Vote of the Week: Have You Ever Gotten Sick in a Theme Park?

January 16, 2015, 12:09 PM · Have you ever gotten sick at a theme park?

Earlier this week, we share 10 tips to help keep you from getting sick when visiting a theme park, in response to all the stories about the current measles outbreak that started at Disneyland. Obviously, if you've been immunized, your chances of contracting measles at a theme park are so low as to be unmeasurable. (And if you haven't been immunized, for your sake and for all those around you, please do get immunized right away!)

Doc Hudson's clinic

But there's much more than measles in the air around the world these days. Catching a cold, or even the flu, isn't nearly as serious as the measles, but those illnesses still are annoyances that can lead to more serious health issues, especially with influenza. No one wants to get sick. Yet, even if you do follow all of our tips to stay healthy, that only improves your chances. One day, that common cold germ or flu virus is going to find you, despite your best efforts. And it might just happen while you're visiting a theme park.

We'd love to hear your stories about what happened, and how you coped with an illness either during or right after your theme park visit. I told my story about a nasty summertime flu virus in Stories from a Theme Park Insider. That one hit me on my way to work, and I spent the evening with my face in my arm, watching the Country Bear Vacation Hoedown show while peering through a gap in the curtains in front of the exit hallways, as I tried to shield myself from the relatively sparse crowd in the park that evening, until we had someone to cover so that I could go home. (I ended up having to finish the shift.)

If this has happened to you, please tell us your story in the comments. Being sick on vacation stinks, but a positive attitude helps get one through. Whether that comes through optimism or schadenfreude, perhaps your story can help cheer up someone else who's gotten sick in a park.

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Replies (24)

January 16, 2015 at 12:12 PM · All of my family has been sick before. Stomach flu, coughing fit so bad there was blood, ear infections, urinary tract infections, and the odd over enjoyment of Food and Wine, but not to the point of throwing up in the parks or anything.
January 16, 2015 at 12:20 PM · I ate at KFC and then rode Gwazi... Bad idea. Enough Said.
January 16, 2015 at 12:29 PM · Never quite sick, but have had bad headaches, probably due to dehydration, all the sun, etc., and once needed a bandaid for a blister on my foot, likely due to new shoes and all the walking. At those times I was happy to be at Disney World or Disneyland, a first aid was there with some over-the-counter pain reliever and band aids. Free! With headache licked, I could go back to enjoying the day vs. retreating from it. It's great customer service.
January 16, 2015 at 12:45 PM · This isn't on par with what happened with the kids obviously. When I was 12 (I think), we went to Six Flags St. Louis. I typically didn't hide the spinner rides because of a pretty weak stomach, but I figured "what the hell!" and rode the Highland Fling (one of those spinner wheels that goes upside down) mixed in between two rides on the Rush Street Flyer. I felt okay and got in line for the bumper cars, where I promptly threw up on the ride attendant. I've never returned to rides like The Highland Fling, and I'll basically ride any type of coaster now with no problems.
January 16, 2015 at 12:54 PM · Two years my wife and I headed to Disney World, really went all out with money because it was going to be our final real vacation before we started trying to have kids. We were going to be there Saturday-Saturday during Christmas Season. Things went great--we hit up EPCOT and Magic Kingdom on Saturday and Sunday. We did the big backstage tour on Monday, and Monday night headed back to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. My wife started to feel a bit strange so we headed back to our room. And as soon as we got back, she started a cycle of vomiting and constant horrible diarrhea that lasted 48 hours. She did feel well enough by thursday that we could go to Epcot for dinner at the Biergarten and then the Candlelight Processional. And that's when it hit me. So we spent a mint on upgrading our tickets to non-expiration, and thankfully I was well enough by checkout to deal with the plane ride home. I hope and pray that this never happens to any of you. It's horrible being sick. It's so much more horrible when you're in the happiest place on earth and can't enjoy it at all.
January 16, 2015 at 12:59 PM · I had had the misfortune to end up with food poisoning at Disney World once. I visited many of the restrooms at Epcot that day before just heading back to the hotel and giving up on the day. I have no idea how I managed it, bu I was able to ride Test Track twice as well as Soarin' during all of this.
January 16, 2015 at 1:02 PM · This past summer at Universal Studios/Orlando my 9yr old son was complaining of headaches. We went to the first aid station and they let him lie down in the back on their cot for about 30 mins. They gave him some water, and turned the lights down for him. They were very professional and my son was fine after his break.
January 16, 2015 at 2:24 PM · 4 years ago, my wife had gotten what we thought was food poisoning (vomiting, diarrhea etc.) while we were staying at the Wilderness Lodge. 24 hours later it hit me, which would rule out traditional food poisoning. Turns out it was the norovirus (which we later learned was running wild at the WL)

Somehow our 6 and 4yo's never became ill even though we were pretty much confined to our room for two days.

I will never rub Humphrey's nose again!

January 16, 2015 at 4:21 PM · No but I have been with a relative who was sick at WDW. He stuck it out even though you could tell he was miserable. Hats off to him.
January 16, 2015 at 7:36 PM · Although I've never actually gotten sick, as I stated in a previous comment, I've had a couple of incidents. A friend, not knowing that I suffer from motion sickness, talked me into riding Houdini at Great Adventure, deliberately not telling me anything about the ride b/c he wanted it to be a surprise. Well, it was a surprise and I ended up feeling dizzy and queasy. However, after sitting on a bench for about 10 minutes I recovered my equilibrium. On another occasion I came close to greying out on Intimidator 305 - the first time this had ever happened on any coaster - despite having ridden it half a dozen times that day. I decided that this was the result of walking around Kings Dominion all day in extreme heat and humidity with not enough nourishment. So I took a dinner break, got hydrated, felt immensely better and was ready to ride again. The first time I rode Batman:The Ride at GAD I felt dizzy and disoriented but not for long. I learned to adjust to it and can now ride it several times in succession without feeling any the worse for wear. It's amazing how well the body can adjust to certain rides by simple repetition.
January 16, 2015 at 8:08 PM · I got sick awhile back from a sinus infection and ended up with C. Diff and Colitis. After that I had to really watch what I ate because I would end up with serious stomach pain and be stuck in the bathroom for an hour. Well one fine day at EPCOT I think we had lunch in China and by the time we made it to Germany I HAD to go. Want a miserable experience? Get stuck in the small Germany bathroom for an hour with never ending Oompah music (Disney style). My stomach is better now as this was a few years ago but I've never gone back into that bathroom and I've been a passholder this entire time.
January 16, 2015 at 8:12 PM · A few years back I did have a heat stroke while waiting in line for the Haunted Mansion at Disney World. We had stood outside without shade for well over an hour with the temps around 100. I hadn't drunk enough water and boom I was gone. Needless to say I drink plenty and find shade when needed now. No ride is worth that.
January 16, 2015 at 10:55 PM · After I got on mission space at epcot I had the worse stomach ache ever.
January 17, 2015 at 7:36 AM · I almost got heat stroke several years ago while doing a training day at Disney where we hit all the parks and water parks ending up at HS. While waiting for the Toy Story parade the combination of heat, no shade and non stop walking hit me and I was later told I turned a peculiar shade of white. The next thing I knew I was backstage sitting down with water being poured down my throat and the reps anxiously hovering over me. I finally felt well enough to be taken to my car and slowly drove home to crash for about 12 hours. It made me a lot more sympathetic to guests and "hydrate..hydrate...hydrate" is one of my mantras now. Along with a hat and good sun block.
January 17, 2015 at 11:55 AM · We got were at Disney World from jan 1 -10 2015 and about half way through the trip my husband and I both got diarrhea. Our 9 month old got it a few days after we got back and now the 5yo has it. Going on day 10 for the adults and day 5 for the baby. Dr said its probably Norovirus, but don't have the official results back. This is gong to make us seriously think about not going back. Any idea if we should report this to someone?
January 17, 2015 at 1:56 PM · I went to a theme park sick once, and in light of this outbreak I feel really bad about that. At the time I had my reasons.

I was coming up on the one year anniversary with the girl I was dating (now my wife) and we really enjoyed dates at Disneyland. So I planned with her to go to Disneyland on our anniversary, but unknown to her I ordered tickets for the Fantasmic dessert buffet (back when it was on the balcony of the then-Disney Gallery, now the Dream Suite). When I ordered the tickets they stressed repeatedly that they were non-refundable, non-exchangeable, non-transferable, nothing.

The night before our date, I came down with a horrible stomach flu. I was up all night puking my guts out. But knowing I had these tickets that were a now-or-never deal, I sucked it up and picked her up on time. When she answered the door she said I looked like death, and tried to call it off. I insisted we go, and so we went. To convince her I was fine I made it through a simple light breakfast, and a ride (forgot what it was, something gentle) and then we got in line for Storybook Land. As we inched along she kept saying I was looking worse and worse. Halfway through the line, I knew she was absolutely right. I bolted out of line and made it to the nearest trashcan to empty the contents of my stomach. My girlfriend flagged down security, security called first aid, and a nurse came and insisted on pushing me to the infirmary in a wheelchair.

Once we got to first aid, my girlfriend ranted and raved asking why I was so stubbornly insistent on coming when I was clearly so very sick. I had to show her the tickets and ruin the surprise, and the nurse chimes in, "Oh, you could have just called and explained, and they would have changed the date." My girlfriend took them to city hall, explained the situation, got them exchanged for a night two weeks later, and drove my sorry butt back home.

January 17, 2015 at 2:42 PM · I have extreme allergies that led to me getting sick after riding Soarin' because there was no warning that pine scent was used in the ride
January 17, 2015 at 3:45 PM · I suffer from migraines and I've learned from experience: always ask a park employee/cast member to take you to First Aid. They'll get you taken care of, rehydrate you and give you a quiet place to lie down and rest for a while. It's worth it!
I met and made friends with a fellow coaster enthusiast and migraine sufferer in the First Aid department at Morey's Piers once!
Keeping hydrated and slowing down when you start to feel ill help keep you out of First Aid, but for some of us it's going to happen from time to time. When it does, slow down. "Missing" a little time recovering may keep you from really missing the next day or two of your trip.
January 19, 2015 at 8:08 PM · Picked up strep throat at Disneyland. Haven't had it in over 25 years and it got me good. Went to emergency room and git some penicillin and other drugs. Stayed in room for three days and than went home.
January 19, 2015 at 9:04 PM · Went to Disney World last December. I am super careful about washing my hands. Guess I caught something in the Air from a Cough or a Sneeze. 2 Days after I got home (drove) got a wicked sore throat, then a Horrible Cold, then Cough, and Asthma. was on Cortisone Steroid for 3 months. Gained 45 lbs. Had numerous side effects from the Cortisone. Ruined my YEAR! All because some inconsiderate FOOL couldn't Stay Home or in their Hotel when they were sick!
January 20, 2015 at 11:03 AM · I have never really been sick at a theme park. However, last year, I went to Busch Gardens Williamsburg with my parents and younger siblings. I was unhappy to discover a small migraine and stomach pain after europe in the air. At Hershey, one can get sick of waiting in line for farenheit. (No alternate line for front row riders). The first time someone rides skyrush at hershey, they will probably be a little alarmed at their stomach jumping (my little brother started blacking out on first drop as well). Even worse is when you have to wait 12 minutes more because someone vomited on a ride (I understand, it happens a good bit, but it is not convenient when you are at loading platform)/
January 20, 2015 at 5:57 PM · Last year, we did character dining at chef mickeys & afterwards were waiting for the elevator to get the monorail when a little boy vomited all over the foyer in front of us. Coincidentally (?), I found myself vomiting through the night but managed to recover for Hollywood studios the following day. The day after we were at animal Kingdom watching nemo when my 2 year old started to look like she might vomit... I recognised the onset & tried to bolt with her to the nearest exit right behind us but disney being disney refused to let us use that exit even thought they could see she was vomiting & directed us towards the exit the far side of the theatre which meant we left a trail of vomit across the theatre & I had endure listening to tuts of disapproval from ignorant people as we ran. On the way out a very kind man who was leaving at the same time handed me a full bottle of water for my little girl for which I will always be grateful. We tried to go to first audiophile the parade was on & we were pushed to the side by Disney cast members even though I tried to explain that I had a sick child. Thankfully that was the only real impact it had on our vacation but a few days later, on the way home my husband started vomiting randomly leaving me to care for a 3 & 2 year old & a 9 month old for a 9 hour flight!
January 20, 2015 at 7:37 PM · I got hit with food poisoning (?) while in the bowels (no pun intended) of California Adventure last October. My husband and I were there with our grandchildren, ages 7 & 3. Our grandson was finally tall enough to ride California Screamin' so I managed to take him on it twice before succumbing to my twisting gut. Thankfully the line was not long either time. I bid my husband and grandchildren good-bye as I retreated to the restroom. While in the restroom, where I thought I was going to die, I mapped a route out of the park which would take me past restrooms that were close together. It took me an hour to get out of the park to our bus stop. Though I did spend time in every bathroom along my route, I made it from the last bathroom just outside DCA to our bus and hotel without incident. I spent the rest of the day and night in bed while my husband and grandkids enjoyed DL. I was up and ready to go the next morning.
January 21, 2015 at 10:15 PM · I always get a headache after Knott's. Also it's a horrible idea to eat Johnny Rocket's and ride Xcelerator

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