Should I Plan For An Earthquake at Disneyland?
Growing up in Colorado, I had no experience with earthquakes and often heard people say, “There will be a huge earthquake that will make California fall into the ocean one day.” Although they were being sarcastic, as a kid I thought that this was a legitimate possibility.
I would especially be worried about Disneyland. I didn’t want Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, to fall into the ocean forever. How could beloved characters such as Mickey, Snow White, and Aladdin deserve such a dark and dismal end? How could we have new beloved movies such as Frozen and Wreck It Ralph?
This fear eventually faded as I grew older and by my mid 20’s that fear was no longer there. One year for spring break, I traveled to Arizona and California and took a day just to visit Disneyland with my friends and I learned why Disneyland was the happiest place on earth.
Then it came….
As the crowds were gathering together to watch the fireworks show, as hundreds of people were packed in the main street area of the park, I heard a low rumble coming up from the earth. At first, I thought it was another park attraction, but then the ground began to shake and I looked up and saw the buildings and building signs shaking slightly and swinging back and forth.
I was in the middle of an earthquake.
It was a 5.1 earthquake, relatively minor of an earthquake and lasted only a few seconds, but my fear as a kid had almost come true. I was in the middle of Disneyland during an earthquake and it had almost fallen into the ocean!
My beloved Disneyland!
Even though I don’t really have to worry about Disneyland falling into the ocean, sometimes the unexpected does happen on vacation.
The best things you can do before any vacation is to plan! Not only plan your itinerary, hotel stay, clothes to buy, etc. but plan for the less fun things.
Here are a three things to plan for while going on vacation, that aren’t as much fun as trying to figure out if you would rather have mints or a towel folded into a dog on your bed on that cruise.
Plan to take a list of contacts.
Although the unexpected is … well unexpected, it doesn’t mean you can’t be somewhat prepared. The best thing you can do for any vacation is to have a list of contacts with you. In case of a natural disaster, robbery, or other … unexpected things, it is helpful to have people to help guide, direct, and mobilize help to you. Some useful contacts to keep with you are:
- Your Hotel
- Travel Agency
- Travel Insurance Agency
- Your Bank**
- The U.S. State Department**
When traveling internationally, you can register your trip with the U.S. State Department. This allows the closest U.S. Embassy to know of your travel plans. Register for the STEP program here. The U.S. state department has an abundance of good resources for being prepared when traveling and can get alerts when there are travel warnings.
**Usually different phone numbers for domestic and international calls.
Plan to not stick out from the crowd.
The unfortunate reality is that in tourist areas, there typically are people who take advantage of the new, ignorant visitors that grace their turf by hundreds or thousands every year. The best way to avoid being caught in a scam or a pickpocket is to not stand out from the crowd. This means avoiding:
- Wearing socks and sandals together.
- Fanny packs
- Presenting your travel map in a prominent position.
- Dressing completely different than the locals.
- Cameras around your neck.
I know this is hard not to do for some of us, but this can be very important for international travel. This is less important in very touristy areas such as cruises and Disneyland.
If you are vacationing to a city and plan to sight see many different areas, please research the different areas of the city. The reality is every city has that area with a higher rate of crimes. It’s hard to know all the sketchy areas of a place you haven’t been so a good rule of thumb is that if there are a lot of women and children in an area, it is probably fairly family friendly.
Plan to not see and do everything.
This last tip is more to keep yourself safe from … yourself. It is easy to get on vacation, not have a care in the world, which leads to not caring what purchases are happening on your credit card. Seeing your bill afterward can lead you to wish you never went on vacation. Plan on a budget and keep to it. Some good tips are:
- Pay with cash and not a credit card. It is easier to keep track how much money you are spending and how much you have left to spend.
- Don’t be influenced by the kids. They love pointing at everything and saying, “Let’s do that!”
- Don’t compete on social media. It’s easy to see vacation photos from friends and desire to have their adventure. If you can only afford a weekend at the lake, don’t go to Hawaii.
Don't be caught off guard too much this vacation season! It's hard to predict the future...(Trust me I've tried)... But as I've mentioned before...
"It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!"
That goes for plans as well.
Feel free to leave any of your stories in the comments below.