Traveling with Senior Mouseketeers
Carrie Gruber Travel Agent, Never Grow Up Vacations
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Walt Disney World (and Disneyland, for that matter) is known for being a place where anyone, regardless of age, can kick off their shoes and act like a kid. Who wouldn’t want to shed their adult life for a while? For many guests who find themselves in the “Senior Mouseketeers” category, a trip to a Disney park can be invigorating and refreshing. However, there are things to consider if you are planning a trip that includes a guest in this category.
Our latest trip was to Disneyland this past summer and included myself, my husband, our three children (ages 10, 7 and 2) and my father, who is 68 years old. We’ve taken two vacations as a group to Walt Disney World in both 2013 and 2015. Before traveling to California for our 2017 trip, my dad was starting to worry about keeping up with us and whether he would be able to keep himself comfortable. Since I really wanted him to be able to keep travelling with us, I had to start researching ways to make the trip easier for him.
First, your chosen mode of transportation is imperative. Make sure your Senior Mouseketeers know how much walking and transferring is involved; not only in the parks, but also at the airport, your resort, Disney Springs/Downtown Disney, and any additional activities you may choose.
You will most likely clock several thousand steps in a day, plus standing in lines and watching parades. That’s a lot of work for your body! Make sure you are aware of the health restrictions and needs of your Senior Mouseketeers are when you start planning your trip and let them help decide what options are best for them.
With foot and knee issues, plus the fact that he has breathing problems related to smoking, my dad just is not able to keep up with us. Prior to our trip, I looked at renting an ECV (Electric Conveyance Vehicle) through one of Disney’s approved vendors versus renting them at the parks. I was able to find a vendor who would drop off and pick up the ECV at our off-site hotel and for a much more reasonable price. This is a very convenient option for guests who do not own an ECV of their own. It made such a difference in our touring efficiency and my dad was in a better mood because he was not in pain.
The weather also needs to be taken into consideration. Senior Mouseketeers should be aware of the temperature forecast for each day of their stay so they can take the necessary precautions. The summer months may be especially hard on them with the heat and humidity, so it might be a good idea to plan your trip for the cooler months in Florida.
October was nice but it was still quite warm, with temperatures in the upper 80’s most days, but it was much more comfortable than Florida summers. I’d suggest going between January and April, or late October through December, if heat-related health issues are a concern.
Resting throughout the day is also important. While my husband and I are spry young adults, we were dog tired by the end of each day, even with taking regular breaks. I made sure to add in extra rest spots into our plans to allow us all to relax. Taking a break to rest and have a snack helps to reduce meltdowns throughout the day for all members of your party. Going with a commando-style touring plan is probably not a good idea if you have seniors in your group. Involve them in the trip planning and make sure you are all in agreement on the details BEFORE you leave home and you will have a more enjoyable trip.
Lastly, remember to let them enjoy themselves. If they want to ride the Teacups with their grandchildren, let them have at it. If they want to buy your toddler a Mickey ice cream bar before they’ve had lunch, make sure you have plenty of wet wipes on hand, then sit back and watch. You will love seeing them have fun and create memories that you will cherish for years to come.
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