If you’re planning a family vacation to a theme park, like Disney World for example, you might not want to think about all that can go wrong, but at the same time, being aware of the risks is useful so you can avoid them as much as possible. I would just be so excited as it would be a dream holiday. Things that we can control ourselves to ensure the family is safe, the parks themselves are not dangerous.
For example, there are often traffic accidents on Orlando’s highly crowded roadways. Once you get in the parks, you may think you’re safe, but is that always true? The following are some essential things to know about the risks that could be lurking in Disney World:
Germs and Contagious Illnesses
We’re at a time when many travelers are thinking a lot about germs, bacteria, and viruses, even when this might not have ordinarily crossed their minds.
If you’re in Disney World, you’re exposed to thousands of people at any given time, which can also mean you’re exposed to illnesses.
Coronavirus might be the illness that’s at the forefront of many of our minds right now, but there are others.
For example, the measles is something that may circulate in theme parks, including Disney World. At Disneyland in 2015, there were 125 measle cases linked to the park that year alone.
Most people who end up getting measles aren’t vaccinated, and not vaccinating against measles is common in other parts of the world.
When Zika became a major issue, Disney World was one of the hotspots in many people’s minds because Florida is known as a hotbed of mosquito activity.
If you’re heading to water-based attractions, be wary of the potential to swallow or breathe in water contaminated with bacteria. Chlorine kills germs, but it can take up to an hour, and some germs can last in chlorine for days.
Risks Parents Take
Some of the main risks of Disney World aren’t the fault of the park but are instead the fault of negligent parents. One big issue? Trying to get children on the rides who don’t meet the height or weight limitations. Disney World and other theme parks have size restrictions for a reason on rides. They aren’t just arbitrarily selected numbers, yet parents will often try to skirt the rules. The result can be tragic.
Not keeping an eye on your children can also be incredibly dangerous. Sometimes there are accidents that can separate you from your children, and you have to vigilant in this type of environment—even more so than you would be ordinarily.
If you’re using a stroller and you use it as a way to push past others, you are creating a hazard for yourself and other people as well.
As a parent, if safety is a top priority when you’re at Disney World, always pay attention to and follow posted signs. Like height requirements for rides, they are there for a reason. The people who plan these parks do so carefully, and they want it to be a safe experience, but you have to do your part.
When your kids are on rides, or when you are, make sure that you’re careful when you get in and out. Don’t try to step over chains or ropes, and just be mindful of the things happening around you.
Some of the issues families face at Disney World aren’t related to the park itself, but instead the Florida weather.
The heat and sun in central Florida can be dangerous or deadly, so make sure your family drinks plenty of water and takes breaks throughout the day. Try to avoid the parks during the peak heat hours of the day.
There have been some unfortunate and tragic incidents at Disney World through the years. One occurred in 2004 when following a parade a cast member’s costume got stuck under a float. The cast member was struck and killed, with that incident leading to a large fine from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Although no fault of the park, in 1992, there was a situation with hostages at Epcot that ended in a man committing suicide in the park.
In 2016, a man jumped to his death from the inner tower of the Disney Contemporary Resort and one of the more recent horrific events was the alligator attack on a young boy at the Grand Floridian resort.
Do any of these things mean Disney World isn’t safe? Of course not, the Disney company focuses very heavily on safety, but we still have to be vigilant while visiting any theme park. Going anywhere can be dangerous, but we need to make sure that we keep our families safe. As much as possible. Don’t get me wrong though, I cannot wait to visit Disney World… one day!