Family Fun Adventures with IBD
Summertime is a great time of year. The kids are out of school. The weather is warm and friendlier to joints. No one has to get up at the crack of dawn. Time schedules are lax. It’s also a time to spend some great bonding time together on adventures. When you are living with IBD or have a child living with IBD, adventure options are limited. An amusement park is often daunting and thought to be an impossibility. But I’m here to tell you that you can absolutely go to places like the Land of Mouse, comfortably and safely. Here are 5 tips to help you navigate your trip through an amusement park during the summer break.
Pack a Mom Back Pack
Replace your purse with a backpack that has comfortable shoulder straps. Make sure that it has one or two side compartments for drink containers, and lots of pockets inside. Or use small zip pouch bags to keep your bag organized.
What to Pack:
Some things to pack are extra underwear, comfortable/foldable pants, socks & fleece jacket, travel toilet paper, flushable wipes, travel soap, travel hand sanitizer & tissues, dry snacks, portable charger, and extra cords. Other items include electrolyte replacements, diarrhea medication, 1-2 adult diapers (if you are experiencing extreme urgency). Make this bag separate from your diaper bag or kid bag. This bag should be for you and have your personal items in it. If you have a child who has IBD, this would be what you would pack in a back pack for them.
Rent a Motorized Scooter
Try getting to the park early so that you can rent a motorized scooter if you do not have one of your own. Most of the rides accommodate patrons with disabilities, so you will be able to ride up to the ride and not have to stand in long lines that you won’t be able to handle. Being able to ride around the park, as opposed to walking everywhere, can help extend your tolerance for the trip by a few hours. If you don’t want to spend the entire day with the scooter, some parks have a parking area where you can park the scooter and come back to it when you are ready. A lot of parks also offer wheelchairs. However, using a wheelchair without a motor may be a little more exhausting as you would have to be pushed around the park or work the wheelchair yourself by pushing the wheels. If you have a friend who owns a motorized scooter, it might be worth it to ask to borrow it for a day or two while you are visiting the amusement park.
Disneyland now offers the fast past for most rides and a disability pass for moms with disabilities who are walking with strollers, in place of a full pass. However, some amusement parks do have disability passes. When you get into the park, visit the guest services or “town hall” to see what your options are. These passes are great for rides that have extremely long lines, as well as preferred seating for shows and parades.
Consider an Annual Pass
One of the worst parts about living with a chronic autoimmune condition is the unpredictability. Planning a trip to Six Flags was perfectly fine on Wednesday when you felt great, but now that it’s Friday and you’re on your way, you may not be feeling so great. The great thing about an annual pass to an amusement park that is in your area is that you can come and go as you please. It takes the pressure off of you to do all of the activities in one day, or forcing you into going on a day you are uncomfortable. Even if you only use the pass sparingly, it still ends up being cheaper and better in the end. Over the summer break, you can take the amusement park in sections over time. The kids love the idea of going often and you will actually be able to enjoy your time.
Gear It Up
Take your stroller and a structured carrier. Some moms like to wrap, however wraps are hard to get on and off in a hurry. A structured carrier is a little bulkier, but it does help alleviate the child’s weight as the day goes on, so you can carry longer. Take a stroller that your child wants to be in and which has a big basket to hold stuff. Some parents are now taking their stroller-wagons to allow for nap time, multiple child holding, snack time, and bag depot. Trying to rely on the possibility of renting a stroller is too risky. And taking a stroller that is uncomfortable for a child to be in will leave you with another item you can’t use. Having a stroller that is designated strictly for family adventures like an Amusement park outing is great. We love double strollers that recline. Even though I don’t have multiple children, quite often we go to an amusement park with another kid. Everyone gets a seat when they are tired, bags have a place to go, and the whining is minimal. To avoid theft, purchase a bike or stroller lock. And if you can, remove one or two wheels before leaving it parked to go on a ride.
I spent the first two years of my child’s life believing that I would never be able to survive a trip to an amusement park with him, until I finally just did it. Over the years as my IBD and my family have evolved, so have my summer adventures. But these basics have helped me get through a trip with other chaperones, or just me and my LO. Find your adventure and enjoy your summer!