Staying Safe While on a Disney Vacation
by Susan Carver
Law Enforcement Officer
Everyone loves to go on vacation but sometimes when we get to our destination, we forget the small things. Most of these tips are common sense but some of these are regional problems to Central Florida.
The DIS Unplugged is a weekly trip planning podcast with unbiased advice on getting the most from your next Disney vacation. Each week our team of Disney experts tells you what's new, what's good, and what's not-so-good in the world of Disney. New shows are released every Wednesday and can be found at disunplugged.com!
Staying Safe at Walt Disney World— September 5th, 2012
In this episode local law enforcement officer Susan Carver has tips and hints on how to stay safe at Walt Disney World.
Disney, Universal, and Sea World have all been here for a while; they are not going to pack up shop and leave before you get there. Slow down - obey the speed limit, wear your seat belt (it is the law in Florida), turn your headlights on when it's raining, do not text or tweet and drive and keep your doors locked while traveling. Get your family there safely. You traveled all this way so make sure during the last few minutes of your journey you do not get caught up in unsafe behaviors while driving that put you or others in danger. If you get caught speeding you will most likely get a speeding ticket, especially on Disney property. The fines for speeding start well over $100 and move upward for every 10 miles over the speed limit - this is not a way to start your vacation and this is not something you want to have to spend vacation money on.
Do not buy tickets from Internet sites such as Ebay or Craigslist. The same goes for all those little ticket stands you see lining the highways, or anyone claiming you can get "such a great deal!" Most of these tickets have already had one or more days used on them, making them illegal tickets per Florida State Statute 817.361. Buy your tickets from the park or from your tour operator or travel club.
Once you get to the parking lot at the theme parks - turn off the car. Seems silly but it happens. Visitors sometimes get so excited they forget to turn off the car. They see the parking lot tram coming and jump out of the car to catch it - the trams run ALL DAY. Another will be along in a few minutes.
Take time to turn off your car, gather your stuff, make a note of where you parked your vehicle and secure your vehicle. Do not bring valuables with you to the park and then leave them in the car. If you can avoid it, do not bring them at all. Leave valuables in your hotel room safe, take them into the park with you, or as a last resort, hide them in your car but do the hiding before you get to the theme park parking lot you are visiting. When you leave your car no matter where you are or how long you are gone, do not leave cameras, GPS units, purses, bags, computers, iPads, iPods, wallets, keys, etc, in sight. This makes you an easy target.
If you are going to a water park, do not think that it is safe to leave your car unlocked and hide the keys so you do not have to carry them around all day. Get a locker or carry them with you. While inside the parks, do not leave personal things hanging on your strollers while you are enjoying an attraction.
It may surprise you but criminals come to Florida on vacation as well, so do not be an easy target for them. If the crooks see you putting your MacBook Pro in the trunk before you jump on the tram, they may find that so irresistible they might take an afternoon stroll to the parking lot to take that from your car. Cute souvenir items left on a stroller can also be irresistible to criminals who could be watching you as you enter an attraction then take your stuff while you are inside.
Review the floor plan when you get to your room. A few minutes to figure out the quickest way to leave the building can be invaluable in an emergency. Always use the dead bolt when you are in your room. Do not throw the security latch outside your door while you run to get ice. Use your in-room safe to store your valuables.
Be especially wary of unsolicited business flyers left in or under your door. Disney and most other hotels and resorts have NO SOLICITING policies so these flyers were left in your room by trespassers. Always check with the hotel about the validity of any flyer left in your room, especially if they require a credit card number.
While at the pool, do not leave valuables unattended.
Most people shop while they are here visiting. Central Florida has some wonderful shopping malls and outlet shopping centers. Some visitors buy big-ticket items such as Apple products, computers, etc. When you go shopping, do not take your purchases to the car and secure them then go back into the mall or shopping center to continue shopping. Keep your stuff with you until you have made your last stop and you are going back to your hotel room. If you just bought a iPad, a laptop, an Xbox 360, a GPS, a TV or anything else and you take it to your car, lock it up and go back into the mall or the shopping center, you are setting yourself up to be a crime victim. Criminals watch the stores that sell the merchandise they want to steal. They watch you make the purchases and go lock it up in the car. They know you do not want to lug it around with you so they know your next stop is the car. You might be thinking that you will be smarter than the crooks and move your car to another parking place in the parking lot - that is not enough to thwart these thieves. They will watch you and as soon as you leave your car unattended, they hit the car and are gone with your stuff.
Another issue is when you really do leave the store after you just bought that new top-of-the-line laptop at Best Buy or the Apple Store. You secure your items in the trunk of your car then you bee-bop over to a mall, for example, the Mall of Millennia or the Florida Mall - both very close to Best Buy stores. You feel pretty confident your stuff will be there when you come back. Most likely yes it will be, however, Central Florida has had a number of victims whose cars were broken into after buying big ticket items and heading to another store; they were obviously followed. This is not a rampant problem but it has happened multiple times so do not let it happen to you. Keep someone in the car with the stuff or go back to your hotel room to unload the items before continuing your shopping.
If you see anything suspicious, do not hesitate to call 911. I cannot tell you how many times I hear "I'm sorry to bother you," when I respond to a suspicious person call that a citizen or tourist calls in on the 911 line. We do not mind you calling. That is our job. I would much rather you call in to 911 and us get out there to investigate and/or scare away a potential criminal than to take a report because someone has been victimized. So, call 911. We like to catch criminals.
So what should you do if you become a victim? Call 911 to report the crime. Do not wait until you go home. Crimes must be reported in the jurisdiction in which they occur. While you are waiting for an officer to come out to take a report, gather information he or she will need, serial numbers if you have them and your insurance information. If any of your credit cards or checking account information was stolen, call your bank and cancel those accounts immediately. If your checkbook was stolen, call your bank and advise them what happened so they can close your account. A good idea before you leave home is to make copies of your drivers license or passport and write down the account numbers and telephone numbers of your credit cards and keep that information separate from your wallet or purse. In case you do become a victim you can easily cancel your accounts and you will have temporary identification to show airport officials or your consulate that can help you obtain a new passport.
In the tourist areas of Central Florida, crime is overall very low. It is a safe and fun place to be at all hours of the day and night. However, you must do your part to remain vigilant and follow these simple suggestions to keep you and your family from becoming a victim and having your dream vacation ruined.
- New Epcot tour- World Showcase DestiNations Discovered - This 5-hour walking tour will take guests backstage at the World Showcase.
- 7in7+ Disneyland Edition - California Adventure
- 7in7+ Disneyland Edition - Grand Californian
- Blog - I Can Go the Distance...Now That I've Processed My Race Deferral
- Harambe Market opens at Disney's Animal Kingdom - This new quick-service location is located behind the Mombasa Marketplace.
- 7in7+ Disneyland Edition - Hilton Anaheim
- Hoypoloi closing at Downtown Disney 5/25/15 - It will be replaced by United World Soccer in July.
- 7in7+ Disneyland Edition - Howard Johnson Anaheim
- 7in7+ Disneyland Edition - Downtown Anaheim
- 7in7+ Disneyland Edition - Disneyland Hotel
- 7in7+ Disneyland Edition - Disneyland Park
- 'Paint the Night' Full Nighttime Electrical Parade - 'Paint the Night' is the brand new nighttime electrical parade at Disneyland for the 60th Anniversary Celebration. 'Paint the Night' originated in Hong Kong Disneyland and proved popular enough to replicate for Disneyland Park, with just a few improvements like the Main Street Electrical Parade drum float leading off the parade and a brand new Frozen float with Anna, Elsa and Olaf!
- VIDEO: 'World of Color - Celebrate' Full Show with Outros - World of Color - Celebrate tells the story and legacy of Walt Disney as narrated by Neil Patrick Harris and the one and only Mickey Mouse. The story starts with Walt creating Mickey Mouse and showing his evolution before moving into Walt's progression into feature length animation. The story wraps with Disneyland and remembering that it was all started by a mouse.
- VIDEO: The Force Awakens and Star Tours in 'World of Color - Celebrate' - In the brand new World of Color - Celebrate, Star Wars - The Force Awakens and Star Tours make an appearance in the show highlighting the great things to come from Walt Disney's life as hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse.
- Life Through the Disney Lens
- New additions announced for Disney Springs - There are several retail stores and dining venues on the list.
- Blog - Review: "Tomorrowland" perfectly channels Walt Disney's philosophy and spirit
- Blog - Top 5 ways to be a good guest at Walt Disney World - Do's and Don'ts
- Blog - Star Wars Weekend Merchandise Hits the Shelves
- VIDEO: Star Wars Weekends 2015 Food, Merchandise and More! - Star Wars Weekends is Disney's Hollywood Studios' epic yearly event that showcases everything there is to love about the Star Wars Universe.
- VIDEO: Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast - Breakfast offers the opportunity to meet Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Jawa, Greedo and Stormtroopers. Star Wars movie clips will be shown on the movie screen at the restaurant instead of the normal science fiction clips.
- Blog - Star Wars Weekends 2015
- Schedule of events for Coolest Summer Ever 24-hour party - Kick off summer with this 24-hour party, to be held from 6am-6am May 22-23!
- Full schedule for Star Wars Weekends - Star Wars Weekends runs through June 14, 2015.
- Chef Mickey's to add brunch beginning May 31 - Brunch will be served from 11:30am-2:30pm.
- A Monstrous Rock Your Coolest Summer: A Guide to 24 Hours at Disney
- What Haven't I Done at Disney?
- Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast
- Free transportation offer at Aulani - Book a 4 night or longer stay at Aulani and get free round-trip transportation between the airport and Aulani, plus a free 1-day mid-size Alamo car rental.
- Star Wars Rebels: The Ultimate Guide to show at Hollywood Studios - This 30-minute recap of the first season of Star Wars Rebels will show at 10:00am daily through 30 minutes before park closing.
- Top 10 Most Featured Movies at Walt Disney World
- Store operating hours adjusted for Downtown Disney West Side - These stores are now open the same hours as the rest of Downtown Disney.
- Animal Kingdom's TriceraTop Spin begins 2-week rehab - The ride will be closed 5/11/2015 - 5/24/2015.
- Blog - Downtown Disney Construction Update May 2015
- Dates for 2015 Holiday Cruises on Disney Cruise Line - Each ship will offer "Halloween on the High Seas" and "Very Merrytime Cruises" itineraries.
- Disney Channel and Disney XD stars to be at Coolest Summer Ever event - Disney Channel's Club Chill will take place in Tomorrowland and several stars will kick off the afternoon Festival of Fantasy parade.
- November 2015 park hours released for Walt Disney World
- Construction at Downtown Disney to cause road closures - The intersection of Buena Vista Drive and Hotel Plaza Boulevard will be closed from midnight - 7:00am on the night of May 11 into the morning of May 12 and on the night of May 19 into the morning of May 20.
- Save up to 30% on a stay at Aulani - Book a 4 night stay at Aulani and get a 25% discount; book 5+ nights at Aulani and get a 30% discount.
- Rebel Hangar: Star Wars Lounge Experience planned for Star Wars Weekends - This lounge will offer a selection of Star Wars-themed foods and drinks.
- Blog - A Look Back: Walt Disney World's Swan and Dolphin Hotels
- My Perfect Day at Walt Disney World
- Disney Pin Trading: The Perfect, Collectible Souvenir - Looking for the perfect Disney World souvenir? Try Disney pin trading.
- Sneak Peek of "Inside Out" film coming to Epcot - The preview will include an advance look at a sequence from the film, in-theater special effects and an introduction from the filmmakers.
- The Fairy Godparents of the Parks - Some guests may turn into villains, but others turn into our Fairy Godparents.
- Walt Disney World on a Budget - I feel like just a small alteration in expectations can save you money and possibly allow you to visit more often.
- Blog - Express Food Ordering Test At Disney's Hollywood Studios
- Happy 26th Birthday to Disney's Hollywood Studios! - This park opened its doors on May 1, 1989.
- May merchandise events for Walt Disney World - List of artist appearances and signings from around Walt Disney World.
- Walt Disney World adds more allergy-friendly menus - All of the Resortís restaurants will have allergy-friendly menus by the end of the year.
- Disney Character Review - Gaston - He is such an over the top character that even as a cartoon he seems like a caricature of what a villain should be.
- New a cappella group to perform on America Gardens Theatre Stage - A new group, American Music Machine, will be performing on the America Gardens Theatre stage Wed-Sun at 12, 12:45, 1:40, 2:20 and 3:45. They are a 5 member a cappella group singing contemporary American hits.
- Registration now open for the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events. - The dates for this event are 1/6-1/10/16.
- Trader Sam's now officially open at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort - The lounge has been open for a few weeks, but was previously still considered in soft opening.
- Big Thunder Mountain begins 4 day rehab - The Magic Kingdom attraction will be closed through April 30.
- Walt Disney World FREE DINING Basics and FAQ's
- Getting to grips with MyMagic+ - This is my experience of using MyDisneyExperience & MyMagic+: my likes, dislikes, what I found useful when booking and tips I would like to pass on to help you plan your next Walt Disney World vacation.
- DISAPALOOZA Diagon Alley Party - December 05, 2015 - Dreams Unlimited Travel, Inc, The DIS and the DISUnplugged are proud to announce details of this year's DISapalooza Event. We will be renting out all of Diagon Alley for the enjoyment of our guests! December 05, 2015 (9:00 p.m. - midnight) Price: $75/person
- SeaWorld lays off Clyde & Seamore mimes, among others
- Man sentenced to 5 years for Disney ticket scam
- Club 33 members upset about more changes to benefits
- Iger says future Star Wars attractions to be based on new films
- SeaWorld's CEO steps down
- Man sues SeaWorld for automatically renewing his annual pass
- Retirement date set for Disney's Meg Crofton
- Woman sues Disney, claiming disability after falling from carousel horse
- Hotel leadership changes at Walt Disney World
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer released