It can happen to the best of us. And it can strike at any time. It might begin the day you fly in or while you’re waiting in line for Splash Mountain.
You get that telltale little tickle in the back of your throat that gradually gets worse and worse. Before you know it you’re aching everywhere then SO HOT then suddenly SO COLD. Yep…you got sick on your big Disney vacation.
OF COURSE, you or a loved one would get struck down on the Disney World vacation you’ve been looking forward to for months — or even years! After all, you’ve had to save so much money to get here, and now you’re at THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE ON EARTH. But instead of wishing on a star, you’re wishing you could crawl into bed and stay there for days.
But all is not as bleak as it seems! Here’s a little something we’ve picked up from getting sick at Disney World more than a few times over the decades — a bug doesn’t have you ruin your entire trip!
On a recent visit to Disney World, my son and I both got sick, had to go to Urgent Care, and had to figure out how to get prescription medication…all around managing FastPasses and dining reservations. Luckily our illnesses weren’t contagious, so we were able to keep riding rides and enjoying Disney World safely…but first we had to start feeling better!
SO, if dreaded illness strikes, what do you do? Read on for tips on how to handle when this not-so-magical occurrence happens while on vacay in Disney World.
Here’s some advice on what to do if you or a companion gets sick at Disney World.
How can you recover at Disney World?
As hard as this seems, staying back at your resort until you’re feeling better makes the most sense. Yes, you’ll miss out on some of the fun, but if you get some good rest you’ll likely start feeling better sooner than if you push yourself from rope drop to fireworks. You also want to make sure you’re not contagious before you’re around other guests to prevent others from getting sick.
Think about how many handrails, doors, counters, etc. you’d touch at Disney World on any given day. Limiting your exposure to others is likely your best course of action.
Even if your ailment isn’t contagious, like food poisoning, a migraine, or an ear infection or respiratory issues, consider hanging back to get some much-needed rest.
How can you get over-the-counter medication at Disney World?
If you start to feel unwell while you’re at one of the theme parks, locate the First Aid Center. Each Disney World park has one and you can receive free remedies for minor ailments. Also, if you find yourself feeling particularly ill, you can head to a First Aid Center where nurses on staff are equipped to monitor your condition.
Gift shops in the parks (and Disney World resorts) also stock a relatively wide selection of pain relievers, cold medicine, allergy relief, stomach relief, and other treatments.
Should you get back to your Disney World resort late at night after the gift shop has closed and you require over-the-counter medication, contact the front desk and a Cast Member will usually be able to sell you what you need to feel better.
How can you get prescription medication at Disney World?
For ailments requiring a prescription from a physician, there are several options that you can download from the App Store to have a “virtual doctor visit” without having to leave your room. Check with your insurance provider to see if they recommend one, or pay out of pocket to see a doc. We recommend finding a good virtual doctor visit app that takes your insurance before you leave. (We found a great one hosted by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan that happened to take our insurance, and we’ve used it multiple times on trips — including to get prophylactic Tamiflu for ourselves when my son was diagnosed with the flu while on a vacation).
You can also go to a hospital or urgent care center. These are plentiful in the Orlando area. You’ll usually end up at Celebration Hospital for an emergency room visit; and CentraCare is a popular urgent care solution. Again, it’s best to check with your insurance company before traveling to one of these health care facilities to see if your visit will be covered.
When we were sick in Disney World, we visited an urgent care center and received prescriptions for our medicine. Knowing we had an Epcot dining reservation that evening and wouldn’t have time to wait at a pharmacy (again, our ailments weren’t contagious), we contacted Turner Drugs, a pharmacy delivery option who we knew would accept prescriptions and deliver them to our resort for a fee (our free was $9…significant, but worth it). But what we DIDN’T KNOW is that Turner Drugs will also deliver prescriptions to the FIRST AID LOCATIONS IN THE PARKS!
This was a HUGE benefit, since we didn’t have to cancel our reservations to hang around the hotel all night for the delivery. Instead, we headed to our Epcot dining reservation and picked up our prescriptions at the First Aid location in Epcot after the meal! Super convenient! All you have to do is be sure to give the prescription order to the First Aid cast member, and they’ll pass it along to the Turner Drugs rep the next time they’re delivering. It’s genius — and so, so convenient!
Note that Turner Drugs does not work with any insurance plans. They will give you an itemized receipt and universal claim forms that you can handle with your insurance once home. So expect to pay more for meds than you would at your local pharmacy back home.
If you don’t want to use a delivery service, keep in mind you can always hop in an Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare service in the area for a quick trip to a pharmacy if you prefer to pick up prescriptions yourself. There are many pharmacies located just outside of Disney World Property a quick ride away.
How can I get other necessities without leaving my Disney World resort?
Well, technology is awesome when it comes to things like this. Apps like Instacart can help you get creature comforts you need to recover (including foods or personal care items from places such as CVS, Target, Publix, and Costco), while Amazon Prime Now, Shipt, and Walmart Delivery can also get you on the road to recovery! Just check with your resort to see if there are any fees for holding packages, and make plans for that extra cost.
How can I get better quickly?
The key to recuperating for us has been to stay in the air-conditioned comfort of our rooms (or if you must get some fresh air, at least stay out of the direct sun!) and drink lots AND LOTS of water!
You also have to keep yourself well-fed, which luckily isn’t very hard at Disney World! Most resorts offer some type of room service, or you can always use popular food delivery apps like Uber Eats, Grub Hub, DoorDash, or Postmates to bring you a meal. You can even order from some of the restaurants at Disney Springs on Postmates — they just might take a really long time to get to you!
But hey, if you’re holed up without anything better to do, why not munch on some Earl of Sandwich while you binge-watch Mickey shorts back at your room?
How can I avoid getting sick at Disney World in the first place?
If you aren’t sick (and looking to stay that way), you can take steps to prevent picking up an illness while at Disney World.
It’s hard to stick to your regular sleep schedule and normal diet on a Disney World trip with how many things there are to see, do, and EAT! But if you can keep yourself well-rested, clean, and hydrated, you’ll stand a much better chance of not getting ill.
Remember to wash your hands ALL THE TIME, but especially before eating! Carry some hand sanitizer for use on the go. We’re especially big fans of individually-wrapped towelettes to clean our hands or wipe down any surfaces we’re about to eat on. Maybe that sounds a little extreme, but trust us!
If you’re sensitive to dry air, pack a travel-size humidifier to keep your room comfortable and prevent any respiratory conditions from being exacerbated by the hotel AC blasting. Remember to rinse off before and after swimming, too!
Although you can’t fully prevent you or a family member from getting sick at Disney World, you CAN keep the good times rollin’! While you might not be used to having downtime or resort days on your Disney World vacations, you might actually find you enjoy the slower pace! Besides, being at Disney World sure beats being at work, so enjoy the time off and get. enough. REST! Your body and mind (and attitude) will be better for it.
Here’s hoping this helped YOU to prepare for your upcoming Disney World adventure. You can’t always keep illness at bay, but you can prepare for it just in case!
Have you or someone in your family ever gotten sick at Disney World before? Tell us what you did in the comments below!