Ask a kid one place they’d want to visit, and Disney will be at the top of their list. Adults are no different, and a visit to a Disney park is often somewhere on our bucket list.
In this article, I’d like to share my experience with going to Disney World in Orlando, Florida as someone with IBD and an ostomy. My last visit was in December 2016.
In this video, me and two friends (both who have IBD) talk about our visit to Disney World.
Before Your Visit
Get the App
This app does everything from buying tickets to seeing the current ride wait times. It made my last visit easier and I would recommend that at least one person in your group have it running during your visit.
Things to Bring
Disney World is really great with their policies for outside food and drink. And there was no problem bringing snacks and my emergency supplies in my backpack.
Because Disney World is made up of several parks, you should prepare to be walking a lot. Comfortable shoes and sunscreen should be at the top of your list of things to bring!
Emergency supplies will also be important to keep with you, especially if you have an ostomy or active IBD. My supplies were stored in my backpack and I was never parted from them during my visit (more on this below). A travel kit like THIS one can be useful, especially if you plan to stay for the entire day (and you likely will!).
An extra pair of clothes is recommended if you’ve had any accidents (or leaks), and they should fit easily in any backpack.
Unlike other amusement parks, where I would recommend bringing a stoma guard for the rides, Disney doesn’t have any rides that would warrant wearing one.
I mentioned that there will be a lot of walking. There will also be a lot of bus rides, monorail rides, ferry rides on top of that.
Because Disney World is made up of separate parks that are not that close to each other, you’ll have to take some form of transportation to get from one to another.
We had a ferry take us to Magic Kingdom and a bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Keep in mind that these rides may take a half hour or more, and you may not have access to a washroom in between parks.
I would recommend either planning ahead and visiting the parks you want to go to first, or visit one park per day if you’re staying for multiple days.
Disability Access Service
As I’ve discussed in a previous article, nearly all theme parks offer ride accessibility passes and nearly all of them allow people with IBD and/or an ostomy to qualify for the pass.
Disney World offers a “Disability Access Service” pass, which anyone with IBD or an ostomy can qualify for.
Getting the pass was pretty easy:
- You need to find a guest services building.
- Ask for the Disability Access Service pass.
- Answer some questions about your disability.
- Have your photo taken (yeah, this was a bit of a shock to me).
- You’re done.
I’ve seen that some people get a physical, paper card to show ride attendants, but our disability details were put on the plastic Disney pass we used when entering the park.
Once you’re all set with the Disability Access Service pass, you can go to the ride of your choice.
Here’s where things start to become a problem. Usually, a park will offer you a ride time or get you in the express lane without waiting. Disney does both, which makes wait times longer than they need to be.
At Disney World, you’ll talk to a ride attendant and they’ll give you a time to return back to the ride (if the lines are long). This time can be 10 minutes or an hour, and during that time you can simply wait, use the bathroom, eat, etc. You cannot visit another ride or you’ll lose your spot on the previous one.
When you return to the ride at your given time, you are then put into their FastPass line – this can have you waiting another 10 minutes to an hour (or more!), so you may end up waiting several hours to get on a ride when using the disability pass.
Regardless of whether you have IBD or an ostomy, this may pose a huge problem, since you may not be able to wait that long before needing to use the bathroom. And if you use the bathroom, you lose your spot in line.
This became frustrating, and if you plan to visit Disney with the intention of going on rides, then I would suggest using the FastPass+ pass instead (which costs money).
Emergency Supplies and Bathrooms
As I mentioned before, I keep my emergency supplies with me in my backpack.
Unlike other parks, which have rides that require you to put your belongings into a locker or bin, none of the rides at Disney World had this requirement so I never parted from my backpack (and supplies). This is nice, especially if you have a stoma that’s high-maintenance.
Bathrooms are scattered throughout the park, and you can easily find them by using the Disney app.
The bathrooms are clean and had enough room for me to comfortably empty my ostomy bag.
Food and Drink
As I mentioned earlier, Disney World an excellent policy regarding outside food and drink.
From their website:
Guests are allowed to bring food items—such as snacks or foods that do not require heating—into Disney theme parks. Inform a Security Cast Member of any food items when you enter the park.Disney World FAQ's
I really appreciate this policy for two reasons: 1) Food and drinks can be really expensive. 2) Having access to water and a snack is important for anyone with a chronic illness or ostomy.
Disney World has many restaurants in all of their separate parks. You can get details by using their app, but I’m disappointed to see that they didn’t have a filter option for vegan/vegetarian restaurants anyone on their app or website.
Despite that, I have come across a few resources that can help you find vegan options while visiting any of the Disney World parks!
Check them out:
Enjoying the Rides
Disney rides are pretty tame.
The wildest ride I went on was the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This ride was an indoor coaster (mostly in the dark) and had loops and drops. You could bring your bag on the ride, and it had an over-the-shoulder harness that did not interfere with my ostomy at all.
Nearly all the other rides are slow-paced and pretty relaxing.
You really won’t need to bring a stoma guard, and the biggest challenge is going to be the wait time.
I’d say the second biggest challenge is going to be how to navigate through the insane number of people visiting the park!
It’s hard to imagine so many people in one place, but expect the parks to be really full no matter when you visit. Plan what you can through the app and head straight to the rides you want to visit to reduce your time spent walking.
Disney World is a pretty amazing place to visit, and everyone should visit it at least once in their lifetime.
Unfortunately, their disability pass leaves a lot to be desired and anyone with bowel urgency may have to reconsider going on the rides unless they know it’ll be a short wait.