First of all, I would like to thank Chip for allowing me to join his staff and to offer my thoughts and opinions on my favorite subject – Walt Disney World and everything it includes. I will avoid boring you with my background but if you are interested you can find it on the “staff” page of the site – http://www.chipandco.com/staff/.
Seniors visiting Walt Disney World is a subject that does not get a lot of attention. We are a slightly different species (oldius goodius) because of our age and experience and have certain requirements that many of our younger counterparts do not. What I would like to try to do in a short series of articles is tell those of you who love Disney as much as I do who we are and what we need, what would be the best places for us to go (resorts, attractions, etc.), and what are the places and things we might want to avoid.
Who are we? – We are your sisters and brothers, we are your Moms and Dads, we are your Grandmas and Grandpas and we are your friends. Some of us are healthy and robust and some of us not so much, but the one thing we have in common is an affinity for Disney. We visit Walt Disney World in several ways:
-As “empty nesters”
-As part of a group of seniors
-With adult children and their families
-With the grandchildren by ourselves
No matter “how” we visit, we would not be there if we did not want to. We want to accomplish and experience as much as we can subject to any limitations we may have so you may have to be just a little patient with us at certain times. Thank you.
What limitations might we have? – I do not think mobility issues need to be discussed here for three reasons 1- Seniors with mobility limitations generally know what they are and can deal with them or they would not travel to Walt Disney World for a vacation, 2- We all know and appreciate how well Disney deals with this type of limitation pretty much making it a non issue and 3- Any type of required equipment that can not be transported is available for rental in the Orlando area. Other types of issues (but not all by any means) are:
-Heart or other medical conditions
Seniors, themselves, generally have a pretty good grasp of any issues they may have but if you are traveling with them it would benefit everyone if you were aware also. The best source for the information would be the senior themselves and if there is an open relationship that would be the easiest way to go. Barring that, a conversation with their physician may accomplish the same thing. You do not really need to know what the specific issue is; you may just explain to the physician where you are going and ask what needs to be avoided. Remember this is Mom/ Dad, or Grandma/Grandpa and their privacy must be respected.
What should you not do when traveling to Walt Disney World with us? – There are some things you should not do when visiting Walt Disney World with us:
-Do not force us to do something or go somewhere when we do not want to. We have had many years to perfect both a stubborn streak and a pout that would rival that of a five year old. You really do not want to deal with that now, do you?
-If we have a physical complaint or issue, please do not ignore it. There are plenty of First Aid stations around the parks so utilize them. Prevention is the best cure.
-If we want to take a break during the day please do not ignore that request. If we are able, we will take ourselves back to the resort. If not, have someone in the travel party take us back for a nap. They can re join you after we settle in.
-Please do not keep us out in the hot sun all day. Alternate your attraction touring so we can get into an air conditioned venue on a regular basis. It is extremely important to make sure that we drink a lot of water so we can stay hydrated.
-We have a personal responsibility to take care of ourselves when traveling but fatigue and dehydration can impair our judgment (yours also). Please talk to us during the day to make sure we are on top of our personal needs.
That pretty much covers who we are and what our special needs might be. In future articles I will try to address the “best of” for us and some things we may want to avoid. Please take this information as it is meant, as a helpful tool for senior travelers and those folks who travel with us. It is not complete by any means but at least those who read it may develop an awareness of their personal responsibility as a senior traveler or cautions to be aware of when traveling with us.