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U.S. State Department Issues High-Risk Travel Warning to Disney Parks Guests

disney parks warning
Credit: Disney/Becky Burkett/State Department/Canva

A new high-risk travel warning has just been issued by the U.S. State Department for Disney Parks guests planning overseas travel in the coming weeks and months, as well as other Americans traveling internationally.

disney parks

Credit: Disney/Becky Burkett/Canva

Tensions are high in areas around the globe. Conflict continues between Russia and Ukraine, and the war between the two is approaching the two-year mark in only a few months. Now, escalating conflict in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank is raging, and there seems to be no end in the near future.

In response to the continued escalation of bombings, killings, and kidnappings, the United States State Department issued a high-risk warning for Americans traveling internationally, including for those with plans to visit Disney’s international parks, including Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, Shanghai Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disney Resort.

The Warning From the U.S. State Department

The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs first issued its high-risk travel advisory on Thursday, October 19, under the heading of Worldwide Caution.

The warning is for Americans looking to travel overseas in the next few months, though it could be extended at any time should the State Department feel that additional risk exists. The current warning reads as follows:

Due to increased tensions in various locations around the world, the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests, the Department of State advises U.S. citizens overseas to exercise increased caution.  U.S. citizens should:

  • Stay alert in locations frequented by tourists.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive information and alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency overseas.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
United States Department of State

Credit: U.S. State Department

Additional Level 4 Advisories

Travel advisories are currently in effect for many countries around the world, including, of course, Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank, but Level 4 advisories, known as “Do Not Travel” warnings, are in effect for the following countries, per the United States State Department:

  • Myanmar
  • Belarus
  • Afghanistan
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Haiti
  • South Sudan
  • North Korea
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Mali
  • Niger
  • Russia
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Ukraine
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen
  • Burkina Faso
  • Central African Republic
US State Department Plans to Work With 1,000 Contract Linguists in FY 2022 - Slator

Credit: U.S. State Department

Tips for Staying Safe Overseas

There are several tips to remember when traveling internationally, regardless of the destination. These tips apply to Disney Parks fans looking to visit Disney’s international parks, including Shanghai Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Tokyo Disney Resort. The following tips can help keep visitors safe when traveling outside of the United States, even in times when conflict in other areas around the globe is not high.

Get a Checkup and the Appropriate Vaccines: Always have a physical before your trip to ensure that you are healthy enough to travel abroad, and make sure that you understand the health concerns of the country you are planning to visit. Numerous worldwide travel destinations require vaccinations before your arrival, so make sure that you know the immunizations you need and that you are immunized before your trip.

vaccines

Credit: Flickr/Matt Allworth

Make Electronic Copies of Your Documents: You’ll be carrying the necessary documentation with you when traveling abroad. Create an electronic backup of your immunization record, itinerary, medical insurance card, passport, plane tickets, travel insurance, and visas before you leave. Email the file to yourself and keep it in your inbox so you can access the information from your smartphone should the paperwork be lost or damaged.

Don’t Carry Everything Together: It might be tempting to keep your cash, credit cards, identification, and traveler’s checks in your wallet, but don’t do it. Keep any money, credit cards, IDs, and checks you won’t be using locked in your hotel room safe. Separate the monetary and identifying items you must carry on you and carry them in different spots on your person. This safety tip prevents you from losing everything should somebody steal your wallet.

Don’t Carry Things in Your Back Pocket: Speaking of theft, pickpocketing is common in specific areas around the world, and yes, pickpockets have been known to target tourists. Do not keep anything in your back pocket, including your wallet, a small purse, your hotel room keys… anything! Doing so opens you up to becoming an easy target for the swift hand of a pickpocket.

Keep Items to Your Front: Another thing you might be tempted to do is hang your purse on the back of your chair on a sidewalk or set your bags down at your feet. This isn’t a good idea, either, because your attention will be attracted to the new sights around you. Keep your bags in your lap or at the front of your feet under the table, with the straps wrapped around your leg.

Look Back When Leaving: The previous tip often helps prevent leaving things behind; after all, if you have your purse strap wrapped around your leg, you’ll trip over it if you don’t remove it. People do, however, leave personal items behind all the time when they’re ready to move on to their next destination. Look back at where you were sitting as you’re leaving to make sure you didn’t forget your purse, shopping bags, or anything else of importance.

Leave the “Bling” at Home: It might be tempting to wear your favorite jewelry throughout your trip or take pictures with that new, costly camera, but in the interest of your safety, don’t. If you tour your international destination dressed to the nines and wearing expensive jewelry, you are announcing to potential thieves that you are a worthy mugging target. Keep it simple and appropriate for the place you are visiting, and hide your camera in a case when you aren’t using it.

Don’t Talk to Strangers: Of course, you’ll be talking to the people of the land you are visiting – that’s the best part of traveling, meeting new people! Don’t get carried away, however, and begin to trust strangers with your life story or personal information. Think about what you say to your children and stick to your advice. Don’t talk to strangers who don’t look trustworthy, do not accept food or drink from them, and do not go somewhere with them unless they are your licensed tour guide and you’re on your booked tour.

Don’t Solicit Panhandlers: Many nations have areas that suffer from poverty just as we do here in the U.S. It is crucial not to traverse these areas without the proper guides. It is even more important not to give beggars cash or any of your belongings. Of course, you want to help them out, but if you are genuinely interested in finding ways to aid the poverty-stricken in the land you are visiting, research local charities and donate that way.

Don’t Try to Be a Hero: The flip side of the previous tip is don’t try to be a hero if you, unfortunately, become the victim of a mugging. Rather than attempt to fight the perpetrator, give your belongings up. Cash, credit cards, identification, and traveler’s checks are not worth injury or death. Give the items up quickly, and once you’re out of danger, proceed to the nearest U.S. Consulate or appropriate authority to report the incident.

credit cards

Credit: Flickr/frankieleon

Avoid Using Your Credit Card at Internet Cafes: With the advent of the Internet, criminals have found a new way to commit identity theft. Internet cafes are trendy among travelers. They are a quick and easy way to grab a cup of coffee while emailing the latest details of your adventure to your family and friends. Criminals keep a wary eye and use key logger software on the computers in Internet cafes to obtain users’ credit card information, so pay for the computer use with cash.

Shanghai Disneyland

Credit: Disney

If the thought of traveling during times of conflict in other parts of the world makes guests uncomfortable, it’s important to know that Disney often offers some flexibility when it comes to travel dates and rescheduling bookings. To find out if that flexibility is available for a particular booking, guests are encouraged to reach out to Disney directly or to their travel agents.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!

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