A few weeks ago we took a long awaited trip to Disney World. For months we had been counting down the days and tirelessly planning how we would spend our time at the happiest place on earth. I had gone through site after site ensuring that I had everything I needed to be prepared for the perfect vacation. Yes, I thought I had everything figured out and was prepared for any scenario…..until two days into our trip my youngest got sick.
Now I’m not just talking a little cold sick. I’m talking about the sitting up at 3 am holding him and feeling his dry hot forehead sick. I’m talking about the kind of sick that would have me calling the doctor the minute they opened to get him seen and treated before things could get worse had we been at home. But when you’re hours away from your doctor with no idea where to start, things get a little complicated.
After a long sleepless night wondering what was going to happen and if the rest of our Disney trip was going to be spent in a hotel room with a super sick preschooler, I learned a few things about what happens when your child gets sick at Disney. And just in case you’re ever in a similar situation, I hope these tips will help you too!
Plan for the Best but Prepare for the Worst
The first thing you want to do when your child has a fever is bring it down. Now, I didn’t even think about the fact that I could end up with a sick child at Disney so of course, I didn’t pack a bit of medicine. Please, learn from my mistake! When you are prepping for your Disney trip, include a first aid bag that has fever reducer, pain killer and even a thermometer so that you can rely only something besides your hand when determining if your child’s fever is high enough to be worried. BUT if you’re like me and totally unprepared, rest easy knowing that there are supplies in the gift shops at your hotel. From cold medicine to good old Tylenol for Kids, you can pick up the essentials to help you manage your kiddo’s symptoms simply by heading downstairs. While this admittedly does not help in the middle of the night, it is a light at the end of a very long tunnel if you child wakes up sick and you haven’t come prepared.
Know Your Treatment Options
Once you determine that your child is sick and that over the counter medicine alone won’t do the trick, find out what your options are. Start by calling the front desk. The cast members (what all employees at Disney World are called) at your hotel are there to help and will be able to give you some very helpful information. As soon as I called the front desk I was presented with three different options:
1. See a Nurse at the Park: Each park has an on duty nurse during park hours. It was recommended that we consult with the nurse if we were not sure how to proceed and we didn’t feel like the situation needed immediate medical attention.
2. Arrange an On Site Doctor Visit: If we felt like the nurse option would not meet our needs, there was the ability to have a doctor come directly to the resort and to our room. He could determine further steps right there without having to drag our sick child out.
3. Visit the Local Hospital: It was recommended that if we thought our son’s conditions were life threatening, we visit the local hospital. The cast member we worked with offered to arrange transportation and was more than willing to help us get our son seen quickly if needed.
Chances are that each family will feel that a different treatment option is best but knowing that there are multiple options and that you are not simply stuck not knowing what to do can be a huge source of comfort! I know it was for us.
Once You’ve Dealt with the Problem, Make the Most of the Rest of Your Trip
Thankfully, with the help of our amazing Disney cast member, we were able to figure out the best solution for our son. But since his sickness hit at the beginning of our week long trip and we found that he was weak for the remainder of our stay, we had to find solutions to make the best of it. Let me say this clearly – if you are dealing with a child who has been sick, don’t be afraid to rent a stroller. I don’t care if you think your child is too big to be in a stroller. I thought the same thing of my four year old but our stroller rental saved the remainder of our vacation. If you think you’re going to need strollers for the remainder of your trip, be sure to ask about renting your stroller for multiple days to save money. You’ll simply receive a punch card for each day you reserve it that allows you to secure a stroller at any of the parks. This allows your somewhat puny child to ride from attraction to attraction and still get to participate in the memory making fun. While you’ll no doubt wish they felt like their normal self, taking things a little slower and letting them have their Disney adventure in a stroller may be the thing that saves your much awaited vacation!
I’ll be the first to admit that our Disney vacation did not end up the way we expected it to. That first day I was heartbroken thinking that after all the time (and money) that had gone into planning this dream vacation, our little one wouldn’t even get to enjoy it. However, I’ll say that we were able (with the help of the Disney cast) to turn our lemons into lemonade and salvage an experience that while different than what we had anticipated was still amazing memorable!
So, if you’re planning a trip to the happiest place on Earth, make sure that in addition to being prepared for weather and long lines, you know exactly what to do is sickness is part of your adventure too!