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Anxiety and Disneyland


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  • [Question] Anxiety and Disneyland

    Hello, I'm a long time lurker who got tempted in to joining MiceChat just because of this internal ordeal I am going through.
    First of all let me say that I am an AP holder who goes to Disneyland very often, so I'm not the one with the Anxiety. I am a student who took up a summer job just so he could take his family to Disneyland, as theyve never been there before because they just don't have the funds for it. I bought 3 Summer fun passes for my mother, younger brother, and younger sister. The problem though is that my younger brother has an anxiety disorder. He has gotten better since he developed it over a year ago, but still has problems with public places. He is trying his best to overcome it but sometimes it will being around too many people will be too much for him and he will have panic attacks. Again, they have been less infrequent as time has gone by so he want to go ahead and try Disneyland out as the next big step to recovery.
    I was thinking of booking at HoJo even though we are locals from Los Angeles just so we could go back to the room whenever he felt a panic attack coming but funds do not allow for this.

    So my question is, are there quiet places at the park for my brother to try and shake it out JUST IN CASE it does happen? Even though I am a frequent DL visitor I can't think of any places besides Big Thunder Trail and even that seems to have lots of people passing by lately.

    Should I even be considering bringing him during these summer months?
    I live and breathe for these artistic ladies...

  • #2
    Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

    Congrats on joining the forums! I too just joined last week.

    Reading your question the first thing that popped into my mind was for you to take your brother into the movie theater in Main Street (you know the one that plays all those classic Mickey cartoons) Usually its empty and if people do go in its not for long plus its nice and cool in there. I'm not sure if being in a dark kinda small; but not really, place would have any effect if he was having a panic attack.

    Another place could be inside the Golden Horse shoe Restaurant upstairs. Again the place is usually occupied; but for the most part there arent that many people. Only downside is if a show happens to be on then there would be more people in there.

    But all in all I think the movie theater would be the best place.
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    • #3
      Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

      I have not been to the park since 2006 but a nice place my mother went to when her anxiety acted up was in toon town by the miss daisy boat. there is some nice shaded areas with some trees and i believe a fountain or a water pond i am not quite sure. but it is shaded and ususally pretty quiet there in dca there are some tables around the pacific wharf that are usually not crowded and pretty quiet that your bro could always relax at. Hope that helps!!
      My Name Is Margy and I am a mint julepaholic.
      Disneyland freak since my first trip when I turned 6 months old...september 1987!!
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      • #4
        Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

        ...but still has problems with public places.
        Sounds like you may not want to take him until he gets a little more help with it. You said yourself it's only been a year, and that's not all that long. You may have answered your own question at the end of your post. Maybe should wait till the off-season at the very least.

        There aren't really a whole lot of 'quiet places' in the park that are readily accessible to guests. I suppose you could slip backstage if you knew where to go, and if it were an emergency.
        "The old man's gonna knock on the sky. Listen to the sound."

        AP'er since 2004. Yup.....I'm one of THEM.


        • #5
          Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

          I don't know how absolutely quiet and isolated you need to be, but I thought of a couple.
          The first would be back by the parade entrance by It's a Small World. I think they have some topiaries or something there. Not too many people walk by there. The only people that really see it are people in line, and the occasional Cast Member that walks by.
          My second suggestion would be way back towards the entrance. When you first walk under the train, it is on your left, next to City Hall. They have the tour info booth over there. I think there are benches and some flower.

          Have a great trip!!!


          • #6
            Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

            Welcome to micechat!

            Die Vampire, Die!!!


            • #7
              Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

              So the Pacific Wharf would be the only empty place in DCA right?
              Thanks everybody for helping me, and more suggestions are welcome please!
              I live and breathe for these artistic ladies...


              • #8
                Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

                Hi. I hope you are able to go on your trip and your brother has a fun time without too much anxiety. I have a cousin with anxiety problems, so I understand.
                I'm not sure of what kind of isolation your brother needs, but I tried to think of some places that may be quieter and less of a "crowd."

                Carnation Plaza Gardens-- not usually very busy, just people passing through. It's shady and has seating.

                Near Pooh's Corner-- there is an area in a corner near the store... it is by the exit of the Pooh ride. I usually will see a small group sitting there... it is somewhat isolated, shady and pretty quiet.

                Lower level of Hungry Bear-- obviously not during peak dining times. you can get a table near the river in the back in the shade and relax. I'd assume since it is summer time it would be hard to get the place completely empty though.

                Animation Building in DCA-- places to sit, air conditioned, video loop to watch, people generally milling through and not really a "crowd" type of place

                You could try the lunch area outside of the park if it isn't too busy and he needs a complete break from the park itself.

                Again, I don't know what type of getaway helps your brother feel of course it will differ if he just needs to get away from the crowd atmosphere or if he needs to get away to a very private area. But if he just needs a break from amongst the crowds, maybe something as simple as a train ride around the park or a ride on the Mark Twain may relieve some of his anxiety.


                • #9
                  Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

                  oh, and I forgot... the Court of Angels in NOS. There usually aren't people back there.


                  • #10
                    Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

                    I should probably clarify more on this.
                    I don't mean completely isolated places, but places where people can feel free to move about a little bit, and not look like a school dance where you don't know how to get through the dance floor to get tothe other side of the wall (If you get what I mean, I make some weird allusions). So the places you guys suggested are great, I just never though about them before! I didn't know there where so many.
                    I live and breathe for these artistic ladies...


                    • #11
                      Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

                      If Haunted Mansion Holiday is not in effect, try the Haunted Mansion FastPass area - it's off to the left of the queue entrance, behind a little gate. The gate's typically closed during non-HMH months, but you can go in through the area's curved brick exit. It's a fairly small, partially enclosed space with no one in it...peaceful, albeit slightly creepy. I think it's a nice place to relax, as long as you don't cause any trouble or leave a mess or anything.

                      On more of a "big picture" note, however...I'm going to recommend not retreating to secluded locations. It feels like a natural choice to avoid the anxiety's stimulus, of course, but it's actually counterproductive. What that does is provide your brother some short-term relief while increasing fear of the stimulus in the long term. (I lack neither education nor personal experience in this!) A better tactic is for him to willingly expose himself to the situations that provoke anxiety. Is that fun? Heck no! But it actually works.

                      And I don't mean he should only put himself in that sort of situation until a panic attack starts. In theory, you actually want him to start having those panicky sensations - it means he's in a situation that genuinely provokes anxiety for him, the kind of situation he needs to be able to function in. So what happens when the anxiety starts going? He needs to let it. Encourage it to become stronger. Welcome it. It sounds stupid and terrifying and pointless, but it actually works. When his actions send the signal to his subconscious that social situations and anxiety itself do not need to be feared, despite how he feels at the moment, the anxiety slowly but surely is reduced. Avoiding the situations just sends the signal to the brain that there's something that genuinely deserves to be feared, and it reinforces the anxiety over time, making it harder to shake.

                      Okay, enough soapboxing. In any case, I hope the trip goes really, really well!


                      • #12
                        Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

                        Originally posted by NikNak View Post
                        oh, and I forgot... the Court of Angels in NOS. There usually aren't people back there.
                        yeah this is a good area too, as are all the other areas listed above.

                        as for dca, pacific wharf works fine.

                        also around girzzly river run. off to the far corner of it is a small pathway that that runs near the peak that's usually not too crowded.

                        maybe aside from an area like paradise pier which has quite a big collection of construction walls around dca doesn't suffer from too much of the big crowds that disneyland has. so hopefully it'll be easier for your brother to handle this park, maybe it can help him build up his confidence to handle disneyland on the next visit.
                        i've got no strings.


                        • #13
                          Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

                          Welcome. You might try first aid, if I remember correctly they have some areas in there that you can rest at if you are having a medical problem. Also, central between both parks there is the picnic area. That area is pretty secluded and the couple of times I've gone there isn't much activity. However, I was there early in the morning so it may pick up in the afternoon but they have vending machines if you need a soda. Good luck.
                          Stalking is when two people go for a long romantic walk together but only one of them knows about it.


                          • #14
                            Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

                            Another really good quiet place that I usually find to be pretty empty is the picnic area north of the vending stands across from the Matterhorn under the Monorail track.

                            It's the old Phantom Boats ride loading area but now it's just a quiet picnic area. While it is under the monorail beam, the trains are so infrequent and so quiet I don't think that would be a problem.

                            If your brother needs a fair amount of elbow room to move around then the parade path that goes right to the Small World facade is pretty open, not too noisy and not too crowded as long as there isn't an imminent parade.

                            I also second the recommendation to try the area over by First Aid in that there is a decent amount of room, it's pretty quiet and there isn't much foot traffic through there other than the occasional cast member.

                            The Carnation Gardens off to the West of SB Castle is usually pretty mellow and quiet unless there is a band perforrming there. We used to take my daughter there to mellow out a lot when she was a cranky toddler.

                            Over in DCA there's a lot of room over at the Pacific Wharf. There's also the first part of A Bug's Land that's pretty open, quiet and airy.

                            I hope that helps. Good luck. And I don't know what your budget is but you can almost always find a 3 Star hotel in the Disneyland area on Hotwire for $50 per night. Good luck. You are an awesome person for doing all that for your family.
                            Disneyland Trips: 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 83, 84, 86, 90, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15

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                            • #15
                              Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

                              how about a nice stroll on the monorail? I bet that you could ask for a cabin to yourself or ask to go in the front of the monorail,and just take a nice stroll through the park. That way its enjoyable for everyone, and it gives you guys a little break from the hectics of the park in summer, and at the same time not huddling in a corner.

                              And since your an AP, i would suggest visiting these places before hand to make sure that they're good.


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