at Disney World that you would at home. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already concerned enough about safety that you do this. Still, I am sometimes stunned by the willful stupidity of some guests visiting Disney World. A few months ago a couple left their young foster children in their resort room for several hours while they relaxed by the pool. In another incident, a family left their toddler to sleep unattended on a chair in a water park while they enjoyed the park. When they returned some time later, they were angry to find that security had been called and taken the child. I can’t say that these couples wouldn’t have made the same mistake at home, but I do wonder if the fact that they were on vacation in a place generally regarded as safe didn’t influence their decision.
Orlando is one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world, so it’s not surprising that it’s also home to criminals whose intent is to separate you from your belongings . . . or worse. With that in mind, here are just a few safety tips for your next trip to the World:
1. Never leave young children alone in your hotel room. I know this seems like an obvious piece of advice, but people do it. If you need a night out, Orlando has numerous babysitting services that are reasonably priced and whose sitters undergo thorough background checks. If you are a Disney resort guest, you can take advantage of the on-site Kids’ Clubs which provide children with dinner and entertainment nightly.
2. Consider putting a temporary tattoo with your phone number on it should your child get lost in the parks. Also, identify a meeting place beforehand in the event that members of your party get lost.
3. Bring a small ziplock bag of your own babyproofing supplies if you have small children, as most hotels and rental homes are not babyproofed. Many rental houses have private pools just a few feet from the living room. While this is a real luxury, it also poses a safety hazard. Ask the owner or rental agency ahead of time what kind of safety measures are in place. Also remember to be mindful of doors that lead out to balconies and half walls that separate your balcony from your neighbor’s, as children might be tempted to climb over the latter.
4. If you’re concerned about having an older child of the opposite sex accompany you into the restroom but they’re not yet hold enough to go alone, consider using a family bathroom; they are in all the parks. Check your park map for locations.
5. Resist the urge to leave valuables in an unattended stroller or wheelchair. If you’re staying on-site and make a purchase, have your item sent back to your resort; it’s a perk for Disney resort guests. If you’re not staying on-site, you can still have your items sent to the front of any park for pick up on your way out.
6. Don’t open your hotel room door unless you’re sure who’s there. If you’re concerned, call down to the front desk.
7. Lock and latch your door. The latch, which is located on the upper part of the door out of most small children’s reach, not only gives you added security from the outside, it also keeps younger children, who can easily open a locked hotel room door while mom or dad is momentarily distracted, from getting outside.
8. Use your room safe. Most hotels will safeguard larger items for you.
9. Do NOT buy partially used tickets from “businesses” set up outside of Disney. This is a scam.
10. Familiarize yourself with Florida’s child safety seat laws.
11. You probably don’t spend much time in busy parking lots or at bus stops at home. At Disney World, it’s a fact of life. If possible, keep toddlers in their stroller until you’re ready to board the bus. Even the most attentive parent gets distracted. In this environment, better safe than sorry.
We’d love to hear your safety tips and concerns. Please feel free to leave a comment and let us know.
Chris writes here and at Everything Walt Disney World. She’s also a travel agent with Pixie Vacations. Email her at ChrisW@pixievacations.com for information on how you can get a free $50 Disney gift card when you book your next vacation.
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