Disney with Little Ones: The Great Nap Debate

I conducted a poll on Facebook, asking seasoned Disney travelers if they leave the parks mid-day to rest.  I posed follow up questions about the age of the people in their party and length of stay. I presumed these details would have a great impact on responses, but overall the answers remained evenly split.

1. YES! We always go back to the resort after lunch to rest, swim, etc. and return for dinner and a show. A vacation without rest is no vacation to me!

2. NO! We don’t want to waste our time or money when there is so much to see and do! The resort is just for sleeping!

3. It Depends – Out of over 150 responses, this small group (about 6% of the votes) commented that the weather, park hours, and their children’s cues determine the structure of their Disney days. 

Plenty of guests with infants and toddlers stay from Rope Drop to The Kiss Goodnight. An equal number of adults traveling with and without children take a break for up to 6 hours mid-day. 

Having just one Disney vacation with young children under my belt, I can only share what worked with our 2 and 3 year olds.  We took umbrella strollers that could be clipped together so one person could manage both if necessary.  During our 8 night stay, we visited the parks 4 days and alternated park and pool/resort days. We went hard on our park days and let the boys rest up on our down days, sleeping in and taking long afternoon naps.  While at the parks, they napped 3 out of 4 days – two days in their strollers and one day on the bus as we hopped between parks.  We found cool, quiet places during their stroller naps.  At EPCOT, three adults took turns riding Soarin’ while one watched the kids. A tip: Normally you have to park strollers to enter The Land, but gracious Cast Members allowed us to bring our sleeping children in. At Hollywood Studios, we enjoyed a delicious lunch in ABC Commissary while they snoozed.

I anticipated tantrums, as they are a typical part of life with 2 & 3 year old children, but the boys exceeded my expectations and seemed happy, rested, and well-behaved overall.  I attribute our success to being able to alternate park and rest days.

While we prefer long days opening and closing the parks, there are many vacationers that get more out of their trip by returning to the resort to rest, shower, and nap – especially on the hottest Florida days.  My inconclusive findings? There’s no right or wrong way to spend your time at Disney!  It’s all about getting the most out of vacation – whether that means taking advantage of all of the amenities the resort has to offer or spending the majority of your time touring the parks. 

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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.

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