Dealing with Injury & Illness at Walt Disney World

First aid kit for travelNobody gets sick or injured at the “Most Magical Place on Earth,” right?  If only that were true.  For a while, it seemed someone someone in my family needed medical attention every trip!  If your family falls into the same unfortunate situation, don’t fret.  There are a lot of options for you.

If you have an accident or get sick in one of the parks, Disney has first aid stations in each of the theme parks and water parks.  These aren’t just your “run of the mill” first aid stations.  According to the person with whom I spoke, while there isn’t a doctor on the premises, each one is staffed with a nurse and carries a number of over-the-counter medications and supplies for typical bumps, cuts, and bruises.  You can find them at:

  • The first aid station in Magic Kingdom theme park is located next to The Crystal Palace restaurant on Main Street, U.S.A.
  • The first aid station in Epcot theme park is at the Odyssey Center; enter from the World Showcase side.
  • The first aid station in Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park is located near Guest Services on Hollywood Boulevard.
  • The first aid station in Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park is located behind Creature Comforts in Discovery Island.
  • The first aid station in Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is located near Leaning Palms restaurant near the park entrance.
  • The first aid station in Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park is between Lottawatta Lodge and Beach Haus.

If, however, you can’t make it to a first aid station, just find your nearest cast member.  They will get help for you.

In addition to the first aid stations, if the unthinkable happens, Disney World also has hundreds of automated external defibrillators around the parks, many of them strategically placed near thrill rides and fitness centers.  Plus, the ones I saw had phones next to them so that someone can call for help immediately.

Unfortunately, all of my family’s illnesses were something for which a doctor was necessary.  My son was very prone to ear infections so, of course, his first trip at 10-months-old also included an ear infection.  It was late at night and we didn’t have a car so we called the front desk of our resort who gave us the number for Doctors on Call Service or DOCS for short.  That night, a doctor appeared at our hotel room door complete with everything he needed to diagnose our son and the first dose of antibiotics (they do not sell any medications – you have to go through a pharmacy for the full dose).  On top of it, he called a prescription in to a local pharmacy who delivered the remainder of the antibiotics to the front desk of our hotel!  Within a day or so, my son was improved enough that we could continue on with our vacation.

The only drawback with DOCS that I saw was that they don’t accept any insurance, although they do provide the appropriate receipts to submit to most insurance plans, so we had to pay for the visit upfront and then get reimbursed from our insurance company.  It worked out really well for us, but what if you don’t have an extra $200 or so to pay for the visit and wait for reimbursement?  Well, I decided to try something different on a subsequent visit.

This time, it was me who got sick and since it was a recurrent infection, I knew I needed an antibiotic.  I was looking to “save money” so I took a cab to Centra Care at 12500 South Apopka Vineland Rd.  Their hours are long – from 8am to Midnight weekdays and 8am to 8pm on weekends.  You can also make a reservation right from their website so that you’ll have no wait when you get there and while I took a cab, they do offer free transportation from most resorts.  Their staff was also very nice and treated me well.  Plus, they took my insurance so I only had to pay my regular copay.  The only drawback I could find was that while I got my prescription, I then walked to a nearby Walgreens to get it filled and then had to take a cab back to the hotel since I didn’t have a rental car.

On a more recent trip, I got sick again.  This time, I had a rental car.  That being said, what did I choose?  I have to admit… I chose DOCS.  Why?   Well, first and foremost, the convenience of it.  The last thing I wanted to do at 11pm while sick was get in the car and go to an Urgent Care and then a pharmacy when I could have a doctor come right to me lying in bed in my hotel room.  Yes, I had to pay upfront for the visit but I put it on my credit card and by the time my bill was due, I’d already gotten the reimbursement from my insurance company, meaning that my actual out-of-pocket was about the same as if I’d traveled to an Urgent Care.  The doctor came to my room late – around 11pm, and I got started on the medication that night.  In fact, by the time my delivery from the pharmacy came the next morning, I was feeling a little better and we resumed, albeit a light schedule, our fun in the parks later that day.

In addition to these two services that I have used, there are many other options.  Physician Room Service appears to be similar to Doctors on Call Service.   Buena Vista Urgent Care is also very close to Walt Disney World Property.  The Walgreens on Apopka Vineland is not only a full service pharmacy, but also has a healthcare clinic located inside.

I should also add that if something more serious arises, Florida Hospital Celebration Health has an emergency room and is not far from Walt Disney World.  I, unfortunately, had to use their services just last fall, and while I was not pleased about being ill enough to need an emergency room, I can say from first-hand experience that their staff was so friendly and they got me feeling better emotionally as well as physically.  They also post the current wait time for their emergency room right on their website.

In a nutshell, you have lots of options if the unexpected happens to get back to your Disney World fun.  In the parks, you can check out any of the first aid centers.  For something requiring a doctor, you’ll be well-served by the many local services.

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