Friday, May 24, 2013

Healthy Disney...Walk your vacation off!

The Princess Half Marathon at Disneyland.

Walt Disney World is HUGE!  Yes...I know...surprise surprise!  Well, I don't just mean that to try to win me the title of Captain Obvious!  I literally mean the park is quite massive.  Even taking into account that you can go from park to park or from resort to resort on the Disney Transportation System, there is still quite a bit of ground that you have to cover.  That can be both a positive and negative for most people.

Let me try to shine a bit of positive light on this aspect of your Disney Vacation.  One of my clients...we'll just call her A....was concerned about the amount of food in the Disney Dining Plan, as most of the character meals that they would be attending are at All-You-Can-Eat establishments (Crystal Palace, Akershaus, Chef Mickey's, etc.).  Couple that with a quick service meal that in most cases could easily feed two people, and the snack, of which Disney is famous for stretching the definition, that can be a bit intimidating.  I reminded her that they would be walking quite a bit.  In fact, my in-laws have a clip-on pedometer that is linked to their computer to track their steps, and on their most recent trip to WDW, they logged miles...not steps...MILES of walking!  My client...A...emailed me back that they were planning the same thing (bringing a pedometer) because their health plan gave them credit for exercise (we'll explore that in a second).

That got me thinking.  First of all, how much walking do you actually do, on average, on an average length Disney vacation?  Can you really walk your vacation off?  We've all been on vacations where we go, indulge, and come back with what I'm going to call the Indulge Bulge.  Those few extra pounds that followed you home from your trip.  Let's examine the Disney Vacation.

Assume first that you are staying on property at one of the fabulous Disney Resorts.  Even if you happen to get lucky (or request it) and get a preferred room, or a good room spot, you'll still have a bit of walking just to get from your room to the transportation ( wife and I are convinced that we actually walk a shorter distance with a preferred room at Pop Century to transportation than we did when we were on the 5th floor, away from the elevator at Wilderness Lodge...I'll have to check that next time I'm visiting Mickey!!).  Okay...brass tacks time.  Let's say that you walk an average of 3500 feet from room to transportation.  Then, let's assume you'll be going to one of the smaller parks...say Hollywood Studios.  Well, depending on your resort, the bus stop alone could be as much as 3000-5000 feet from the gate.  Let's also assume that you'll be on your feet, walking for most of the day, rope drop to fireworks, so let's say that will be roughly 8 hours.  If you walk at a slow to moderate pace, you'll end up walking about 1.5 miles per hour.  Yes, yes...before you fill my inbox with all kinds of comments, I know you won't be walking that fast for 8 hours straight.  Let's assume of that 8 hours in the park, you're moving for about 1/3 of that, or about 2 1/2 hours.  That's fair, right?  Okay...lets math it out! :)  2 1/2 hours times 1.5 miles equals 3 3/4 miles.  Add the 8500 feet (or 1.6 miles) and you're at 5 1/3 miles.  That could equate to anywhere between 300 and 600 calories burned!'re not going walk yourself thin eating buffets and walking Disney, but it certainly helps.  And, I'm only speculating here.  Do you own math!  My in-laws said they logged over 15000 steps per day!  PER DAY!!!  That huge!  While each person is different, it certainly doesn't hurt that you're walking that much while on vacation.

Courtesy of
Now, I mentioned above that my client, A, said they would be logging their steps for their health insurance and that they would give you credit for those logged steps.  How do you do this?  Well, first off, buy a pedometer.  Don't skimp on this, guys.  The more you spend, the more accurate it is.  There are plenty...actually too many to mention...available at sporting goods stores, department stores, and online, but there is one that I really love.  My in-laws have it, as do many of my friends.  It's called the Fitbit.  It's available with different options, various accessories, and can even be linked to a smartphone app.  It's easy to use, easy to install, and will track all your activity daily.  It will even link up to your computer even without being in the dock via WiFi.  Then, all you do is have it on you every day, all day, and you'll get all the activity logged. 

Then, just upload to your health plan and Ta Da!  Credit for being on vacation!  :)  Isn't that great!    Who would have thought that you'd get credit for going to Disney?  You may be asking what plans allow you do this...logging your exercise for health credit. My client's plan is partnered with Virgin Heartmiles Program, but check if yours has a plan that is correlated with your insurance.  Most do, but it's definitely a case-by-case and sometimes state-by-state basis.

So, in short, don't worry about the calories.  They don't count when you're on vacation anyway, right?  Well, if I'm not right, then you can enjoy and even indulge with little worry as you will definitely work off some of those extra calories!

Make it a magical weekend!!


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