When we are on vacation we all like to relax, and Walt Disney World is certainly conducive to leaving the real world behind, but we don’t want to let our guard down too much. There are certain basic, common sense things that you can do to protect yourself, your family and your belongings while on vacation, and to stay safe from harm. Here are ten things to keep in mind when vacationing:
10. Protect Your House Before You Leave
Before your vacation starts, plan ahead to make sure everything at home is safe when you return. Let a trustworthy neighbor know that you will be away so they can keep an eye on your house. Put timers on your lamps, and maybe your TV, or change the programs on existing timers that you use when you are at home. Stop your paper and your mail, or have that trustworthy neighbor pick it up for you. Adjust your heat and air condition settings to save energy, but still keep your house warm enough in the winter to avoid a burst pipe. Speaking of water, it is often a good idea to turn off the main water supply to your house. When you leave shut down any computers, hide valuables or put them in a safe, unplug electronics and set your alarm.
9. Prepare Your Children if They Get Lost
If you have young children, fear of losing them in a large, crowded theme park is very real. Disney’s parks are excellent at handling these situations, but it always helps to give your child a primer on what to do in that situation (without scaring them). When you enter a park or resort point out the cast members, show them their special name tags, and let them know to go to one of these people if they get separated from you. Take a photo of your child each morning so you will remember exactly what they are wearing (you never know what you will forget when you panic). And give young children bracelets or temporary tattoos with your phone number on them. This will help the cast members contact you. Reminderband.com allows you to purchase a single custom debossed silicone bracelet. Safetytat.com offers custom temporary tattoos (also very fun for kids). I have not personally used either one of these suppliers, but a Google search turns up these and several others (for the tattoos search for “phone number temporary tattoos”). It is also wise to pick a “meet up” spot in case your party gets separated. If you want you to be extra careful, in the way of child safety, then you can also avoid tagging your exact location while posting pictures. Posting them later in the day or back at your resort is even smarter.
No matter when you travel to Walt Disney World the weather can be an issue. Hurricane season can be tricky in Florida, and there is always the threat of severe thunderstorms (Florida is the state with the most lightning strikes in the US). I recommend glancing at the weather each morning or evening to be prepared for the day, and downloading an app or two to your phone to alert you if severe weather is in the area (it moves in quickly). Three that I have used on my Disney trips are: RainAware, My Radar, and the Fox35 Weather App (this is a local Orlando station). If the sky turns dark, seek cover.
7. Ordering Pizza
I know you are thinking, “What?” But there are several pizza delivery scams that prey on vacationers. Disney resorts try to prevent this, but it can be difficult to do. If you receive a flyer under your door advertising a special for ordering a delivery pizza, don’t order it. It is a scam to get your credit card information (and it probably won’t be a very good pizza either). Disney offers pizzas through their in-room dining, and there are plenty of reputable places you can find in the phone book (my family likes Giordano’s Chicago Style deep dish, and Flippers is another option that is usually recommended). Along these lines if someone calls your resort room and asks for credit card information — do not share it. You can always walk to the lobby and see the front desk in person if you have concerns about your account.
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Drink it often. You will be surprised at how quickly you can get dehydrated in the hot and humid Florida weather walking miles around a theme park. Even if you don’t think you are thirsty, drink. I like to take water to the parks with me, it saves money and I always have it when I need it. I’ve plugged them before and I will do it again, Hydroflask is my absolute favorite bottle. Double walled, insulated stainless steel and it keeps ice frozen all day in the parks. Soft Drinks won’t work; you need to drink water (hard advice for me to follow). Heat exhaustion and stroke are not memories you want on your vacation.
Again, this is Florida, “The Sunshine State.” Apply your sunscreen liberally before you go out for the day, and reapply in the parks. If you forgot it, or don’t want to fool with it on a plane it is sold in the resort gift shops and you can find in the park shops too. Don’t forget your scalp, that can be painful (or wear a hat).
4. Hand Sanitizer
I am a total germaphobe, so I take this to the extreme. But I do recommend that you carry a pocket size hand sanitizer with you on your vacation. This is not a substitute for washing your hands with soap and water, of course, but it helps for those in between times, like when your four year old runs his hands over every single surface walking through the Seas With Nemo and Friends queue. Getting sick on vacation is no fun!
3. Use your In Room Safe
Disney resorts aren’t known for theft, but it can happen. If you have valuables with you on vacation like jewelry, gift cards, cash or electronics lock them up in your safe and take the key with you.
2. Use Lockers
If you visit the Water Parks rent a locker. It is a small fee compared to losing your wallet. A possible alternative is one of those waterproof cases on a lanyard; just make sure it stays around your neck. Some of the pool facilities also offer lockers, like Stormalong Bay at the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts.
1. Take Photos
I already mentioned taking a photo of your child in the morning to have an accurate description, but taking photos of other things can help you as well. Take a photo of your row in the parking lot to help you remember in the evening and not wander around the lot. Take a photo of the back of your tickets (if you have actual tickets and not Magic Bands). If you lose them the code on the back will help get them replaced. It is also not a bad idea to take a picture of other cards like your Tables in Wonderland card or your PhotoPass card. It just makes things easier if you lose one.
What advice do you have to stay safe in the parks?