You just got done with a long, magical day at Disney only to discover a rash on your legs! Is it the Disney Rash?
It very well could be the dreaded Disney Rash. But don’t worry! This rash is a very treatable, preventable rash.
Here’s what the the Disney Rash is along with some tips on preventing it and treating it to allow you to have the most magical trip ever!
What is this rash everyone is talking about? We will tell you all about it – but keep in mind we are not doctors!
This information is to help you understand, prevent, and treat the rash. Speak to your healthcare provider if you have any medical conditions that concern you.
What is the Disney Rash?
The Disney Rash (sometimes called the Epcot rash) is a rash that appears on your lower legs with red bumps appearing on the skin. It is harmless and will usually resolve itself in 3-10 days.
The medical name for Disney rash is exercise-induced vasculitis (EIV). Golfer’s rash, hiker’s rash, and golfer’s vasculitis are also names associated with this because the Disney Parks are not the only place you can get it.
During hot and humid weather your legs and ankles may start to swell from excess standing and walking in the heat. The swelling from excessive standing inflames small blood vessels in your legs and ankles and red bumps may appear on the surface of the skin. These bumps on your skin look like a rash – and that is what is called the Disney rash.
What does the Disney Rash look like?
The Disney rash is red or purple blotches or spots on your legs. You may also see some swelling or experience itching at the site of the rash. At times, the Disney rash can cause some moderate stinging or burning sensations.
Why is it called Disney rash?
This particular rash is simply called a Disney rash because it so often occurs to people at Walt Disney World due to the high heat and excessive amount of walking that happens at the Disney parks! It is similar to a heat rash, although usually not quite as severe.
What the Disney Rash is NOT.
The rash is not dangerous or contagious. You don’t get it because of a chemical found at the parks (as some have hypothesized).
Chiggers, sand flies, bed bugs, poison ivy, and viruses are not to blame for it. The Disney Rash usually doesn’t itch or burn but your skin does look nasty. The rash usually goes away after a few days.
How do you get the Disney rash?
Basically, the Disney rash is a combination of the sunlight exposure, hot, humid weather, and prolonged walking. Hmmm, those are the conditions a day at the Disney Parks in Orlando. Now you understand the name! These conditions contribute to the swelling of the blood vessels in the legs, causing the rash.
You will be walking many, many miles at each of the Disney Parks. Some of the parks, such as EPCOT, have very few shortcuts.
Animal Kingdom is simply huge and you will be walking a lot. You will find yourself criss-crossing in the Magic Kingdom, which causes extra steps. This is especially true if you are using Genie+.
Hollywood Studios is known for not much shade. This is another factor that plays into getting the rash. After several days of heat and walking at these parks, the rash may show up.
You’re also more susceptible to getting the Disney Rash during the summer months (May, June, July, August, September) so be more cautious during those months. Months that are typically cooler (November, December, January, February, March, April) aren’t as bad as the other months but it’s still possible to get a rash!
How to prevent Disney Rash?
The rash can affect anyone (both healthy people and unhealthy people) but women over the age of 50 tend to be more susceptible to it.
There are some preventative measures you can consider implementing during your Disney vacation. Here are some tips to prevent getting the rash on your skin.
Cover Your Skin at Disney
Because direct sunlight is a big culprit, clothing covering the skin can help in the prevention. Long pants and socks that are longer can be a good idea to help limit sun exposure.
Some have even said that sunscreen has the same effect as long pants so apply it before you leave your resort. If you’re worried about the rash, we recommend fully covering your skin!
Consider Compression Socks
Yes, you will get a sock line from the sun, but wearing tall socks can help prevent the rash. Compression socks may help even more, as the socks help prevent the legs and ankles from swelling as much.
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These socks are amazing! While hiking or walking for long periods of time, my feet and lower legs swell and I get EIV (Disneyrash). I decided to try compression socks to see if it would help, and these socks exceeded my expectations. After a 2.5 hr/5.5 mi hike, I had NO swelling!Partial Amazon review from Chloe K King
In order to diminish the swelling to the legs, drink plenty of water and try to avoid lots of salt. Remember that any quick service restaurant will give you free cold water or just keep a water bottle in your backpack.
(This is one way way save money at the parks! See or other tips here.)
Elevate your Feet
When you rest at the parks, elevate your feet as much as you can and if at all possible, wrap cool towels around the skin on your legs. Definitely try to elevate your feet for a while when you get back to your hotel.
I know, I know, where are you going to find “cool towels” while waiting in line for It’s a Small World? Well, when you get on the ride, take your towel out of you pack and dip it in the water and wrap it around your legs…problem solved! (Just kidding!)
You can bring cooling towels in your day bag! These towels get cool with a simple snap – we highly recommend them not just for your legs, but to help stay cool in general.
- Instant cooling and reusable.
- Keep chilled up to 3 hours.
- Carrying pouch with carabiner clip.
This was so great to have at Disney World. My sister ended up getting exercise-induced vasculitis, or apparently, it’s also called Disney rash because of how common people get it at Disney. The poor thing had the most swollen legs but these things came in handy to help cool her legs down. Note to those who don’t do a lot of walking: when going to Disney, also buy compression socks.Amazon review
Another idea is simply taking ice cubes and massaging your legs with them. Whenever you get a drink immediately take an ice cube out to use on your legs.
Keep Out of the Sun at Disney
Another thing to do to prevent this rash is to limit how much you’re in the sun! You’ll really want to try to keep out of the sun as much as possible. Look for shade whenever possible.
Exercise Before You Go to Disney World!
Start a walking program and be sure to exercise well before you go to Disney. Exercise will help your legs, muscles, and cardiovascular system get prepared for all the walking you’ll be doing while at Disney.
Head to this post for tips on how to increase your steps before you go!
A walking program will help prevent you from getting a rash! If you are thinking of getting new shoes before our trip we recommend getting them early so you can start your walking program in the shoes you will be wearing to Walt Disney World.
We have recommended shoes for the whole family here.
One final thing you can do is consider taking Ibuprofen before you start the day as it has anti-inflammatory properties. Make sure you bring your own ibuprofen, as purchasing it at your Disney Resort can be extremely expensive.
How do I get rid of Disney rash?
If you find yourself at Walt Disney World and notice you got the Disney rash, don’t worry!
First, you are not alone. Many people get it so there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Many of the prevention ideas should be done if you get it.
Ice and elevate your legs (keep them cool), keep out of the sun and also drink plenty of water. In addition to these steps, you can use a topical anti-itch cream or aloe vera gel for burning. Prickly heat powder can be used and keep the area free from sweating.
The good news is that most people do not need to seek medical attention from a medical provider for their Disney rash. It will eventually go away on its own.
That being said, if you have any concerns about your rash be sure to stop by a first aid station in Walt Disney World. If the rash does not go away on its own in a week or so you will want to get medical help.
Is the rash contagious?
No, it isn’t contagious! You don’t need to worry about passing it on to anyone else.
To sum it all up, a rash might put a fashion damper on your Disney vacation but won’t prevent you from doing anything you had planned!
Starting a walking program before your vacation is so important, we have it mentioned on our list of 7 things not to do before going to Disney (don’t be out of shape!). You can see the other 6 here.
If you are trying to figure out the best time to book your Disney World vacation, head here. Be sure to check out our crowd calendar to give you an idea of the crowds fore each month – the cooler months will help you avoid the Disney rash!