How to Avoid Migraine Attacks at Disney World
Over the last several years, I have taken my kids to Disney World many times, and every time my migraine attacks follow. Over the years, I have come up with many tips on helping avoid and abort migraine attacks. If you’ve been following me from the beginning, you know this is not the first time I have written about Disney princesses (A Whole New World? and Snow White describes me) I have loved all things, Disney since I was a child and have been so happy to see my children fall in love all the same. I plan, save, and am always eager to see how my dreams come true for my family.
Remember, these tips may not guarantee migraine prevention, but they can potentially reduce the likelihood and severity of attacks. It’s always essential to listen to your body and prioritize your well-being during your visit to Disney World or any other theme park.
Tips for Disney World and Migraine Attacks
My personal favorite thing is to ride the rides. I used to love rides but now enter them with a bit more trepidation. Now, I fear flashing lights, jerking motions, and all those other triggers that come along with my migraine attacks. I also am weary of the weather, my diet, stress, dehydration, exhaustion, and more. I always consider ride intensity when visiting the parks. Some rides and attractions at Disney World can be intense, involving sudden movements, bright lights, or 3D effects. If these elements trigger migraine for you, it may be best to skip those particular experiences or choose milder attractions.
If you are someone who gets motion sick, like me, check out my tips for motion sickness at Universal Studios they apply here too.
How do you not get sick at Disney?
Be Prepared for Migraine Attacks
Plan your day strategically: Disney World can be overwhelming with its numerous attractions, shows, and crowds. Plan your itinerary in a way that allows for breaks and avoids rushing between activities. Pace yourself and prioritize the experiences that matter most to you.
Medication and Supplements
Bring supplements and medication with you. There’s nothing worse than a migraine attack rising with no medication or way to get on top of it. There’s not enough time to ride buses back or any transportation for that matter. So I always bring my meds with me. If, however, you forget medication, over-the-counter meds are sold at the cashier’s desk. To avoid the hefty price of forgetting your medication, head over to a first aid station where you can speak to a nurse and get what you need, possibly for free.
Stay hydrated: Dehydration can be a common trigger for migraine. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially in hot weather or when engaging in physical activities. Carry a refillable water bottle and take regular hydration breaks. We rely on our refillable cups to stay hydrated throughout the day too. Ask to refill them at restaurants to walk out with. Bring drink mixes if you don’t love the taste of Florida water and get an extra kick of hydration.
Overheating is also another trigger along with dehydration. I bring portable fans for my family because everyone is hot in Florida in the summer. Colling towels are also a must.
Watch your food and drink choices. Certain foods and beverages can act as migraine triggers for some people. Be mindful of your choices, especially if you know you have specific dietary triggers. Opt for balanced meals and avoid excessive caffeine or alcohol intake. Additionally, I fill my back with snacks galore that are healthy and filling.
Wear sunglasses and a hat. Bright lights and sun glare can be migraine triggers for some people. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses with polarized lenses and a wide-brimmed hat to minimize exposure to direct sunlight. I pack hats and sunglasses for everyone while we wait in the sun. We always dine in cool darkish restaurants, window-shop, and go to shows to break up exhaustion and weather from the day.
On this last trip, I was overheating in Hollywood Studios and found a Little Mermaid show that was like 7 minutes that saved me!
Manage stress. Stress can contribute to migraine attacks. Take breaks when needed, find quiet areas to relax, and engage in stress-reducing activities like deep breathing or meditation. Disney World offers various relaxation spots, such as shaded areas or quiet corners in certain attractions.
One trip (but not all!) I didn’t stress at all because we were on vacation, we were together, and somehow I was feeling OK. OK for me means super duper terrific on a day like our day at Magic Kingdom. One of my highlights was watching my children meet the characters and waving to them at the parades.
Is there anything sweeter than a tiny hand waving at floats singing music? I found myself waving at everyone also, it was contagious.
I actually got to feel like a normal person that day and spun around in teacups laughing and only feeling dizzy. Feeling dizzy from your kids joyfully spinning versus feeling dizzy from standing up on an average day is very different. I close my eyes and hold on while they squeal.
An example of how laughing helped was when I felt shaky from my daughter “steering” a car. The track slammed from side to side and I lauged from the depths of my gut even though is jarred my neck. The laughter was helpful medicine to jerky car.
The laughs, the joy, and the magic are all from a low-pain day. From the opening song that made me feel butterflies in my stomach to the last firework that gleamed in my eye, I was feel less pain when I’m having fun. Whatever it was; the adrenaline, the preventative medications, the preventative living, or the intoxicating bubble of love and joy, I call it magic!
I could go on and on and on about how Disney is my happy place. It’s not always perfect though. My migraine attacks and symptoms follow me everywhere but I’m grateful I typically get to enjoy.
Find quiet areas: If you feel a migraine attack coming on or need a moment to rest, look for quiet areas within the park. Disney World has designated relaxation stations where you can find a calm and comfortable environment to rest and recover. Know your limits. With walking 20,000+ steps a day, renting a wheelchair may need to be an option for you. Consult your healthcare provider: If you frequently experience migraines, it’s important to discuss your condition with your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized advice and recommend specific preventive measures or medications to manage your migraines during your visit.
Crowds at Disney World
Every good side has a bad side. I was happily surprised that I saw little bad while I visited Disney World. The bad thing that I did see was ungrateful people.
So here’s bad about Disney World….ungrateful adults. I have always been able to work with difficult children because of the reminder that they don’t know any better. I don’t give adults that benefit of the doubt.
As I was standing waiting for my family after a bathroom break (I told you we were hydrating!) I saw the most ungrateful man. He literally stopped in front of me and screamed at his daughter (or granddaughter, I couldn’t tell) about her band-aid falling off her hand.
First of all, band-aids fall off a moving hand. Secondly, shame on him for yelling and embarrassing his daughter about such an insignificant thing. As she hung her head I could feel the anger rise in me.
Bad Time to Go to Disney World
I texted my best friend and told her I considered tripping the man (hopefully scrapping his hand) and handing his daughter an extra band-aid to put in her pocket. I don’t go anywhere without band-aids. Kids fall and when they fall they need a band-aid. Even when there isn’t blood, sometimes a band-aid just makes them feel better.
You know what doesn’t make them feel better, getting yelled at in a group of people? How ungrateful! He was worried about this tiny detail of his day and I am sitting there thinking of the Make-a-Wish family that had just walked by me. I bet that family wasn’t worried about a Band-Aid. I bet their worries were real and powerful and that they would give anything to have their biggest problem be a band-aid. That family was smiling and laughing and not worrying about such a small thing because they know BIG problems. I wish that family could talk to that man and tell him about real anger. Not anger at their child but anger at what they were suffering from.
Frustration with Disney World
Another time I saw the bad side of Disney was when we were on a ride. At one point the ride stopped and they made a statement about the ride stopping and that it would start again in a moment. I heard a woman behind me groan and start loudly complaining about how she couldn’t believe it was ruining her ride.
It’s a funny thing about perspective. My first thought wasn’t to complain it was to hope. I sat there hoping that the boy I saw in a wheelchair with a feeding tube was being carefully wheeled onto the ride. While this woman was complaining I was hoping that this sweet child would be able to experience the beauty and wonder of the ride that I was getting to enjoy. While this woman was complaining about her working legs and loudmouth I would be interested to hear what that dad I saw pushing him would think. I’m glad he couldn’t hear her and hope they got to enjoy it!
Are these people bad people? Of course not! I only heard and saw a small moment of their day. No one is perfect and I’m sure they were dealing with their own issues. Everyone has problems and everyone expresses them differently. But from my perspective, the bad thing about Disney is the cranky people forgetting to enjoy the vacation.
Migraine Attack in Disney World
There is no way I expected to make it three days without getting a migraine attack. My day at Magic Kingdom had been perfect and low pain which meant for sure I was getting one the next day. Sure enough, I woke up sick. I immediately took my rescue meds, drank water, and rolled around my bed in pain and anger. I was really angry and not willing to miss the day that I had planned for my family.
So when it was time to go, I loaded myself out of bed and got on the boat to Disney Springs. With the experience I have, I had prepared our bag and stroller the night before and all my husband needed to do was get them dressed and lead us all to the dock. At Disney Springs we got breakfast. I sat outside of the busy crowded, loud, disorienting restaurant to save a table and hang my head in pain. Everything around me was in slow motion and my body clenched. I was barely able to stomach a sandwich and caffeine to hopefully speed up my meds.
We next proceeded to the boutique in which my beautiful daughter would be turned into Cinderella. As I approached, I instantly felt fear of this magical place. Picture a room filled with lights from every direction with air packed with hairspray, sounds of women talking in pitches I can only imagine a dog could hear and parents pushing you to get out of the way of their photo op. Basically a Migraine’s hell. I can still smell it just writing about it. [updated: check out how Disney changed to less toxic products]
Disney Magic versus Disney Dream
As my son and husband were leaving to go to the Lego store, my husband asked me if I was going to make it. Let me tell you about the motivation of a stay-at-home mom watching her daughter turn into a princess. My daughter had told me the day before that she wished on her “wishing star” that she could turn into a princess. I may not get money for what I do but watching my sweet girl’s wish come true is my salary.
As I was very aware of the seats around me and garbage cans (I tend to throw up with my migraine attacks) I decided to stay and immerse myself in the experience. If I had been in one bit of a higher pain level I would have had to tap out. Don’t think I’m telling you I can do anything if I’m motivated enough, but this was an exceptional occasion. I should have been in bed and am not sure how I did it, to tell you the truth.
While I was standing there in migraine pain, I asked our “fairy Godmother” about some special occasions she has seen there. She began to tell a story about an engagement but the story that moved me was this…...
A little girl Skyped with her father while he was deployed in Afghanistan so he could see her transformation. I listened with tears in my eyes. Tears of pain, tears of heartache for so many, and tears of gratitude.
I stood there with a smile on my face yet close to passing out and I thought of how thankful I was. Yes, I was pained in every inch of my body yet I was thankful. I was grateful to that dad, his daughter, her mother, and to everyone who sacrifices for our country. I was grateful that I knew my husband and baby boy were safe next door. It was at that moment that I was so grateful to all of the men and women who put their lives on the line so I could stand there and watch my child’s wish come true. It was a very profound moment to remind myself that my pain may have been all-consuming but I’m not the only one suffering. I think it’s a moment I will never forget!!!
So with this all said, let me say THANK YOU to all of the men and women in our armed forces. Not only thank you to you but thank you to your family and friends who also sacrifice while you protect us. Thank you to generations past, present, and future. The job you do is something that is not acknowledged enough. You allow the American dream and the little girl’s wishes to come true. Thank You!
3 Days at Disney World
After 3 days at Disney World, I was exhausted! We walked countless miles and pushed a heavy stroller in the hot Florida sun. Overall, a 3-day pass at Disney World was enough for us. We have plans to come back and enjoy in the years to come.
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Disney World Original Sprout is a new brand that Disney World uses to transform little girls into a princess with less harmful fumes. This post contains affiliate links. My referrals are my own opinion. I only recommend things I truly love and use for myself and my family. I was given products as a review. See the disclaimer for more
Bibbidy Bobbidi Boutique
Original Sprout: The Switch
[November 12, 2017]
In 2017, I went to Disney World with my family. I love Disney World! My family, the adventures, the magic, and the fun. It is a dream come true.
After my last experience at the boutique that turns my daughter into a princess, I feared the hair spray smell. The last time we went, the lights were really bright. Beyond the lights was the smell. Oooooooooh the smell. I had started my day with a migraine. Strong hair spray fumes make me really sick!
This time, I was prepared. I had my Axon Optics in my purse and wore a scarf that I sprayed with my favorite essential oil to cover my nose. As we were called back and I entered the room, I was confused. Where was the smell?
As we settled in, I asked our fair Godmother what was different. The air was breathable without a trigger and I felt much more relaxed. The answer was Original Sprout. She then explained to me how their last hair spray was so stiff that it was giving little girls headaches. My ears perked up when she said the word “headache” because I live to prevent headaches in my family.
Disney World switched to Original Sprout products to give the little girls a more natural and less stiff hairstyle. I was so impressed with their response to giving families a “soft, strong, healthy hold” that provides thicker luscious locks all day & night. The Natural Finishing Mist is “for all hair types & textures with organic extracts & plant proteins to help strengthen & smooth.” The soothing organic extracts made a huge difference as a migraine trigger and breathable air.
The experience was so much more enjoyable with using Original Sprout products. Thank you to Disney World for making the responsible switch to Original Sprout and thank you to Original Sprout for the products to try after falling in love with your line.
Want to try Original Sprout for yourself and your children?
Use this link for $10 off your purchase