If you’re planning a trip to one of America’s world-famous theme parks, the last thing you need is to catch a cold or for fatigue to set in before you’ve had a chance to see and do everything you want to.

If one of your vacation goals is to stay healthy and avoid getting sick, it helps to be aware of the options available to you. Prepare for theme park temptations ahead and make healthy swaps when the opportunities arise.

Boost your immune system before you go

The best offense against illness and fatigue is a strong defense.

Stock up on probiotics that will help build up your immune system and support digestion. Your body will thank you as you come into contact with the many germs to be found in airports, public bathrooms, and other spaces you share with the general population.

Catch up on your sleep. If you stayed up all night chatting the night away with family or danced until the wee hours of the night with friends, sleep in the next day or find time for a nap. Plan your late nights so you won’t be too tired to enjoy the next day visiting the theme parks you traveled to see.

Take iron supplements. If taken daily, 80 milligrams or more of elemental iron can significantly decrease fatigue. This comes in handy for when that bright burst of energy that you started the day with begins to drop after hours of rides, shows, and theme park excitement.

Bring a backup snack

You don’t want hunger to strike when your closest options are theme park restaurants or convenience stands at the airport. That’s a recipe for poor “in the moment” decision making. Bring a healthy backup snack with you if you need something to tide you over until your next meal. Here are theme park snacks that won’t cause your blood sugar levels to soar like Space Mountain.

 

Cook your own meals

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Pictured: kitchen of the 2 Bedroom accommodations at Summer Bay Orlando

As tasty as treats can be, too much junk and fried foods can cause stomach aches, headaches, and sickness that might not go away easily.

If you are staying in accommodations with your own kitchen, don’t rely on restaurants for every meal. Alternate between going out to restaurants and cooking your own courses. You may decide to skip theme park meals altogether and instead cook healthy breakfasts, lunches, or dinners as you snack your way through the theme parks.

 

Research your dining options

Identifying the healthy dining options available to you in a new, unfamiliar location is much easier to do before you get to your destination than when you arrive.

Theme parks like Walt Disney World and Dollywood are not known for their health food, but there are vegan and vegetarian options available for health-conscious park guests. Dollywood’s Front Porch Café offers gluten free and vegetarian options for its sandwiches, salads, some chicken entrees and some of their pasta dishes. The theme park shares special dietary needs information on its website. For Walt Disney World park goers, the website Vegan Disney World is a helpful resource for finding out what you can eat at Disney World without straying from your personal and nutritional values.

 

Find fitness-friendly accommodation

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Photo: Instagram/anniinamari. Location: Summer Bay Orlando resort

When looking for accommodation, place yourself in an environment that makes it easy to maintain your health goals. Look for facilities and amenities that offer a variety of exercise options for you and your travel group.

Summer Bay Orlando guests who are visiting Florida to explore the Disney and Universal Studios theme parks enjoy access to our fitness center, 6 pools, kayaks, Buccaneer Bay Adventure Park, athletic courts–including basketball, tennis, and volleyball–and more activities that make staying healthy fun!

 

Reduce your risk

Ask anyone who has had food poisoning on vacation and they will tell you it is not a pleasant experience. Even if the park, restaurant, or food vendor has a good reputation, as you are walking around Disney World in the hot Orlando sun or exploring a hole-in-the-wall pub outside of Dollywood, always check your food before eating or serving it to a loved one.

If you squeeze a cheeseburger and the juices run red, send it back. If you have the choice between a buffet where the food has been sitting out all day or a restaurant that serves food from its kitchen, choose the fresher option.

 

Make your vacation fitness a game!

There are many ways to make fitness fun on vacation. If you are traveling with little ones or a group of competitive friends and family, turn your goal into a game you can share with others in your travel group. Check out this vacation workout game from Nerd Fitness.

Excited to try a butterbeer at Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Eager to dip into a Dole Whip or Mickey-shaped candy apple at Walt Disney World? Do it! Enjoy that new taste experience. Indulge your sweet tooth.

Taking care of your health while away on vacation doesn’t mean you should deprive yourself. You should splurge when it’s worth it. The trick is to balance your culinary excitement and luxurious splurging with calming relaxation and physical activity.

Looking for a fitness-friendly resort near the Disney World theme parks? Our Summer Bay Orlando resort is just 10 minutes away.