Vote of the week: The most popular theme park destination no one talks about
Written by Robert Niles
It's one of the more popular destinations at any theme park, yet theme parks never advertise it. Sure, you'll find a mention of it on the park map, but people never brag about visiting. You'll find one at almost every park - whether it be a regional iron park or a world-class themed resort. But you almost never read any online discussions about them.Tweet
What is this ubiquitous, yet often-ignored theme park staple?
It's the first aid station.
The first time I ever visited a theme park first aid station was as a cast member at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. And I wasn't escorting a sick guest. Nope, I was the patient. Being young, foolish and short on time, I'd skipped eating before my shift in Tomorrowland merchandise one afternoon. I hadn't had enough water that day, either, and eventually the Florida heat got to me. On my way off the sales floor, I passed out on my way to the break room. My leads drove me through the tunnel to first aid, where the nurse there gave me both a huge bottle of water and a needed lecture on taking care of my Yankee self in Florida during the summer.
With two children now, I've been back to various first aid stations over the years more times than I care to admit. Yet I can't say that I've ever had a bad experience in a theme park first aid station. I've found the staff members there consistently kind, attentive and effective in addressing whatever ailment brings us in. In fact, I've had better luck in theme park first aid stations than with doctors at home. And no insurance or billing hassles! At times I wonder if I could use a theme park first aid station for an annual check-up. :^)
My best experience was my most recent. Somehow, my youngest ended up doing a bellyflop on our way into Disney's Animal Kingdom last summer. I walked him over to the park's first aid station to get his bloodied knee bandaged. The nurse there (who's name I wrote down but cannot find now, to my frustration because she deserved a guest compliment), smiled and joked with Brian, looked at his wound, then swabbed out every last speck of dirt more swiftly than I'd ever seen. She dabbed on antibiotic gel, then sent us away with fresh spare bandages and instructions to change them at the end of the day.
I think Brian liked that nurse more than any other character he met in the park.
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