How to Beat the Disney Rash!

preventing the Disney rash

Walking. You will do an incredible amount of walking on a Disney vacation. Sometimes the mileage adding up can be more painful than the sticker shock from the cost of your trip. Sore legs, aching feet, and then throw in a rash. Wait, what?? Seasoned Disney World and Disneyland travelers have noticed a rash appearing on the legs of people walking in the parks and resorts. They call it the “Disney Rash.” Is there really such a vacation ailment?

I know my Disney Visa bill can make my eye twitchy, but can a Disney vacation really make you itchy?

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avoid the Disney Rash

The Disney Rash

Described as a strange rash covering the calves and shins, most people say The Disney Rash is not itchy, but it reportedly looks terrible, like a red-colored heat rash. It seems to be most prevalent when it’s hot. Hello, it’s hot in both Disney parks for a great deal of the year, so this has potential vacation trouble written all over it, at least if you don’t want to be uncomfortable and have all your pictures taken from the waist up. The rash seems to develop at the beginning of the vacation and suddenly disappear when you get home, many times before things got bad enough to call a doctor. 

Thus the name Disney Rash

Suspected Causes

Disney travelers have long suspected the rash was caused by chemicals used to clean sidewalks, cement dust, or plants and flowers blooming in the warmer weather. 

Suffer’s Solutions

On Internet discussion boards and Facebook groups, many people have suggested the following treatments: 

  • tall socks
  • moisture wicking socks
  • body lotions
  • sunscreen
  • applying a cool damp cloth to the legs throughout the day
  • elevating the feet/calves
  • antihistamines 

So really, are the Disney parks and resorts making customers break out in a rash? While you certainly have the potential of developing this condition on a vacation, the geographical location has nothing to do with the symptoms. Disney sidewalks, Disney chemicals, and Disney landscaping are not causing the rash. So what is?

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Disney rash treatment and symptoms

The Cause 

Wendy Bumgardner, a walking expert from, indicates the rash is “an irritation of the blood vessels following prolonged exercise in the heat, such as walking for extended periods or playing 18 holes of golf.” Many physicians call this Golfer’s Vasculitis. Exercise-induced vasculitis and hiker’s rash are other common names associated with this condition.

“Golfer’s Vasculitis” is a term long used to describe a rash common in people over the age of 50 who do a lot of walking, especially in the heat. Many older people enjoy playing golf in the summer, so they name most commonly sticks with this older group. Ms. Bumgardner, citing a study by the Australasian Journal of Dermatology, indicates the source of the rash is heat and age. Leg blood vessels get irritated from the heat, and you break out in Golfer’s Vasculitis. indicated that while not exclusive, some people suspect a genetic element, since many sufferers are fair-skinned with British/northern European ancestry.
Walk around Disney property and you could break out in the unofficially-named Disney Rash. It’s the same thing as Golfer’s Vasculitis.
On, many commenters said their Golfer’s Vasculitis was definitely triggered by hiking, but in many of these cases, it was accompanied by terrible pain and swelling. One sufferer said, “It does hurt and it’s debilitating.”
So what can you do for treatment if your rash is doing more than just taking attention away from your fabulous new WDW t-shirt?
treating preventing the Disney Rash


Australasian Journal of Dermatology research offered no treatment or prevention recommendations. The rash seems to occur in healthy, active people, and because it’s not a serious health concern, they don’t recommend you receive allergy testing. Ms. Bumgardner noticed the rash at Breast Cancer 3-Day Walks and walking conventions, apparently nowhere near Disney property or a golf course, and she recommends you pamper yourself by taking a cool bath, elevating your feet, or applying cool, wet towels to the rash. concurs that Golfer’s Vasculitis needs no specific treatment, since most dermatologists say it tends to disappear on its own within a matter of a few days. They do offer a list of suggestions to soothe inflammation caused by the rash.

  1. Use Aloe Vera gel, best if directly used from the plant, to soothe the burning sensation.
  2. Soak your ankles in some cool water, plus add Epsom salts.
  3. Wrap your feet in towels soaked in cold water.
  4. Elevate your feet to soothe pain and inflammation.
  5. Liberally dust some prickly heat powder on the rash, ensuring skin remains free off sweat.

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Gofer's vasculitus

Prevention offers some great tips to prevent Golfer’s Vasculitis/Disney Rash from ever occurring. And stopping a rash before it starts obviously sounds best, although tough to accomplish if you travel when the temperature is warmer.

Would you describe yourself as someone who sweats a lot?  You need to avoid wearing confining pants or socks. Choose quick drying synthetic clothing and footwear, plus occasionally air out your feet and ankles.

To prevent excess sweating, dust your feet, ankles, calves and legs with prickly heat powder.

To prevent ankle chaffing, wear light cotton socks with a loose weave and moisture-wicking properties.

Change your socks multiple times in a day and wash the used pairs in hot water.

Stay out of the sun and hang out in the shade. Since the peak time for sun is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., this is definitely not the best time for walking, running, jogging, golfing, or obviously Disney parking.

Wear comfortable shoes like sandals or light shoes with Velcro straps. Use this article for more info. on choosing shoes:

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Disney vacation rash

In addition to the comments at the bottom of the article, we had many, many of our Cheapskate Princess Facebook fans describe their experiences with the rash. 

Kathy, “My husband, who is a Cast Member, gets this occasionally. Now we know what it is!”

Patricia, “I had that rash many times. I also found that walking before going to Disney didn’t prevent the rash but lessened the appearance.”

Shelley, “I notice I have been getting it the last several years at Disney. Going to the parks a lot next year, so I’ll have to read up and try and prevent this. Doesn’t itch but looks awful, and I think everyone notices and stares.”

Karen, “Every time I go this happens to me. Sorry others get it too, but glad I’m not alone!”

Hollie, “My dad got it so badly on our November trip of 2014. We got a cream that they sold in the gift shop that cleared it up, so it wasn’t a big deal. I just made sure he applied it a couple of times a day. Note: we went to first aid in Animal Kingdom, and they cream they gave us there did NOTHING. So it was worth the extra charge buying the rash cream in the store.”

Cathleen, “I’ve gotten it before when it was very hot; we took a mid-day pool break and elevated in the evenings. I kept thinking it was a chemical thing because on the 6 night trip, we only did two Disney park days and one Universal/IOA day. I didn’t have it this bad though, and it did disappear a few days after being home.”

Michelle, “This happened to me in 2014. I wore socks and tennis shoes the whole time thinking it would be better for my feet, but it was too hot. Last year, I wore Orthaheel flip flops. My feet were cooler, I never broke out, and I walked between 6 and 10 miles a day comfortably.”

You will do a lot of walking at Disney parks in both Florida and California. Use this guide for more information:

Walking Miles & Miles at Disney Theme Parks: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Golfer’s Vasculitis Disney World

Other Rashes

Ms. Bumgardner offers several other issues that can be confused with the Disney Rash/ Golfer’s Vasculitis on

Unlike golfer’s vasculitis, prickly heat itches. This rash is triggered by blocked sweat glands and causes raised itchy red dots or bumps. It is best treated by getting out of the heat for a few days and not scratching the area. Use this link for info. on Heat Rash and Prickly Heat.

If your legs are itchy during or after exercise with no relation to heat, you may have exercise urticaria. Use this link for more information on Itchy Legs Syndrome.

If you break out in tiny itchy hives following an increase in body temperature, whether due to exercise or a hot shower, you may be suffering from Cholinergic Urticaria. Use this link for more information on Cholinergic Urticaria.


Who knew walking and taking vacations could be so itchy and rashy?!

Our best advice pre-vacation has always been to do some walking before you leave:

The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Disney Vacation? It’s a Four Letter Word!

golfer's vasculitis on Disney World Disneyland vacation

If you’ve ever suffered from this rash on vacation, leave a comment and let us know how you handled it.

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you applying sunscreen and trying to stay out of the Disney sun.

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  1. Karen says:

    I have this happen to me every single visit! As much as I have tried to prevent it, I can’t. After sun Aloe helps as well as drinking a lot of water. Cool cloths and keeping your feet and legs elevated at night helps too.

  2. Suzanne Daniels says:

    I get this rash on every visit. I use Cortisone cream. It helps with the itching and redness.

  3. Donnaj says:

    I get it every time also. Just use lotion. It goes away after vacation. I think it has something to do with the sun plus all the walking. Looks like sun poisoning to me.

  4. Stacy says:

    The best thing is to take is Zyflamend whole body about a week before you trip. Take it daily. It helps with inflamation. I only had this once almost all the way to my knees and since taking the Zyflamend I have never gotten it again. Good luck all!

  5. Angi W says:

    happens to me around the ankle area every time we go to any amusement park. I have a couple of patches that have NEVER gone away. They don’t bother me, though. No itching. Looks like a few busted blood vessels. Never have sought treatment.

  6. Janet Tinga says:

    I got the rash the first time at Disney World several years ago. Now I get it a few times every year and seems to get worse each year. Mine doesn’t itch. My ankle swells, stiff and is warm and painful to touch. Hot water from the shower inflames it. Cool compresses help but the rash disappears on it’s own after several days.

  7. Yvonne Orefice says:

    Actually got this after visiting Six Flags….my legs hurt (throbbing pain) and the rash burns (no itch). Today I was told by someone at church that I had the “Disney rash ” and that I should be better after elevating my feet a few days. I’m wondering if it’s hereditary? My mother used to get this every time we visited Opryland. The first time she got it, she thought she was having an allergic reaction. After going to a doctor, she was told it was poor circulation. It typically goes away in about a week for my Mom.

  8. Brenda says:

    I started getting this several years ago. I get it only at Disneyland and only during the Summer when it’s hot. Yesterday I was in the park from 9-4 and I got it sooooo bad!!! The worst I’ve ever had it. Nothing I’ve tried has prevented me from getting it ( wearing compression socks, taking benedryl, putting on hydrocortisone cream, sunblock, wearing pants, wearing shorts…. Nothing has worked). If anyone finds a cure for preventing this from happening…. I’d love to know because Disneyland is one of my favorite places and I hate getting this when I go.

  9. Kathy W. says:

    I’ve been getting this ever time we visit Disney World/Disneyland for several years now. I have recently found that applying aloe followed by Desitin Diaper rash cream helps tremendously with the burning. I am a pharmacist and have often recommended diaper rash cream for heat rash. It does seem to help pretty well and the added bonus is that it will work as your sunscreen too because it is mostly zinc oxide!

    • Kathy W. says:

      Be sure to get the diaper rash ointment (40% zinc oxide). If you get the zinc oxide sunscreen, it won’t be as effective because it has less zinc oxide. I tried the sunscreen because it was all I had available to me, but the diaper rash ointment helped much more.

  10. Tammy says:

    I am not alone. I went to Disneyland yesterday and I got the rash. I thought it was the chemicals from the water rides. I had the same happen last year when we visited Disneyland. I blamed it on anew medication i was taking. Thank you for the information. It put me at ease.

  11. Madisyn says:

    I get this rash after hiking in the summer at home (in Canada) too, not just at Disney parks! It’s noting malicious, but it can be pretty annoying. Drinking lots of water to stay hydrated helps a ton! And whatever you do, if it’s itching or burning, DON’T SCRATCH. It makes it exponentially worse. Resist the temptation!

  12. Jane says:

    I get this and have never been to DW or DL. I get this when I work outside in my yard, cut the grass or even cleaning out the garage/shed. I went to a dermatologist who was baffled and claimed possibly golfers rash/ vasculitis. I went to a rheumatologist who referred me back to a dermatologist after blood work. Mine flares up with swollen skin and a burning sensation then turns to dark red or purple spots -blood under the skin. It takes about 7 -10 days for it to disappear but I notice when I take a hot shower it brings it out again. It’s almost as if it hides dorment under my skin until heat brings it out. I have to turn the shower to cold water to rinse off my legs. It begins to itch when trying to heal. Its very frustrating to deal with and when inflamed embarrassing so I’ll wear light chino pants to hide my legs in public.

  13. Krystyn says:

    Whoa! I just got back from a week long vacation in So-Cal which included several 12 hour park days and I got this on day two, sucks because it itches and my calves are all swollen up and tight. I thought it was a contact rash from water or chemicals.

  14. Allrash says:

    thanks for this great info Amanda!

  15. Dawn says:

    Yes, I too have suffered with this horrible rash. Mine gets very hot to the touch and is quite painful. The rash has gotten so bad that my calves actually swell up too! I have not found a quick fix for it yet, but i do like the above users suggestion of aloe. I will be packing a “rash bag” for sure next Disney trip. I actually have an appointment with my dermatologist next week, i think i’m going to pick her brain on this one as well…

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