A few days ago, I witnessed a reminder of just how important it is to take care of yourself on a hot day in the parks, or just in general.
I saw a woman fall to her knees due to, what looked like to me, heat exhaustion. I have unfortunately seen this happen to others. Additionally, I have actually had a heat stroke myself during a rather hot (full blown 109 degrees) work day at Disney World MANY years ago. I believe it was at that time, my 21 year old self realized just how important hydration and other factors are to your overall health. Not only working during hot summer months but also during your daily activities and vacations. As a result, I wanted to share with you some important information regarding taking care of yourself and your family before, during and after your vacation!
Here’s a little breakdown of what I will cover in this article.
Proper hydration before, during and after your park day
Making use of your time, while being mindful of your body
Proper footwear…and other clothing advice
Face coverings: Preparing your family for this new addition
Let’s talk about some of these important subjects so that you and your family can enjoy that Florida vacation!
Editor’s note: As a reminder these are tips from my own experience living and working in the sunshine state, there are plenty of professional resources that have information on proper hydration and other factoids about living and visiting in hot climates.
Ok, ok…I know you have heard this before. “DON’T FORGET TO DRINK WATER!” While this is said time and time again, we still have vacationers who forget to hydrate or add electrolytes to their day in the theme parks. While you are busy playing in the parks and enjoying the Florida sun, it is imperative that you keep yourself hydrated at all times. If you FEEL like you haven’t had enough water, you definitely haven’t and need to correct it right away. Dehydration doesn’t just make you exhausted, it impairs muscle and brain function and can even affect things like digestion. So, I’ll just say it again to remind everyone… “DON’T FORGET TO DRINK WATER!”
Another great way to rehydrate is Pedialyte, an excellent source of electrolytes. If you get the powder form, you can mix it right into your bottled water (water only).
I always suggest you have 1-2 glasses of water (8 ounces) in the morning and 1 at night. During a full day, adults should be drinking 2-3 liters a day, or 11-15 8 ounce cups a day. How can you keep up? Simply refill your bottle when it’s almost empty at least every hour. If you have had water in the morning and during the evening as well the night before, especially if you add in the electrolytes, you should be in great shape! Another thing to avoid is excessive soda…maybe stick to one during lunch or dinner and opting for juice as an alternative during a snack time. When you are picking out your snacks throughout the day, be aware that a lot of these foods are high in sugar and salt, so be sure to drink an extra cup of water when enjoying that snack and take your time eating. Eating too fast can put a damper on your post-snack ride experience. No tummy aches for you or the kids!
Making use of your time while being mindful of your body
This one is a hard one for most people coming on vacation, especially to theme parks. It can be a bit overwhelming trying to cram multiple experiences into your family vacation. Do so in a way that is manageable for you, choose your route before you take it. . .What I mean by this is, plan ahead.
If you have small children, factor in nap times if needed. if you skip the nap time – you may call it early and miss out on things later in the day. Plan time for eating somewhat ahead of time, meaning make your reservations in the time frame reasonable for what you’d like to do that day. And be sure to do your research on what quick service you’d like to mobile order from ahead of time so there’s no question in your mind what direction to head before and after.
The other thing is being OK with taking a break. This doesn’t mean leave the park and come back. In fact…I normally would NOT suggest that at all, unless you are at a resort that is conveniently close – like The Beach Club next to Epcot. Instead, opt for a rest area for the kids in the stroller, or even a moment or two in the hub grass for your kids and yourself. If you choose to leave the park, you may be taking anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours away from your park day. The relaxation stations are a great way to find time away from walking and a break from your face covering. Rehydrate and get back out there!
Arriving EARLY to the parks is another super important tip. Get to the parking AT LEAST 1 hour before you have access to allow for parking, walking and entering the park. This will really help you in that first 2 hours. The other thing I can suggest is to make your top 3-4 list of attractions you’d like to do ahead of time, this way you can maybe get a couple done in the early morning and have enough time to enjoy other aspects of the park like PhotoPass moments and cavalcades!
The last thing, and I can’t stress it enough… TAKE YOUR TIME. Don’t schedule everything to the last minute, make a general plot of each day and allow for slip ups, quiet time, food and water. This is supposed to be a vacation, and to make it the most memorable, space things out and give yourself a little room for adventure and last minute decisions! Your mind and body will thank you.
Cute park wear is all the rage right? Adorable Instagram worthy outfits -sometimes completely inappropriate for a summer afternoon in Florida. I get it, I really do. I encourage if you have a free day in the parks that you didn’t plan on, photoshoot the day away! But…if you are spending over 2 hours in a park…during Summertime…leave the cute sweaters, layered accessories and adorable heels at the resort. These park days are an actual half marathon. I calculate anywhere from 15,000-22,000 steps a DAY if I spend an entire day at the parks from the second I leave the hotel to the second I walk back in. I would first and foremost suggest a great pair of shoes. not new but slightly warn and broken in, with awesome support. There’s a ton of cute sneakers out there. Try walking a couple miles in the pair you want to wear, if your feet hurt even just a little, they aren’t the right shoes. Same goes for comfortable clothing, our summers can get VERY hot. We are talking in the hundreds…so be mindful of how many layers and accessories you are wearing. If you are set on doing a few Insta worthy photos and have to where that pair of heels and 3/4 sleeve dress, bring a little backpack with you and throw them in, this way you can change after you get your photos!
The biggest worry for most currently is the idea of face coverings in a theme park. I’m here to tell you that, while it’s a total culture shock wearing them all day…after the first few hours, it becomes habit and routine. Regardless of how any of us feel about them, the parks have made the decision to do everything in their power to make it as safe as possible and that includes face coverings, physical distancing and limited capacities. The truth is, non of us really know when the face coverings will go away, I don’t even think Disney does. So, to make it easier on you, here are some tips.
- Find which type of mask works best for you, cotton, disposable, around the ears or around the head adjustable.
- I’d also suggest bringing 2-3 in the parks with you each day so you can switch out when you feel the need.
- Practice mask wearing with the kids, the sooner they are used to it, the more comfortable they will be!
- Invest in a spray toner, with aloe preferably, this really helps cool your face throughout the day.
- Don’t bother wearing excessive makeup under your mask, instead, grab a trusty tinted Chapstick and tinted SPF moisturizer.
- TAKE BREAKS! The Relaxation Stations exist for a reason, they are for you to take off your mask and sit with your family to regroup.
Also, before and after wearing that mask all day, be sure to have a clean skin routine, wash your face and moisturize…this goes for dad too!
Ok, so we won’t spend a ton of time on this one, as I am certain we all know the damage the sun can do, especially the closer you get to the equator. I’ll just leave it at this, wear your sunblock even if it’s cloudy. Be sure to reapply. Because you have your mask now, invest in a sunblock specifically for your face to avoid irritating your skin! That’s it, simple yet affective.
Well, that’s it for now, Insiders! Let us know in the comments if you thought this was helpful to you! And if you’d like to see future articles about planning your park day, let us know we are “ALL EARS!”