Yesterday I shared with you my experience from earlier in the day when my daughter and I got stuck on Slinky Dog Dash for half an hour. We were under the direct sun on one of the hottest days in over a year. I’ve lived in Florida long enough that I’m usually “used” to the heat (you never really get used to it, you just learn to accept it) but I know that with people who don’t live here that isn’t always the case. Several years ago, before we lived in Florida, my life was turned upside down because I passed out in the heat and I ended up with three severe breaks in my ankle. There were warning signs that day that I didn’t listen to. I hope that someone here will be able to learn from my experience and not make the mistakes that I made.
Disclaimer: I am not offering any medical advice. I am not a doctor, and I am not making medical claims. I am only speaking out of experience.
The first sign that I ignored was that I was extremely thirsty. I have said it thousands of times, and I am going to keep saying it as long as I write about Walt Disney World; you need to stay hydrated. You will sweat a lot while you are in Florida, which makes it easy to become dehydrated. You can get free cups of ice water at the quick service restaurants, and there are plenty of water fountains. You’re also allowed to bring in water bottles and other drink containers, as long as they are not made out of glass. You can easily stay hydrated without paying for bottled water.
Often when someone gets overheated, they will start to shake. I mentioned that yesterday I was shaky when the rock star Cast Member Simon got water for me. For me, shaking in my hands is usually the first sign that the heat is getting to me. When it happens at Walt Disney World, I’ll usually head into an air conditioned store for a few minutes.
General Aches and Pains
If you start to feel off, kind of blah, that could be a sign that you’ve been in the heat for too long. Find an indoor show or restaurant, and get off of your feet for a few minutes.
Walking across a theme park at a normal pace should not make you lightheaded. If you start to feel dizzy, you need to take a break immediately. If possible, sit down. My doctor told me that the reason why I felt dizzy right before I passed out was because my blood pressure dropped from the heat. (Again, that’s not medical advice.) If I had sat down the moment I felt dizzy I would most likely have been okay.
Yes, you need to use sunscreen while at Walt Disney World, even on cloudy days. Don’t think, though, that it will keep you from getting overheated, because it won’t. Believe it or not, I’ve overheard people say that sunscreen will protect them from the heat. Nope, it doesn’t work like that.
Take a Break
People tend to push themselves too hard while at Walt Disney World. They tend to ignore warning signs. Don’t. If you feel like something is off, you need to take a break, drink some water, and get out of the heat for a little while. It’s better to lose a few minutes because you listened to your body than to lose the rest of the day because you ignore the warning signs.
If You Need Help
If you start to feel sick and aren’t sure what to do, find the nearest Cast Member. He or she will know what to do. If you can get to First Aid, they can provide you with a place to sit or lie down for a little while. You can find the location of First Aid on your park map, on the My Disney Experience App, or just ask a Cast Member.