What to do if you're sick at Walt Disney World
Published: November 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM
My experiences have been from the mild, such as a head cold, to the extreme, like having to have emergency surgery once home. I have actually had two surgeries after two different trips to the place where memories begin. I cracked a tooth while enjoying a salad at the Magic Kingdom. On another trip, while bracing myself on the Dinosaur attraction, I had an unknown cyst in my hand that burst the tendon in my ring finger. That was one of the most painful rides ever. My hand was swollen for the last couple of days of our trip. I have traveled with a bag of antibiotics, had fever, had a disease that I did not know of, and wondered if I should even continue the trip. Why did I? Easy, my family was why I continued on.
You've got options other than Doc Hudson when you're feeling sick at a theme park and need a tune-up
My husband's job requires their officers to plan their vacations at the beginning of each year. Once these are placed, it is nearly impossible to change them. So, sometimes, we have to go ahead and travel, even if sickness makes the trip with us. Now, we would not go if we had something highly contagious. We are not willing to risk ruining someone else's vacation. There are ways though that illness will not hinder your fun times.
Take breaks: Multiple breaks during your trip can help you heal faster, thus making the rest of your trip more pleasant. Go back to your resort to take naps or to just relax. Your body heals faster the more you rest. If you do not wish to return to your room, then find a place to sit and people watch. One vacation, I left Chuck and the boys in Tomorrowland and relaxed outside of Cosmic Rays and just people watched.
Drink plenty of fluids: Not only in the summer should you keep hydrated, but many medications require fluids. If you have been running any fever, then you have already begun to be dehydrated. You need to drink often and this would also be an opportunity to rest while sipping, say, some raspberry lemonade or cool glass of pineapple juice.
Stay in the shade: Many medications warn you to stay out of direct sunlight. This can be difficult while visiting the sunshine state, so plan accordingly. You could plan your day around this, by attending the parks in the morning and evening.
Bring medications from home: Many trips, we have taken advantage of Disney's Magical Express, thus not renting a car. The resorts and first aid stations have a limited variety of medications. If there is something that is over-the-counter that helps you with sinus trouble and such, then you would be wise to bring it along with you. Each vacation, I make a list of all medications that might be needed and pack them. I leave them locked in the room safe until we need them. If you forget something though and really need it, there is another way. If you do not have your own car with you, there is a pharmacy that will deliver to the Walt Disney World resorts. Turner Drugs, for a small charge, will deliver both prescriptions and over-the-counter. They also provide baby formula, diapers, drinks, sundries, and medical equipment for rent and purchase. It will be delivered to the front desk of the resort for pick up. On the vacation where the tendon burst in my hand, we took advantage of this service and my medication was delivered promptly. Their phone number is (407) 828-8125 and their website is http://turnerdrug.com. For those with a car, there is also a Walgreens Drug Store and Winn-Dixie located in Lake Buena Vista.
Know whom to call: If you do not want to leave and spend the day at the doctor's office while vacationing, there is good news. The doctors will come to you! If there is a sickness or injury that needs medical attention, there are two companies that offer house calls. DOCS (Doctors on Call Service) (407) 399-3627, http://www.doctorsoncallservice.com, offers 24-hour-a-day medical service from AMA-certified physicians who practice family medicine. EastCoast Medical Network (407) 648-5252 offers not only house calls to the resorts but will also perform in-room x-rays and IV services. They are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I did not know at the time about these two services, or I would have called them with the tendon accident. If you have a car, there are urgent care facilities close by such as Centra Care located near Downtown Disney, (407) 934-2273, http://centracare.org. They offer free transportation to and from resorts and are opened from Mon-Fri, 8am-Midnight, and Sat-Sun, 8am-8pm.
Don't be afraid to ask: When in doubt of what to do, ask either the concierge at your resort or one of the helpful cast members in the first aid locations. They will be happy to provide you with any help to make your vacation as good as can be while sick.
I mentioned an unknown disease on a trip, that would be Meniere's disease. I was suffering with it on our vacation last December, and was diagnosed with it in January of this year. It is a chronic condition with no cure. It is a disorder of the inner ear that causes spontaneous episodes of vertigo, along with fluctuating hearing loss, ringing in the ear, pain, and, in my case and others, vomiting due to a constant feeling of motion sickness. For me, I do not have the spinning that Jimmy Stewart had in Vertigo; mine is more like the world has become a funhouse. Things appear to move side to side and up and down. I have had procedures and physical therapy to retrain my body in keeping balance. Many people have had to give up their favorite theme park attractions due to the disease. If you are diagnosed with this, don't give up hope. I found that I can ride most of the attractions, even roller coasters with little trouble. The only ones I had to say goodbye forever to were Astro Orbiter, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (bouncing with Tigger knocks me for a loop), and other spinning rides. It amazes me how these attractions, relatively mild, cause so much trouble and sickness.
Take care of yourselves fellow Theme Park Insiders!