It’s hard to overstate Disney’s role in American life. President Johnson praised Uncle Walt for creating “an American myth.”  I would imagine that just now most of us have seen the new Star Wars movie—produced under Disney’s auspices. The Mouse looms large in our culture, and with good reason.

A staggering 132.5 million folks visit Disney parks worldwide annually. With numbers like these, security becomes a huge concern. And to be fair, Disney’s been proactive in addressing it, recently making the decision to install walk-through metal detectors at the entrances to their parks. Upon reading this news, I started thinking about personal security at Disney and similar parks. What steps can we take to keep ourselves safe while having the time of our lives?

Research validated my instinct: Guns aren’t an option.  Disney policy prohibits “weapons of any kind, or objects that appear to be weapons (also including toy blasters, squirt guns, etc.)” (To be fair: the same policy also prohibits selfie sticks.) Thankfully with a little creativity, you can find plenty of options for self defense while staying within the relevant rules and laws.

By the numbers:

Situational Awareness

“Stay alert, stay alive” was the mantra that brought many a veteran home safe from Vietnam, and it holds true today. Simply staying aware of your surroundings and the folks moving through them goes a long way toward heading off trouble at the pass.

Unarmed Self-Defense

This is a house of many mansions, and I’m hesitant to recommend a specific school/style/discipline. I can say, however, that anyone can learn the basics of hand-to-hand combat fairly easily, and with a little effort you’ll be able to handle the sorts of problems you’re likely to face. Remember that the idea is to get yourself to safety, not to be Bruce Lee or vanquish your foe in pitched battle. Heroics are for the movies.

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