Disney World and Anxiety

Many people suffer daily with Anxiety. It can be a struggle for most people to enjoy everyday life without worrying what will trigger the next panic attack. Today I want to help you Survive Anxiety while visiting Disney World.

I have a degree in Psychology and my daughter has anxiety. This has been a lifelong struggle for her, hopefully some of our experiences can help you to maximize your fun at Disney and keep the panic attacks to a minimum.

Anxiety is a very common thing that most people with deal with from time to time, but for some it is a daily struggle. Anxiety can be a stand-alone problem or it can accompany other disorders like A.D.H.D.   Either way it can be controlled, here are some helpful hints.


You can start the night before. You can do meditation/visualizing. I know a lot of you are going what is that? Well it is where we lay down in quiet room. Totally relax and clear your mind of any negative thoughts, which may be hard the first few times but it gets easier. Visualize yourself, having fun, going on rides, watching the fireworks etc. I know that sounds out there to a lot of people but believe me it does work.

You can also try deep breathing.

1) Take a deep breath thru your nose and hold for 4 seconds.

2) Exhale out of your mouth very slowly. Pretend there is a candle in front of you and you are trying to not blow it out.

3) Repeat that no more then 4 times and you will feel your heart rate slow down and you will slowly calm down.

If a panic attack should occur be prepared and have a backup plan. Maybe finding a quiet spot is enough for you. That can be hard to do at Disney but it is possible. You can always ask a cast member they are always very helpful.  Remember there is always first aid in every park if need be.  In First Aid you can lay down in a quiet and dark room.  We had to use it a few times and they are the nicest people. They are very accommodating and helpful.

Tip – Make a mental note of the Top 5 Places to Hide out at Walt Disney World.

The Disney Guest Assistance card can be a big help to you. You go to guest services at any park and tell the cast member your situation. They will ask you a few questions to determine what type of assistance you need.

Tip: You don’t need to bring proof with you because due to privacy laws they can’t read it anyway.
Once you have your guest assistance card you can enter thru the fast pass area on most rides. I have been told there are some rides/attractions that do not accept the guest assistance card but I have not found that to be true. I never had a problem using it at all.

Anxiety is different for everyone so the key is to learn what works for you and don’t let anything stop you from enjoying your life.

What are some tips or advice has helped you with Panic Attacks at the Parks? Let us know in the comment box below.

Sunshine is a Disney fanatic. You will find her counting down the days until she goes back to Disney, while annoying her daughter with everything Disney.

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Maria

I am the Disney World News Writer for Chip and Company. I am also an Independent Travel Agent for World of Magic Travel, the preferred agency used by Chip and Company and the Disney Addicts. Email me at maria@worldofmagictravel.com so I can help you plan your magical Disney vacation.
Disney World and Anxiety was last modified: September 9th, 2013 by Maria

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  • Sunshine

    Thank you Rachael :)

  • Rachael

    This is excellent!! :)

  • sunshine

    I am glad they helped you :)

  • Deborah Zindle-Santana

    Very useful article. Found myself doing the breathing exercises as I read through it. They work!

  • sunshine

    I want to thank everyone for reading my article. I am so happy to know that I helped each of you in someway.

  • Andrea Gardner

    Thanks for this! I have one son who suffers from anxiety and another with serious and nearly debilitating Sensory Processing Disorder. I haven’t yet brought them to Disney, but I am finally at the point where I think my husband and I can make the trip successful and enjoyable. This tip is the best yet! You have been amazing help!

  • Jennie

    My son has multiple sensory issues and anxiety. The GAC really helped with our son to have a great vacation. The key is to set the child up to succeed by having knowledge of the rides and watching your child for cues. We do not go commando from the early A.M. until late P.M. We create a touring plan and remain very flexible. Although Disney has great “magic” we make sure to include “down time”. Great article!

  • Carrie George

    Good article. My son has ADHD and freezes in line queues. He’s 14 now, so he’s a little self-conscious about it. Last year when we went to Disney, we got the Guest Assistance card and it made a huge difference in his comfort level. Overall, it was the best thing we ever did at Disney, simply because he was able to enjoy himself more freely.

  • Sunshine

    Thank you !

  • Sierra

    good job mom