First Aid And Response At The Walt Disney World Parks

When traveling you should always be responsible for your own minor first aid, but when things get more complicated, rest assured that Walt Disney World has a fully staffed first aid and emergency response system to get you to the care you need.

First Aid And Response At The Walt Disney World ParksFirst Aid And Response At The Walt Disney World Parks

In my last couple of articles, I talked about preventing and treating both sunburns and blisters, which are likely the most common injuries that happen to guests visiting Walt Disney World. The simplest things that you can do to prevent injuries are: stay hydrated, wear good fitting shoes, wear appropriate clothing for the season, and wear your sunscreen. However if your precautions are not enough to prevent you from getting injured, don't hesitate to ask any Disney cast member to direct you to the nearest first aid station or, if the problem is serious, call 911.

All Disney Theme Parks Have First Aid StationsAll Disney Theme Parks Have First Aid Stations

I visited the Epcot Theme Park at Walt Disney World and took a brief tour of their first aid station. As a licensed EMT, I am something of a dork when it comes to first aid gear. Anyway, the first aid station in Epcot Center is located in the Odyssey building, right between the World Showcase and Future world between Test Track and the Mexico pavilion. My only complaint was that they didn't have signage that was very obvious.

When I arrived at Odyssey and walked up to the first aid station door, I noticed they had a "baby care center" located right there as well. When I entered the first aid station, I found what looked like a well lit waiting room, with a few chairs and a staffed reception desk. I was impressed when I realized that the Disney cast member behind the desk was actually a registered nurse.

Epcot's Odyssey First Aid StationEpcot's Odyssey First Aid Station

While there is no physician on site, the Walt Disney World first aid centers are staffed by a licensed medical professionals. If needed, there is a physician located nearby, off-site. That being said, the first aid station can handle anything from as minor problem as a blister or splinter, all the way to having paramedics show up for critical emergencies. The first aid center has a large variety of nonprescription medications available in both children and adults strengths, available for no cost. In fact, the first aid station even has baby powder available in the event that the heat is making you chafe!

The kind nurse at the Epcot Center first aid station did tell me that all of the first aid stations in all of the parks are staffed by nurses, however there is no first aid station in downtown Disney. In addition to the nurses at the first aid stations, there are trained paramedics stationed at each park, with access to all the bells and whistles that they need to treat any medical emergency.

All First Aid Stations Are Staffed With Medical ProfessionalsAll First Aid Stations Are Staffed With Medical Professionals

All of the services available at the first aid station are free to Walt Disney World guests, and all Disney cast members are trying to contact the local 911 for emergencies. Inside the parks, 911 service is managed and staffed by Reedy Creek Emergency Services (RCES). Reedy Creek Emergency Services staffs Medical Assistance Response Carts (MARC units), which can handle all levels of emergency medical service up to and including advanced life support, in each of the Disney parks. In the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center there are two of these units, while the other parks and Downtown Disney each have one.

The MARC units have a response time of approximately 5 minutes from the time a call was placed to 911, which is significantly faster than the average 8 to 10 minutes in the rest of the country. The Disney World emergency response system has two tiers: The MARC units respond first, and if they can't handle the situation, and ALS ambulance is called for support and transport to one of the three local hospitals.

RCID Emergency Response Is Some Of The Country's FastestRCID Emergency Response Is Some Of The Country's Fastest

As you can see, there is no need to worry about your health or safety while you're at Disney World. As with any other aspect of the Walt Disney World experience, first aid and emergency medical service is well thought out and staffed by highly trained professionals. If something bad should happen, Disney Magic will make it as painless as possible, as soon as possible.

Have you ever had to visit any of the first aid station to Disney World? Let me know your experiences in the comments below, I'd love to hear them.

finngirl wrote on Tue, 09/02/2014 - 19:22:

finngirl's picture

We've never had occasion to visit the First Aid Centers, but saw their paramedic response at POR last year. A lady had fallen on the pathway near the pool, and before you could blink or offer assistance there was a team there, assessing and treating her injuries. We were totally impressed with their speed and efficiency.

Laura Towned wrote on Tue, 09/02/2014 - 20:06:

Laura Towned's picture

I had to visit the first aid station at both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. At epcot I had fallen and really scrapped my knee. It had lots of debris so my hubby flagged a cast member down and they got a cart because of course we were on the opposite side. The nurse there was great. Cleaned me up quickly so I could get back to my day.

At Hollywood Studios my kids and I had done the Star Wars ride just one too many times. Boy I was nauseated. Somehow I was able to make it to the front of the park before I collapsed. When I came to I had an IV in my arm as I was very dehydrated. Gravol was also given. I was ok but I was taken back to my hotel I site for a day of quiet. My advice; don't do the Star Wars ride 15 times in a row b

Suzanne Alexander wrote on Tue, 09/02/2014 - 20:45:

Suzanne Alexander 's picture

A couple of years ago, I had scraped my arm on a piece of my jewelry and the bleeding would not stop. We went to the aid station at Magic Kingdom. I got cleaned up, the bleeding under control, and got a bandaid. We were on our way in no time.
The only thing I wish had been different was I would have liked the bandaid to have a Disney character on it! :-) (I was 58 at the time.)

Emily Krist wrote on Tue, 09/02/2014 - 21:21:

Emily Krist's picture

I had to visit the First Aid about seven years ago at HS on the ToT. I had been stung by a wasp, and while I didn't have breathing problems, the site welted up quite large. And since it was my first sting of any kind, I had a bit of a panic attack. I was escorted up to the First Aid, and the RN took great care of me. My only complaint is that from Tower of Terror, the First Aid station was a decent walk away.

Marde wrote on Wed, 09/03/2014 - 01:08:

Marde's picture

Visited several First Aid Stations over the 18 years we have been coming to Disney. They were always clean, the wait was short, and the staff fantastic! They are always ready for us with antibacterial ointment, band aids, Acetaminophen, and of course, a sticker!

One year, the paramedics were prompt getting to our resort and ended up taking my hubby to Celebration Hospital in an ambulance. They let me ride along too. When they couldn't stop his heart attack, he took the Mickey's Cardiac Life Flight into Orlando North! He will never forget the dedication of his helicopter paramedic. Celebration staff paid for me to take a taxi back to the resort, so I could get my rental car and drive to Orlando North.

Our medical care has always been top notch when at Disney!!

Jon wrote on Wed, 09/03/2014 - 03:16:

Jon's picture

In 2012 I brought my girlfriend for her first trip ever. She ended up getting the "Disney Rash" so we stopped in at one of the First Aid stations. The staff was very helpful and gave us some ointment/cream for her to use.
On her second trip last year while eating breakfast at our resort, the Pop Century, a guest had a seizure. I'm a licensed fire/medic so my girlfriend insisted I give aid. I had another guest get a cast member and have them call 9-1-1, we then proceeded to move the table and chairs out of the way and keep the guest safe. Within about 5minutes the RCFD was on the scene and thanked us for helping. They were very professional.

Sheryl wrote on Sat, 09/06/2014 - 21:23:

Sheryl's picture

A few years ago I was at Epcot watching the fireworks. A storm was moving in and the wind shifted. I wa suddenly blinded by cinders that blew toward us. It felt like my eye was on fire. The paramedics were called and came immediately, despite the huge crowd trying to exit the park at the end of the day. They were wonderful. They washed my eyes until the pain stopped and took me ( and my friend) back to our hotel. I was lucky that the sulfur burn was actually on the inside of my eyelid.

Geordon wrote on Tue, 09/09/2014 - 02:24:

Geordon's picture

Holy cow, everybody! Some exciting times at WDW for sure! Marde, I'm so sorry to hear about your husband's heart attack. That's an unhappy thing at the best of times, but in the middle of a trip would just scare the daylights out of me. IT sounds like he had the best possible care, which is wonderful.

Overall, you guys make it sound like I got the story right, which is good. I actually took much of my information from a member of the RCID emergency services crew, along with the nurse who chatted with me at the first aid station. With both of those conversations, I was impressed with what I heard (and I have high expectations anyway). From the stories you guys are telling, it just goes to show that Disney Magic reaches far into first aid and emergency services... Even if they don't give the adults Micky bandaids! :D

Thanks for reading, and Jon? Good for you stepping in to help in a pinch. I have no doubt that they really appreciated it, after the fact.

MerryD wrote on Thu, 11/13/2014 - 14:28:

MerryD's picture

I have a question about emergency response time during Christmas week, which I understand is the second most crowded week of the year at WDW. With the parks approaching or reaching peak capacity, what is the response time then? My brother had knee surgery, followed by an MI, and then emergency bypass surgery Oct 1-3, and he will be at WDW with his family during that week. If he should have an MI, he would be in real trouble due to his diminished heart function. It worries me that with the capacity crowds the response time would be affected.

Kristen K. wrote on Fri, 11/14/2014 - 17:58:

Kristen K.'s picture

MerryD - Hi there! We here at WDWFG aren't privy to the exact information that you are looking for. What I can say is that Reedy Creek offers some of the fastest emergency response in the country with response units already on standby in the parks. You're not going to get that sort of response anywhere else. Your brother will have to be proactive with his health care while traveling, and make sure he has his intervention medications with him. I know how scary it can be traveling with someone that has special needs, I wish I could put your mind more at ease.

Geordon wrote on Fri, 11/14/2014 - 20:40:

Geordon's picture

I'll echo what Kristen say above, both that Reedy Creek has some of the best response times in the country, hands down. They also have some great relationships with the area hospitals and have, on multiple occasions, air-lifted patients from WDW to local specialty hospitals.

Please don't take this in a bad way, because I mean it with all sincerity and wanting to help, but I would very much recommend that someone in your party, who will be with your brother at all times, take a CPR course at the American Red Cross, ASAP. The number one leading indicator of a positive outcome for sudden cardiac arrest is bystander CPR as soon as the patient goes down. The number two indicator of positive outcome is early access to EMS, meaning alerting emergency services so that they can get to the patient fast. Again, Reedy Creek has amazing response times.

In your case, I would also recommend that your brother get a checkup with his cardiologist for a (relatively) clean bill of health before leaving to go to WDW. That doctor is the best person to ask if it's a good idea for him to travel with his health limits. And, as Kristen said, your brother should definitely carry his intervention medication (I assume NitroStat and aspirin) with him at all times, and make sure that his companions know how to help give it to him, if he is not able to do it himself.

Good luck, and I hope that you can have a wonderful trip!

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