The Disney Rash Is Real: What You Need To Know

Have you ever heard of the Disney rash?  It’s real.  Don’t believe me?  Just Google it.  I’ll wait.

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It’s real huh?  You saw all those gnarly pictures?  Scar said it best, “BE PREPPPPPAAAARRREEED” so let’s chat before you freak out.

Here’s a story…of a lovely lady…who woke up with red stuff on her leg.  True story, though.  On my last Walt Disney World vacation I was traveling with my mom in late June.  The heat index was triple digits and it was just plain hot.  One morning she woke up and noticed that she had a rash on the bottom of her leg.  At first, we thought maybe something had bitten her.  She wore yoga pants in the parks so that part of her leg was what was exposed to the elements.  But it didn’t itch like a bug bite?  And it really didn’t look like bug bites.  She kept walking around and on the 2nd night after we got back to the room; went to Dr. Google. She typed “rash after walking around Disney all day”.  And sure enough!  She saw what you did when you Googled it.  

Flash forward to the next day.  We were all standing in line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and a lady behind us looks at her and says, “I hate to be rude but do you have that Disney rash?”  It was a bit comical at this point, but she wanted to see what she could do about it.  The lady told her she’d read that if you went to First Aid they had a cream that worked.

We went back up front to First Aid (which is located between Casey’s and Crystal Palace by the way) and she went in to talk to the nurse.  The nurse took a peek and immediately said, “you’ve got the Disney rash”.  She gave her a gel to put on it and told her to keep it elevated as much as possible.  

So, what do you do if it happens to you?

  1. First off, don’t panic.  It isn’t life threatening and it really isn’t uncomfortable.  More unsightly if anything.
  2. Pop in first aid at one of the parks as soon as you can for the wonder gel.
  3. Elevate your feet as much as you can.  If you are eating, discreetly put your feet up in the chair across from you.  Prop your leg up any chance you get during the day.  At night, place pillows under your leg as you sleep.  It’s going to stay around until you get off it and stay cool.
  4. Keep the area cool – put cold washcloths on it, rub ice on it…get creative in the parks. 
  5. If you can do a combo of walking and sitting all through out the day you limit the amount of time standing.   

What is it exactly?  The medical term is vasculitis and it is sometimes referred to as a golfers rash.  It is caused by excessive walking in a hot and humid environment.  

How long does it last?  Typically about a week

Where will I start to see it first?  Normally above your sock line if you are wearing socks with your shoes.  The socks provide compression so you won’t see it below them.  Although, if you are not wearing socks you may see it form down by the ankle.  

How can I prevent it?  The best advice we’ve found is to drink lots of water (to reduce swelling), wear compression socks (if possible), start walking outside months before your trip (to acclimate your feet), and schedule your day with breaks.  

As always, if your symptoms are alarming or you are concerned – consult a doctor.  I am by no means a medical professional and anything you think should be looked at definitely should.  

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