How to stay on my own two feet on trip

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by SalWhite, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. SalWhite

    SalWhite Earning My Ears

    Oct 8, 2018
    Howdy Y'all! I am currently planning a disney trip for my boyfriend and myself for next year! I have been struggling with serious chronic pain for a while with no serious diagnosis so this is just a mysterious thing Im regularly trying to work with.

    It has, over the past few years, just been getting steadily worse and has reached a point now where I am afraid I will not be able to make it through an entire vacation on my feet. This pain is essentially my entire torso, making it difficult to breathe, stand up straight, properly use my arms, or walk without favoring one hip. (I dont mention this as like a sob story thing just to explain exactly what my issues are that Im trying to work around!)

    Now for personal reasons I want to avoid using a scooter at all costs which I have found seems to be the like #1 solution suggested on here to deal with pain in the parks. which is 100% fine for anyone who wants/needs to use one don't get me wrong, I just personally want to avoid that.

    So my question is, what are the best tricks of the trade anyone has found out on how to stay on your feet at the parks? Any specific OTC meds or ice/heat packs, or even homeopathic?

    Thank you!
  2. jo-jo

    jo-jo DIS Veteran

    Feb 28, 2011
    Frankly I don't see a choice but to use a wheelchair or scooter. If you are in such pain in day to day life, I would think at day at disney would compound it ten times over. With your depth of pain, I just don't see taking a few tylenol and ice packs will make much difference. I'd rather use a chair, than to tough it out and be in such pain, you can't finish the trip.

    I have no stats, but a good number of people who use these devices at disney, don't use them at home.

    I'm sorry I don't the answer you are looking for.
    LilyWDW likes this.
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  4. StitchesGr8Fan

    StitchesGr8Fan DIS Veteran

    Jul 17, 2009
    A day at one of the parks is at least 6 miles of walking, more like 8-10 miles for a lot of people. Can you handle that? If not, you need to consider if your personal reasons for not wanting an ECV/wheelchair/rollator outweigh the possibility of ruining your and your boyfriend’s vacation because you ended up in too much pain to do anything.
    LilyWDW likes this.
  5. Mrsjvb

    Mrsjvb DIS Veteran

    Sep 5, 2007
    there is almost zero seating in the public areas any more. if you need to sit down 'right now', then you will need to bring your own seat. if you are in massive pain just at home doing normal stuff, it will be MUCH worse at Disney. OTC meds and supplies will do nothing. hell, I have to double my Rx pain meds and that still isn't enough some days.

    other than planning your day around long breaks( TS meals, going on rides like Carousel of progress, etc) and building in a day of no parks, just hanging out at the resort to recover, there isn't much you can do
  6. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

    Nov 28, 2011
    I've chosen to go without a mobility aid before. The coping mechanisms that helped me most were:

    • Doing stretches while waiting in line, or whenever I found myself with a few minutes to kill
    • Taking pain medication on a schedule instead of waiting for pain (alternating prescription meds and naproxen)
    • Long table-service lunches to break up the day
    • Afternoon naps back at the hotel whenever possible
    • Elevating my feet when seated, whenever possible
    • Ice packs as needed
    • Changing shoes midday
    • Making a touring plan with as little criss-crossing the park as possible
    • Fastpass

    I did have some pain and stiffness at the end of the day, but it was a trade-off for me because of my poor eyesight. I could get closer to the things I wanted to see on foot then I could in an ECV, and steering around things when you can't always see them clearly can be stressful. I don't know if I'll have the stamina to do it again; I may try a rollator next time.

    Also, I kept contact information for a wheelchair/ECV rental company handy so that if it turned out I couldn't do it, they could get equipment to me quickly.
    mamabunny, Bete, DisneyOma and 3 others like this.
  7. danielocha30

    danielocha30 DIS Veteran

    Jul 10, 2014
    I second changing shoes in the middle of the day, I personally own crocs flip flops and they are lightweight, by changing your shoes your feet feel renovated. Don’t overdo and having a ECV doesn’t mean you have to used it all the time, you can park it and and tour as much as you can and take it to the next area when needed, or your boyfriend can drive it when you don’t. Me and my husband are seriously thinking on doing this, I had a broken anckle five years ago, 10 pins later sometimes I need a break and like you I don’t see the need for ECV, but might rent one and used it partime.
    Bete and SalWhite like this.
  8. lilfaeriebrat

    lilfaeriebrat Mouseketeer

    Feb 26, 2016
    I've been dealing with painful leg spasms for over 6 months and have been trying to get them resolved before my trip in 2 weeks. Last week the DRs think they finally figured out what is causing and there isn't a quick fix before my trip. My husband and I have discussed using an ECV, I've also discussed it with my DRs who have said yes. As much as I don't want to be in one the whole trip I've come to the realization that I'm going to need it at some point. My plan is to have the ECV with me and park it somewhere so I have it when I need it. It also gives me the best options for parade watching and I then have a back support instead of just curb seats. Walking around world showcase would probably be the worst walk of the whole trip, but I know I can park it at somewhere in each country and explore the country on foot. It's something to have just in case you need it.

    The other option is talk to your DRs and see what they suggest. They have a better idea of what your body can handle than we do.
    LilyWDW likes this.
  9. pezaddict231

    pezaddict231 DIS Veteran

    Jan 25, 2009
    I think the reason most people suggest an ECV/wheelchair is because a lot of us don't want to admit we need it, especially the first time. I know I really struggled with it and I'm so grateful for the encouragement here because it would have been detrimental to my health and the trip to not have one. I'm not trying to sway you, only you know yourself, but I encourage you to really think about the following things and then make your decision:

    1) Can you easily walk 6-10 miles a day? And can you do this everyday for a week?
    2) What would the impact be on your trip if you did need one and didn't have it?
    3) How long would it take you to recover from a "bad" day?
    4) What are your reasons for not wanting it? If you had a broken leg or a visible disability would you feel the same way?

    I have heart failure caused by a virus. So basically just sheer bad luck and my life changed overnight. It was hard for me to accept needing a scooter bc six months before that I was running all over the park. I was worried about what people would think or say, and even today on FB I'm reminded how awful and cruel people can be. I am happy to say in the park I never noticed anyone being rude. The best part of having it is I can keep up with my family, actually they can barely keep up with me! Once we get to an area I usually park it and then walk around and I don't bring it in stores or restaurants either. But the walks into and out of the parks are long and I know I couldn't do without it. I've also used it just to sit in when I've needed a seat. I don't use a scooter in my daily life and not even at stores where it's available.

    If you're determined not to use one I'd say go for long walks now, work up your endurance and see how you handle it. Plan breaks in the day, maybe plan to rest in the room for a little bit or plan rest days in between park days. The best pain patches I've ever found are sold at Dollar Tree, the brand is Absorbine Jr, I like the XL ones because the regular ones don't stick as well anymore. You can also consider a rollator, you could also park that when you don't need it and then use it when you do and have a built in seat. Have a plan for what you'll do if the pain gets to be too much during the trip.

    Good luck and have an amazing trip no matter what you decide!
  10. Lauren in NC

    Lauren in NC Mouseketeer

    Feb 13, 2010
    So, a few things - you don't have to answer them on the board, just things to think about for yourself. What makes the pain worse? Is it specifically walking, or standing, too? Does standing with support (say leaning against a wall) make it better, or do you need to sit down and put your feet up, or do you need to lay down completely? I have chronic pain, and for me, it's staying in the same position for too long (whether that's standing or sitting) that's a problem, so I design my day around being able to move around and sit for short periods. I walk quite a bit in my daily life - 8ish miles a day - so I know what I need to do to handle that. So, for me (and keeping in mind I'm talking about Disneyland/DCA and have my DH and two young kids with me):

    - meds - OTC, making sure to keep on a schedule and staggering different types
    - I plan ahead of time, but I also keep in mind that I may have to abandon those plans - we don't crisscross parks, rely heavily on FP, and if I've had to stand for a while waiting in line, we'll take a short rest break for a healthy snack and to hydrate (we have a stroller so pack our own snacks and such).
    - Hydrate! Eat! I drink lots of water and try to eat something small whenever I take meds, to prevent stomach upsets. My pain is always exacerbated if I'm hungry or dehydrated.
    - Plan a long lunch break - either a TS restaurant or going back to your hotel to rest
    - The hardest things for me are fireworks or parades - sitting or standing for that amount of time is painful, no matter what I do, so DH and I usually find a spot ahead of time and then alternate which person is "guarding" it so I can take a quick stroll or a bathroom break.
    - End of the day care. I've got a bunch of stuff back at the hotel room (bath stuff, epsom salt foot bath, Icy Hot, microwave heating pads) that I use to recover at the end of the day.
    - Dress comfy. Make sure you have good shoes and a good bra. I bring two pairs of shoes and alternate. Bras - make sure your bra fits, a well-fitting bra is worth its weight in gold. I can't emphasize how much difference this is made in my daily life. I don't dress for fashion - I wear comfy pants and a comfy T-shirt, and try not to carry a backpack or purse (that's what the stroller and DH is for!).
    - Pushing the stroller (even if the kids aren't it) sometimes helps with walking long distances - it shifts my center of balance and gives me something to lean on. Not perhaps a helpful tip for you, but something to think about.

    This works for me for now. I've been lucky enough that I've never had a flare while visiting Disney.
  11. LilyWDW

    LilyWDW Going to My Happy Place

    May 7, 2006
    We averaged 10 miles a day on our trip last week. The lowest was 7 (Disney Springs) and the highest was over 12 (Epcot I believe). You have to be honest with yourself... can you do that amount of walking? This doesn't include standing around, getting in and out of attractions, or times I didn't have my phone on me. Can you physically do that much without seriously impacting the rest of your trip? Is it worth that much pain?

    There were nights we got back to the hotel and I would take a shower just to cover up the sound of me crying because my legs were so painful (I have back, hip, knee, calf, and ankle problems) but I didn't want anyone else to know. And it sounds like my issues are less then yours.

    Take a good long look at what you want this trip to be... and what you don't want it to be.

    Now, as for things to help with the pain, I did OTC meds, iced my ankles, tried to stay hydrated (my tendonitis in the ankles is worse if I don't), wore comfy broken in shoes, and took lots of sitting breaks.
  12. musicmom3331

    musicmom3331 Mouseketeer

    Jan 15, 2011
    If you're going when it is hot out, that will just exacerbate any pain by wearing you out faster. I rented a scooter for the first time in June and it was a life saver! I was able to park it and walk around areas, or park it and get in some of the lines. It was the best decision for me.
    LilyWDW likes this.
  13. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

    Nov 28, 2011
    Yes, that's a huge point. The trip I described above was in December, and I don't know that it would have worked in hot or humid weather.
  14. DisneyOma

    DisneyOma DIS Veteran

    Jul 27, 2015
    Start walking every day - build up your tolerance and endurance. If you can get up to 6-8 miles, you'll be fine.
    Bete likes this.
  15. Bete

    Bete DIS Veteran

    Sep 14, 1999
    I can enjoy the parks and last longer with a scooter. If it's a financial consideration then save in other ways before the trip.

    I look at buying park tickets and getting best value and that means using a scooter for me. I probably last twice as long using a scooter.

    Getting in and out of rides is hard enough without adding walking to the situation.

    You can test yourself by going to a local zoo and see how you do there for a day. Keep in mind that's one day compared to many days at Disney.

    If you prefer using a wheelchair will your boyfriend push you?

    You have time. See if a doctor can figure this out right now. You wouldn't want to injure yourself more by doing rides when it could cause a real problem for you.
    DisneyOma likes this.
  16. arminnie

    arminnie <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br

    Aug 22, 2003
    Since you are adamant about not using a mobility device a strategy that might work for you is to plan a 30/30 schedule. For every 30 minutes you are on your feet you spend 30 minutes resting.

    For example after arriving at the park you immediately go find a place to sit to rest. After that rest you walk, shop, stand in line for 30 minutes max, followed by a rest. Repeat until you are thru for the day.
    mamabunny likes this.
  17. Smittolis

    Smittolis DIS Veteran

    Mar 2, 2017
    While part of me understands where you are coming from with regards to a mobility device and your reluctance to do it, BUT this is the only way you will truly maximize your enjoyment. The concept of Disney is that it is inevitable that there will be long periods of waiting, standing, both in the heat and in the comfort of AC environments.

    If it were me, i'd really analyze why I truly didn't want an ECV. If it boiled down to pride and ego about being 'infirm' or 'incapacitated' and the fact that i perceived myself and 'weak' etc... then I would deal with that psychological road block in order to increase my own enjoyment as well as that of my family. Often it is actually easier to deal with the psychological reluctance than it is struggling through an entire vacation.

    But as I said earlier, I do understand where you are coming from so you truly have to do what is best for you.

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