How could you even possibly? Well, here’s how I see it. I could be at home in pain. Living vicariously through vlogs on YouTube. Or, I could get off my arse, and be in the most magical place on earth and be in pain, but with plenty of distractions.
Like Pandora. Want to see the most amazing animatronic ever? Nav’i River Journey. She is beautiful and I swear, she gets up and goes home after her shift.
What about Star Wars? Have you seen the millennium falcon? No, not the Lego Falcon, the life size, the I kid you not, holy cow that is the millennium falcon, sitting in the middle of Black Spire outpost. Bright suns y’all! There’s storm troopers patrolling. A full blown tie echelon. A rebel spy sneaking about. Rey. Full size x wing and a wing fighters. Chewie wandering about speaking with people. Yes, in wookie.
But that’s just Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. There’s four full parks, two waterparks, a shopping and nightlife district with amazing food. There’s free transportation from the airport and several options of transportation between parks. There are 30+ onsite resorts and some “good neighbor” resorts. What more do you need?
So, how do you do Disney with fibromyalgia? How can one possibly without pain pills?
First, you must know thyself. Know what trips up your pain spells. Tomatoes? Caffeine? Not moving? Moving too much? Heat? Cold? Rain? Sun? Barometric pressure? All of the above? Knowing this will tell you when the best time to go. Research the weather. I am a heat activated fibromyalgic, sensitive to nightshades and a change in barometric pressure at high altitudes. So, I should go around January- February.
Second, you must train. Seriously. You need to start walking. A mile to start. Go slow, stay flat. Then increase a little each week and add a little incline and decline. Add a light sling bag with a water bottle as you get closer to go time. Then, add what you would carry in your day pack and do your walk a couple of weeks before you go. Disney World is 7-10+ miles a day. So, you must be acclimated to moving and standing if you don’t want to rent a scooter or wheelchair. Otherwise reserve one in advance.
Third, start eating to support your hypothalamus. This gland is responsible for homeostasis. It controls most of your glands and your body temperature. Salmon, Walnuts, flax seeds talk to your hypothalamus and make it read leptin levels. I also eat all the colors of the rainbow. It works.
Next, know what you want to do and space it out. For example, I am energetic and driven in the morning. So, I rope drop the park or do extra magic hours. I set fastpasses for about an hour after rope drop or after regular park open. I plan to be in a park until at least noon. I have a wait time limit of 30 minutes for most rides without fastpasses. Then, as we approach the hottest part of the day, I head someplace to chill out. Back to the resort, AMC theater, drawing class at Art of Animation, etc. Once I rest for a while, I check how I feel. Do I have enough steam to go back to the park? If so, I check to see which fastpasses are available. Maybe snag one. If not, I try to figure out something relaxing to do or hold up in the room. This version of pacing myself allows me rest time and pain monitoring. This leads me to my next point…..
You must pick the right resort. There are hotels resorts with inside entry and hot tubs. There are motel like resorts with your basic pools. There are villas and studios and 1 and 2 bedroom suites with kitchens and kitchenettes. There are campgrounds and cabins, treehouses, family suites, etc. There are accommodations on site and these accommodations will include your transfers to and from the airport and parks. There are offsite hotels at a lesser price tag but the don’t have the perks. Figure out what you need and stay there. Travel agents are the best for this. We use Dreams Unlimited Travel, but there are so many more. #notsponsored
Now think about how you are going to get there. Fly? Drive? Train? Bus? Redeye? What works best for you? If you are like me, sitting still too long locks me up. I have to fly. So, after numerous trial and error I have found that splitting your flights in half and having a nights rest before you hit the parks is ideal. Also it builds anticipation. You are in Disney World! Whaaat?!
Another important thing, what are you going to eat? There are so many choices are Disney. Not just cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets. Do you do the dining plan? Research the restaurants. The menus are online. Make your advanced dining reservations 6 months in advance. Snack credits can be used for small breakfast items and venti Starbucks coffees. Don’t forget about restaurants in resorts. They will be less busy during lunch and dinner time. Btw, you can also get these in a snack credit.
Check your gear. Make sure you have the right shoes. If you buy new shoes, break them in BEFORE leaving. Wear comfortable breathable clothing. As a coaster enthusiast, I find the men’s wrangler shorts with zipper side pockets are perfect. They also have zippered pants if you are layering in the winter. They breathe. Oh, you need sunscreen and ID. Your magic band is your park ticket, wallet if you link a credit card, door key, and it talks to the posters and things in certain ride queues. Your smart phone is ideal to have for wait times, fastpass, and dining reminders. They also have mobile ordering at select restaurants throughout the parks. Talk about skip the line.
Now you’re there and wandering the parks. HYDRATE. Coffee is a diuretic. So drink water. You can get free water at some restaurants in Disney World. Intake SALTS. Powerade is on most fountain drink stations. You don’t need a lot. If you are not on the dining plan, bring some powdered electrolytes and pour them in your water. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Take breaks. Go into shops for air con (a/c). Go back to your resort and rest. Float in the pool for a break for your joints. If your hotel has a whirlpool, take advantage of it. Sleep in when you need to. Go to bed early if you need to. Don’t forget that ibuprofen can help, but use it sparingly.
Most of all, HAVE FUN!