Whether it is a yearly get away or a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, taking a trip to Walt Disney World gives you a chance to escape from a world of bills, deadlines, and hassles – and enjoy a few days of fantasy and relaxation.

While Disney is a terrific place to visit, it is still part of the real world and it has its own real problems – just like everywhere else. But since many people feel so separated from their own ‘real world’ at home, they let their guard down and become unnecessarily exposed to potential safety issues and threats.

Don’t let that happen to you.

Make sure that you stay alert to protect yourself and your family. Here are four areas with special safety and security considerations, along with tips to help you along the way.

Pools & Water Parks

Disney does provide lifeguards to oversee pools and water parks, but not in all places and not during all times. Follow the ‘buddy system’ and make sure that you and your kids don’t swim alone. A buddy can help keep an eye out for trouble. Also make sure that you know where your kids are in the pool at all times. Especially at the water parks, there can be a lot of territory to explore and it is all too easy to get separated.

What bad things can happen? Sadly, a 13-year-old boy drowned in four feet of water at a Disney swimming pool when there was no lifeguard on duty.

Keep your eyes open for safety or security risks.

Keep your eyes open for safety or security risks.

Transportation

Busses, boats, and monorails can be plenty of fun and a great way to get around Disney’s vast property. But all of those methods of transportation are also heavy equipment with the potential to cause serious damage if you or your children don’t follow safety precautions. Treat these vehicles with respect, follow the announced safety instructions and the direction of the drivers and crew members, and don’t play around.

What bad things can happen? Sadly, a 9-year-old boy was killed by a Disney bus in 2010 while he was riding his bike.

Resort Hotels

Disney resort hotels have great themes and plenty of world-class amenities. But they also have the same risks of any other home-away-from-home. If someone comes to the room or calls your room’s phone asking for information or for entry into your room, call the front desk to verify the request – unfortunately scammers prey on Disney resort guests. Use the hotel safe to store valuables, and travel with a partner – especially at night or in the parking lots.

What bad things can happen? In 1998, armed robbers took valuables from people staying at the Walt Disney World Dolphin hotel.

Parks

There is so much to see and do in the Disney parks that it is easy to get excited – or just act without appropriate caution. From accidentally stubbing your toe on a trash can when you aren’t paying attention to where you are going, to a child getting lost, things happen. Disney Cast Members are trained on how to deal with emergency situations, but the best medicine is prevention. Set a meeting location for your party to reunite if someone gets lost, and keep your eyes open.

What bad things can happen? There is an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to incidents that took place at Disney World – from guests who have died of heart attacks on rides to employees who have been injured by equipment.

Follow all posted signs and announcements on attractions.

Follow all posted signs and announcements on attractions.

It’s Generally Very Safe – But Be Careful

Each year millions of people visit Disney World and leave with nothing but fond memories (and a larger credit card bill). Most trips go well, with no safety or security concerns at all. But issues can and do happen. Stay alert, follow the tips here, and chances are you will have a great vacation.

Do you think Disney World is a safe place to visit?