11 Priceless Reasons You Should Stay at a Disney Resort if You are Traveling with a Chronic Illness to Disney

February 7, 2019

Happy Thursday friends! Today, for this Thursday Health Thoughts post I am so excited to share with y'all 11 Reasons You Should Stay at a Disney Resort Property if You are Traveling with a Chronic Illness to Disney. 

Over the last 6 years of fighting to regain my health I have had the incredible opportunity to visit and spend time at Disneyworld, Disneyland, or on a Disney Cruise 7 times. I always walk away so impressed with how Disney is such a wonderful place for those walking through the journey of illness. Disney is a fantastic place to visit and is extremely accommodating for those with physical illnesses and needs, and this starts at their resorts. I know how expensive the Disney Resorts are and when you are fighting for your health money is something that is even more precious to consider. You may wonder if it is worth it to invest in a Disney Property stay and I hope that these 11 reasons will help you consider this and see the valuable reasons why this is important!
1. You Get Extra Magic Hours
Energy levels with a chronic illness can vary from person to person and day to day. Guests staying a Disney Resort property have access to certain parks either before or after the normal operating hours each day through the "Extra Magic Hours" program. 

Disney releases a schedule (click HERE) where you can see months in advance what those Magic Hours will be for the parks for the day to help you make a decision prior to booking and you will receive a schedule when you check in at your resort. (The schedule is always available on the My Disney Experience App also!)

These extra magic hours can be priceless for those needing to return to their resort during the day to rest and still want to experience a full day at Disney. 
2. Access to the Best FastPass+ Options
Waiting in line for a popular ride can be tiring, even for those who are perfectly healthy, but for those with a chronic illness this can add a stress to a fun day. With a stay at a Disney Resort Property you will have the opportunity to have access to the best FastPass+ options available. This is incredibly helpful for those very popular rides (where lines can be incredibly long with up to 3 hour waits!). While most guests can book out 30 days, those staying at a Disney Resort can pick their FastPasses 60 days out! Instead of spending your energy in line, this allows you to see and do more things on your day in Disney!
3. Free Magical Express Bus Service
Last Spring, when my sister and I went to Disney and stayed at the Coronado Springs Resort, I experienced my first "Magical Express Bus Service". Let me tell you it was incredibly easy and wonderful, and I didn't even have to spend the energy to pick up my bags from the luggage carousal. When I had an early flight out on my return trip home it was just as simple and easy and completely hassle free (something that is incredibly important for those struggling with a chronic illness). 

Extra Tip: The Magical Express Bus does make more than one resort stop, so make sure that when you schedule your departure time from your hotel back to the airport at the end of your Disney vacation that you plan for a few hours before your flight. 
4. Free Disney Transportation
I know that I have talked about this here on the blog before, but there is an intricate and well-developed transportation system network between all the hotels, parks, and attractions for Disney via the buses, boats, monorails (and soon to be Skyliner!). If you are staying at a Disney Resort this is a free option (saving you the money of parking at a park or attraction) and saving you the time of driving between the different parks and attractions yourself. 

As a person traveling with a chronic illness this can give you a chance to sit back, relax, and regroup your energy for a few moments between your adventures of the day. 
There are a few things to consider as far as which transportation you will have access to depending on where you stay. The monorail system is the most convenient (less waiting times, easier access to Magic Kingdom and Epcot), but it comes with the price tag to the more expensive Disney properties. These include the Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian, and the Polynesian Village Resort. 
The Ferry boat connects several properties -Fort Wilderness Resort and the Wilderness Lodge go to Magic Kingdom, while Dolphin and Swan Resorts, the Yacht Club, Beach Club, Disney's Boardwalk Inn can go to Epcot and Hollywood Studios- with the parks. Disney's Port Orleans, Old Key West, and Saratoga Sprins Resorts have boat access to Disney Springs. This can be a tranquil (although you may have to wait a longer time for this service and also it will take longer to get places) experience and a relaxing one depending on your preference of movement with your illness. 

All of the Disney Resorts are connected by a bus network system and soon the Disney Skyliner will connect the Art of Animation Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney's Pop Century Resort to Epcot and Hollywood Studios! This is exciting especially for those who are looking to save money and stay at these cheaper Disney Resorts.

There are a lot of options there and this can be extremely helpful for those struggling with a chronic illness. 
5. Disney Dining Plan Flexibility (and More Access)
If you are looking to have access to a dining plan when you are in Disney than you will want to stay at a Disney Resort as it is only Disney Resort Guests that have access to these dining plans and then only ones that can choose their reservations 6 months out from your vacation!

There are a ton of different options when you are choosing a dining plan from quick (and cheaper meals) to the deluxe (and more expensive meals) options. When choosing this you will want to make sure that the restaurants you choose will be able to accommodate your dietary needs, something that Disney is excellent on doing. 

Extra Tip: Every so often Disney has a free Disney Dining Plan... it is limited and goes quickly, but keep your eyes peeled if you are looking to save even more money. 
6. Safe Meal Options
If you have a special diet (like myself) you will want to research ahead of time which restaurants are allergen friendly.The Disney Resorts will work with your diet (call ahead of time if you have any specific questions) and this is a wonderful thing to have at the place you stay. The above picture is an appetizer plate that I had with friends at a dinner at the Il Mulino Restaurant at the Disney World Swan Hotel and it was absolutely fabulous - completely incredible in the way that they accommodated my allergies and still was able to share food with friends!

Extra Tip: If you think that there is the slightest chance that you will use the room service option then call ahead to the resort and speak to them with as much notice as possible. This will allow them to have as much time as possible to accommodate your allergy needs for the room service menu (which can be different and unique than the restaurant on property).
7. Access to Your Own Kitchen
If you have specific dietary needs due to your chronic illness that you must cook your own food, then a Disney Resort room that has its own kitchen can be the perfect answer. While there are not a ton of rooms with this option, there are a few so check out the properties that offer this!
8. Disney Purchases Can Be Delivered to Your Resort Room Free of Charge

It can be fun to find some sweet souvenirs of your time at Disney only to realize that you have to spend the energy carrying them around with you all day long. If there is one thing that we all know with a chronic illness we do not need to spend any extra energy carrying anything. The beauty of Disney is that they have thought about a lot of these things even down to your purchases. If you don't want to carry it around with you all day then just have it sent to your Disney Resort (free of charge!). It will be delivered to your room "magically" *smiles* and you can find it at the end of the day!

Extra Tip: This can take several hours so don't do this if you are in a rush!
9. Tons of Fun Activities Even if You Don't Feel Well Enough to Do Disney

A chronic illness can bring a vast array of symptoms that vary from day to day...and even hour to hour. It can be incredibly discouraging to have this happen while you are on a fun trip to Disney. If you find yourself not feeling up to dealing with the crowds or the travel and energy in the park, the great thing is is that there is a ton of different options right at your resort that you can take part in. From activities, to pools, to volleyball, to shops, and even to evening activities you can find the fun right at the resort and still have an amazing vacation. 

There is no extra cost for participating in these activities and you can still experience a Disney vacation in this unique and fun way!

Extra Tip: Some of the resorts even include character events (i.e. the "Chip and Dale singalong at the Fort Wilderness Resort, etc.) so definitely investigate the options before your trip so you can have this as a back up plan if you need it! 
10. "The Disney Bubble"
Disney has done a great job of carrying the Disney Theme into the hotels and hotel rooms (small touches such as character references, hidden Mickey's, etc.) and can be found in your stay. Going back to #9- this really allows you to be part of the "Disney Bubble" on your vacation no matter how little or much time you are able to spend at the park depending on how you are feeling. 
11. You Save Time and Energy
Finally... and maybe the most important is the time and energy component. Time and energy are priceless commodities when you are walking the road of having a Chronic Illness and both are saved when staying at a Disney Resort. While it may cost you a bit more money, it will have a priceless return of investment that you will be glad that you experienced when you are on your trip.

At the end of the day, Disney is one of the best places to visit if you are struggling with a chronic illness and staying at a Disney Resort is even better. I have witnessed and been the recipient of so many compassionate staff members who were happy to help me and many others too. The goal of the staff at the resorts is to truly try and help people have an amazing day and believe in the magic that surrounds Disney. I can't recommend it enough as a vacation place if you are struggling with an illness. You won't be disappointed and will walk away being encouraged to believe in dreams and miracles.

Looking for other posts related to visiting Disney with a Chronic Illness? Check out these below:
//4 Tips for Enjoying Animal Kingdom with a Chronic Illness//
//10 Tips for Enjoying Disneyworld With a Chronic Illness//

Looking for other posts related to traveling in general with a Chronic Illness? Check out these below:
// 10 Tips for Cruising With a Chronic Illness //
//10 Tips for Thriving on Road Trips with a Chronic Illness// 
// 5 Important Tips for Traveling with a Chronic Illness //

Looking to preserve your memories from Disney? Check out my new Etsy shop, December Lane which is a boutique collection of watercolor travel prints that are inspired by a love of adventure and suspending beautiful moments in time. December Lane has several special Disney watercolor prints in the shop, including prints from the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney Cruises! December Lane also exists to help support children in the foster care system. You can find the shop HERE!
A huge thank you to Disneyworld for the complimentary tickets over the years and our stay at Coronado Springs Resort last year. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write about my different experiences. It has been a gift that was beyond beautiful and lasted beyond just a one time experience.

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