TouringPlans is pleased to welcome guest author Leigh Anne Stringer.
Walt Disney World is the most magical place on Earth. But what happens when things are maybe not so magical? With all the walking, sun exposure, and extreme heat, people can expect certain ailments; blisters, sunburns, sore muscles, etc. Have you ever heard of the Disney rash? The Disney Rash is actually exercise-induced vasculitis (EIV). (NOTE: This article is not intended to diagnose any medical condition. Please seek medical attention if you are experiencing a problem)
EIV is also known as golfer’s rash and hiker’s rash. This non-contagious rash occurs due to heat, sun exposure, and prolonged walking or standing and is a frequent problem for guests at Walt Disney World. However there could be more going on to cause EIV. “Dermatologists think that EIV occurs when the temperature regulation mechanisms within the calf muscles break down. Effectively, this means that the blood pumping around a person’s body does not quite make it back to the lower extremities, causing inflammation and other symptoms” (medicalnewstoday.com). It can happen to anyone, even very active people. The “rash” itself isn’t a rash at all. Usually occurring around the ankle and calf, EIV is typically red or purple dots, welts, or patches of skin. Some people don’t feel it at all while others experience itching or burning. EIV usually goes away within a week or two.
So how do you prevent Disney Rash? A healthline.com article lists a few ways to help prevent EIV.
- Cover your ankles and legs. This could mean wearing long pants or mid-calf socks.
- Compression garments like legging, stockings, or socks could also help prevent the Disney rash. This tip is a good one if you have experienced EIV in the past.
- Drink lots of water and try to limit salt. Make use of free ice water at quick service restaurants and the water bottle stations around the parks.
- Wear moisture wicking clothing to help keep your skin cool.
- Take periodic breaks around the parks. Sitting on a bench can help, but try to get out of the heat if you can. Last July, my family used mobile order on the My Disney Experience app to get a drink and a snack from quick service restaurants like Pinocchio’s Village Haus. The wait time was short, and we could sit inside and cool off.
Sometimes the Disney rash is unavoidable no matter how many preventative measures are used. Here are some treatment options:
- Elevate your feet. Most Disney hotel rooms come with tons of pillows, but you can always ask for more if needed. Prop your feet up to help with swelling.
- Make a cold compress with a washcloth or ice packs. Keeping your legs cool can help with pain and swelling. I like to put a few damp washcloths in the mini fridge in the morning. They are nice and cool when we get back from the parks. (Honestly I do this even when no one in my family has EIV! It’s just so hot in Orlando for a midwesterner!)
- If the rash is itchy, try using a topical corticosteroid cream or antihistamine medication.
- Visit Guest Services at the parks or hotels, especially if your Disney rash is causing discomfort. This is a common Disney ailment, and they will know how to help.
- Seek medical help if you are having trouble walking or experience extreme pain.
My family has certainly experienced the Disney rash. My mom is particularly susceptible. In 2020, we had to move our spring trip to mid-July due to Disney World being closed. We prepared for the July heat as best as possible, but Mom developed a pretty wicked case of EIV. She normally gets a small rash, but this time it was large and uncomfortable for her. We used all of the treatment tips listed above, and it did help alleviate her discomfort. Hopefully, the information provided will give some guidance to those who experience the Disney rash.
Have you or someone you know experienced the Disney Rash? What works best for you to prevent or treat it? Let us know in the comments.
Images courtesy of DermNet NZ, under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 license.
Leigh Anne Stringer is a military spouse and mom of 3. Her love of Disney World started when she was 4 years old, and now she enjoys sharing her passion for Disney with her children. Leigh Anne enjoys baking, reading, playing with her kids, and planning her next Disney trip.