Managing Anxiety Disorder When Traveling to Walt Disney World
For people that suffer from anxiety disorder even a trip to Walt Disney World can cause the worst kinds of stress. However with a little pre-planning you can turn a vacation from nightmare to the sweetest memories. I am not a professional, but several members of my family struggle with anxiety, and these are tips and tricks I use to help keep us touring smoothly.
- Identify the Triggers - Write down the causes anxiety during travel. Next take a good look at them with your companions. Together, come up with an action plan so you already know how you can take control in the event something happens.
- Just Breathe - Learn some controlled breathing techniques so that you can refocus. Traveling partners should also learn these techniques to help guide recovery if needed.
- Pick the Right Time of Year - If crowds trigger anxiety, think about booking a Disney vacation at at a less crowded time of year. Avoid major holidays and school vacations.
- Preview Maps - Before leaving home, acquaint yourself with the layout of the park. Locate quiet areas that may offer a place to escape to for a bit without having to leave, and set up a meeting point in case companions get lost.
- Don't Over-Schedule " Create a touring strategy that will hit highlights everyone wants to see, but that can be cut back and pared down on a moments notice if needed.
- Pack Medications " This is so important. Even if pills aren't needed on a daily basis, it's never known when "as needed" is going to apply. Pack all anxiety medications as prescribed. Don't hesitate to use them, either.
- Guest Assistance Pass - Be prepared by stopping at guest services and picking up a guest assistance card. If the party is faced with a panic attack while touring the guest assistance card will help a cast member identify that you're having a problem and may need special care.
- Size It Up - If you look at a queue and know that you can't handle the crowd or enclosure, show your guest assistance card to the entry cast member. Many rides have special entrances and out of the way places to sit down and wait while your party is in queue.
- Create a Barrier - Keep in mind how to create a barrier between the person with anxiety and what is troubling them. Travel companions can make great blockades!
- Bring Along the Medications! - Make sure emergency meds are with while touring, too. The Xanax is of little use if it's back in the hotel room.
Do you travel with anxiety or travel with someone who has anxiety problems? What are your special tricks for making travel friendlier? Head over to the forums and discuss ways to enjoy all Disney has to offer while keeping anxiety under control.