Since our last family trip to Disney World, we found out that my Dad has COPD. Dealing with that in everyday life has been a challenge for him. But being that we are planning another family trip with my parents I thought that I would write a guide on how to go to Disney World with COPD and make it work for your family. So I’ll give you the simple answer and then we’ll develop that a little bit further as you read on.
There are two particular things that you can do to make your trip to Disney World with COPD easier. First, speak with a cast member at guest relations about Disability Access Service. Second, you can rent a wheelchair or an ECV.
Why Should I Consider COPD Issues When Going To Disney World?
You probably already know what COPD is, and that’s why you are reading this article. What you may not understand is the extreme amount of walking that takes place when you go to a Disney World park. Even for a half day at the Magic Kingdom, you will probably be walking an average of 5 or 6 miles and then there’s standing in those long lines. That’s a lot for anyone who doesn’t do that every day and it’s even more to ask of someone who has COPD.
So, I just need to get this part out of the way so that we have a clear understanding of why I’m writing this and what should be considered before deciding to get a wheelchair or an ECV or contacting guest services about Disability Access Service.
Before going any further there are some key questions you should ask yourself to determine whether or not you are at a place where you need to do any of the aforementioned.
- Are you disabled (even temporarily)? Yes.
- Do the people you are traveling with, such as your family, know you are disabled? Yes.
- Do you expect to meet anyone you know during this trip who may not know you are disabled? Probably No!
- Do you expect to meet a bunch of people who you will probably never meet again in your life? Probably yes!
- Is there any reason at all that you should care what these people think about you? Absolutely No!!
- Will using a wheelchair or ECV make for a better vacation for you and your family? Absolutely YES!
Now with that out of the way, let’s move on to what Disney World does to help guests with COPD make their vacation the best it can be.
What is the Disability Access Service at Disney World?
Some people with COPD may not think that going to Disney World for a vacation is within the realm of realistic possibilities for them. But I’m here to tell you that Disney World Guest Relations has a wonderful service called the Disability Access Service (DAS).
Basically this service is for those that can’t stand in a typical ride queue line for an extended period of time due to a disability of some kind. If you are able to use the Disability Access Service then you will receive a return time for an experience that is somewhat comparable to the current wait time for that ride or attraction.
So you just go back any time after the return time they give you. You can only do one attraction at a time, so after you finish one attraction you will get a wait time for another. It’s not a perfect system, but it can be a good option to help you or your loved one conserve energy.
Wheelchairs and ECV’s
Now I know you are probably saying to yourself “I’m not using a wheelchair or an ECV”… I would too! But if it makes your trip at least 50% more enjoyable wouldn’t you want to at least try it!? Not only that but if you are traveling with family members you want their trip to be comfortable as well. After all, no one wants to intentionally slow up their grandchild or potentially have health problems while they are at the happiest place on earth.
What we have seen is that most attractions will allow guests to wait in the queue line in a wheelchair and then transfer into the ride vehicle. They’ve even made a separate area for folks with ECV’s and wheelchairs to line up for the Skyliner Gondolas.
Other Tips For Beating COPD at Disney World
Now we realize that if you have COPD you may already know some of these tips and tricks, but we have a few reminder tips primarily due to the exhausting nature of the Disney Parks. Because let’s admit it, they can take their toll even on younger people after a day of frolicking with Minnie and Mickey.
- Help to beat the heat by drinking ice water. Not only will it feel good going down, but it will also thin out mucous for easier throat clearing.
- Don’t be afraid to cool off in the pool at your resort! Low impact aquatic workouts have been known to improve pulmonary function.
- Plan around the hottest days. For example, if you know you are going to be in Disney World for 5 days, and you know that there will be one day hotter than the others. Take that day off to hang out in the pool and go to Disney Springs that night or just relax and take the day off.
- Realize your limits. Don’t feel that you have to do everything that everyone else is doing. In fact, that’s just a tip I give families as a whole. Make time for yourself while you are at Disney.
Here is a video with more tips from someone who has traveled with COPD quite a bit!
I really hope that you found that information in this post helpful. I know that traveling to Disney World and dealing with any health condition is not fun. But luckily Disney World is one of those places that go out of their way to make sure you are accommodated to the best of their ability. You really have to give them their props on this! While you are here check out some of our other tips and tricks for planning your Disney World vacation as well.