What to do when your kid gets sick at Disney.

First of all, if there is some kind of emergency call 911. Don’t hesitate. Just do it. Please.

Second, if your toddler falls down and hurts themselves, like scrapes their knee. Either deal with it yourself or find a nurse at the park. They have them, that’s what they do. Use them.

And third, if your child’s situation falls somewhere in between, well than you have some decisions to make. None of them are easy. Most will cost you money. It’s a shame that we have to think about money in these situations but we do, don’t we? Healthcare isn’t free, is it? Hrmpf.

In our situation we had a 2 year old with a ear infection and some asthma (undiagnosed) issues and a 6 year old that woke up with a 103 degree fever the first morning we were there.

You have some options about how to get your kid some help. You can:

  • Go to Urgent Care
  • Go to the Emergency Room
  • Use Docs on Call – they come to your hotel
  • Call your own Pediatrician – in almost every case your doc is going to tell you to use one of the above services. Most pediatricians will NOT prescribe anything for a patient they have not seen. Which is hugely frustrating, but also kind of important. If your kid is sick get them seen by a doctor.

In the first three cases your hotel will have the information that you need. You’ll have to decide what you think your insurance will cover and what you think you’ll have to pay out of pocket and make your choice. If you don’t have a car, the urgent care we used had a free shuttle which was very convenient. A taxi would be necessary for the ER trip, the front desk can get you one.

If you bought trip insurance you may just want to bail. We didn’t, so we couldn’t. It would have cost us a ton of money to change the flights meanwhile losing the money we already spent. Although for a few minutes the thought crossed my mind.

Now that you’ve taken care of the physical part here’s the other part – the mental part. The thing about having sick kids at Disney or on any vacation is that you’re going to need to get over yourself and right quick. It is not your kid’s fault they got sick, they have not ruined anything. If you breathe a moment of that to them you are an awful person. That said, I know you’re upset. You spent a lot of money, you had expectations. I get it. Have a hissy fit in the bathroom. Give yourself a good cry in the shower. Then tend to your sickies and make sure that those that are well are still having fun.

We had to slow down. We spent lazy mornings in the hotel while assessing everyones wellness, or illness as the case was. We lingered longer over lunches. Said yes more often. Ice cream in the morning? Yes. Funny Mickey wizrd hat that costs waaay too much? Yes.We went to the pool and to the arcade instead of going to the parks on a couple of days. We spent more time just being with them and watching them.

Because they were sick I had my eyes trained on them to be sure that they were feeling ok. In that observation, I know I was able to see things I would have missed otherwise. I would have been so focused on getting us from place to place and thinking “what’s next?”.

My favorite picture from our trip is this one:

Hollywood Studios Map Disney World

I love it because we had just spent a nice leisurely time at breakfast. My guy is feeling better, but still not at his best. But he’s so excited. He is pouring over the map rapidly talking about where we should go. I think had he been well I may have shushed him and told him I had it all worked out and to hurry up that the bus was coming. Instead, I listened to him and discussed his ideas. I saw the light and the colors and my beautiful boy so happy and snapped a photo.

I know there is a place for planning out your disney trip, and I’m happy to talk about that with anyone who will listen. I have advice and ideas and real life knowledge about how to have a great Disney World trip. The fact that I can actually say our trip to Disney was great even with all the evidence that it really was not, says something. Sometimes the best laid plans… :-)

I am grateful that our first real family vacation unfolded the way it did. I am not grateful for sick kids, but everyone was, and is, OK. There was some Disney Magic around. It turned out fine. It taught us how we travelled as a family, how we face adversity, how we cope. We will never vacation the way I thought we would again. And for my family, that’s ok.

If you presently have a sick kid on vacation, listen to me, it’s gonna be ok. Make the memories as they come to you. Don’t force it. Take it easy.
You’ll laugh about it someday. Promise.

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