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.
- MagicBands will automatically add ride photos to your account - If guests are wearing an active MagicBand when they ride on select attractions, the photos will automatically be added to their My Disney Experience account.
- Blog - 'Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!' Street Party debuts at Magic Kingdom
- Top 5 Disney Bucket List Items - You know those things you always wanted to do but haven't had the time or money to do them?
- First night of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is sold out - Tickets are still available on the other nights.
- Planning a Disney Halloween Party in 10 Steps - A few ideas and 10 steps for planning a Disney Halloween party in your own neighborhood.
- A new flag waving act has opened in the Italy Pavilion - Sbandieratori Di Sansepolcro performs 12-minute shows several times daily.
- Walt Disney World's Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid plans month-long rehab - The Magic Kingdom attraction will be closed from 2/2/2015 - 3/6/2015.
- Island Supply store in Magic Kingdom's Adventureland closing - The shop will be closing 10/22/14 and will be replaced later this year.
- LeVar Burton and Edward James Olmos added to Candlelight Processional narrators - The Candlelight Processional takes place at Epcot from 11/28-12/30/14.
- Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets sold out on 10/28/14 - Tickets are also sold out on the 30th and 31st.
- 4 Things I Loved About Being a Disney Cast Member - It's not just one of those jobs that you work at because it's close to your neighborhood. In general it takes a lot of desire and that certain something to become a great cast member.
- Blog - A Video Tribute to Maelstrom
- Wreck-It Ralph's last day at Hollywood Studios will be October 24 - Ralph and Vanellope will be replaced with Hiro and Baymax from Big Hero 6.
- Top 5 tips to make your trip through the airport go smoother - You read those stories all the time about people complaining about their travel experiences. I would like to share some tips to help make your next trip to Walt Disney World a pleasant experience.
- Reservations for Trattoria al Forno open October 21st - Reservations for Trattoria al Forno, the new restaurant coming to Disney's BoardWalk at Walt Disney World, open October 21st.
- Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets sold out on 10/16/14 - Tickets for most other dates are still available.
- PhotoPass offers complimentary "Once Upon a Time" magical shot - For a limited time, you can get your photo taken in front of a "Once Upon A Time" background at Disney's Hollywood Studios, then when you visit MyDisneyPhotoPass.com to claim your photo, you'll find that Elsa and The Evil Queen have been magically added to your photo.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Maelstrom Unload - Maelstrom Boat Exit - Maelstrom Unload - Maelstrom Boat Exit September 15, 2014 - Afternoon
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Maelstrom Unload - Maelstrom Fishing Village - Maelstrom Unload - Maelstrom Fishing Village September 15, 2014 - Afternoon
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Maelstrom Unload - Maelstrom Final Scene - Maelstrom Unload - Maelstrom Final Scene September 15, 2014 - Afternoon
- runDisney announces race dates for 2015/2016 - Notably missing from the list is the Tower of Terror 10 Miler. This could be due to possible upcoming construction at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
- Blog - Book Review: Walt Disney: Drawn from Imagination
- New bus route being tested for Magic Kingdom resorts - The bus will run between the Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort, the Polynesian and Typhoon Lagoon. This will fix the problem of all Typhoon Lagoon guests having to transfer at Epcot after 2:00pm.
- One-day Memory Maker add-on available for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - For $39, you will receive all your Disney PhotoPass photos taken on the day of the event, including character meet and greets, dining and attraction photos from your time in the parks before the Party.
- Blog - Spooky Halloween Merchandise in Walt Disney World
- VIDEO: Maelstrom POV & Queue Tribute - Take a walk through the queue and ride through Maelstrom at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot. Maelstrom closed on October 5th to become a Frozen attraction.
- Cruising With Special Dietary Needs Onboard the Disney Cruise Line - Living with a dietary restriction can feel like prison. Challenged families often find themselves excluded from activities when food is involved. When they are included, the difficulty to accommodate the condition may not seem worth the effort. I know. I’ve walked in these shoes...
- Hess gas station near Boardwalk to be closed for 2 weeks - Many Disney resort guests stop here to get food and beverages for their hotel rooms.
- Get 4th night free or save 30% at Aulani, plus get free breakfast - Stay 4 nights and get the 4th free, plus complimentary breakfast. Stay longer and get 30% off stays of 5 nights or longer, plus complimentary breakfast. Offer is valid for stays most nights 1/4/15 - 3/23/15.
- Animal Kingdom's Affection Section closed through 11/10/14 - This is located in Rafiki's Planet Watch.
- Save up to 30% with a Room Only offer at select Walt Disney World resorts - Guests can take advantage of a room-only offer at select Disney resorts 1/5/15 - 3/28/15.
- Play, Stay & Dine offer released for General Public - save up to $800! - Book a discounted package with tickets, dining and hotel accommodations for stays most nights from 12/14/14-12/20/14 and 1/5/15 - 3/7/15.
- Photos of Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend medals - The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will be held January 7-11, 2015.
- Blog - Theme Parks Increase Intellectual Property Lineup
- Top 4 Best Live Action Stage Shows At Walt Disney World According to You - This top 4 list is comprised of the attractions you at home have chosen as the best live action stage shows at Walt Disney World.
- Blog - A Walking Tour of Disney's Wilderness Lodge
- Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets sold out on 10/9/14 - Other sold out dates are October 30 and 31.
- Haunted Mansion gift shop, Memento Mori, now open - The decor is inspired by Madame Leota and the shop carries items from the Haunted Mansion Authentic program, such as apparel, home goods, souvenirs and more.
- Disney Visa Stay, Play & Dine offer - Visa cardholders can book a discounted package with tickets, dining and hotel accommodations for stays most nights from 12/14/14-12/20/14 and 1/5/15 - 3/7/15.
- Disney Visa cardholders can save up to 30% on a room only reservation - Disney Visa cardholders can take advantage of a room-only offer at select Disney resorts 1/5/15 - 3/28/15.
- 3 Aspects of a Disney Vacation That Your Child Can Control - How can you make your child feel like they have some control of the day-to-day plans? We’re going to take a look at 3 ways to help your child “take charge” of your vacation once you’ve hit the parks.
- Name for new Haunted Mansion gift shop is "Memento Mori" - The shop is in soft opening and is expected to open fully next week.
- Another date sold out for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - Tickets are now sold out on October 30 and 31.
- A Frozen Holiday Wish show to replace Cinderella's Holiday Wish at Magic Kingdom - Anna and Elsa can be seen in the show in front of the castle. Queen Elsa's ice powers will transform Cinderella Castle into an ice palace.
- Jonathan Groff and Joe Morton will narrate Epcot Candlelight Processional this year - Jonathan Groff was the voice of Kristoff in "Frozen"; Joe Morton is on the TV show "Scandal."
- Flying Fish Cafe to offer breakfast this fall - This is intended to fill the gap between Kouzzina's closing and the opening of the new Italian restaurant, Trattoria al Forno, in December.
- Disney Facts and Insider Stories - Disney Facts and Insider Stories from a thread on DISboards.com titled "Your best Disney fact or insider story..."
- Frozen Holiday Premium Package announced for Osborne Lights - Get reserved viewing for the For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration; reserved viewing location for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights with specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, Frozen-themed desserts, holiday lithograph and Frozen pin.
- Blog - Navigating Walt Disney World on Wheels
- October Merchandise Events and Signings at Walt Disney World - List of artist signings and appearances around the Walt Disney World Resort.
- Kids in Control - 3 ways to let the kids take charge of planning your Disney vacation - We’ve been to Walt Disney World many times as a family, so sometimes it’s neat to put those itineraries aside, switch things up and put the kids in control of our plans!
- Blog - How did you become a Disney fan?
- Kouzzina by Cat Cora closes at the Boardwalk today - A new restaurant concept will open in its place this fall.
- VIDEO: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2014 Overview - Join the DIS Unplugged team as they stroll around World Showcase enjoying food from the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!
- Dates for Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios - Approximately every 10 minutes, the lights "dance" to holiday music, while "Florida snow" falls in the background, making this the perfect Christmas setting.
- Canadian Lumberjack Show to replace Off Kilter at Epcot - They will perform year round and will begin the week of October 5.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Hollywood Boulevard - Crossroads of the World - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Hollywood Boulevard - Crossroads of the World
- Mistakes People Make on their Disney World Vacation - Knowing that DISboards.com is loaded with tons of Disney information, I've decided to start condensing popular threads by quoting the informative posts into a single page.
- Top 4 Best Continuously Loading Rides At Walt Disney World According to You - Those of you who watch The DIS Unplugged know all about the "Best Of" bracket shows. In this particular show, the DIS Unplugged team comes up with their own tournament style bracket to decide the best continuously loading rides at Walt Disney World.
- Blog - A Walking Tour of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
- Monorail schedule to be adjusted again after September 27 - The monorail will have a different operating schedule than normal as an automation upgrade takes place.
- How to make the most of your Walt Disney World vacation - Now that your trip is booked, it's time to start the day-to-day planning so you can make the most out of your time at Walt Disney World!
- Cirque du Soleil dining package available - Purchase a ticket to the 6:00 performance of La Nouba and take advantage of this special package, which includes an entree, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage. The dinner package option is available at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe, Planet Hollywood and Splitsville Luxury Lanes.
- Rehab planned for Splash Mountain - The ride will be closed 1/4/2015 - 1/30/2015.
- "Disney's Behind the Magic of Our Steam Trains" tour will be closed this fall - This Magic Kingdom tour will be closed 9/29-11/7/14.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Sweet Spells - Sunset Boulevard - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Sweet Spells - Sunset Boulevard
- A Guide to Drinking Around Epcot's World Showcase at Walt Disney World - One of the most popular things to do at Epcot’s World Showcase, you know aside from all that pesky learning and culture, is what’s called Drinking Around The World.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe - Sonny Eclipse - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe - Sonny Eclipse
- Festival of the Lion King celebrates 1 millionth guest in new theater - 1 million guests have attended the show since it opened in its new theater in June.
- Blog - Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival FAQ
- Prices for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Marketplaces - This year's Festival runs from September 19 - November 10, 2014.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train onboard videos and photos available with Memory Maker - After riding the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a video and photos of the guest's ride will be added to their My Disney Experience account. These photos/video are only available to guests who have purchased Memory Maker.
- Planet Hollywood's outside merchandise location has closed - This is due to construction. Merchandise is still available inside the restaurant or at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
- Blog - Handbag Round Up: Dooney & Bourke, Vera Bradley, & LeSportsac
- Top 4 Best Thrill Rides At Walt Disney World According to You - The list below is the “final four” of a series of polls tournament bracket style from the DIS Unplugged Facebook page.
- VIDEO: Drinks Around The World Epcot - Corey, Shaun and Craig finish the Drinks Around The World series with the ultimate challenge – drinking around Epcot’s World Showcase!
- Blog - Looking for something to do before your cruise? Visit the Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral
- Chase Lounge will return to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival - This lounge offers Chase cardholders a place to relax, enjoy complimentary beverages and charging stations for their electronics.
- 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon registration re-opened - Runners can now have the chance to sign up for the 1/2 Marathon, the full Marathon and/or the Goofy Challenge as part of the Goofy Giveback.
- A Simple Guide to Planning Your First Walt Disney World Vacation - Planning a trip to Walt Disney World and don't know where to start? I've simplified the process by suggesting some decisions that need to be made before others.
- Adventures by Disney honored as Leading Tour Operator
- Marvel Studios releases details about upcoming projects
- Disney Cruise Line releases sail dates for early 2016
- Two new Disney Springs restaurants announced, including one from an Iron Chef
- Disney performers fired after refusing to wear "soiled" costumes
- Orbitz customers name Aulani "Best in Stay Elite"
- Rooms at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel to be redesigned
- Sorcerer Mickey hat to be removed from Disney's Hollywood Studios
- Comcast releases third-quarter revenue report for Universal Orlando
- SeaWorld presents live version of Sid the Science Kid