Have You Ever Had the ‘Disney Rash’? Here’s What to Know

Disney Rash Cover Image

These days everyone is more mindful than ever before about “mysterious rashes” popping up on the skin. Perhaps you yourself have even experienced the anxiety of having one come about suddenly. And it’s even worse when such instances happen to you right when you’re in the middle of a vacation to either Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or Disneyland Resort in California.

Unfortunately, that scenario plays out far more frequently than you probably realized. What’s even more surprising is that being in Disney Parks is actually the direct catalyst for bringing about one very mysterious rash in particular—that dreaded ‘Disney Rash’ you may or may not have heard rumors about.

Are you confused? You’re probably asking yourself a million questions right about now. What is Disney Rash? Is it real or made up? How do you contract it? Is it some allergic reaction to Pixie Dust? Well, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about Disney Rash.

Disney Rash on ankle

Credit: MoreTimeToTravel

Related: Monkeypox at a Disney Park? Cast Member Reportedly Has Confirmed Case

It Comes on So Suddenly

You may already be a couple days into your trip. All has been fine up until this point. Then, all of a sudden, you start to feel a tingling, tightening sensation starting around your leg and ankle area. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, you look down and notice a horrific sight! A hive-like tapestry of red, sometimes purplish, markings are now spreading all over your leg.

You start to wonder how it came about so suddenly, and whether or not you got into something you might have been allergic to. But what? You’ve been in the Parks all day, standing in lines, walking about, and not brushing up against anything you can remember specifically. What’s more, you notice something even more intriguing about this mystery rash — all these markings seem to stop abruptly right at your sock line. Ah, the baffling mystery continues!

Rash perimeters

Credit: Build A Better Mouse Trap

Related: Preparing Your Body For A Day At Disney World

So, What’s Really Going On?

Even though it is commonly referred to as a “Disney Rash” it actually isn’t a rash in the traditional topical sense. Nor is it happening solely at Disney Parks. In fact, this condition has been historically termed as “Golfer’s Vasculitis” or “Golfer’s Rash” long before the familiar moniker “Disney Rash” ever even came into being.

It’s also been referred to alternately as “Hiker’s Rash/Vasculitis,” “Exercise Induced Vasculitis,” “Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis,” and a range of other names. All are essentially the same condition: an inflammation of blood vessels in the lower leg or upper ankle area.


Credit: Verywell Health/Wendy Bumgardner

Why Does It Happen?

Here’s the simple science behind how Disney Rash comes about. When you’re out in the heat or hot weather for an extended amount of time, it can cause blood vessels in the legs to become dilated. Add being on your feet constantly and walking more than you’re probably accustomed to doing on a regular basis and it may actually draw even more fluid into those already aggravated blood vessels.

The capillaries in your skin will in turn get the brunt of the stress, becoming vulnerable to the added physical strain. This initially results in an internal leakage of blood, aka that “rash” you start to see.


Credit: Medical News Today

Related: The Golf Lover’s Guide to Doing Disney

How Can It Be Treated?

While Disney Rash may look like a sinister curse or the notorious handiwork of a detested Disney Villain, it’s relatively benign, albeit annoying, and will usually resolve on its own in just a few short days. All the same, you’re probably wondering if there is anything in particular that you can do to treat it immediately, or at least help to accelerate the healing process. And the good news is, yes there is!

Whether you are in sunny Southern California or sizzling Central Florida, there are many great Disney attractions and alternate activities that can be enjoyed indoors, in a setting that provides for a refreshing air-conditioned respite. From stage shows to even taking a break out of your busy day to enjoy some delicious table-service dining, if you start to see (or feel) a Disney Rash emerging, your first course for fighting back should be to get out of the heat for a bit.

Dining at Disney

Credit: Disney

Related: Keep Your Cool: Beat the Heat at Disney

It’s also an excellent idea to take things a little slower. You’ve been on the run trying to tackle all there is to see and do at Disney, but perhaps you should shift your focus to resting up a bit. Get off your feet, opt for more seated entertainments, rely on available transportation options when feasible, and even try elevating your legs when there is an opportunity to do so.

Don’t think of it as a limit to experiencing all the Magic of Disney but rather consider it an optimal opportunity to relax in one of the best environments possible. Vacations are all about relaxing anyway, right?

Disney shoes propped up

Credit: Disney/Stuart Weitzman

Staying hydrated is also crucial for keeping your body fully functioning to its maximum potential. What’s more, it can really balance out and ward off any potential fluid retention. So, make sure to drink plenty of liquids, particularly that clear, tasteless stuff that’s such a life force to us all.

Drink water


Using topical hydrocortisone has also been shown to reduce the outward physical aggravations brought on by Disney Rash, particularly if it’s a product that contains a cooling aloe-like component. One item that many Disney Rash suffers swear by is the line of Benadryl cooling relief gel products.


Credit: Hip2Save

Related: The Top Beauty and Wellness Advice from Real Disney Princesses

Prevent Disney Rash Before It Even Starts

While it’s comforting to know that you have options for treating Disney Rash, prevention beforehand is perhaps the best course of action to strive for. For instance, it may do you a world of good if, prior to your upcoming vacation, you start working out a little more — working up your endurance level, so to speak.

No, we’re not suggesting you start running marathons, but perhaps adding in a little more walking will prep you accordingly as not to overstress your body when the time comes.

Readying for physical activity

Credit: Medical News Today

Related: How to Stay Fit During Your Walt Disney World Vacation

It’s also an excellent idea to bring light, comfortable-fitting clothing with you on your trip, rather than opting for something that is too snug or otherwise irritating on your skin or body. Going hand-in-hand with this suggestion is choosing to bring the right kinds of shoes, which should always be sturdy and supportive, yet comfy and well-cushioned.

What’s more, you should also consider wearing compression socks or sports socks. Those that go all the way up to your knees are best!

Chip 'n Dale Compression Socks Knee-High

Credit: Laura Hermoza

Related: These Are the Items You Should Always Pack for a Trip to Disney World

Disney Rash is nothing to be alarmed about, although it can be very inconvenient and, quite literally, a pain when you succumb to one on a Disney vacation. But if you do your part to manage it accordingly, you’ll succeed in experiencing a spread of maximum Disney Magic to combat the spread of Disney Rash.

About Laura

Laura Catherine aka “LC” is a writer who resides in Maryland with her family and several pets. She visits Walt Disney World whenever she can. Additionally, she is a published author of three novels, a children’s book, and has a passion for gardening.

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