Preparing for Medical Issues and Emergencies
Now this may not be the most exciting part of your family travel planning, but it could be one of the most important. The last thing anyone expects or anticipates is someone getting sick or hurt while on vacation. And if this happens, it is good to be prepared and know what to do if this happens to your family. It has happened to ours, several times. Our oldest woke up at 5:00 am the morning of our flight to Walt Disney World with a 103 degree fever. We didn’t have time to see a doctor before our flight and she was actually sick for the first two days of our vacation. On our last trip to Disneyland, I got a really bad stomach virus and was sick for a good day and a half. No matter how hard we try, sickness can happen just at the wrong time. So I believe it is best to be prepared for as much as you can, and then hopefully nothing happens.
Our family packs what we call our medical/first aid bag. We try to come prepared for everything, although the last trip with stomach flu has added a few new items to our list!
While that might seem like a lot, I try not to pack boxes and instead pack things like bandaids and meltaway tablets in snack-size baggies. If needed, I write dosage on the bag or on a label on the bag. Here is a breakdown of what we bring, by category.
First Aid/Scrapes and cuts
- Wound cleaner
- Bandaids (for adults and kids)
- Wet Ones
- Sunscreen spray for kids
- Sunscreen face block for kids (I also have a small stick I take into the parks to reapply)
- Sunscreen spray for adults
- Bug spray (mostly for Orlando)
- Band-Aid brand blister bandaids – I like the large bandaids as well as the small ones for toes
- Molefoam or Moleskin
- Small scissors – to cut Molefoam or anything else needed
** You may want to pack some of these items in your park bag as blisters tend to happen while at the park.
- Children’s Pepto tablets
- Peptobismo tablets (easier than liquid)
- Senna tablets (gentle laxative)
- Imodium tablets
**Keep in mind that you will be eating a lot of different foods that are high in fat and salt, and could upset stomachs or cause constipation. That is why we come prepared for just about any tummy issues that might happen.
- Children’s Tylenol or Motrin (we bring the tablets/melts for ease) – not shown is the liquid Motrin for our toddler although the Ibuprofen tablets are for age 2 and older
- Aleve or Motrin for adults
- Sucrets or throat lozenges for kids (not pictured)
**If bringing any liquid medications, don’t forget to bring something for measuring and dispensing, like medicine cups, spoons or oral syringes for infants/toddles
Our oldest has motion sickness in cars and planes, so we get the Dramamine for Kids that is chewable. It is a little hard to find in my neck of the woods, so we order it either from Amazon or Drugstore.com. It tastes like grape and it works very well for her. If your child gets motion sickness from rides but still wants to try the attractions, this might be a good option for them. As always, talk with your pediatrician about it before giving it to your child.
Park First Aid
We keep a park first aid kit for minor scrapes. It fits into a small zipper pouch and into our park bag. This is what we pack in it:
- Wound cleaner
- Kleenex (to wipe cuts)
- Wet Ones
- Bandaids (usually kept in a baggie and I bring large rectangle as well as regular strips)
- Neosporin spray or pain-relief spray
- Blister bandaids (not in picture)
This all seems like a lot, but if you never need any of these things, you will be happy. And if you end up needing something, you will be really glad you brought it. All Disney hotels have a shop where you can buy items you may not have brought with you but their selection is limited.
If you need medical assistance while at any of the parks, Disney has a first aid center at each park that is staffed with nurses that can assist with over-the-counter medications, bandages, quick remedies and assistance. They can also store any prescription medication that needs to be refrigerated and taken during that day while you are visiting the park. Here is a list of where each first aid center is located at each park:
- Disneyland – on Main Street, near the Baby Care Center
- California Adventure – just past the Main Entrance on the left near Guest Relations
- Magic Kingdom – End of Main Street by Crystal Palace Restaurant near the Baby Care Center
- Epcot – At the Odyssey Center between Future World and World Showcase near Mexico Pavilion; next to the Baby Care Center
- Hollywood Studios- just past the Main Entrance on the left near Guest Relations and Baby Care Center
- Animal Kingdom – past Pizzafari and Discovery Island; to the left of Discovery Island before bridge into Africa
- Blizzard Beach – Located between Lottawatta Lounge and Beach Haus
- Typhoon Lagoon – Across from the Leaning Palms restaurant
If you are staying on property at Disney World, they have doctors on call 24 hours a day if you need medical assistance at the hotel. Simply call the front desk and they will use their own emergency dispatch system. Disneyland Resort has similar medical assistance at their hotels as well.
If you are visiting the Disneyland resort and need further medical assistance, there are a couple urgent care centers close by you can use:
- Western Medical Center (on Anaheim Boulevard) – (714) 533-6220
- Concentra Urgent Care (on Town Centre Place) – (714) 937-1919
In an emergency, there are a few local hospitals with Emergency Services:
- AHMC Anaheim Regional Medical Center
- UC Irvine Medical Center (ER has pediatrics)
- Children’s Hospital of Orange County (only emergency pediatric department in area)
If you are visiting the Disney World resort and need further medical assistance, Disney recommends this urgent care center:
- Florida Hospital CentraCare Walk-in Urgent Care (407) 934-2273
In an emergency, there are a few hospitals with Emergency Services for children although they aren’t very close as Disney World is so large in size. Here they are:
- Orlando Regional Medical Center
- Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children (24 hour emergency room)
- Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies (in case you or someone in your group is pregnant; they also have a specialized NICU)
- Florida Hospital Celebrations Health (no pediatrics at this location)
Another important thing to add to your first aid/medical bag is your medical insurance card. In case you have to use one of these services outside the Disney resorts, you will need this information.
As I said before, it is better to be prepared and not need any of this, then to be unprepared and have something happen. I have had trips where we never use our medical bag of goodies, and I hope for many more of those vacations.
I hope this gives you lots of ideas of things to pack for your next family vacation as well as some great resources and information to take with you to Disney. If I forgot something off my list for the medical bag, leave me a comment! I would always love suggestions on things I may have missed!
Happy & healthy travels!
To read the other parts of our Disney Travel Planning for Families Series:
Part 1: Countdown To Do
Part 2: These Feet Were Made For Walking
Part 4: Travel Backpacks for Kids
Part 5: Diaper Changing Prep 101