Simulators, long drops, upside-down loops, spinning, bobbing on water, 3-D, bumps and jiggles. Does all that twirl make you…well, hurl? Any one of these motions (or all of the above) might make you dizzy or sick to your stomach. If you’re prone to motion sickness just the smallest movements might result in vertigo, migraine headache or vomiting. Certainly not what you want to experience on your magical day at Disneyland! As a longtime motion sickness sufferer I’ve come up with my list of top tips for avoiding motion sickness at Disneyland!
KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT
Have issues with the following movements? Consider these rides & attractions:
Spinning you dizzy in a circle – Astro Orbitor, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Flik’s Flyers, Francis’ Ladybug Boogie, Golden Zephyr, King Arthur Carrousel, King Triton’s Carousel, Mad Tea Party, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Silly Symphony Swings, Grizzly River Run
Hurky-jerky stops – Autopia, Indiana Jones Adventure, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Tuck & Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies
3-D glasses required – Star Tours, Toy Story Midway Mania, It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
Up and down, up and down – Jumpin’ Jellyfish, Soarin’ Over California
Tummy tickling drops & dips -Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, California Screamin’, Gadget’s Go Coaster, Goofy’s Sky School, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Do not ride backwards if you can prevent it. Find a seat that faces forward on the Monorail and Mark Twain River Boat. Even the buses and trams coming to and from the parking lot have backwards and sideways facing seats, so always choose the option that faces forward.
Keep fresh air on your face. Though the Finding Nemo Subs have tiny fans in front of the windows, the still air, close-quarters and water-motion in this ride might make you lightheaded. Consider bringing in your own battery-operated fan to keep the cool air on your face.
Put down the map or guide book! Reading while riding is a sure bet to bring on nausea. Keep your head up and look outwards.
Adjust your gaze and focus on the horizon. I find that if I’m looking at something inside the ride (like focusing on my son’s face on the carrousel, for example) then the blur of anything outside of the ride catches in my peripheral vision, making me dizzy. If I look outward when I’m riding on Dumbo, for instance, and focus on the Matterhorn in the distance then I’m less likely to feel nauseous.
I love scopolamine (Transderm-Scop) which is a patch worn behind the ear. It slowly delivers medication over the course of three days. I’ve found it’s the only motion sickness medication that doesn’t make me drowsy and that fully works for my symptoms. The last time I used the patch was on my trip to Europe. I was able to travel by plane, bus, van and bicycle without any nausea and fully enjoyed my vacation!
Always “test” out medications before your trip to see how the dosage affects you. Keep caution that some medications can cause extreme drowsiness. The last time I took Dramamine was on a fishing trip. I was so sleepy that while my family was fishing, I was asleep on the bottom of the row boat!
According to a study in Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, those who performed acupressure on their wrists reported reduced motion sickness. Use your thumb to press your inner arm three finger widths (about two inches) down from your wrist crease. Hold for a few minutes, until symptoms subside. Some swear by SeaBands, which are wrist bands with small buttons that rest on pressure points on the wrist. I haven’t tried them to know for sure but it’s worth a try!
WATCH WHAT YOU EAT
Foods with strong odors, heavy, spicy, or fatty foods may worsen symptoms in some people. Unfortunately that is a large part of Park food so choose lighter fare when you can and considering bringing in your own snacks. If you’re an adult, you should also avoid alcohol.
TALK YOURSELF OUT OF IT
Positive self-talk has been shown to aid in preventing motion sickness symptoms. Repeat to yourself, “I will not get sick” or “I will feel fine on this ride”. Breathe deeply (without hyperventilating) and aim to relax. Take breaks as needed before or after high-movement rides to self-affirm.
VISIT FIRST AID
Okay, so you tried it all and you still feel sick to your stomach? Visit First Aid inside the Parks and the nurses here can help.
Here’s to a happy and healthy visit! What are your feel-good tips for avoiding nausea? Share below in the comments.