4 Tips for Enjoying Animal Kingdom with a Chronic Illness

August 29, 2019

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As I look back on the exciting opportunity that I had of spending time at Disney with a couple of friends in July of 2017, I am truly speechless with gratitude over this beautiful opportunity. We had such an amazing time eating yummy food, visiting Epcot and Magic Kingdom, spending an afternoon at Animal Kingdom, and watching the Happily Ever After Fireworks show. The day was absolutely magical in every sense of the way. 

At the same time though, I have traveled enough while I have been fighting for my health to know that you don't "leave" your sick body and automatically get a "new one" so it is important to understand and prepare ahead of time for any trip when you are chronically ill. Traveling takes a risk and a courage- especially when you don't feel well, but when I was sick I wanted to live as fully as possible despite being sick. I wanted to grab onto life and experience it and live bigger than my world of illness allowed.

I have never regretted this for one moment and know that it is a large part of the reason that I still love traveling today and going on adventures near and far away
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 So if you are taking that risk... if you are stepping out and grabbing onto life in a new way and are going for a visit to DisneyWorld while you are ill I applaud you. I applaud you for any small or big steps you are taking as you heal. 

If you are looking for extra tips for your trip I shared a post a couple of years ago entitled 10 Tips for Enjoying Disneyworld with a Chronic Illness  that may be helpful to read. Today I wanted to share 4 Tips specifically related to enjoying Animal Kingdom with a chronic illness and hope that these will help you in your next adventure!
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1. Plan your Meal Times Ahead of Time
If part of your Chronic Illness includes a special diet (like myself) you will want to research ahead of time which restaurants are allergen friendly. One of the great things about Animal Kingdom is the choices of "allergen friendly" restaurants and options that they have. One of my favorites in the park is Satu'li' Canteen which I shared a bit about in my post HERE, but it was definitely a great pick for those who have a chronic illness for a few specific reasons: 
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1. Many "spoonies" like myself try to eat a healthy diet and this place offers tons of different and yummy health options. You can see the menu HERE

2. For those who have lots of dietary restrictions like myself, this place is a perfect solution for everyone. One of the things that I most appreciated about our experience here was that when I asked one of the staff members a question about one of my allergies she immediately pulled out an allergy friendly map that explained in detail every menu item and if it would be "dietary appropriate" for those who have a myriad of allergies (including dairy, corn, wheat, egg, etc.). This made it incredibly easy to choose something yummy and safe within my dietary restrictions without making a big production of anything. 

3. I have to say that one of the things that I mentioned in my post, 10 Tips for enjoying Disney With a Chronic Illness, was the weather and heat factor. For some that are struggling with a chronic illness heat is extremely difficult and Satu'li' Canteen is a sit-down air conditioned restaurant (something that is typically only reserved for the more expensive restaurants in the Disney parks). Satu'li' Canteen offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options and is located in the new Pandora section of Animal Kingdom. 

If you are needing special assistance with figuring out dietary issues within animal kingdom you can call ahead of time or place your order on-line. You can find out more about this by clicking HERE. If you have questions and want to discuss several things you can email the Special Dietary staff who will be happy to help you. You can find out their contact information by clicking HERE
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2. Plan a Route
One of the best tips if you are trying to conserve energy to enjoy as much as you can is to plan out a route using the "My Disney Experience App" or just by studying a map. The "My Disney Experience App" can is a huge help with planning out a route for your time in Animal Kingdom and helps keep you up-to-date on wait times and fast pass information. You can find out more about the app by clicking HERE
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3. Stay with Your Group as Much as Possible
One of the things that I really enjoyed at Animal Kingdom was having the opportunity to hang out with my friends up till the moment that they got on a ride that I couldn't ride. When we arrived in Asia in Animal Kingdom we waited in line for Everst which my friends rode and really enjoyed. I wasn't able to ride due to health reasons, but this didn't make me wait outside. I see this happen a lot, but Animal Kingdom is really great about this. They encourage you to spend time with your loved ones and you can easily exit (without having to go back through the whole line) when your party goes to get on a ride. I know that at some theme parks this isn't an option, but at Animal Kingdom it is, and is wonderful that you don't miss out on time with people.
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4. Enjoy the Shows and Presentations
One of the unique parts of Animal Kingdom is the plethora of shows and presentations that are available to the visitor. From Broadway caliber shows like The Lion King to talks about different animals there are numerous things to see and learn. For a lot of "spoonies" this can be a wonderful gift as it can give you a chance to sit down and rest a bit while you and your group are still enjoying the park!

If you are looking for additional tips for enjoying Disney with a Chronic Illness you can find my post 10 Tips for Enjoying Disneyworld with a Chronic Illness  by clicking HERE and my post 11 Priceless Reasons You Should Stay at a Disney Resort if you are traveling to Disney World with a Chronic Illness by clicking HERE.

Again, a huge thank you to Disney for making this trip possible. You truly gave a day of perfection and magic and inspiration. I can't wait to go back to Disney again. Thank you again so very much. If you are interested in reading more about the trip you can click on one of the links below:

A huge thank you to Disneyworld for the tickets for us to enjoy the park and for me to have the opportunity to write about my different experiences. It was a gift that was beyond beautiful!


  1. I'm glad to hear that you went to a place that cared about your illness and special needs Rebecca.

    1. Thank you Sheena-kay! The Disney parks do a great job of catering to those who are struggling with health issues! It is definitely a blessing to visit there! I hope you are having a wonderful week!!

      Blessings, Rebecca :)