The magical thing Disney is doing for kids with life-threatening allergies.

The magical thing Disney is doing for kids with life-threatening allergies. | Dearest Geeks of Earth

Family travel for 2015 is just getting started, and as parents start to map out their vacation calendars, many will make plans for a little Disney magic.

But of the bazillions of parents who will head to Disney Parks or set sail aboard Disney Cruise Line this year, many won’t just make plans around must-see attractions and character meet-and-greets. With 1 in 13 children under the age of 18 facing life-threatening food allergies, close to 15 million families will be going over their child’s (or even their own) action plan in case of a severe anaphylactic reaction.

Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur seconds or minutes after exposure to an allergen – common ones are peanuts, bee sting venom, latex, etc. The resulting flood of chemicals released by the immune system can cause shock, narrowing of the airways, nausea, vomiting, and even death.

An injection of epinephrine can stem symptoms until emergency medical professionals can arrive on the scene, and while those who have allergies typically carry their own Auto-Injectors, (I carry my son’s and my own in a special “ouch pouch” that is easily identifiable in case of an emergency), things happen, and sometimes, we forget to bring things with us or inexplicably lose them along the way.

And while the Disney already works closely with guests who require extra assistance in terms of food allergies, dietary restrictions and other special needs, it has now taken an extra step by partnering with Mylan – marketer and distributor of EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr® Auto-Injectors – in a multi-year strategic alliance meant to increase anaphylaxis awareness and enhance access to EpiPen® Auto-Injectors around the parks and on its cruise ships.

Look for updated maps and signage within Disney’s domestic theme parks, cruise ships and even on Castaway Cay highlighting locations where EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr® Auto-Injectors can be found, in additional to educational resources that will be released throughout the duration of the alliance.

The magical thing Disney is doing for kids with life-threatening allergies. | Dearest Geeks of EarthKeep in mind of course, that the new alliance is not intended to replace your child’s (or your) individual emergency anaphylaxis treatment, nor should you stop bringing your own Auto-Injectors with you while visiting the parks.

Still, it’s comforting to know Disney’s got your back.

Photo credits: Mylan (map image only)

Photo edits: DGOE

  23 comments for “The magical thing Disney is doing for kids with life-threatening allergies.

  1. Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious?
    02/06/2015 at 8:16 PM

    What a great idea! So glad to see Disney doing this! I’m sure there are plenty of people that aren’t aware they have a life threatening allergy until it happens!

    • Dearest Geeks of Earth
      02/09/2015 at 12:01 PM

      There’s a reason so many families choose them as their vacation destination. This is just another swipe of frosting on the cake :-)

    • Cammie
      02/23/2015 at 10:01 PM

      This will not help those who do not know they have an allergy. This is not an aid station with a nurse or paramedic. If you already use an epi-pen and lose it or forget it you will be able to replenish your supply. If you exhibit anaphylactic like symptoms but have never been diagnosed with a severe allergy you will need a medical professional to determine if it is indeed an anaphylactic episode or not. All ambulances and aid station always have carried epi-pens for these type of emergencies. They just can’t be handing out epi-pens to anyone who says “oh I can’t breathe it must be an anaphylactic reaction, give me an epi pen” . That will not happen. These pens are for people with allergies who are well aware of their problem but somehow even though their life depends on it don’t have their epi-pen with them. For all the airheads out their who can’t seem to take of themselves and expect the rest of the world to do it for them. I have never left home without my insulin. I don’t know I guess I just don’t want to die and figure I am responsible for myself. Hmmm odd concept I actually think I should be responsible for my own problems.

      • Dearest Geeks of Earth
        02/24/2015 at 3:24 PM

        Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland have licensed physicians and registered nurses on site, and have access to on-site fire departments and emergency responders. In the event of an emergency, and after being evaluated by a medical professional, an EpiPen could save someone in anaphylaxis. As for an EpiPen being forgotten back in the hotel room, things happen. Parents probably wouldn’t forget their child’s auto-injector, but they might forget their own. We’re all human.

      • myst
        02/25/2015 at 8:09 AM

        How rude to assume people with allergies are careless. There is no harm in having epipens available…it’s a great thing. If you educated yourself you would know that some people WELL AWARE of their allergies are not prescribed epi-pen (British for one). Or they have had reactions but not life-threatening ones and encounter a high level of unexpected allergens due to a server’s mistake. We all discover our allergies at different ages. I didn’t know my son was allergic until someone gave him a cashew cookie at age two. Thankfully I was at home and could rush him to hospital. Lots of kids and treats at Disney could mean someone discovers their allergy (nuts/eggs/bees etc)

    • Linda Salvanto
      02/25/2015 at 3:34 PM a mother and grandmother of two children who require and epi pen if stung by a bee my hat goes off it you. I often worry that their medication might be lost or misplaced in a time of need. Thank you for taking these steps. Just one more reason Disney is the best place on Earth..

  2. Robin (Masshole Mommy)
    02/11/2015 at 10:56 AM

    This is awesome to know, but seriously, it would be grossly irresponsible for a parent to travel without their own epi pen if they knew their kids had allergies.

    • Dearest Geeks of Earth
      02/11/2015 at 11:02 AM

      True, but there’s always the chance a parent could leave their child’s EpiPen back in the room by mistake. And there are parents who might not know their child has a life-threatening allergy yet. This could truly save lives either way.

    • myst
      02/25/2015 at 8:12 AM

      Some people especially young kids can surprise you with a new allergy. Some countries like UK don’t prescribe epipens unless you’ve already had a life-threatening episode. So if you survive- then you get one. Lots of foreign visitors at Disney.

    • Jessa
      02/25/2015 at 8:30 AM

      There are times that one Epi is not enough and to know that there is a second one close by to get too while waiting for the EMTs to get there is a comfort even if it is never used just knowing that I don’t have to carry 2 of them with me is nice… Both my Husband and me carry and Epi for our child. Plus we have one in a backpack for him that he carries when he is not with us. There has just been too many times when one Epi is not enough or if the Epi we are carrying fails. That right there would be a nightmare having the Epi and not being able to use it because it did not inject. Way to go Disney!!

  3. Divina
    02/11/2015 at 11:47 AM

    That is amazing! Way to go Disney! My kids thankfully are not allergic but our town’s public school district just went nut-free and it is such a relief for parents like me that do not want to do any harm. Next time I visit Disney I will be happy to know these new policies are in place.

  4. Charlene @CharleneChronicles
    02/11/2015 at 12:51 PM

    Disney is so great. As someone who has to carry an epipen myself due to a shellfish allergy, it is comforting and educating. Way to go Disney!!!

    • Dearest Geeks of Earth
      02/16/2015 at 4:58 PM

      Shellfish allergy here too, Charlene! And while I never forget my son’s Epi-Pen, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that I would somehow forget my own back in the room. This is such piece of mind.

  5. Annie {Stowed Stuff}
    02/11/2015 at 1:03 PM

    Anaphylaxis is certainly scary, no matter how much training you have. Good to know that Disney is prepared to help in an emergency with the Epi-pens.

    • Dearest Geeks of Earth
      02/16/2015 at 4:52 PM

      Agreed, Annie!

  6. Nicole Estrella
    02/11/2015 at 5:36 PM

    I am fortunate that my kids do not have allergies but I would never doubt that Disney wouldn’t be on top of this.

    • Dearest Geeks of Earth
      02/16/2015 at 4:56 PM

      Surprised they didn’t do it sooner, but this is not a complaint by any means. Better now than never!

  7. Scarlet
    02/11/2015 at 7:48 PM

    1 in 13? I had no idea the number of life threatening allergies was so high! I am thanking my lucky stars right now.

    • Dearest Geeks of Earth
      02/16/2015 at 4:52 PM

      Upside: Building continued awareness.

  8. Tamara @ We3Travel
    02/11/2015 at 8:34 PM

    Nice move. I hope they integrate that info in the various apps with maps of the park too since people will be more apt to have their phones on hand then the paper map or brochure.

    • Dearest Geeks of Earth
      02/16/2015 at 4:54 PM

      Good point, Tamara. We’ll see what our sources have to say.

  9. myst
    02/25/2015 at 8:20 AM

    I find it disheartening as we fight to educate and gain support and compassion for dangerous allergies thrust on people/children that out of 15 comments two are unsupportive/aggressive and full of negative assumptions. It speaks volumes of the progress that still needs to be made :(. Epipens freeze, overheat, jam, break, expire, can be mis-injected (I carry two). A good news story with naysayers making heartless comments.

  10. Kendra Kroll
    03/30/2015 at 9:49 AM

    It’s a step in the right direction, but as multiple commenters have pointed out…you can never replace the one you carry right here and right NOW. Always best to WEAR your EpiPen and never rely on a separate purse or bag. when you are having a bad moment, every second counts and you can’t always take those purses and bags on the rides!
    There are systems to hands-free carry things safely and effectively… PortaPocket is one such system. The Tall pocket fits 2 EpiPens and is made from comfy neoprene. Be safe, not sorry.

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