Easing Anxiety at Walt Disney World
When I was 13 years old, I was diagnosed with OCD tendencies.
I had trouble getting my mind off of certain tasks and multitasking isn't my strong suit. I would get overwhelmed so easily to the point where I would get angry. Years later, I started to feel uneasy in crowds and small, closed
So how is someone, who is afraid of crowds, hates long lines, and small spaces, ever going to have a good time at Disney World?
That question kept popping into my head when I went there for my third
time in 2015 for my senior trip. We were going in early May, which is
usually considered one of the best times to go to Disney World because the
crowds and usually moderate, but that was not stopping the long lines to
visit Anna and Elsa at the Princess Hall at the Magic Kingdom or wait 30
minutes to ride Toy Story Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Much to my surprise, I actually had a REALLY good time and had very little
issues with the crowds and the long lines. It was probably the excitement
that I was at Disney World, which is a rare trip for me, that kept my anxiety
in check and not worry about all the downsides.
However, that may not be the case for other people, and the downsides will hold them back for having a good time at the Happiest Place on Earth.
Here are some of my suggestions on how to have a good time at Disney
World without having your anxiety get in the way.
1. Go alone or with a small, intimate group of people
A big relief for me was when I went on my senior trip was we didn't have to
stick with a certain group all day. I pretty much roamed around on my own
and did what I wanted to do, like meet my favorite characters, go on rides I
wanted to go on that probably no one else would do, and not be forced to
go on rides I didn't want to go on (I'm looking at you Tower of Terror).
If the thought of going by yourself scares you, try going with a small, intimate group of friends or family, possibly around 1-3 people. This will give everyone a chance to ride the rides they want in a good amount of time. You will also have someone by your side to check up on you in case things get a little intense for you.
2. Play on your phone or any other electronics
When I had to wait in line, I usually pulled out my 3DS and played a game
or got my phone out to mess with an app. Some apps I recommend if you
have a smart phone to keep you occupied is Subway Surfer, Sonic Dash,
Solitaire, Dumb Ways to Die 1 and 2, Trivia Crack, and, of course, the new
Pokémon Go. Watching YouTube videos also can be a big help (please be
courtesy of everyone in line and put in headphones). If you’re worried about your phone running low on battery, set it on low power mode, take a
portable charger which you can find at Target, Walmart or any other
electronic store, or connect to the Wi-Fi in Disney (yes, Disney finally has
free public Wi-Fi! Yay!). Keeping yourself occupied with this will definitely
make time pass and will keep your mind off the long line. Just make sure
you keep moving up and don’t hold it up.
3. Don’t overwhelm yourself with must-do’s.
Disney World has so much to offer, but you’re not going to get to ride every
single ride or meet every single character in all the parks. If you make a
long list of must-do’s, you will just get stressed out on getting everything
done and focus too much on that rather than having a good time. Things
can also come up, like a ride can break down or it’s too late to meet your
favorite Disney princess because it’s the end of the day and they need their
beauty sleep. Limit your must-do’s and remember that the best things come unexpected. My must-do’s got done, but I had a few unexpected moments, too, which were just as magical, like I didn’t think I was going to meet Tigger and Winnie the Pooh, Disney characters I grew up watching since I was a little baby, but the opportunity came up at Epcot and I snatched it. If you lower your expectations and take things as they come along, you will feel so much more relief and will really enjoy yourself!
4. Have a Relax Day
Because of the schedule to get everything done in just 5 days, I hardly got a
chance to have some downtime and take a breather. If you’re going on a vacation, just know this: Disney World isn’t going anywhere. The Disney cops aren’t going to come knocking on your hotel door, drag you out, and force you to go back to one of the parks. The more you force yourself outside into the parks and walk around, the less fun Disney will be. When you have that one day off, though, you will feel so much refreshed and all ready to hit the parks once again!
To close up my advice, remember this:
A vacation is supposed to be a getaway from all the stress of work, school or other issues going in your life. You can’t let the negatives that go in your head get to you and keep you from having a good time. If you keep yourself from letting loose and having fun, then what is the
point of vacation? Bring down the barriers, smile until it becomes a real smile, and let faith, trust, and maybe a little bit of pixie dust take over as you enjoy yourself at the Happiest Place on Earth.