by Angel Moore (Mickey's Angel)
As I get ready for my next trip to Disney World at Thanksgiving I am getting so excited! It will be so beautiful!! Christmas lights will be on at every park, The Osborne Lights with be in motion, every resort will be decorated and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party will be in full swing.
With my excitement comes a little stress and worry. Traveling for years with Arthritis, chronic pain, knee replacement and Fibromyalgia has me prepared for what to expect when traveling on a scooter in crowds. I am ready! However, having multiple back surgeries in the last year has me worried… will I be able to ride some of the rides I love?
I am not talking about the thrill rides; I gave up on those years ago. Some of the slow rides like It’s A Small World can cause pain too. I found that out before the surgery. Many of the rides like Pirates of the Caribbean start off on those little rollers that move your boat forward. It does not seem like much movement to the average traveler but with herniated discs or other back problems it can be excruciating. Some of these rides do not have warnings because they are, in comparison, very slow gentle rides. However, if you have back problems the bumping of the boat while it goes over the rollers can be painful. Keep this in mind if you have back problems.
Now, with that out of the way, here are a few hints about traveling during the holiday season:
Be prepared for huge crowds and long waits. Even if you are in a scooter or have a Guest Assistance pass you will not be moved to the front of the line. Be patient and remember that everyone is there to enjoy the holiday just like you. So when you see someone that looks frazzled give them a smile. You might brighten their day!
If you are in a scooter be prepared for constant stopping, starting, getting bumped into and sometimes fussed at for stopping short. Being in a scooter during a busy season is very hard. If you are with an elderly or disabled person that can not control a scooter well you might consider a wheelchair for the large crowds. When you are that much shorter than the crowd you get overlooked. People rushing to the next ride will often not see you and run into you. The person in front of you may stop to look at something causing you to stop suddenly. Again, the person behind you may not see you and will walk into you. Having a person on the side of you helps, so try to keep a family member next to you. I remember someone telling me that they had to put a group of people in a circle around their friend in a scooter so people would stop running into them and getting upset with the person in the scooter. You will move S L O W. You will not be able to squeeze through the crowd, you are at their mercy. Plan to leave the park a little before closing or after the crowds have cleared. Park closing is the worst time to be in the middle of the road in a scooter. People are tired, impatient and can get really frustrated with anything that gets in their way.
If you are traveling with a child with Autism or are diabetic (or have any other reason to eat on a regular schedule) please remember to bring snacks into the park with you. Again, the lines will be long and this includes all counter service restaurants. Bringing a small snack can mean the difference between a wonderful day in the park and having a child meltdown while waiting for food. For diabetics it is very important to remember your daily snacks. They are even more important in the park if you are getting more exercise than you would normally get at home.
If you suffer from anxiety or crowd phobias make sure to take any medications prescribed for you. If you are not currently on any medication but are worried about the crowds please visit your doctor before the trip. The parks can get extremely crowded, hotter (or colder) than expected, and at times can be overwhelming. But Disney is the most Magical place on earth! If you find yourself overwhelmed in the parks why not go to some of the resorts and check out the decorations. I love doing this as much as riding rides! Each resort has a unique theme and is absolutely beautiful. Have you ever been all the way around Pop Century? Go check it out; the larger than life icons will amaze you. Spend some time at the Boardwalk, there are great places to eat and shows with places to just sit and relax. Go watch the fireworks from the beach at the Polynesian or Wilderness Lodge. Go to the campfire at Fort Wilderness. Or just head back to your resort and hit the pool. All Disney pools are heated and stay open year round. There are so many things you can do to get you and the kids away from the madness of the parks.
Take it slow, remember to stay hydrated, keep snacks with you and take breaks. Keep these things in mind and have a Magical holiday season in Disney!!