With so many things you need to remember when going on a trip to Universal Orlando, it’s understandable if you leave something at home. If you forget your toothbrush, toothpaste or comb, it’s easy enough to get those items at the gift shop of your hotel. However if you’ve forgotten to bring your high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid or any other prescription medication with you, it could ruin your once in a lifetime trip to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. While you’ll find many stores in Hogsmeade, a muggle pharmacy isn’t one of them.
Luckily for you, it isn’t the first time this has happened to someone and pharmacies around the Universal Orlando Resort area are there to help you. Here’s a guide to help you get your medications and get back to enjoying your vacation.
Please note, the instructions below are only if you normally get your medications filled in the United States. If you’ve forgotten your medication and are from outside the United States, you’ll first need to see a medical provider in the U.S. to write prescriptions for your medications.
There are three things you need to know:
- You need to have a prescription that can be filled at the pharmacy
- You need to know if your insurance will pay for the medication and which pharmacies are in your plan’s network
- You need to call a pharmacy that meets the requirements of step 2 to have them transfer your medication or have your doctor send a prescription to the pharmacy
Step Number 1 – You need to have a prescription
Just because you take a medication does not mean you have a refill that can be easily transferred to a pharmacy in Orlando. While everything is easier if you have a refill for your blood pressure medication at your home pharmacy and it’s a weekday during business hours, you’ll have a more difficult time getting medication if you usually deal with a mail order pharmacy, have no refills available and/or it’s a holiday weekend. Just understand a pharmacy needs a current order from a doctor, nurse or other authorized prescriber on file to give you medication. Don’t expect to walk into a pharmacy and say you need medication and have the pharmacist hand you some tablets.
It’s also important to know that all states have different rules about prescriptions. Some states don’t allow transfers of certain types of medications like sleeping pills, anxiety tablets or pain medications. Even if you have a written prescription from your doctor, a pharmacy in Florida has to do some work in order to fill these types of medications so don’t expect to drop it off and wait for 15 minutes like you do at home.
If you forget medications at home, I suggest calling your home pharmacy FIRST and see if you have a refill that can be transferred to a pharmacy in Orlando. If so, it’s a straightforward process to have a pharmacy in Orlando call your pharmacy at home. If your hometown pharmacy tells you that you have no refills, once you find a pharmacy using the steps below, you should then call your doctor and describe your situation. They’ll need to send a prescription to a pharmacy in Orlando for you. Most doctor offices are understanding in situations like these (after all, they wish they were also in Orlando, so they usually go out of their way to help you) and will be able to call a pharmacy to fill your prescription.
Step Number 2 – Will your insurance pay for the medication and where can you go?
Just because you have insurance for your prescriptions, it doesn’t mean your insurance company will automatically pay when you ask for a medication because you left it on the dining room table. The insurance computer systems are designed to reject claims for refills that are requested too soon. This isn’t if you were almost out of a medication at home, but if you just picked it up a week ago from your home pharmacy, you’re likely to run into a problem at the pharmacy in Orlando.
I’d suggest you’d contact your insurance plan by calling the customer service number on your prescription insurance card and explain your situation to them. See if there are any overrides they can provide that will allow you to get an emergency supply of medication for your trip. Plans differ in if they allow these overrides and the copay they will charge. Understand you may need to pay more or get a smaller amount that usual; these are special situations and while they may be willing to work with you, it might cost you a little more.
Also ask your insurance company what pharmacies can you go to in the area. The easiest zip codes to search is 32819. Hopefully they will have a list of pharmacies that are in network. Most commercial plans are nationwide but some state sponsored assistance programs (i.e. Medicaid) are restricted to the home state. In these cases, you may be required to pay for the medication yourself. Better to find this out before heading to the pharmacy. With this information, you should be able to select where you want to get your medication filled.
One more thing to beware of is that Universal employees have an on-site pharmacy that is only for them. You cannot go to the pharmacy at 1001 Universal Studios Plaza unless you work for Universal Orlando so if your insurance tries to send you there, ask for another location.
Step Number 3 – Contact the Pharmacy
Now that you know if you have refills at your pharmacy at home and you know if you will be able to use your insurance, contact a pharmacy that meets your needs.
If you don’t have transportation, this can be harder than you think. There are no pharmacy locations on Universal Orlando property and if you don’t have a car it’s a bit of a walk to the closest pharmacy. One pharmacy that delivers to most Orlando hotel locations is:
Turner Drugs has been delivering medications to Orlando visitors for over 25 years. They have a system set up where you can have your medications filled and you can arrange payment ahead of time. There is a small fee for delivery, which varies depending on the delivery location. You can call Turner Drugs at (407) 828-8125 to verify the delivery fee to your resort. They deliver 7 days a week and their hours are Mon-Fri 8AM-10PM, Sat-Sun 8AM-8PM. There is only one major drawback when dealing with Turner Drugs – they do not accept any third party prescription insurance. If you only need 10 days of your generic blood pressure medication, that’s not a problem but if you forgot your insulin pens you might be in for a $500+ bill. Turner will give you an itemized bill to submit for reimbursement from your insurance but it will still be up to you to fight with your insurance to get your money back. If you have questions, you can call Turner Drugs at (407) 828-8125.
There is a pharmacy within walking distance of the Universal Orlando Resort and surrounding area hotels.
Walgreens Pharmacy is located at the corner of Vineland Road and Kirkman Road. It’s less than a mile walk from the Hard Rock Hotel. It’s not pleasant to walk in the Central Florida summer heat and humidity, but it’s within a reasonable distance.
5501 S KIRKMAN RD
Orlando, FL 32819
The pharmacy is open on Monday-Friday from 9-7 and from 9-5 on Saturday.
If you have a car, you can drive to many other pharmacies in the area. If you have a pharmacy at home with a location in the area, it may be easier to deal with them instead of a different chain. However, you can get prescriptions transferred from any pharmacy to any other pharmacy (in compliance with local, state and federal laws). These are the closest locations to Universal Orlando Resort but there are others in the area. Note: Don’t always trust Google Maps to find a pharmacy nearby.
5886 Conroy Road, Orlando FL 32835
8990 Turkey Lake Road, Orlando FL 32819
4606 S Kirkman Rd, Orlando FL 32811
4720 S Kirkman, Rd, Orlando FL 32811
Even if you don’t have a car, it may be less expensive to take an Uber or Lyft from your hotel to a local pharmacy instead of paying a delivery fee (this article has a link to get an estimate of how much an Uber or Lyft will cost from/to your location). You’ll also be able to buy other things you need (water, sunscreen, snacks) for less than what Universal charges.
The pharmacies will be able to take you though the final steps from here. There are some things that you should know. If you need to pay for your medication yourself, it isn’t necessary to get a whole prescription. Pharmacies in the area are accustomed to people asking for 2 weeks, 1 week or even 1 day worth of medication. Ask if there are any discounts or if they can prorate the price for a vacation supply. You can also see if they accept discounts from programs like GoodRx or AAA. You can get a code on your phone that could save you a bunch of money that you can spend on Minion toys or on a wand from Olivanders.
Forgetting your medication is stressful but the pharmacies in the area deal with situations like this every day. Doing a little bit of the work yourself will help you avoid many of the problems people face when trying to get medications.
Have you ever forgotten your medications when on vacation? What did you do? Would these tips have helped or did you find other ways to solve the problem? Let us know!
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