Theme Parks are supposed to be fun for everybody. But it can be difficult to enjoy if you are trying not to faint. Here is how to do Disney with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or Orthostatic Hypotension).

What is POTS?

POTS stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Orthostatic Tachycardia means that one’s heart rate speeds too fast after activity—like exercise, standing too long, or even standing up too quickly—or when that person gets overheated. When your blood pressure doesn’t also rise up to match the fast heart rate, there is not enough oxygen reaching the brain. To fix it, your body shuts down and passes out. Orthostatic Hypotension is similar to POTS. But instead of a fast heart rate causing problems, it’s low blood pressure. Both cause low oxygen levels in the brain and can cause you to faint.

Tips for doing Theme Parks with POTS

  • Drink lots of water: I usually bring my own hydro flask and I refill it with ice water throughout the day. Disney Parks all have locations where you can get ice water for free. And I believe most, if not all other theme parks have them as well, especially for situations like this. Just ask an employee or cast member to direct you whenever needed.
  • Dress accordingly: Unless it is supposed to be freezing cold that day, I do not recommend wearing all dark clothing and tons of layers. Dress in a way that will make you less warm. Again, unless it is supposed to be cold.
  • Use a Wheelchair: I have my own wheelchair that I bought for only $30 at a nearby thrift store. I recommend doing that if you plan to visit theme parks a lot. However, you can also rent one just outside the park entrance. At Disney Parks, it costs only $12 (plus a $20 refundable deposit) for a manual wheelchair and $50 (plus a $20 refundable deposit) for EVCs. A wheelchair makes it easier to stay cool, avoid getting your heart rate too fast, and gives you somewhere (besides the ground) to go if you happen to faint.
  • Know where the first aid stations are: You can go sit in the air conditioning there, drink water, lay down on a bed, etc. There are also trained registered nurses there at all times to help in case needed.
  • Take breaks throughout the day, especially when it is hot outside.
  • Suck on pieces of ice: Disney Parks have several locations where you can get a simple cup of ice for free. Ask a cast member or head to a quick-service restaurant.
  • Powerade: Disney Parks sell Powerade as soft drinks at their restaurants. Order it every time you eat. It will help a lot!
  • Consider a DAS Pass: The DAS pass (or Disability Access Service pass) helps those who struggle with waiting in a traditional line.