Dealing with Motion Sickness on Your Disney Vacation

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Motion sickness is frequently thought of as an issue when sailing on an ocean cruise, and some Disney Cruise Line guests do indeed contend with this problem. A smaller, but not insignificant, subset of Walt Disney World guests also suffer from motion-related illness. This might be from travel on swaying transportation like the Skyliner or a bus with soft tires, from a spinning ride like the Magic Kingdom teacups or EPCOT’s Mission Space, from a roller coaster like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, or from a motion simulator attraction such as Star Tours.

Just thinking about the spinning teacup attraction makes some guests queasy.

My personal worst motion sickness experience was at a completely stationary attraction, the latest version of the film in EPCOT’s Canada pavilion. The simulated soaring over Canadian vistas had me sweating, hiding my head, and eventually running out the exit to escape the waves of nausea.

Any tendency toward motion sickness might be exacerbated by the Florida heat, an indulgence in rich or unfamiliar foods, and exhaustion from travel.

If you, or your children, are prone to motion sickness in non-vacation situations like riding in the backseat of a car, riding on a train, or while experiencing stimuli such as IMAX movies, then chances are you may experience it at Walt Disney World as well.

The good news is that there are many different ways to remediate that situation so that you can enjoy your vacation to its fullest. To have the best chance of success, practice with various methods at home, prior to your vacation, so that you know what works ahead of time.

Please note that I am not a doctor. Consult with a medical professional if your case is severe or if you have any concerns about combining motion sickness solutions with other medical issues. And of course, be particularly aware that early pregnancy can add layers of nuance to motion sickness and requires extra care with finding a solution.

Here are some solutions to consider:

  • Ginger supplements. Many brands. Widely available at drugstores and online.
  • Queasy Pops or Queasy Drops. Available at drugstores and online to soothe a queasy tummy.
  • Peppermint or spearmint essential oils. Many brands. Available at drugstores and online.
  • Seabands. Accupressure wrist band. Available at drugstores and online.
  • Motion Sickness eyeglasses. Available from Boarding Glasses and other online sources.
  • Electrical stimulation bands. Available from Reliefbands.
  • Meclizine Hydrochloride. A common brand name is Bonine. Widely available at drugstores and online.
  • Dimenhydrinate. A common brand name is Dramamine. Widely available at drugstores and online.
  • Scopalamine. A patch, worn behind the ear. Must be prescribed by a doctor. Known to have a number of side effects; speak with your prescriber about this.

In addition to finding solutions, there are a number of things you can do to help derail motion sickness before it starts. These include:

  • Eat lightly. If eating lightly isn’t an option during your entire vacation because, well, vacation, try to arrange for your high-motion activities to take place early in the day, prior to any big meals.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Take an antacid. Tums and Zantac are popular brands.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks.
  • Wear loose clothing that does not compress your abdomen.
  • Wash your hands often. Intestinal upset can start with germ-based problems that become exacerbated with motion.

What are your favorite motion sickness remedies? Which Disney experiences do you find most problematic? Let us know!

 

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

9 thoughts on “Dealing with Motion Sickness on Your Disney Vacation

  • July 6, 2021 at 10:04 am
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    Star Tours is the WORST. I just toured Studios and Animal Kingdom, rode every attraction, and this is the only one I would never ever ride again. Flight of Passage made me a bit queasy, but was worth it. But Star Tours should absolutely come with a warning and a barf bag.

    Reply
  • July 6, 2021 at 10:13 am
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    I go on Rock n Rollercoaster, the flight simulator rides and all of the Mountain rides. But the only one I avoid is the Teacups. Oddly enough, I have no problem on Orange Mission Space. It might have to do with being in an enclosed area rather than the large outdoors area of the Teacup ride, but I’m not sure.

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    • July 6, 2021 at 1:17 pm
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      Interesting. I can mostly handle the teacups, but I find the enclosed nature of Mission Space problematic even before it starts spinning, so that’s a giant no for me.

      Reply
  • July 6, 2021 at 11:46 am
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    After being almost unable to walk after riding the Teacups with my teenage son, I vowed never to ride them again with anyone big enough to control the spin! I don’t ride Mission Space Orange either, but everything else is OK.

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    • July 6, 2021 at 11:59 am
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      100% agree with teacups and Mission Orange. Thanks for a super helpful article Erin! Both I and and my son get motion sickness, and this article included several tips I hadn’t known about before.

      Reply
    • July 6, 2021 at 1:18 pm
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      You make a good point about control. Sometimes even fast spinning is OK if you’re the one controlling it – but if you’re at the mercy of someone else, watch out.

      Reply
  • July 6, 2021 at 9:24 pm
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    I agree that Star Tours is the worst. My daughters, who do not suffer from motion sickness, agree with me on this one. I don’t think it is so much the jerky motion but the high temperature inside our capsule made it easy to feel rather nauseous by the end of the ride.

    Reply
  • July 6, 2021 at 9:53 pm
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    My savior has been Bonine tablets. Taking just one pill in the morning before heading out to the parks keeps my free of nausea the entire day, nor does it make me sleepy. Wouldn’t travel without ’em.

    Reply
  • July 7, 2021 at 12:24 am
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    If you have seasonal allergies, making sure that they’re well controlled in advance of your visit can really help a lot. Bonine and dramamine are both antihistamines, and other antihistamines of their era such as chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) are also effective against motion sickness. More than that, the sinus congestion associated with seasonal allergies can affect your vestibular system and make you more prone to motion sickness.

    If you have low-level congestion that you normally wouldn’t medicate, starting a loraditine (Claritin) or cetirizine (Zyrtec) regimen a couple of weeks in advance to make sure everything is clear can work well, and these second-generation antihistamines don’t tend to make you as sleepy as the first-generation ones do. Just be aware that while this strategy might keep you from needing to take one of those first-generation antihistamines, if you find yourself nauseous in the parks the older drugs are what you’ll need to turn to because differences in the mechanism of action mean that Claritin and Loratidine are great “maintenance” drugs but they won’t do anything for an “acute attack”.

    Reply

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