Patrice Perry Fields has been a dialysis patient for nine months and author of Pat's Adventures in Dialysis Blog, chronicling her life on dialysis.
I have End Stage Renal Disease. I do Hemodialysis (HD) In-Center three days a week for 3 1/2 hours. Still, I went to Disney World and had a "magical" time. Research and planning made the trip absolutely hassle free.
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A trip to Disney World always requires planning. Disney World ends up being more a project than a vacation and adding in dialysis means a bit more effort. I also have mobility issues. A little research on the Internet answered a lot of questions. There were several sites where people discussed their offsite dialysis experiences. By the time I started the process, I had an idea of where I'd be assigned for dialysis. Disney World is very friendly to visitors with mobility issues. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/media/wdw_nextgen/CoreCatalog/WaltDisneyWorld/en_us/PDF/magic-kingdom-guide-guest-disability-november-2012.pdf
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So once the initial research is out of the way, it's time to execute the plan. I let my center know I was going to Disney World. A few days prior to leaving, I'm informed that the original transient center will not accept my insurance, but another center further away will. The change in center made no difference. However, this is the 2nd trip I’ve taken where insurance has been a minor issue.
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We planned to rent a car while at Disney World (there is an Alamo Car Rental center on the property). It was cheaper to rent the car instead of taking a cab. Having the car for two days at the park was an additional benefit. If you rent a car, make sure you take your handicap placard.
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Resort reservations and airline reservations are made. All that's left now is to wait excitedly for the day we leave. I research dining options. The chefs at the Disney restaurants will work with you to accommodate any dietary issues. In addition to me with my renal diet, we had a vegan in our group. Let me say that we ate quite well!!
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Once we arrive, the room was accessible and close to the main activity area for the resort. Wheelchairs and scooters were available, with a deposit, at each Disney park and the rental was good for the day at all parks. Your deposit was refunded upon return of the item. If needed, there are companies that you prearrange the rental of a mobility device and will be delivered to your hotel when you check in.
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Most park rides accommodated guests with mobility issues. The rides move continuously and do not stop, however a few rides were slowed down so I could get on or get off a little easier. The stores and restaurants accommodated the wheelchairs or scooters, if needed. Hydraulics on the buses enabled them to lower the bus doors for easy access. Complementary wheelchairs were available at the park bus stops and in the handicap parking lots.
Disney World made sure we had an enjoyable time. Anything I needed in regards to my kidney disease was accommodated. My dialysis center team worked with the transient dialysis team in the Orlando area to make sure I had a chair on the day I needed a chair. As a matter of fact, the reservations for Disney World required more effort than arranging transient dialysis. If you want to go to Disney and you’re on dialysis, it most definitely can be done and I recommend it!!! Enjoy!