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Destination Disney: Some Tips and Tricks

Friday, July 8, 2011

As you may know, we recently spent at week at Disney World in Florida!

It was sooooooo fun!  Crazy, yes. (read more about that here) But fun! 

I've put together a little list of tips and tricks that you might find useful if you are planning a trip!  Of course, as with everything, this is just my opinion and what worked for us.  You may disagree.  That's cool.  This is just what I learned from our experience!

The Medical Assistance Pass:
We went to guest services inside the park at Magic Kingdom to ask for our pass.  It was about 9:30ish.  No one was in there.  We spoke to a gentleman while his coworkers all stood there watching.  This was probably not helpful to our cause.  He told us that all we needed was a shade pass and the ability to wait in the shade for rides.  That was NOT what we wanted.  But I didn't argue with him.  We took it and went on our way.

We rode a few things that morning - Dumbo, Small World, Magic Carpets, Jungle Cruise, Carousel...  other than Dumbo lines were short.  But it was HOT.  I'm talking upper 90's with a heat index over 105 degrees.  We were all sweating like crazy.  Sweets just does not handle the heat well.  She flushes and gets clammy...  We were making a point of drinking a lot but by noonish it was unbearable.  She was tired and hot.  Her numbers were high.  I was worried about the insulin.  She said she had a headache and didn't feel good.  Our plan had been to go to the parks in the AM, go back to the hotel in the afternoon and then go back in the evening.  So, we left.

But on the way out, I stopped at guest services on the OUTSIDE of the Magic Kingdom.  That was where I had success the year before.  I picked her up - looking all sweaty and miserable - and carried her up to the window.  I explained to the man the pass we had gotten that morning but that I felt it was not working for us.  I told him that she was high and overheated and I was worried that her insulin had gone bad.  I explained that while shade is nice, it does not help the heat and humidity.  What worked for us last year was riding something, then going into air conditioning for a few minutes on our way to the next ride.  If we have to stand in long lines, we can't do that.  He didn't even really need me to go into all that - he just gave us the alternate entrance stamp on our pass so that we could go on the exit of the ride.  YAY!  We honestly did not need to use it a LOT.  But when necessary, we DID use it.  And it really helped.

My advice is to go to guest services OUTSIDE of MK.  Explain what heat does and how the alternate entrance would help you!

I got this SUPER AWESOME idea from Misty at Life is Like a Box of Chocolates!  When they went to Disney, she made labels with "If Lost, Please call my parents at 555-1234".  Ally's also said "I have Type 1 Diabetes.  I am wearing an insulin pump."

I, of course, in the hustle and bustle of getting ready FORGOT to do this!  Crap on a stick!  BUT.... I figured out something else.

Sweets wears a Medical Alert bracelet.  It has our cell number on it and it tells that she has Type 1.  So, I told her that if she got separated from us, she was to go to a worker or a Mommy with kids and show them her bracelet! 

First Aide:
The parks all have special maps for guests with special needs.  They show you everything you need to know!  Including first aide stations.  This can be helpful if you should need to do a shot or site change and would like some privacy.

It was hot. HOT.  We made sure she had on very light colored, cool clothing as much as possible.  We had one of those sprayer fans that helped cool her off.  We also had WATER.  We bought a case at the grocery on the way to the hotel.  I'm amazed at how much water you need when it's that hot.  Pretty much take what you THINK you need and double it!

We bought a stroller for our trip.  Sweets is too big for an umbrella stroller.  But we wanted one that she could easily get in and out of.  And one that would fold up easily for travel on the airplane and on Disney buses.  We bought this stroller.  We figured that it would cost the same as renting one each day and then we'd have it forever.  It has a nice basket underneath and we bought an extra bag/cup holder which worked well.

Diabetes Bag:
What worked for us was just using our regular diabetes bag (the one from Too Sweet Boutique) and throwing it into our backpack.  We took one bag that we had bought at Disney the year before and the Cinch Sack from Thirty One.  We used both - depending on where we were going and who would be carrying it.  Most of the time we hung it on the stroller handlebars.  We just threw in extra juice boxes and water bottles, etc.  I wanted to make sure we had juice boxes and snacks so we wouldnt have to fight a line if we needed to treat a low.  We used the juicy juice boxes but Gerber sells these that are close to 15g (13?  14?  I can't remember) and are a little sturdier if you're worried about them getting crushed.  Same goes for snacks.  I packed an individual bowl of cereal because of it's sturdiness.  Another idea would be to use small Rubbermaid containers to hold things that you don't want crunched up.

J made a wonderful plan for food!  We ate breakfast in the room most mornings.  Then he made reservations for us at a restaurant in the park we would be going to that day.  We ate around noon.  It was a nice way to go in and cool off and eat decent food.  Disney has a good kids menu at all restaurants.  I loved the grapes that you could get with most meals.  Packaged with carb count!  SCORE!  That was our big meal of the day.  For dinner, we just did whaterver.  Sometimes we ate at the hotel in the sandwich shop.  Sometimes we grabbed a bite in a park.  We did NOT buy snacks at the parks.  This was not necessarily a plan - but we just didn't need to with our daily schedule.  We had bought snacks at the grocery on the way to the hotel (we used a car service that picked us up at the airport, stopped at a grocery, and then took us to the hotel) and Sweets had an afternoon snack in the room.

We did not do the pin thing.  But I got this advice from a friend.  Buy pins on ebay.  You can find them cheap.  Then you have pins to take with you to trade.  Saves some bucks.

You can also read about some other Disney trips that some of my fellow D Mamas have taken...
Nicole at The We Cara Lot Blog
Misty at Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Meri at Our Diabetic Life

That's really all I've got!  BUT... I know someone who is a Disney EXPERT!

Robyn Adams is an Authorized Disney Destination Planner!  She also has a T1 son and and T1 husband!  She has been doing Disney with Diabetes for YEARS!  And she has LOTS of great tips and tricks!  She can help you plan a vacation that will meet all of your needs!  She has access to food information, tips to protect your kiddos, and more.

Here is what she writes:
My name is Robyn and I reside in Woodstock, Ga with my husband, son, and many furry critters (and a few scaley ones).  It all started when my son was 3 and my sister took us with her family to Walt Disney World.  From that moment I was hooked.  I already had a love for Disney when I worked for the Disney Store in college.  However, it wasn't until that trip that I developed a deep passion.  Since then, my family has taken several trips a year.  I have made it my goal to learn as much as I can about traveling to the parks.  From budgeting, to dining reservations, to planning grand adventures for large parties with a multiple age range of children, I have experienced a lot.  I have even taken advantage of using the Disney Florist to decorate our room for my son's 7th birthday - such a wonderful treat!  

Now I have been able to take that knowledge and passion, and become a Disney Destination Travel Planner.  I couldn't be more excited.  I have graduated from the College of Knowledge.  Constantly, I am reading and researching new and exciting ways to take advantage of the most MAGICAL PLACE ON EARTH!  I love to be involved with others as they plan their Disney trips.  I thoroughly enjoy helping everyone that I can in planning their magical adventure. 

The services that I offer in planning a Disney vacation are completely FREE!  I can assist with budgeting, room selection, dining reservations (with attention to food allergies and restrictions), tours, "grand gatherings", transportation services, and personal itineraries.  My family has stayed at every resort level within the park and I have learned the benefits and experiences that they offer.  Whether you are traveling to the parks, going on a cruise or going on one of Disney's amazing Adventures - I can help with it all.  It is my goal to be personally attentive to every detail in order for you to have the most magical vacation. 

When my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 4, I became even more aware of ways to travel to Disney.  I have learned and experienced more of what they offer and how they genuinely care for everyone that comes through their gates.  There are many tips and strategies I have gathered through the years to make our adventures flow smoothly with few bumps. 

Please feel free to contact me and ask me anything that you need to know or are concerned about.  I know that it can be overwhelming traveling with a loved one with Diabetes or any type of special needs, but it is possible and it can be magical.  I will be happy to share with you the many things I have learned through the years and share my personal experiences. 

You can contact me at or call me toll free at 1-800-670-4312 ext 125 
So, don't just take MY advice!  Get in touch with Robyn to help make your trip Magical!

It was a CRAZY trip - but it was so incredibly fun!  We ALL are ready to go back!  I'll leave you with a few pictures from our trip....



  1. What an incredibly informative post Hallie. I love Misty's tip about the arm band...I have worried about that time and time again over the years. Especially when Joe was younger and would go into "stealth" mode.

    So glad that you guys had a fun trip.

  2. Hallei--this is such a great post. Lots of good info!

    Thanks for taking the time to write it.

    Oh! And glad you had fun! : )

  3. this is so great! Thank you for writing this and all the great tips! It makes me REALLY want to go to Disney :)

  4. Thanks for all of the great tips, Hallie! We visited Disney World June 12th-20th, so I definitely know how hot the parks were. ;) Whew! One thing I'm glad we had was a Frio (cooling) Wallet for Lance's pump. I believe that is the main reason Lance's numbers were good while we were out in that heat. The wallets are a bit bulky...but definitely worth it!

    I love your site! Keep up the great work, and THANKS!!

  5. Great tips! I totally think it depends on who you get at guest services for the passes. We got the shade and alternate entrance stamps first time from GS inside the MK. Good idea to go back though and push for more!!

  6. Awesome tips, thanks! : ) I've never stopped by Guest Services to see what they offer, you rock!
    And Robyn is free? WooHoo! : ) That is so sweet of her! : )

  7. We got our guest assistance pass just outside the park without a problem too - alternate entrance and it worked great. It's so helpful not to have to have so much anxiety about what's going to happen with a blood sugar while you wait on those long lines.

    Bennet's (from Your Diabetes May Vary) wife had a good suggestion for future trips - bring your old GAC back with you so they see what you were issued before.

    We had a great time at Epcot too without the pass. We were able to use FastPass and an iPhone app to track lines and didn't have to wait for anything.

    Thanks for the tips! You really can make Disney work even in 90+ degree heat!


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