When you go on vacation, you never expect to have a medical emergency. But they can happen,even at the Most Magical Place on Earth. Have you ever wondered what happens if you do need emergency assistance while at Walt Disney World? Find out about our medical emergency at Disney Hollywood Studios when my dad fell and broke his arm.
911 at Disney World
As frequent Walt Disney World travelers, we have experienced our share of medical issues on vacation. We’ve had allergic reactions, heat exhaustion, and once my son even vomited on a Disney bus. These minor medical emergencies are common, and our TravelingMoms have Valuable Details on First Aid at Disney World as well as advice on What To Do If You Get Sick at Disney.
But I’m going to tell you what happens in a 911 level medical emergency at Disney World.
Our Medical Emergency at Disney
What started off as a normal day at Disney Hollywood Studios soon took a turn for the worse. My son and I got to the park early with plans to meet up with my parents later in the day. We were boarding our Star Tours speeder when I got a text from my mom.
I pictured in my head a skinned knee or elbow, and the text was to let us know that they would be late for our meet up. When we exited the ride, there was another text message.
“We are at the bathrooms at the front of the park.”
Then I started to worry. If my Dad had just scrapes and bruises, he would be at the first aid station. We quickly made our way to the front of the park.
Disney’s Emergency Response
When we reached the end of Hollywood Boulevard, there was a wall of Disney Cast Members blocking the bathroom. Eight to ten custodial staff members were standing side-by-side, forming a wall that prevented anyone from entering the area. Next to them was a cast member serving as a gatekeeper. He stepped forward to block us but quickly moved out of the way when I told him that it was my father.
On the way to the restroom, my dad had tripped on the curb, and his right arm had hit a wall on his way down. My mother, who was sitting on a nearby bench, didn’t even see it happen. A few guests witnessed the accident and quickly summoned a Disney cast member, who immediately called 911.
We found my poor 72-year-old dad lying face down on the hot pavement with his right arm resting at an odd angle. Two paramedics hovered over him, getting him ready to be transported to the hospital.
My mom stood nearby, surrounded by Disney cast members. One had already handed her a bottle of water, and when we approached she asked if we needed anything – soda, water, ice, misting fan. A second cast member was asking my mom questions and filling out paperwork. He asked where we were staying when we had arrived at the park, what kind of tickets we were using, and a bunch more questions. He also kept handing me slips of paper which I shoved into my purse.
From Disney World to the Celebration Hospital
It felt like my dad was lying on the ground forever before he was finally put on a gurney and pushed out a secret exit to an awaiting ambulance. My mom rode with him to the hospital, and we made plans to take a taxi to meet them.
Once the ambulance drove off, a cast member escorted my son and me back into the park. He asked what our plans were, and I told him I was shaking and needed to sit down for a few minutes. He escorted us into the Guest Services building and put us in a room where I could collect myself.
I decided to pull out all the papers I was given to see what they were. There was a set of taxi vouchers to cover the cost to and from the hospital. Then I pulled out two sets of park ticket vouchers which were each good for two people to enter Disney Hollywood Studios at any time in the future. The last thing I pulled out was six FastPasses that we could use at Hollywood Studios any time in the next two weeks.
Disney World Post-Emergency Support
My dad ended up staying in the hospital for three nights to have surgery to fix a severe break near his shoulder. Even after my dad was safely at the hospital, Disney continued to help our family. The resort manager called to check on my dad and see if my mom needed anything. The bell hops made sure that my mom quickly got taxis to take her to the hospital each day. The front desk staff searched for accommodations when my parents needed to extend their stay. And random cast members who heard our story gave us Disney buttons and notes of encouragement. We felt that they were there to help us with anything we needed, which took a huge burden off our shoulders. You can read even more about our adventure in my article Disney 911: We had a Disney Accident.
Our Emergency at Disney World Post Script
My dad has made a full recovery and even returned to Walt Disney World nine months later. Looking back, we continue to be grateful for the cast members who worked to make things easier during a stressful situation.
Has your family ever experienced a major emergency while on vacation? How did you handle the situation?