A major component of a successful trip to Walt Disney World with little ones is planning some down time into your vacation. Regardless of whether you’ve been to the sprawling resort to experience it for yourself, you’ve no doubt heard people saying they need a vacation to catch up on rest after spending a week at WDW. It’s a big undertaking for grown “kids” so make sure your little kids have some time to recover from the vast and overwhelming experience that is Disney World.
Some families plan a mid-day return to their resorts. Others allow their children to sleep in strollers. When my kids were 2 and 3, the stroller naps worked. At 4 and 5, we thought we would build in some trips back to the resort but it just never worked out for us. Time goes by so fast in the parks and without fail, our FastPass+ reservations would not work out in a way that was conducive for a mid-day break.
What worked for us was getting to the parks when or shortly after they opened and staying until our kids fizzled out for the day. Some days that was 6pm after we’d exhausted most of the attractions; other days we stayed almost til park close. They did fall asleep in their strollers after Fantasmic one night, which allowed my husband and I to utilize Rider Switch and take turns on Rock n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. The key to our super successful recent trip was building in a couple of entire rest days. We’d go to the park 2 or 3 days, then have a day off. It was really nice to follow up a late night with rest day when we could sleep in and wander to the pool at our leisure. We also planned our 8am character breakfast dining reservations on days following rest days so that we could get the boys their dinner and get them into bed at a decent time. We wanted to be sure they’d have lots of energy for hanging out with the pals over Jungle Juice and Mickey-shaped waffles.
This worked well for our family but we are greedy with our time at Disney parks. I could never bring myself to leave until I was (and my kids were) done for the day. I know I would obsess about everything we were missing out on. LOTS of people swear by leaving for a few hours in the middle of the day so I know this is a great option for many families.
Regardless of what plan works best for your family, be sure to save some time to rest and refresh.
Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.