Sick Days at Disneyland

The happiest sick days on Earth?

I feel like we've experienced our share of memorable Disney trips, but our most recent trip was truly one for the books... We made it to the happiest place on Earth... but never stepped foot into the park. WHAT?! Because one of us caught the FLU. Read on to hear about what happens when a magical trip takes an unexpected turn....

We've made it to Disneyland (kind of)
Our little family was ready for another Disneyland weekend. I was especially excited about this trip since we had not one, but THREE, yes three new DIY/Disneybound styles I had worked so hard on to debut at the parks. We also had some magical experiences we were ready for like the Food and Wine Festival at DCA and checking out World of Color after it's year long hiatus as well as Ben's firs time seeing the show. Most of all, this mama had just spent the prior 2 weeks taking care of Ben all on her own since PB was away on another Asia business trip for work. This Disneyland trip was to be the magical reward for a hectic 2 weeks prior!
Literally hours after PB landed from his flight from Shanghai, we hopped on another flight out to LAX and made it to SoCal! We spent the night at my sister's house in LA for some quality time with loved ones and good food before having to head out to Disneyland the next day.

The next morning, after a cozy indoor picnic breakfast due to the rainy weather, Ben's good spirits took a turn. Our poor little boy ended up vomiting multiple times. We chalked it up to maybe breakfast not sitting well, so we decided that it'd be best to still head to Anaheim, but rest up at our hotel for the rest of the day and just push back our Disney plans by a day. After calls to the airlines, rental car place and talking with the hotel, we were able to extend our trip by an extra day to make up for our sick day in.

We spent all day on Saturday resting Ben up in hopes that he'd be better for a full day of Disney on Sunday. He seemed to have been getting better once we reached Anaheim, he was drinking and eating again, had no fever, overall he just seemed to be doing okay. Then Sunday rolled around... Ben woke up and looked even worse than he did the day before. He wasn't vomiting, but he just looked... unwell. As a parent you just know when your child is acting different and this was the definition of "off". We decided to forgo the parks again to let him rest more. When we all started to feel a little restless, we headed for some fresh air at Downtown Disney. This Disney mama had a chance to quickly run into World of Disney to pick up some magic, while daddy and Ben took in the sights outside. We thought the outdoor distraction would lift Ben's spirits up, but he got fussy so we called it an afternoon and went back to the hotel. This is when we noticed Ben's cheeks were super flushed, so PB ran down to the Walgreens next door for a thermometer and low and behold, our little guy had a fever of 101. 

Naturally, as any parent would be we were concerned and honestly, freaking out because we knew that we were officially in "sick" territory, all while away from home. We remembered that we had a 24 pediatric nurse hotline from our medical provider at home, so we called and the nurse suggested that we get Ben checked out at a local Urgent Care. Less than an hour later we had a diagnosis for our Ben: THE FLU.
The happiest Urgent Care on Earth! Literally, the Anaheim Urgent Care waiting room... Appreciated the touch of Disney!
The flu. It's a sickness that can bring even the strongest adult down, but for a child under 2? It's potentially very serious. Thankfully, because Ben had the flu shot (more on this later), his symptoms weren't as severe are they would have been if he hadn't received his flu shot a few months prior. We were also lucky enough to catch the flu within the first 48 hours, so Ben was able to get Tamiflu, a medicine that helps lessen the symptoms and speed up the recovery time of the flu.

Disney will always be there...
So we gathered our Tamiflu, Pedialyte, soup, and lots of TLC and hunkered down to help our Ben recover. We decided it would be best to just cancel the remainder of our Disney trip and head home. So we hopped back on the phones to cancel our already rearranged airline tickets, changed our rental car to now drive back home to the Bay Area (the more comfy option for Ben and to not spread the flu elsewhere, lol), and agreed that our little Ben and his health came first. Besides, Disneyland will always be there for us when we're ready and 100% healthy to be back!

A lesson learned from sick days at the happiest place on earth

So what did Ben getting the flu on our Disney trip teach us? Well a lot, it was just another notch in our parenting belts. And apparently this is quite a common occurrence since we received so many messages from fellow moms and families about how their own Disneyland trips that were cancelled, cut short or interrupted due to illness. 

So what are some tips & tricks that we have for when you or your little one get sick at Disneyland and you're away from home? Here's what we found helpful:

1. See if you're medical office has a 24hr hotline. Ours thankfully had a pediatric nurse on call 24/7. It's a quick way to to talk to a medical professional about symptoms and find out what they think should be the next steps for care. They can also help put you in contact or help you find a doctor or urgent care nearby.

2. If you don't have a hotline and need medical help or need to see a doctor right away, look up a nearby Urgent Care. They're usually walk ins and always have a doctor on duty. We went to Anaheim Urgent Care- Euclid Street. The staff was super friendly, the office was clean and best of all? The doctor we saw was truly amazing. This was probably the nicest Urgent Care we've had to go to and they treated our little Ben with so much kindness and care. We're thankful for the kind nurse that took her time to get Ben's oxygen/pulse reading after many failed attempts and to the kind doctor who immediately made us feel at ease and that Ben, despite the flu, would be okay.

3. Drugstores. There's a ton of drugstores spread out around the Disneyland area, there's two major ones just a block away from the front gates of the park (CVS and Walgreens) on Katella and Harbor! We we basically stopped in the Walgreens connected to our hotel (Hyatt House Anaheim) multiple times during our short stay. They had everything we'd need pretty much 24hrs a day from bananas, water, pedialyte, baby thermometers, and a pharmacy to fill our recent Tamiflu perscription. There's also a pretty well stocked Target just down the street on Harbor for more store variety!

4. TLC. A whole lot of tender loving care can really help when you or your kiddos aren't feeling well. It helped Ben a ton to just stay in the room and rest. Taking some time to just rest up, hydrate with tons of fluids and practice some self care for you or your little one does a world of wonders!

5. Travel cancellation policies. THANK GOD that our plane tickets, hotel and rental car all had flexible cancellation and revision policies. If not, we'd be totally out of luck in rebooking things and our money. Because our airfare was flexible, we were not only able to change our flight dates once, but also come back the next day and cancel the return flight all together with no penalty. Same thing went for our rental car and hotel arrangements too. The hotel was great about letting us stay an extra night in the same room (with the same rate we booked) and were able to cancel the change the next day when we had to leave. The rental car we had was also great since they allowed us to return the car to another airport, in our case back home at SFO for another fee, but it was possible so we didn't have to fly home.

My point of this? Whenever you're booking your next travels, Disney or not, especially if you have kids... get that flexible cancellation policy! Those extra few dollars will really be worth it if you have to cut a trip short due to an unexpected illness. 

6. Trust your gut. With our Ben, we just knew something was "off" with his demeanor the day he was diagnosed with he flu. As a parent, you just know when something just isn't right with your child. I'm so glad we went with our instincts and brought him to Urgent Care when we did. If we had let Ben's flu linger any longer he could have gotten worse and we wouldn't have been given the Tamiflu, which in turn helped ease his symptoms tenfold!

7. Flu Shot. Okay, so I know this is a hot button topic with some mama's and families out there, but hear me out. As a mama who recently went through the experience of a kiddo with the flu, I am SO THANKFUL we got him his shots. The Dr. basically said that if we hadn't gotten Ben the Flu shot months before, that his symptoms would have been more severe and he would have been hospitalized or worse! The flu is NO JOKE, it can lead to potentially life threatening and serious complications in young kids. I know some of you might be thinking "Ben had his flu shot, so why did he get the flu?" Well plain and simple, there are many different stains of the flu out there. The flu shot can protect you from getting it OR lessen the symptoms if you happen to catch a strain that wasn't in the shot, just like what happened to Ben. So our Ben WAS protected from the more serious effects of the strain of flu he had. Let me tell you, watching our little guy the first night, the worry, the anguish on his little face, the discomfort and pain he was in? Knowing that it could have been much worse if he didn't have the shot? I can't even imagine what would have happened to our son. So THANKFUL for the flu shot and that it helped Ben stay out of the hospital or any further complications.

8. Know that it's okay to not be at the happiest place on earth. So we literally were within range of Disneyland, like one block away type of range. We could step outside our hotel and see DCA, we could hear the fireworks going off each night. Literally so close... yet so far! It was definitely a little heartbreaking to have our Disney plans shaken up... But you know what? That's okay because our little Ben and his well being came first. As it goes with a lot of things in life... sometimes plans change and it's okay because more than likely, its for a good reason. Disneyland is great, but it'll always be there. Your health, or your kiddos health should always come first! Plus, it may not seem like it now, but having to cancel or cut a Disney trip short because of getting sick will actually be a great story to tell to others or look back on someday. Lol, our experience did just inspire this entire blog post!

We'll see ya real soon, Disneyland
So as I type this, Ben is currently still in recovery mode and both PB and I are still doing okay all thanks to our own flu shots (yay!). So once Ben is fully recovered, hopefully in the next week or two, we'll make our way back to Disneyland. Until then, thank you for reading! Here's to flu free and sick free Disney days ahead! 💜

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