About three years ago, I wrote a very similar post about navigating the Disneyland Resort with diabetes. However, times have changed, information was left out, and the post was extremely long. To follow up on this original post, I’m creating shorter series-like posts to reference at different points of trip planning.
Why is this relevant to the non-Disney fan? The Friends for Life Conference is held annually in Orlando, usually on or near Disney property. CWD is also planning a conference at the Disneyland Hotel in September 2016 and May 2017. (And if you are a parent caring for a CWD, definitely check out a Friends for Life conference if you can.) In between sessions and in the evenings would be a fantastic time to check out the Resort.
These posts are Disneyland Resort, California specific, but the tips can apply to visiting the Resort in Orlando as well. (I just live much closer to “Land.”)
First things, first.
Who are you?
Maybe an adult with diabetes, like myself; or maybe a parent of a child with diabetes about to embark on the first major family vacation post-diagnosis. (**waves** Welcome to the party!) If the latter, planning a vacation like this can take months, especially if Disney is new territory. Plus, there are lots of extra unique pieces to consider, like what can my child eat, where the nearest pharmacy is, can food be brought into the parks, etc.
So the date has been set. The time off work has been requested. Now what? Just book the hotel and wait? Consider the following as a family traveling with diabetes.
Where To Stay
Many Disney enthusiasts will encourage staying “on property,” or at one of the three resorts at Disneyland. (Paradise Pier, Disneyland Hotel, and Grand Californian.) These hotels allow for quick, and early, entrance into the parks, plus the proximity to the parks can’t be beat. For medical conditions, they offer complimentary fridge rentals to keep spare bottles of insulin or juice boxes cold. But – they are usually pretty pricey per night and don’t usually have an included continental breakfast.
My alternative locations are nearby “Good Neighbor” hotels on South Harbor, which range anywhere from a Best Western Park Place Inn (fridge, microwave, free breakfast, steps from the entrance) to the Sheraton Park at the Anaheim Resort (near CVS pharmacy and GardenWalk Anaheim).
If there are several travelers, there are many vacation rental condos through VRBO or AirBNB in the area. These typically have a full kitchen (cook carb-countable meals!) and multiple rooms. Usually for the price of a higher end hotel or a suite. They aren’t always cheaper than a nearby hotel, nor are they super close, but the money saved making meals in-house is worth it. This is what we’ll be using in November.
Proximity to the Resort can mean the difference between carrying in loads of spare supplies into the Parks, or quickly leaving and returning before a botched infusion set becomes dangerous. I always advise staying somewhere within walking distance, if possible.
While staying close to the Resort is important, so is proximity to key emergency-type services. At the very least, locating the nearest pharmacy is important. Within the last year, a new CVS network pharmacy opened on South Harbor a few blocks from the Parks. It’s open 24 hours. There are also several WalMart and CVS pharmacies drivable from South Harbor.
Further down South Harbor are a Walgreens and a Target. The Target will have glucose tablets, juice boxes, and portable snacks in a pinch.
There are also several convenience and souvenir shops along South Harbor and Katella that sell snacks, waters, candy, sunscreen, and so forth if something didn’t quite make it into the suitcase.
In the rare chance that an emergency room would be needed, Anaheim Regional Medical Center is about 5 miles from the Resort.
Luckily, I’ve never needed emergency services while on a Disneyland vacation. But, I have begun traveling to a destination, only realizing too late that I had two test strips left for a three day business trip. I ended up purchasing a vial of strips with cash, thus skipping a call to my doctor for an emergency prescription sent to a random pharmacy.
Point is, know what is nearby ahead of time and if a prescription can be ordered as a courtesy. (Or can out-of-network refills be reimbursed upon return.)
So, the place to sleep has been set. What now?