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There you are on the trip of a lifetime at Walt Disney World. You’ve scrimped and saved to stay at your favorite resort (the Polynesian in my case) and you are having the time of your life. You’re enjoying an evening at the resort, and you start to feel a tickle in the back of your throat. Yes, even in the happiest place on Earth, illness can come to snatch away some of the fun.
What do you do? How do you deal with illness while at Walt Disney World, completely cut off from the outside world? It’s not easy, I’ll tell you. Since I have made frequent visits, though, it was inevitable that I would run into this problem. The last time it happened was exactly as I described above. I woke up the next morning as sick as could be, tired, congested and ready to stay in bed all day. But we had 5 more days to go, so what to do?
You have a few options to choose from, but rest assured that depending on your insurance, they are relatively painless. Here’s the steps I took (and my wife took on a different trip) to ensure a smooth trip while sick at Walt Disney World.
Disney’s First Aid – Although you might think Disney will only stock their first aid centers with Band-Aids for minor cuts and scrapes, they actually are much better stocked than that. There are nurses on site who know the signs of more common maladies in the parks. They are also fabulous with kids, so if it’s your children who get sick, this is your perfect first stop.
In the Magic Kingdom, the first aid center is located just the left of the Crystal Palace restaurant, if you’re facing away from Cinderella’s Castle. In Epcot, the center is located in the Odyssey restaurant complex, off to the side between Test Track and the Mexico pavilion. At the Studios, it’s located near Guest Services on Hollywood Boulevard, and in the Animal Kingdom, it is behind Creature Comforts on Discovery Island. There are also first aid centers located at the Disney water parks.
Offsite Clinics – Let’s say you’ve been to the first aid station, and they determine you have a more serious ailment, like a cold or flu. You’ll need to go offsite to try and get prescriptions, since Disney’s staff cannot provide them. However, that will require a doctor, and you will need to locate a clinic where you can be seen.
are drop in clinics at three Walgreen’s locations around Walt Disney World, and while I can’t personally vouch for all of them, the one I attended was quite good. Although the wait was long, they saw me and got me a prescription for antibiotics and that allowed me to continue our vacation. I was able to keep going, albeit a little slower.
Change Your Plans – If neither of those things work for you, you may have to consider bailing out on your trip. No one wants to even consider that, and for some, it’s not an option. But the bottom line is that you are on vacation to enjoy yourself, so you need to get well, one way or another.
Depending on the package you booked, you may be able to get a credit with Disney or move some days to another time. If not, then you might be able to restructure the rest of your trip. Instead of hitting 25 attractions in one day, spend more time doing shows, sitting by the pool or eating at a nice restaurant. Always check your cancellation or change details before you leave.
Regardless of how you deal with it, getting sick while on property doesn’t have to be the end of the world. You may end up with a different trip than you expected, but that doesn’t mean you can’t recover and have a great time.
What about you? Have you ever gotten sick in the parks or resorts before? How did you deal with it?