What to do if you're sick at Walt Disney World
It's that lovely time of year again. The sounds of coughing and sneezing fill the air, while the tables in my home are decorated with bright orange bottles topped with childproof caps. As yucky as one feels being sick, there is nothing worse than being sick on vacation. I know. I have been one of those poor unfortunate souls.
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!
Many parks will provide medication for free if you go to a first aid station, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
I've often said that if I were to get sick anywhere in America, I'd want it to be inside a theme park, where free, basic, first-aid medical care is available to all. The nurses at the first-aid station will hook you up with a range of treatments, appropriate to your needs, and refer you to another provider if you need more. (You'll have to pay if you go to a referred provider, of course, and visitors from outside the United States should know that America has no national health service, so there's no reciprocity with your national health care plan. Buy your own insurance before you travel to the US!)
My little boy became ill at 3am while staying at pop century resort last year. The staff were amazing and they opened up the shop to get me the correct medicine. As if that wasn't helpful enough, they gave me the medicine for free. Only at Disneyworld you would get that level of customer care.
I can tell you about a couple things from an experience this past weekend. We were staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge. In the overnight, my partner was having an issue that seemed to need urgent care. We didn't have a car. I called the front desk and was told that the best option was to have the "Disney paramedics" (that's the words she kept using) come to the room because they could make a determination and it was "complimentary". I asked questions about that and about other urgent care options, but she kept telling me she thought they should just send the "Disney paramedics" out as a first step.
Why must the sick person travel? Although you don't want to ruin other people's vacation by forcing them to cancel the whole trip, it isn't wrong for you to stay home and let the others travel without you. At other times, you might get injured on the trip. Why not just stay in your room and let others enjoy the vacation? It is a bad idea to keep to your original plan while sick. Make the necessary changes.
Once I hurt my knee. I had bought some skeelers and fell really hard. I wasn't sure if it was broken but my dad and neighbour pulled me onto bed but the next day I still was unable to walk. I'm from Europe so I wasn't sure what to do but I wanted to go to a hospital but was in no state to get from my bed onto a car and from a car into a hospital so I needed a ambulance. I called a hospital but the told me several times to get a cab. I told them again the problem and again the refused.
Wow with all of this great advice, the next time I take ill, I will run to the nearest Theme park…
Well, I'd be all for everyone who was sick staying home on vacation if that didn't mean having to eat several thousand dollars in un-refundable airfare plus, potentially, hotel reservations and theme park tickets. And denying everyone else in the family a vacation for the year because that was the one and only week during the year that a parent could get off work.
Amanda! Looks like you touched a nerve with this one! :)
My point was simply and finite.
We all have to make accomodations when someone falls sick especially if that person is the parent. However, the priority is the sick person. Despite losing the non-refundable airfare or cruise, the other items on the itinerary could be refundable if given enough notice. If you bought travel insurance, it is even better and you can get reimbursed for medical expenses if your policy includes this.
My intention when sharing my sicknesses was NOT to brag or even insinuate that I was wonderful for suffering through for the family. The whole point of sharing was to show that I have had things happen on vacation and to help those who may have something strange happen physically while traveling. Being an adult, I made that personal decision along with input from my doctors to continue with my plans. Many times my personal physician would tell me to go ahead with the vacation, in that the medications would take effect and I would feel a difference within a few days. And yes, I did spend a day or two resting in the room. Most of our trips are between eight and ten days in length, so a day or two in the room would not ruin a vacation for us. As for the vacation days for work, it wasn't my job, but rather my husband's. They do not change vacation days to sick days for a spouse unless the spouse is hospitalized.
I love anything that Amanda Jenkins writes. This article was unexpected from her, because normally she does the great food reviews. I thought this article was really thought provoking.
I don't see anyone attacking the writer. There is a difference between an attack and being critical of the article. In this case I think the writer is deserving of the criticism.
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