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A Vacation DIS-aster: First Aid and Car Trouble

 

Mishaps and misfortunes can strike at any time while on vacation, but at Walt Disney World, these events do not have to turn into DIS-asters with the help of outstanding Cast Members, intelligent infrastructure and a little bit of pixie dust.  This week on the WDW Radio Blog, read about four such instances from members of our Blog Team.


 

As much thought and planning that goes into a Walt Disney World vacation, anything unexpected can throw a wrench into that thoughtfulness. Certainly there can be room for spontaneity—some of my favorite moments in the parks have stemmed from quick, on-the-spot decisions and surprising magic moments—but what about when things take a turn from being unexpected to inconvenient? When real trouble arises that not just distorts preparations for a day in a theme park, but threatens the safety of you and your family? Today we’re taking a look at two instances in which I found myself in situations that did just that. They’re by no means rock bottom stories (they could have been much worse, and I’m thankful they weren’t), but they were nonetheless hassles that I didn’t plan on, found myself in the middle of, and had to figure out how to solve them when I should’ve been enjoying a magical Disney day. What do you do when dis-aster strikes? Turns out, solutions are in plain sight, but it’s important to know where to find them.

 

Car Trouble

Even though the parks are magical places, it’s no secret that everyone is glad to hit the hay at the end of a long day. So, you can imagine, how after a fun but exhausting evening in Epcot (staying until closing and enjoying IllumiNations), my stomach dropped after I had made the long trek to my car only to find that it wouldn’t crank. Not to fear, though, because just like “There’s an app for that,” Disney is one step ahead of you and has thought of a solution to any issue you may run into.

I flagged down some parking lot Cast Members as they dropped off guests via tram and asked them where I might find the Security van. The parking lot at every Disney theme park has at least one Security van roaming the lot not just to ensure safety, but to assist with vehicle trouble. It took a while to track down where the van was, but once I did, the Security Cast Members were more than happy to help diagnose the problem. We tried seemingly everything (try to turn car off/on, jump start, chicken dance), but nothing worked. Ultimately, I wound up getting the car towed to a dealership, took an Uber home (I was local at the time), and went to the dealer the next day only to find the problem had been my key all along. Swell! Anyway. The point is that in terms of Disney’s side of things, I had an unexpected problem, and I wasn’t left alone trying to solve it by myself. Traversing an empty Epcot parking lot attempting to find my Uber is a different thing altogether, but some things are so creepy you just can’t retell them, so let’s move on to our next story.

 

First Aid

This one is a little more involved. Last summer, two of my friends and I were enjoying a wonderful day in Magic Kingdom. I hadn’t seen either of them in several months. What better place than here to not just catch up, but make new memories? We were having great fun, until it came time to re-apply sunscreen mid-afternoon. It should go without saying, but low and behold, apparently it still should have been said to me: Don’t rub an itch on both your eyelids with your hands immediately after you’ve applied sunblock lotion. DIS-aster! Things were fine at first—a mild burning persisted that was irritating, but manageable. The longer the day wore on, though, the worse the burning became, and around 9 PM, I realized I could no longer hold my eyes open. I needed First Aid.

There is a First Aid Center located in every Disney theme park, and it’s wise to know where it is before your arrival because you just never know if you’ll need to pay a visit. At each center, you’ll find friendly Cast Members who are ready to welcome and help you. It’s important to remember, though, that First Aid is not a doctor’s office nor is it a hospital. If you have a serious medical emergency, find the nearest Cast Member and call 911. All Cast Members are trained to anticipate medical emergencies. If something urgent is happening, by all means don’t try to make it to First Aid to get it settled.

That being said, First Aid exists for a multitude of purposes, whether trivial or severe. Across my family’s Disney trips, we’ve been to First Aid here and there, all under different circumstances. One time I broke out in hives at Epcot thanks to an allergy I was unaware I had at the time, and First Aid gave me complimentary cream to hold me over until I could leave the park and get to the doctor’s office. (I lived in Orlando at the time, so this was not a huge deal.) Another time, a friend with anxiety began to have a panic attack amidst the huge fireworks crowd. First Aid Cast Members calmed him down and gave him a quiet area with lots of open space away from people to sit calmly until the crowds outside dissipated. Additionally, First Aid functions as the place where mothers with infants and toddlers can come to seek refuge and air-conditioning, whether for health reasons or to simply rest while the little ones play with toys for a while. First Aid is also the place to head toward regarding lost children.

That night with my eyes, the situation was severe in the sense that I truly couldn’t open my eyes, and therefore couldn’t walk anywhere without assistance. However, it was trivial in the sense that I wasn’t in any real danger. When I reached the point of not being able to open my eyes anymore, it was ok if it wasn’t treated right there that very second. Nothing dangerous was going to happen between then and the time it took to walk to First Aid. 911 wasn’t necessary.

Of course, it was just about the worst time of day to try to navigate to First AidMagic Kingdom‘s First Aid Center is located between Crystal Palace and Casey’s Corner, tucked in an unsuspecting corner near restrooms and a beautiful fountain. I knew where it was, and I also knew that where I currently stood—the Tomorrowland bridge—and was what currently happening—Main Street Electrical Parade—meant I was about to brave the outrageous (if not comical) challenge of holding on for dear life to my friend’s shoulder (a Disney newbie) as he lead the charge through a sardined Main Street, U.S.A as the parade concluded, me trailing behind with my eyes completely shut and attempting to direct us. “Where are we now? What are you looking at?” “Ummm…” It’s quite a story now, but in the moment it was not fun.

Once inside First Aid, you would’ve never known it was jam-packed, madhouse crazytown outside. The environment was clean and peaceful, and the Cast Members were patient and accommodating. They flushed out my eyes several times, provided a bed for me to lay down in for a good half-hour while my eyes relaxed, and they even cleaned my glasses while I rested. It was such a pleasant experience, and even though what happened definitely was undesirable, the Cast Members prevented it from escalating into something much worse, and made me feel that I was in great hands with them. Upon leaving, my eyes weren’t completely healed and getting back to the resort that night is still a tremendous blur, but a good night’s sleep cleared everything up, and First Aid had been a tremendous help in being a-ok again.

Would I have wanted either of these situations to happen? Of course not. However, in both circumstances (and in many others) systems are in place, issues are anticipated, and Cast Members are always present to assist guests in whatever way possible. It’s that excellence Disney is known for.

 

(Images belong to author’s personal collection.)

 

Have you ever had car issues or had to visit First Aid at a Disney park?

 

To learn more about Blake and read his recent posts for WDW Radio, visit his author page by clicking the link on his name at the top of this post.