September 28, 2012

Doing Disneyland With Fibromyalgia or Chronic Pain

Yes, it is possible for one not to want to do Disneyland when they have a chronic illness and even cringe at the thought of pain they might suffer during that visit.  But I am here to tell you that it is okay.  Since the time my daughter was born, I knew that one day I would have to visit that magic kingdom all kids love.  I'd hope later then sooner in my mind.

As the years went on my daughter choose a big birthday party instead of Disneyland.  Until this year, even I myself felt a little bad that we did not take her sooner then her 8th birthday.  But with that in mind I would like to share my experience and helpful hints that might ease the anxiety and thoughts of pain before your visit.

I started planning this trip a few months back before her birthday, so I could look at the best options and cost for our family.  We decided since it was her 8th birthday and first time visit.  We would make it a family vacation for a few days.  Our choice was to go through Southern California AAA travel agency.  We are members and they have good discounts on hotels and tickets.  Plus if you book months in advance you can make payment installments and have the trip paid in full before the time comes.  Our package included 4 days/3 nights stay and two day hopper passes for each person in our party.  After looking at all the hotels and weighing the pros's and con's we picked California Grand Hotel, which is on the property of California Adventure theme park.  Yes, it is on the pricey side, but with their own entrance access from the hotel to California Adventure and easy access to downtown Disney that is closer to the parks made it a good fit.  Not to mention when you are tired you can retreat back to your room to rest.  I also requested for a room close to the elevator.  Since they only have three in the hotel of the 600 guest rooms making some rooms a far hike.  Below are pics of the hotel and room for ideas on how it looks.

Middle of hotel lobby

Hotel's front entrance

Our room (The bed and pillows were very comfy.)


With the hotel booked and out of the way,  I was able to focus on how I would manage my fatigue and pain during this trip.  What came up was I needed a plan that would help me to enjoy this time with my family without worrying about my illness.  So my solution was to rent a mobile scooter for the day well at the theme parks.  When I looked into the cost for a one day rental through Disneyland parks it was $50.00 to rent plus $20.00 for deposit that you would get back at the end of your visit making it a total of $70.00.  Keep in mind you could not use these mobile scooters outside of the parks.  With a help of a friend I was referred to Deckert Surgical supply.  Their rentals were $40.00 a day and they delivered the scooter to your hotel at no extra cost or security deposit.  We went with Deckert I was very pleased with there service and they delivered the scooter whatever time I needed it and picked it back up the next day.  Let me tell you at first I worried what other people might think since I look perfectly healthy on the outside.  But I was glad I rented it, because at the end of the day my body was thanking me for not over doing it.

Hotel entrance from Down Town Disney

Part of Down Town Disney

Cars land area in California Adventure

I also planned on what I might bring in case I needed extra care during the trip.  I packed instant ice packs, pain meds, comfy clothes and shoes.  Since we were splurging on hotel and mobile scooter rental we had to look at cutting cost when it came to extra spending money.  The hotel rooms came with little mini refrigerators.  One of our cost cutting was food, I packed items like cereal, bananas, grapes, Horizon 1% milk boxes that didn't need to be refrigerated, peanut butter, bread, juices, water and tons of snacks that would last those few days we where their.  I even made sandwiches ahead of time packed in the cooler for the drive so we would not have to stop for lunch.  Each day we would take snacks and water into the parks with us in a backpack.  The supplies came in handy and kept our food expense cost down when we were not eating out.


I think what helped the most during this trip was not sweating the small stuff.  It is a vacation and it does not matter what time you get out the door or when you'll do lunch or dinner.  We played everything by ear when it came to having fun.  When we got burnt out at the parks we headed back to the room for some much needed R&R by hanging out at the pool area and grounds.  It also helps to be honest with the ones you are traveling with to let them know in advance, if I am not doing to well during our stay please don't take it personal when I want to take a break and rest.  Me and my spouse got great quality time with our daughter when the other needed a break.  Which helped to keep us both happy.  I have to say in the end this trip ended up being the best trips I ever took to Disneyland in my life.

A few words of encouragement
Traveling alone can make a person stressed and having a chronic illness adds pressure.  So keep in mind think happy thoughts and meditate on what helps you get through the day.  Everything does not have to be prefect and enjoy the time you have.  For me it was getting up early and having quite time to pray before my family woke up.  Giving me extra peace and calmness to help me focus on the day ahead.  I write this to inspire others with chronic pain or illness that it is possible to overcome the impossible when it comes to travel.  Life is to short not to enjoy it and take chances even when you don't feel you can do it.

Happy Travels
R.C. Givens






Erin @ Chronic Christian Crafter said...

Your trip looks AMAZING!!! I am so glad that you guys had fun...and, your tips couldn't be more practical and such a good reminder for this "Type A" gal! So glad the scooter worked out...saver of energy and less likely to flare up!

R.C. Givens said...

Thanks Erin its one trip I will never forget.

Anita said...

Such a great post Renee!

I could relate to your concerns with how the trip would go. Your plans were great and am sure they will help many in a similar position. I would love to go to Disney Land, just a little too far for me, sad to say.

So glad you had a great time x

Salina said...

I loved this Renee. I'm a Mickey Mouse fanatic; I have been since a small child. I made my first trip to Disney World last year (I'd like to go to Disneyland too) and I loved it!

I like the suggestion of taking snacks in with you. If I ever go back again, I will definitely be doing that.

I'm so blessed to meet and know you gals. I've learned so much from you all and how you deal with fibromyalgia.

It makes me think twice about seeing people who as you say seem to be entirely healthy on the outside. We have no idea what others deal with on a daily basis. Thank you for the education.

Glad you had a lovely time.

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