I’m fairly new to my diagnosis of hyper POTS and HSD, so the prospect of a Disney trip was almost as worrisome as it was exciting.
Disney is know for its long wait times, and for a POTS patients standing for even a minute can be hard. The heat can also be an enemy to dysautonomia patients, and long days don’t go well with chronic fatigue.
But all that aside, Disney can be an amazing experience. I’ve put together some tips and tricks to make Disney manageable with a chronic illness.
Most dysautonomia veterans already know what a huge different compression gear can make. Not only does it help with blood flow, but for me it provides a little bit of security for my loose joints. Even though the heat may deter you from wanting to wear it, I suggest you try. The pros may outweigh the cons. If it is just too hot, you may want to consider sleeping in them to help with recovery.
Most days the parks will open at 8 or 9am. If you can be at the park by rope drop, you are almost guaranteed an hour or two of little to no wait times. (It’s smart to save your fast passes for the afternoon/ evening as the lines are always longer)
This one is definitely the biggest. Disney has a disability access service, that works similarly to the fast pass system. If you have any sort of disability that makes it difficult or prevents you from waiting in a standard line, you can request this service.
There is no need to provide documentation or try to explain your condition. Just simply head to guest services and ask to set it up. The employee will take a picture of you, and ask for all the members of your party to scan their magic bands so that they can be linked to the pass. It’s that easy to set up, it took me less than 15 minutes. (line included)
When you get to a ride, simply tell the cast member that you want to use the disability service and they will give you a return time. This time is based on the standby line time. You can then go do something else, perhaps find a cool place to sit, and return at the assigned time. You scan your magic band and go through the fast pass line.
You also don’t have to worry about brain fog and forgetting your return time, as it shows up in your My Disney App-
It’s important to know your limits. Don’t try to push your self too hard. For me I did 4 hours in a park, sat down indoors for lunch, and then went back to the hotel for 2 hours of rest (with elevated feet) before trying to return to the park for the rest of the day.
Having time away from the heat, and with your feet up can make a huge difference. I also took the time at the resort to use my TENS machine, to lower the pain caused by walking all day.
It can be hard to get day of reservations at Disney, and a majority of the quick service restaurant seating is outdoors. Meals can offer an important respite from the heat, so I suggest making reservations in advanced. This also ensures that you are guaranteed a break in your day.
HYDRATE! HYDRATE! HYDRATE!
I cannot stress this enough. Disney allows you to bring in your own food and beverages, so if you can bring a water bottle. If you didn’t pack anything, don’t worry. Any quick service restaurant will give you a free cup of ice water if you ask, so don’t feel like you need to buy the expensive bottles. A majority of the restaurants offer powerade as a beverage option, which is a good option. I also packed propel packets and added that to a glass of water with every meal.
I was just at Disney for 5 days, and these tricks made a HUGE difference, so I hope that they can bring you some success too!