We absolutely love Disneyland and will always be annual pass holders, no matter how severe our mental health ‘ish gets. This is a little advice from a mama who has been there, done that.
It goes without saying that you know yourself best, first and foremost. Whatever your treatment plan includes for healthy self-care, stick to it. This may be medication as needed, healthy diet and exercise plans, natural alternatives, etc. Make sure you are well-rested and treat yourself with kindness leading up to your day at the Park!
1. Attend on days that are known to be less crowded
- This is typically mid-week and early morning (think Tuesday at 9:00 am)
- Also, rainy/drizzly days tend to keep the crowds away. Gloomy weather is perfect when you feel like Eeyore!
2. Have a plan and a backup plan in place before you go
- Just in case the crowds force you out of your first itinerary, it’s helpful to have a fall-back!
- Track the wait times on the App and get a FastPass for the one ride you absolutely want to enjoy
3. Pick only one section of the park to conquer that day
- The joy of being a pass holder is that you are not under any pressure to try and see all of the attractions at once. Undiscovered territory awaits just off the crowded path!
- What is your focus? Do you want to experience the rides? Go window shopping on Main Street? Try new foods at California Adventure? If you are headed there with a friend, talk it out ahead of time.
4. Know where the “quiet zones” are at both parks
- Treasure Island – this is always a great place to get away from the bigger crowds and have fun exploring the paths and bridges around the island.
- Pooh Corner – grab some treats and sit on one of the benches to chill
- Next to the Matterhorn – there are lovely shaded spots to sit and take a breather
- Hop on the Railroad! This is our fall back when we want to see all of the park but don’t want to interact with people. Just remember it can get crowded, so try to get a seat facing out on the railing, and remember it goes through an extended tunnel after the Tomorrowland stop on the way to Main Street. If you are claustrophobic, hop off.
- Hollywoodland has the Art of Animation building that is always a safe bet. Sit in on an animation class and let your mind relax!
- Paradise Pier is another open area that has plenty of places to sit by the Midway Games.
- The Grand Californian has a wooded area near the entrance that is peaceful or you can duck into Whitewater Snacks and enjoy something yummy to eat.
5. Guest Relations is there to help
- The staff at Disneyland are there to help! Truly! They state “Disney Parks have an unwavering commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment and accessible experiences for guests.”
- If your anxiety is severe, even with the medication, start your day at City Hall and explain the circumstances. They will give you a Disability Access Service Card (DAS). Read the details on the official DisneyParks blog.
And there you have it; five of our tried and true techniques when the anxiety is overwhelming us at The Happiest Place On Earth.
Million Mile Secrets has recently published a free resource guide providing information on the types of accommodations and services Disney provides for each type of disability such as:
- Cognitive Disabilities
- Visual Disabilities
- Behavioral (ADD/ADHD)
- Health (Diabetes)
They also included updated information about the Disability Access Service pass and the required steps to obtain one. Get your copy here: Planning a Trip to Disney for a Child with Disabilities or Medical Needs
What other ways do you use to cope? Share your tips in the comments below!
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