Nobody goes on vacation with the plan of needing to visit the first aid station.  Well, I go on vacation with plans on visiting the first aid station, but that’s only so that I can talk about it here.

 

When Kristen and I went to Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Food and Wine Festival at the beginning of October, one of the stops that I planned to make was at the first aid station to get an idea of what they are equipped to handle in an emergency.  What I learned impressed but did not surprise me.

 

This is the sign that you will find outside the first aid station at EPCOT.  The station is situated at the Odyssey Center, right between the World Showcase and Furtureworld, on the left side of the part as you enter.  I would rather have seen more prominent signage, but any Disney World employee can direct you, should you need to find it.  The Odyssey Center is between Test Track and the Mexico pavilion.

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One thing of interest is that there is both a first aid station and a “baby care center” located right next to one another.  We are well past the need for a baby center (for now.  We’re not grandparents yet!), but Mouse Planet has a good review of the baby centers in all of the Florida Disney parks on their page.

 

When I walked into the first aid station, I found myself in what looked like a well-lit waiting room, with a reception desk and a few chairs.  Behind the desk sat a Disney cast member (I think, anyway) who happened to be a Registered Nurse, according to her name tag.

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She was nice enough to chat with me for a few minutes about the services that the first aid station at Walt Disney World can provide, which are rather comprehensive.  The first aid station is staffed by medical professionals, although there is no physician on site.  One is available off-site.  The first aid station can handle anything from as minor a problem as a blister all the way to having paramedics show up for critical emergencies.  They offer a large variety of nonprescription medications in both children and adult strength, all of which are available for no cost.  They even have baby powder available, if the heat is causing you to chafe!

 

The nurse at the desk in EPCOT told me that the first aid stations are staffed by nurses in all of the parks, but there is no first aid station in Downtown Disney.  In addition to the nurses at first aid, there are trained paramedics stationed at each park as well.

 

All of the services available at the first aid station are free to Walt Disney World park guests, and all Disney cast members are trained to contact the local 911 for emergencies.  911 service is managed by Reedy Creek Emergency Services (RCES).  They have what they call Medical Assistants Response Carts (MARC units) stationed in each park as well as in Downtown Disney, which can handle all levels of emergency medical service, up to and including Advanced Live Support (ALS) until ambulance transport arrives.  In the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, there are 2 MARC units, while the other parks and Downtown Disney each have 1 MARC unit.

 

The MARC units have a response time of about 5 minutes from the time a call is placed to 911.  This is significantly faster than the response time in most cities, which averages 8-10 minutes or more.  The response system in the parks is two-tier, meaning that the MARC units respond first and have first patient contact.  If needed, an ALS ambulance is called for support and transport of the patient to one of three local hospitals.

 

Have you ever had to use the serves of a first aid station?  Let me know about it in the comments below!

 

Stay safe.