Recently, Orlando theme park resorts made a HUGE announcement. Amidst growing Zika virus concerns, Orlando’s major theme parks are now offering free bug repellant to visitors. But is concerns for the Zika virus enough to cancel your Orlando vacation? Here’s more information to help families determine the right choice for them.

Universal Studios Orlando and Zika

Seuss Landing at Universal Studios is only one of the things to experience during an Orlando vacation. Source: Long Weekend TravelingMom, Kendra Pierson

Will Zika Virus Inhibit Our Travels?

On Sunday, August 28, 2016, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, and SeaWorld Entertainment made a big announcement. These Orlando theme parks will be offering guests additional preventative measures against the Zika virus by providing FREE insect repellent.

My family is scheduled to begin our trip to the Orlando area on August 31 at Universal Studios Orlando. I’ve been watching the Zika virus closely since the first cases have been found in Florida to determine if we should change our plans.

Like any parent, I am always concerned about the safety and healthy of my family. Unfortunately, my family already have a greater than average allergic reaction to mosquito bites, Since allergic  reactions are already a concern for me, I am even more cautious at the possibility of a greater reaction if bit by a mosquito carrying the Zika virus.

Should Zika Keep You From Universal Studios Orlando

Long Weekend Traveling Mom Kendra Pierson and her family at Universal Studios Orlando. They can’t wait to go back! Photo credit Kendra Pierson, Long Weekend Traveling Mom

For my family, we will NOT be changing our plans to have an awesome vacation at Universal Studios Orlando! Read on for the 3 three reasons why my decision is to continue with our travel plans to Orlando.

1. No Known Case of Zika Virus Reported in Orlando

I understand that providing insect repellant is a precaution. No known cases of Zika transmitted in the Orlando area have been reported. The Florida Department of Health has identified the only cases of known local transmission in Florida is a neighborhood of Miami, over 200 miles from the Orlando area.

Should you cancel an Orlando vacation because of Zika

Zika Transmissions in the State of Florida, Source: Florida Department of Health. Orange Star Added to Show Orlando Resort Area by Long Weekend Traveling Mom, Kendra Pierson

2. What the Orlando Resorts are Doing for Prevention

The good news is that Orlando theme parks have always had aggressive mosquito control programs for the comfort and safety of their guests.  They consider this just another preventive measure. My very mosquito allergic family has never had a bite that I can recall while in Orlando, but I don’t even walk outside at home without repellent.  The parks do an excellent job of making families comfortable whenever we visit, and I’m sure they’re taking extra measures now.

Where to Find Complimentary Mosquito Repellent in Orlando

  • According to the Orlando Sentinel, guests at Disney theme parks, Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) and ESPN Wide World of Sports will have access to free pump bottles and towelettes upon request.
  • Walt Disney World guests staying on property will be provided with aerosol bug spray in their rooms.
  • Visitors to Universal Studios Orlando can find complimentary repellent at guest services locations in CityWalk, Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Florida, and Wet ‘n Wild. To date, there hasn’t been an announcement of providing it to guests at the resorts.
  • SeaWorld will provide complimentary repellent at all of its Florida parks including the Aquatica Water Park and Discovery Cove in Orlando as well as Busch Gardens and Adventure Island in Tampa.

3. Stay Up to Date on Current Information

Finally, I researched and read the most current information available directly from official sources. With that information, the answer to the question, “Is Zika a threat to our Orlando vacation?” My answer is no.

However, you have to make the best choice for YOUR family. If you are concerned about the Zika virus in Orlando, the Florida Department of Health provides a daily Zika virus update at 2:00 pm. Visit this site in advance of your trip to get the most updated information.

For guidelines on how to protect yourself, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a full series of precautions that can be found here.

After reviewing all the information available and consulting your family physician, I’m sure you’ll make the best choice for your family.

Is Zika a Threat to Our Orlando Vacation TMOM