Our family has taken three trips to Walt Disney World and are planning a fourth trip for the fall of this year. Before each trip we pray for good health, and we pack medicines for common ailments just in case.
The best piece of health advice I can give is to be prepared. Make sure you carry headache medicine/fever reducer, stomach medicine, and band-aids with you at all times. For children, the chewable or melt-away pain and fever reducers are handy to have on the go. I keep a Ziploc bag with medicine in my fanny pack and keep a larger supply of medicine (just in case) in our hotel room. If you forget something, there is a first-aid station in each park with common over-the-counter medications available.
Be careful before your trip and try to minimize your family’s exposure to sickness. The week before our trip, I think twice about allowing my boys to play with a friend who has a bad cough or runny nose.
On our second visit to WDW, we spent one night on the road before arriving. I tucked the boys into bed at the Comfort Inn and thirty minutes later, my six-year-old was in the bathroom vomiting. We prayed that his sickness was nothing—hopefully just the excitement of the trip. The next morning he seemed fine. We made sure he ate bland foods that day, and he had no more problems. Our prayers were answered, and we had a great trip! From that experience, I learned don’t panic and pray.
Our third trip turned out to be more eventful in the sickness department. On day 5 of our 8-day vacation, my younger son, then six, woke up with a high fever. (What is it about being six?) My husband and I were not sure what to do. Should we take him to a walk-in clinic? Should we keep him in bed all day? It was the middle of our trip. We weren’t ready to go home but wanted what was best for our boy.
We calmed ourselves down are started being systematic in trying to figure out what was wrong. We started with a dose of Children’s Motrin. We knew he was overly tired because we had gone long and hard our first days at WDW. (As parents, we were kicking ourselves for allowing that to have happened.) We reviewed what he had eaten—nothing unusual. We questioned him about other symptoms and looked at his throat—nothing (but this is a good reason to always pack a flashlight). We talked about one parent taking the older boy to the park and the other parent staying with the sick child. However, our sick one begged and begged to be allowed to go. We were going to his favorite park, Animal Kingdom, on that day.
After about an hour, his fever had reacted well to the medicine, and he still showed no other symptoms. We looked up the phone number of the nearest clinic, packed up the children’s Motrin and Tylenol in order to alternate doses, and decided to drive to the park in case we needed to leave quickly. Upon arrival at AK, we rented a wheel chair. Our son was slightly embarrassed by this, but he knew he would tire out too quickly on his feet. He was too tall to fit in a stroller, and the wheel chair was a less expensive rental. Another bonus to the wheel chair was that his brother could ride with him whenever he became tired. They could fit comfortably side by side.
We prayed and prayed for healing for him and wisdom for us. As it turned out, our sick one ran a low fever most of the day. We alternated his medicine every four to five hours. Since his fever never increased and no other symptoms emerged, we did not take him to the doctor. Thankfully, by the evening his fever was gone. We ended up renting a wheel chair our next two days in the park because we didn’t want to tire out our six-year-old again.
It is hard to know what to do when someone becomes ill on vacation. I am grateful to God that neither of our incidents turned out to be serious. With each experience we learned something. I hope that no one in your party comes down with anything on your vacation, but if they do, maybe our experiences can help you. Just remember to pray, pack medicine, pack a flashlight, don’t wear yourselves or your children out, look up a local walk-in clinic, rent a wheel chair, keep praying, but don’t panic.
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5 thoughts on “When Sickness Strikes—To Stay or Go”
It was our third visit to Disney World and on day three my leg was swelling. I called the Duty Nurse for the VA and they, at first they thought it was a clot which turned out to be a medication reaction, (Coumadin and an antibiotic), which made me bleed into my leg. I was in Fla Hospital for three days and had two transfusions. I finally got out and spent the last two days at Disney. Could not have planned this, it just happened. I spoke of this to one of the cast and they helped us all they could. Made our last two days real good. My only suggestion is to make sure that you get checked out before any trip… I was lucky that it was only my leg and not somwhere else…..
My precious girls’ first trip to Disney was at the ages of 4 and 2. My 4 year old was having a bad time with her asthma- so inhalers and nuebulizers were packed. We had a time keeping up with her breathing- but nothing we weren’t used to anyway. Then little sister, on the next to last night, started running a fever. I noticed that during the parade she had fallen asleep. No big deal- she’s 2, right? When I picked her up to leave I realized she was burning up. We took her to the first aide station and her temp was 101. They administered tylenol for us that she then decided to throw up all over the first aides floor. Then we had to go stand in line to get on the monorail to go back to the parking lot. If you have ever been in this line at the end of the night at WDW- Magic Kingdom, you know we were in for a long horrible night. One of the cast members helping with the line so that we were a little flustered and worried looking. We told them about the fever and vomiting of medication. He took us up the exit and on the next tram. I was so grateful and impressed. They were so kind to help us. My dad, who was diasbled at the time agreed to stay home with the 2 year old so the rest of us could have our last day… I hand it to Disney- I don’t want anyone to be sick while there, but they are ultimate professionals about it and about helping you in any way possible! thanks Disney.
Thank you so much for your article! We’ve been to WDW 9 times and we’ve been sick 6 of those times. I’ve started our family on a regimen of OTC vitamin supplements such as echinacea, vitamin C and elderberry extract. It helps boost our immune system so we can fight off the many germs at WDW.
I really appreciate the way you shared your family’s faith and your use of prayer when a loved one became ill. That is our best course of action in all times!
Blessings to you and your family and thanks for this article!
I read the article and the comments and it has lots of good advise. I truly understand everyones desire to stay at Disney. Afterall, we plan and save for the trip, sometimes for years. However, can I make one suggestion that is not meant to offend at all! If you are taking a sick child into the park, could you please put a mask on them and take hand sanitizer as well. They may be contageous and we share touching so many arm seats, rails, etc. On our last trip to Disney, my daughter woke up very sick on the day we were to travel home. She obviously picked up something in the park. Children with autism, well when they get something, well it just HANGS ON. A cold another child could kick in a week, may last 3 or 4 for a child with autism and it did. Sometimes it truly is impossible to keep a child at home when they are sick but a mask might prevent the spread of the illness.
Kristi makes a good point, and it reminded me of another point I’d like to share. We told the CMs at the different attractions that our son had a fever. We explained that we thought it was exhaustion and not anything contagious, but I noticed that when we exited an attraction, the CMs prayed down our “car” and wiped all the handles. Leave it to Disney to go the extra mile:-)