If you’re travelling to Orlando-area or Southern California theme parks with your kids this Christmas season and beyond, be prepared for delays and enhanced security scrutiny. Don’t stop your travel, but take these safety measures seriously.
Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld have just announced heightened screening measures for visitors entering their domains. Say goodbye to toy or squirt guns, selfie sticks, and costumes on kids older than 14, and say hello to random bag searches, increased use of metal detectors and trained dogs, and more security guards. In other words, a lot more vigilance. You can expect similar measures to extend out from the major parks to any other heavily populated amusement locations, i.e., sports or entertainment events. NFL parks, for example, have also already installed heightened security protocols. Be prepared. Be vigilant. And be patient.
If you already have tickets or reservations, get to your location early, and strip away any piece of electronic or other extraneous junk you don’t need. Enjoy yourself, but don’t do stupid things like snap pictures of security vehicles or trained dogs or police cars parked at the entrance to your park or hotel.
And before you leave home, double check that you have your full travel insurance policy with you—not just the emergency wallet card. And if you’ve got a spare 30 minutes—read it. Not just the benefits, but also the exclusions, limitations, and your responsibilities in case of an emergency. This is no longer just a formality.
Also ensure that everyone in your party is included in your insurance policy and that, preferably, each person (child or adult) is named. Hospital emergency rooms don’t offer special half-off rates for kids.
If something untoward happens to you or anyone in your party, the first place you will likely call for help (after dealing with a medical emergency, if one occurs) is your travel insurance emergency assistance service. That’s where you’re going to get immediate lifesaving help and advice.
We aren’t trying to deflect or deter your travel plans (for if you do that, they win). But we have entered a new age. And if you don’t make adequate preparation for your travel, even to places as previously secure and “innocent” as theme parks, you’re rolling the dice in an increasingly risky game.
Also stay tuned to your government travel service for official advisories. But understand that in case of some catastrophic event, the government can only give you advice—it’s not going to pay for your hospital bills or get you home. Your insurer may—if you’ve done the right thing.