Tips for Diabetics at Disney
Make sure that all of your medical supplies are packed in your carry on. You want to have everything with you in case there is a delay or your flight is canceled. Luggage can also get hot or cold in the belly of a plane. Make sure that any prescription has the proper label, and that the name matches the name on the ticket.
At the Resort
If you’re staying on Walt Disney World property, all rooms have a full or mini-fridge. Unfortunately, the mini-fridges don’t have a freezer. You can purchase ice packs and ask at the front desk if they will freeze them for you for medical reasons. Make sure your name is on them. If you’re staying off property, you will want to check when you book if there will be a refrigerator with a freezer in your room. If there isn’t, ask what the procedure is for keeping medical supplies cool.
At the Parks
Wear a medical alert bracelet or other identifying item. Make sure that you have everything that you need, plus a little bit extra. Many people will pack a small cooler with an ice pack or two for insulin. Do not underestimate the Florida heat and the sun. (When you arrive tell the Security Cast Member that it’s medical supplies and you will not have a problem.) Pack sunscreen and a hat as well. Wear shoes that are broken in, you don’t want to risk blisters. Read our post on surviving the heat at Walt Disney World.
The First Aid Centers at WDW offer a number of services that diabetic family may need. They will store your insulin and keep it safe and cool. That is a big plus on those hot summer days when it may overheat in the sun and go bad. Also, First Aid Centers will take and properly dispose of any used sharps.
Pace yourself. Stay hydrated. Take a break from time to time. Test when you need to. Remember that the heat and your activity could change your insulin needs. There is no reason why you can’t enjoy everything, as long as your doctor gave you clearance. If you start to feel faint and can’t make it to First Aid, tell the nearest Cast Member. He or she will either be able to help, or will get someone else immediately.
Each theme park and water park has a First Aid facility. Obviously the theme parks have larger facilities.
Check out our guide to the First Aid and Baby Care Centers.
Disabilities Access Service (DAS) Card
Guests with Diabetes do qualify for the DAS card. Please see our DAS FAQs for information about how to get this pass.
Advanced Dining Reservations
When making restaurant reservations, there is a place for “special dietary requests”. Pick “other”. At Table Service Restaurants, if you marked “other” on your reservation, you’ll be asked what your dining need is when you check in. If you have any questions, ask to speak to the chef. Most chefs are wonderful when it comes to dietary restrictions. You can also talk to a chef about carb counts.
Quick Service Restaurants
At many Quick Service Restaurants a no sugar added option will be on the menu. If there isn’t one listed, ask when you order, there could be something off menu. If you are worried about ingredients or have questions about a food item, ask to see the ingredients binder. Give yourself extra time, because special dining requests usually take longer.
If you’re still worried, you can email special diets at Special.Diets@DisneyWorld.com.
Sugar Free Treats
Adrenaline can be released on thrill rides, which is a hormone that can make the body more resistant to insulin, so be sure to check your blood sugar after riding the more exciting attractions.
Certain rides can tamper with pump and CGM function, although not all T1Ds have had this experience. To be on the safe side, however, many people with Type 1 completely disconnect from their pumps while on thrill rides, or opt to use insulin pens for the day.
Here are the thrill rides at Walt Disney World that can induce adrenaline and/or could warrant disconnecting from your pump!
- Tower of Terror
- Rockin’ Roller Coaster
- Test Track
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Space Mountain
- Kali River Rapids (if the pump is not waterproof)
- Pandora: Flight of Passage
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Smuggler’s Run
- Star Tours