Good Morning readers! Today’s blog post is coming to you from what many people consider the “Happiest Place on Earth”… Disney World!
When preparing for our trip here, my biggest concern was Will I overheat at Disney, after being on an airplane, and after walking around all day, in the sun, in 100 degree weather, at a different altitude than my body is used to in Minnesota?
After some diligent Google searching, I found that Minnesota is 2,301 feet above sea level and that Florida is only 345 feet above sea level. Luckily, people with Epilepsy have on average a significantly lower number of seizures at lower elevations, and so the higher elevation they climb the more likely they would be to have a seizure.
Finding that statistic greatly reduced my anxiety regarding an elevation-induced seizure. But there was still the heat, the sun, and the exhaustion to consider. In the past, while taking Topamax, my body would overheat simply from climbing up a small staircase. Today, I am no longer taking Topamax and have switched to Lamotrigine. In addition to warding off seizures and helping to improve my overall health, the Lamotrigine greatly reduced the frequency of times I find myself overheating. However, it does still happen occasionally, and I wanted to be over prepared in this area before heading to the Happiest Place on Earth!
After much deliberating at home and plenty of Google searching, here are the 4 main steps that I took to help stay cool and seizure free at Disney:
1. Meal Plan strategy for consistent nutrition and hydration
Many Disney hotels offer a Meal Plan dining option with your room package. We are staying at All Star Music & decided to include the meal plan into our package. This allows us to eat essentially for free at over 100 different restaurants/café’s all around the Disney parks & property (this includes inside other hotels and at Disney Springs shopping center!). One main benefit of this meal plan is the healthy options they offer; this includes whole grain muffins, fruits, vegetables, milk, gluten free options, and many others. These foods that our bodies crave in order to stay seizure free are many times not available at theme parks and other attractions. The meal plan dining option allows you to pick your entrée and then add a snack. So for example if you picked scrambled eggs with whole grain toast, you could include a banana as a snack to throw in your backpack and bring with you to the park. VERY convenient! (And yes, at bag check when entering the park, you are allowed to bring snacks inside). The other benefit of this meal plan is that every member of your party gets a re-fillable Disney mug (this can be filled at any of the 100+ dining plan locations). After using our mugs, we have been filling them with ice so that we have cold water to help ward off any potential overheating while walking around the parks.
2. Sun protection for your head!
The second way I am staying cool in Disney is by wearing a sun hat! The one I am wearing was found in the clearance bin at Target; it hardly cost anything but it works wonders! An excess amount of sun on our scalp, face, shoulders, and neck can be a major contributor to overheating. So I would highly recommend finding an inexpensive baseball hat or sun hat to help keep you cool under the Florida sun! Here is a photo of me, with my backpack & sun hat, ready to take on the Disney Parks
3. Plan your walking route to allow alternate inside/outside while not missing any attractions!
Another way to stay cool at the Disney parks is to take time to plan your walking route. Almost every single restaurant, café, candy shop, and gift shop in the parks has air conditioning turned on; and many of them all connect to each other inside. So plan to walk outside for a bit, then head into the A.C. and take your time cooling off while you shop for souvenirs. Many of the ride queues also have air conditioning, so if you want to hop on It’s A Small World, you can soak up some A.C. and not have to worry about getting on a ride that will jostle you around or potentially hit your head. I have been on at least 10 different rides so far, and all of them were Epilepsy-friendly.
4. Cooling Towels
The fourth and final way that we are staying cool at Disney is by using Cool Towels. We found ours on Amazon for around $6. They come in many colors and are very easy to use! A tip we received when purchasing them was to be sure you pre-wash them before ever using them. I put a color guard sheet in our washer to see how much of the color comes out during that pre-wash and was very glad I did! The color guard sheet was completely green (our towels are lime green & yellow). Once you have pre-washed your Cool Towel, hang or lay it flat to dry. After that it is ready to use; simply get it wet, wring out the water, and snap the towel between your two hands (like a whip). It will stay wet & keep its current temperature. So that as you get warmer and warmer, the cool wet towel will help keep you from overheating. We wear ours around our necks & from time to time wipe our face with them. Trust me, you want one of these! Here is a photo of Andy modeling both his Mickey Hands & his Cool Towel
If you have any other suggestions on staying cool at Disney or anywhere else, please comment below! Thanks for reading and remember to Seize the Day!