Traveling to Walt Disney World with Asthma: Part 2, Breathing Easy on Your Travels

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In Part 1 of this series on traveling to Walt Disney World with Asthma, I covered many of the asthma triggers you might encounter in Disney World. Here, I’ll go over some specifics about where you might find these triggers, where to unwind, and how to access medical services so you’ll have everything you need for an enjoyable and stress-free Disney travel experience.

Hotels, Restaurants and Transportation

Since many people’s first moments at Disney World are at their resort hotel or a restaurant, let’s take a closer look at some possible asthma problem areas at these locations. Most modern hotels are keen on accommodating many types of allergies and sensitivities, so as I mentioned in Part 1, speak up if there is anything the staff can do to make your stay a safer one.

Some common hotel asthma suspects include cleaning and pool chemicals as well as certain scents. If these are bothersome to you or your travel party, request at check-in that they clean your room with natural cleansers, learn how pools and waterparks are maintained, and find out what scents might be found throughout the property.

Likewise, common asthma-related food allergens are among the most prevalent food allergies, and restaurant menus throughout Walt Disney World provide numerous allergy-friendly options for anyone who requires them.

The emissions from transportation vehicles, such as airplanes, buses, and boats, can also present some troublesome odors. If this is the case for you or your travel companions, just plan ahead of time which you will utilize and which to avoid.

Theme Parks

The theme parks are the other significant area at Walt Disney World where asthmatics need to be on the lookout. For example, Disney uses water, scents, and smoke to make for more immersive ride and entertainment experiences. Here is a list of some of the attractions and shows to watch out for if smells or scents are problematic for you:

Magic Kingdom

  • Casey Junior Splash ‘N’ Soak Station

  • It’s a small world

  • Liberty Square Riverboat

  • Jungle Cruise

  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic

  • Pirates of the Caribbean

  • Splash Mountain

  • Tomorrowland Speedway

  • Tom Sawyer Island

  • Walt Disney World Railroad (currently closed)

EPCOT

  • Journey Into Imagination with Figment

  • Living with the Land

  • Mexico: Grand Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros

  • Norway: Frozen Ever After

  • Soarin’ Around the World

  • Spaceship Earth

  • World Showcase country pavilions (shops and food aromas, etc.)

Hollywood Studios

  • Fantasmic (temporarily unavailable)

  • MuppetVision 3D

  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (temporarily unavailable)

Animal Kingdom

  • Avatar Flight of Passage

  • Conservation Station

  • DINOSAUR

  • Discovery Island Trails

  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug!

  • Kali River Rapids

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris

  • Maharajah Jungle Trek

  • Na’vi River Journey

  • Gorilla Falls Exploration Trails

In addition, fireworks shows (once they return) emit smoke and other odors that can bother those with asthma.

Plants and Animals

Disney is known for doing some amazing things with plants and animals. From topiaries and flower gardens to wild animal exhibits and petting zoos, living matter can make for great visuals, but can be a problem for asthmatics. If these things are no-gos for your travel party, you might skip certain areas of Animal Kingdom, avoid the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, forego that horseback riding lesson, or plan to spend more time on indoor rides, shows, or exhibits.

Pluto Topiary in Future World at 2021 EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival

Stress

One final trigger you may want to prepare for can be the hardest to anticipate – stress. You might be saying to yourself, “Disney World? Stressful?” You bet. If you’ve invested loads of time and money planning for the perfect Walt Disney World trip, you’ve got a lot to lose. So if things don’t go quite as you expect, the stress and disappointment can set off anyone, and especially someone with asthma.

Take It Easy

Heat, strenuous physical activity, crowds, and the pressure of trying to achieve a lot are certainly enough to cause a stress-induced asthma attack. My suggestions for anyone who asks are these —

  1. Determine your must-dos and accept that you won’t get to everything!

  2. Be prepared to go with the flow even if things get off track.

  3. Breathe. (Know where you can take breaks when you need to.)

Here are my favorite chill-out spots at Walt Disney World:

Magic Kingdom

  • Storybook Circus Tent – shade, charging outlets, seating

  • Tomorrowland Terrace – quiet, food and beverage, shaded, castle views

EPCOT

  • Japan Pavilion outside Katsura Grill – serene, views, foods and beverage, relaxing music

  • Morocco, America, and China Pavilion Galleries – AC, quiet, seating, exhibits

Hollywood Studios

  • Walt Disney Presents – AC, relaxing audio, exhibits, seating in adjacent theater

  • Echo Lake by Hollywood Boulevard – picnic tables with umbrellas, benches, drink stand

Animal Kingdom

  • Discovery Island Trails – quiet, shaded, seating near Tree of Life

  • Nomad Lounge – relaxing music, great views, excellent food and drink, AC (inside)

Daytime resort breaks are another great respite from the parks. Head back to your hotel room for a nap, reset with a good book or show, or find a quiet corner by the pool.

It’s also helpful to know that, in addition to taking a break, there are a couple of other things known to help stave off early asthma warning signs. These include caffeine and meditative breathing. It may be worth it to give these a shot before reaching out for professional medical help.

Know Where to Get Help

So what should you do if you’ve done everything right, from planning and packing to pivoting, but asthma still rears its ugly head? Luckily, Disney cast members are experts at helping guests in times of need, and here I want to talk about getting help when asthma becomes an unavoidable reality.

First Aid Services

First aid services at Disney World are located throughout the resort, from parks and hotels to water parks and recreational facilities. First Aid Centers are staffed with nurses able to help with anything from a scraped knee to a full-blown asthma attack. You can even opt to store your nebulizer in a first aid center, where you can use it in private if needed.

First Aid Centers can be found in the following locations on Walt Disney World property:

Magic Kingdom – Between Crystal Palace and Casey’s Corner near the restrooms

EPCOT – Outside the Odyssey Center between Future World and World Showcase

Hollywood Studios – Next to Guest Relations near the park entrance

Animal Kingdom – On Discovery Island, next to Creature Comforts and across from Terra Treats

Typhoon Lagoon – Behind Leaning Palms

Blizzard Beach – Beside Lottawatta Lodge

If you’re having an emergency and can’t get to a First Aid Center, Disney advises guests to alert the closest cast member so they can contact Reedy Creek Emergency Services. Reedy Creek sends staffed medical assistance response carts to assess your situation, provide treatment and alert an ambulance if necessary. Disney Resort Hotels also offer in-room medical services available simply by calling the front desk. And of course you can always call 911 from anywhere on Walt Disney property.

Nearby Medical Facilities

Per the Walt Disney World website, AdventHealth Centra Care Walk-in Urgent Care Center at Lake Buena Vista is open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Other AdventHealth urgent care locations are open 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Complimentary transportation to the AdventHealth urgent care locations is available by calling 407-934-2273.

Additional nearby urgent care centers include:

There are also several well-regarded medical facilities within a matter of miles of Walt Disney World ready to help with asthma-related issues:

(Closest to Walt Disney World)

There also will be a new emergency room and health facility coming to the Flamingo Crossings area just outside Walt Disney World soon, in partnership with Walt Disney World and AdventHealth.

(20-30 minutes from Walt Disney World)

Other medical options include telehealth and on-call doctors. Check with your insurance provider in advance to see if you’re in-network with any of the popular tele-health providers, or consider the Disney-recommended Doctors On Call, which will send a doctor to your resort to provide in-room care. Doctors On Call: 407-399-3627 /  www.doctorsoncallservice.com/.

In the end, everyone’s asthma experience is unique, so the answer to taking a successful trip to Disney World with asthma will vary from person to person. Modern knowledge and therapies should grant a sense of safety for those with the condition, knowing that fun and enjoyable travels are a likely reality. Hopefully you’ve found the information in this series to be both helpful and encouraging, regardless of your individual situation. With careful preparation and attention to environmental factors, you can breathe easy knowing you can effectively manage your asthma in the Most Magical Place on Earth!

Have any questions or comments? Any recommendations about what did or didn’t work for you on your trip? Let us know! 

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