Disney With Diabetes
By Bennet BadShoe Dunlap
Since you are reading this at dLife you may be thinking, "Disney could be cool but I know how hard managing my kids diabetes can be. Can I do both?"
You bet you can! Disney is lots of fun, even while managing diabetes. During the course of this article, well discuss some tips for taking your kids on a Walt Disney World vacation. And, in the interest of full and honest disclosure and because I love the place, I own shares in the Walt Disney Company.
Keep in mind: I am neither a doctor nor a travel agent. However, my wife and I play doctor on Disney trips wait, that doesnt sound right. What I mean is we are dedicated Disney World fans and two of our four kids have type 1 diabetes, so we do a LOT of health care both at home and on vacation.
We have a lot of experience with Disney and diabetes management. In fact, we diagnosed our daughter Delaneys diabetes at Disney. (Hows that for alliteration?) So while were not technically medical or travel professionals, we do know how to have fun at Disney World with diabetes.
Walt Disney World is so big that you cant do it all. Trying to will only make your trip very stressful. Instead, plan on having a blast doing the things that your family will enjoy.
How do you know what the family will enjoy? Include them in trip planning. Disney has a massive web site. Mickey & Co. will happily send you a free DVD to help you get in the mood to take a Disney vacation. There are also very good unofficial sources of information. Google Disney Vacation Planning and youll get about a quarter of a million results. On these different sites, you can find everything from restaurant menus, park hours, and photographs of resort rooms. My favorite is a site called AllEarsNet.com. (Again with the full disclosure: I have contributed articles to AllEarsNet.com.)
When talking about planning, I dont necessarily mean the D-Day invasion strategy. Just read up on the three -ings: staying, playing, and eating. Consider staying at a Disney Resort if you can. It is easier to do stuff if you are staying on Disney property and making use of their transportation. Map out the rides and attractions you want to visit, and learn how Disneys FastPass works. It helps with the playing by avoiding lines. There are a number of fun places for eating. Learn about priority seating well before you get there - it is Disney-speak for a reservation but not quite. The best places get booked up well in advance, so if you find a restaurant you really want to try, call and book some priority seating to help predict your eating schedule.
You also need to plan for the diabetes angle of things. Our first and most important bit of Disney with diabetes advice is pack plenty of diabetes stuff. Pack twice as much of everything relating to diabetes as you think you may need - twice the meters, twice the strips, twice the glucose tabs, twice the needles, twice the insulin etc. Pack it in two separate bags, keeping the supplies evenly distributed. Have different people carry those bags onto the plane, train, or automobile that you take to Orlando.
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Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...