What to do if you get sick at Walt Disney World

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It had been a fun day of enjoying activities at Walt Disney World. After the fireworks, we were at our hotel room and getting ready for one more late-night splash in the pool before calling it a day. It was then, at about 11 p.m., that my daughter informed all of us that she wasn’t feeling well.

Has a similar scenario ever played out for your family while on vacation?

My daughter’s condition wasn’t dire enough to warrant waiting hours in a hospital emergency room to be seen by a physician, but she was feeling sick enough that we wanted to get her some relief before morning. Our search for medical treatment turned up several options.

Our first thought was to find an urgent-care facility and, as it turned out, there was one located just around the corner from where we were staying. Centra Care, which operates many locations around Central Florida and is affiliated with Florida Hospital, has a site close to Downtown Disney. It’s located at 12500 South Apopka Vineland Road (State Road 535), Orlando, FL 32836. It’s open from 8 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends. Call 407-934-2273.

My husband and I have been to our fair share of after-hours clinics with our children, and we found this one to be efficient. The clinic takes many types of insurance plans, and the corresponding information required for check-in was handled through an easy-to-use computer system. The waiting room offered snacks and drinks for purchase as well as two televisions to help pass the time. It was a standard medical facility and waiting room, for sure, but the Disney-themed artwork in the examination rooms gave the place a little bit of magic and probably, truth be told, put a few youngsters more at ease in a medical setting.

After my daughter was seen, we were even offered the option to purchase her medications at the clinic. Although Centra Care doesn’t have the ability to apply insurance coverage to medications, the flat rate for the basic prescriptions we needed was well worth not having to go to a pharmacy and wait longer, especially after midnight. Plus, Centra Care has a complimentary shuttle that picks up and returns guests who do not have their own transportation.

There is another urgent-care facility farther down State Road 535: Buena Vista Urgent Care at 8216 World Center Dr., Suite D, Orlando, FL 32821. It is not open as late, however. Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.

For life-threatening and other emergency conditions, the closest hospital is Florida Hospital Celebration Health at 400 Celebration Place, Celebration, FL 34747.

If you should find yourself with a minor illness or ailment while touring Walt Disney World’s four theme parks or two water parks, know that each park has a First Aid center, usually located near the entrance or toward the front of the park. Nurses are available during normal park operating hours to offer over-the-counter medications, bandages and other quick remedies. First Aid centers can also store medications that require refrigeration and provide special containers for disposal of hypodermic needles. If you have a more serious illness, the nurses will direct you where to get such care.

We have stopped in the First Aid centers for Band-Aids, pain-relief medications and even a topical treatment for bug bites. There is no charge for these items. You simply sign the log, and the nurse will give you the appropriate dosage.

Their goal — and presumably that of each guest who stops in — is to feel better quickly so everyone can get back to enjoying a vacation at the Most Magical Place on Earth.


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17 Replies to “What to do if you get sick at Walt Disney World”

  1. In January my Dad got extremely ill while on a day visit to the Magic Kingdom (we live in the Tampa area). He wasn’t feeling well in Fantasyland and by the time we got to the turnstiles, he was pretty incoherent and could no longer operate his electric wheelchair. We got him on the Ferry, and I spoke to one of the Cast Members there. They arranged to have an ambulance meet us on the Ferryboat at the TTC. The Disney Security people were so helpful, and stayed with us until the EMTs radioed back where they were taking him. He ended up in Dr. Philips Hospital (10 miles from the Magic Kingdom) which was a great hospital with great staff who took great care of him AND US for the next 21 days. They even have a number of guest rooms for out of town families for a very nominal donation. For 19 of those days, he could see the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks at night. He’d sit on the side of his bed and watch them out his window. It wasn’t what we expected when we went for a day visit, but it was a trip we’ll always remember.

  2. Excellent article Kristen. Perhaps you could also report on health care available if on a Disney cruise.

    I came down with a severe UTI while on the Fantasy and the medical care was fantastic. I was given I.V. fluids and other medication and in no time was feeling much better!

    Comforting to know this high level of care is there if you need it .

  3. Our grandson became ill several years ago while in Epcot. I do have the say I was very disappointed by the cast members lack of help. He had vomited all over the place and they provided no help to us whatsoever. I called our resort (All Star Movies) and explained what was happening and that he was running a high fever and they immediately sent someone over to get us with fresh towels to clean him with. After discussing our wishes we decided to have a doctor come look at him at the resort so they called the doctor on the way back and within 20 minutes she was there. Fabulous service – we were very happy with the outcome!

  4. Thanks for this great information! I wish we’d known this a few years ago when my little sister got sick. There was a stomach bug going around Disney, and unfortunately she caught it. My parents took her to the hospital in Celebration. They said everyone there was very nice and friendly and polite (like they’d been Disney-trained), but it still took hours. It definitely would’ve been good to know about the urgent-care facilities.

  5. When you say they don’t take insurance, do you pay anything up front and then get reimbursed, or do you leave and just submit the paperwork to your insurance and they get paid that way? Thank you!

    KRISTIN: They take insurance for the medical visit, just not for the prescriptions if you choose to buy them at the urgent care center. So, you pay your co-pay for the visit and the entire cost of the prescriptions. If you want to file a claim for the medicine with your insurance company, that’s up to you.

  6. Also, Its good to know that you can get medicine delivered to your resort. Last January, my wife and I felt under the weather in the middle of our trip. We took a full day off from park-hopping to rest and loaded ourselves up with drugs to ward it off. I asked at the front desk where is the easiest way to get medicine and she gave me a brochure to Turner Drug.

  7. Several years ago when we arrived at Coronado Springs Hotel my husband had what seemed like a minor cut on his hand. By the next day it was terribly infected. We called the front desk to see if there was a “house doctor”. They came with a van, took him to a local urgent care facility, waited for him and then took him to a pharmacy to get his prescription. He didn’t want me and our 2 children to miss a day at the park so we were at the Magic Kingdom. They then took him to the Magic Kingdom “behind the scenes”, texted me where we could meet him, and he walked out from where the parade floats, etc. are kept. Very cool. Such great, caring service you won’t find many places.

  8. Kristin, this is great information! My wife had to visit an urgent care last winter and wound up at a kinda seedy looking joint in a small strip mall off of I-Drive. We’ve blocked the experience from our devices and minds as we don’t think she got the best of care (thankfully the problem was not life threatening nor terribly painful, just annoying).

    My own experience was after coming off a 4-day Wonder cruise several years ago, I wound up with pink eye. We were staying at Pop Century and after a couple of calls to my own doctor and the resort front desk, all from the gate at Animal Kingdom, a bottle of eye drops was waiting for me at the front desk when we got back. The front desk suggested a pharmacy and the doc called in the Rx.

    The lesson: do not hesitate to contact any decent resort’s front desk. The staff (cast members at Disney) typically live in the area and know what’s available.

    Best,

    Colby

  9. One year our daughter starting feeling ill. Sore throat, aches but nothing serious. We were informed that there is Centra Care right by our hotel (Animal Kingdom) and they came, picked us up and drive us back after the visit. The location was very clean, people were polite and understanding as they knew we were on vacation. The doctor saw her, and it ended up that she needed an antibiotic for a type of laryngitis. They offered to sell us a prescriptiin or we could go to the local Target, etc… but since we were there and the price was reasonable, we opted to buy it from them. I think the antibiotic script cost me about $15 for the 10 day supply, which is reasonable, plus it was convenient. I highly recommend Centra Care if you do need to see a doctor, etc… as everything was very professional and everyone truly cared for the health of my daughter.

  10. Excellent post, Kristin.

    I had to smile at the nice comments about cast members. My wife was a cast member years ago. I remember how much special training she and all cast members got about helping guests who need medical assistance.

    All you need to do is ask the nearest cast member, from custodial to resort concierge. They will make sure you get taken care of, and quickly.

  11. We used the medical service onsite when my youngest (15) was vomiting and had a high fever. The Dr came and took care of him. Turned out to be a stomach virus.

  12. Thank you for the info about the urgent care. Now that we have had our children with us the last couple trips I am wondering about where the nearest urgent care is. Nice to know there is one so close in case something happens.

  13. We have used “DOCS” (Doctor’s on call Service) several times while in WDW. They are a group of Dr’s that will come to your hotel room and examine you. They have medication with them and will have a pharmacy send a prescription to your hotel. The hotel pays for the medication and it gets added to your hotel bill. They do not accept insurance but fill out all forms you need to send to your insurance company. Usually they will be at your door within a few hours of the call. Much better than visiting any health facility. The website is http://www.doctorsoncallservice.com

  14. I went to the health clinic at Walgreens near Downtown Disney. Pretty quick and cheaper than urgent care.

  15. I’ve been to Centra Care at least seven or eight times while vacationing at Disney World. I found the center convenient and efficient and, like you, had my scripts filled onsite.

    On the other hand, my adult son, who had a temp of 106 was too sick to go to the center, so a doctor came to his room at the Contemporary. The doctor also brought prescriptions with her. I don’t remember if she accepted health insurance or cash, but it was certainly convenient considering the situation.

    We also experienced an ambulance ride to Disney’s hospital on our first trip in 1973 when my mother-in-law got sick. We had to extend out trip by one day, which the wonderful cast members at the Contemporary took care of for us. Plus, when my mother-in-law returned to her room, they had someone stop every few hours to see if she needed anything.

    Thank you for bringing up this subject. It’s always good to have the information before it is needed.

  16. I hurt my knee earlier in the winter but it really started to ache after 2 days of Disney walking, so much so I could not walk at all on day 3 of my vacation. My family wheeled me around for a while that day, but it was so bad I called the desk at Pop Century and they had a van to me within the hour. I did have to wait as there were many ahead of me (the little sick ones looked so sad to be there and not at the parks). The staff were fantastic. They gave me some pain meds, a stretchy brace and filled my RX right there and made everything all better. When I got back to the POP a castmember out front helped me out of the van and handed me a discount card for a scooter rental. I called the company and 1/2 hour later I had a scooter and was mobile again. WHEW! Certainly saved by Disney vacation! Lots of Pixie dust that day!

  17. Hi Kristin!

    When my daughter was 5 (she is now 17), we were spending the day in EPCOT when I noticed she kept tugging on her ear. I immediately thought ear infection and we found the nearest first aid station. While they were not equipped to treat her at the park, the attendant directed us to the urgent care center just off property. When we returned to our resort I proceeded to the lobby and inquired about how to go about getting to the center. I remember my daughter and myself being picked up by a van that took us to the care center where we had a very similar experience as you. The staff was so kind and I particularly remember the pharmacist being especially caring toward us, as it was pretty late by the time she had been examined and the script was filled. It was an unexpected detour in our plans, but most certainly did not take away from our vacation. It is very comforting to know that urgent care is close by, should you need it.