Is Disney's Big Thunder Mountain the 'wildest ride in medicine,' too?

September 26, 2016, 11:49 AM · If you ever find yourself cursed with the unfathomable pain that is a kidney stone, forget rushing to the emergency room at your local hospital. Medical researchers now say you might find relief at Walt Disney World instead.

Seriously. In a medical journal article published today, researchers from Michigan State University detailed how riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom helped patients pass their small kidney stones. (And, trust me, as someone who has been through this — there is no such thing as a "small" kidney stone. Those ----ers are freakin' boulders when they're coming through.)

Getting serious for a moment, one of the ways that doctors treat kidney stones is by sending ultrasound shock waves into the body, aimed at the stone, in order to break it up. Perhaps it is possible that the movement of a moderate-thrill roller coaster, such as Thunder, can achieve sort-of the same effect, jostling the stone to get it moving and pass.

All I know if that the last time I went to the ER for a kidney stone, they charged me way more than the $124 Disney World charges to get into the Magic Kingdom on a Peak attendance day. And I waited longer in that ER than I usually wait to get on Thunder, too. So maybe going to Disney instead of the hospital would have been the better move, after all.

(As a resident of Southern California, I assume that "treatment" at Disneyland's Thunder Mountain is just as effective as riding its mirrored twin at Walt Disney World.)

I shudder to think of how Disney will react to this news. The combination of Disney ticketing and medical billing must lie somewhere in Dante's Inferno. I can't wait to see Magic Kingdom tickets going up to $4,500 a day for uninsured "patients," while the rest of us have to spend half an hour in City Hall filling out forms every time we visit to see if we can get away with just making that $124 daily "copay" for admission.

Do MagicBands even work with MRI machines?

* * *
Help support Theme Park Insider and its writers. Just two bucks a month does that and gets you ad-free viewing of the site, early access to our video show and an "Insider" designation on your posts. Sign up now!

Replies (9)

September 26, 2016 at 12:13 PM · Just when you think you've heard it all.
September 26, 2016 at 12:50 PM · And for an Appendix - ride Hulk at Universal....
Heart Problems, Try Montu at BGT...
September 26, 2016 at 1:18 PM · Finally, something mean streak would be good for. Unfortunately,that one is now closed.

Maybe the beast would work for that. I thought I ruptured my spleen on that one.

September 26, 2016 at 5:21 PM · Jeff Elliott told me that a ride on Mean Streak helped put his back in place better than his chiropractor.
September 26, 2016 at 6:51 PM · One more reason of why I need multiple visits to theme parks.
September 26, 2016 at 9:55 PM · Hall of presidents has long known to be the most effective cure for insomnia.
September 27, 2016 at 6:29 AM · Booking tickets to visit the parks has long been a cure for constipation :D
September 27, 2016 at 12:44 PM · Will Obamacare cover the cost for this cure?
September 28, 2016 at 11:14 AM · That reminds me of that woman who was riding TOT over and over, to treat her medical condition.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive