There is a lot to do at Walt Disney Word, and we all want to make sure we get the most from our vacation. But if your trip preparation includes anything resembling boot camp or sprint training, you might be expecting to do too much. None of us want to become the exhausted family with crying kids and parents growling, “Start smiling—We’re here to have fun!” Slowing down just might help everyone have a more magical time.
Intentionally planning rest and relaxation into your vacation will help your family create even better memories. Here are some ideas for how to do just that:
1. Plan a day of rest
If your visit is longer than 4 days, plan a rest day in the middle. On this rest day, don’t visit a park. Sleep in. Enjoy the activities at your resort’s pool. Plan brunch or dinner at any of the amazing restaurants on property. Stroll Downtown Disney or Disney’s Boardwalk. This rest day is vital for families to maintain their energy level for the duration of your visit.
2. Pre-Plan your table-service meals.
Plan one table-service meal for each day that you’re spending in a park. If you’re using the Dining Plan this is very affordable, but even if you aren’t on the plan, it’s totally worth it. You will need time each day when you aren’t navigating lines. You’ll need to sit down and let someone else bring your family straws, napkins, and ketchup. You’ll be amazed at how rejuvenating this is. If your family is early-risers, you might even consider your table service for lunch so your break comes mid-day.
3. Don't forget to nap.
Families with young kids or special needs might want to consider returning to their room for a brief nap. If you think a daily rest time will be important for your family, I recommend you stay in a resort along the monorail so you have easy access from the parks to your room, and you won’t waste a lot of time in transportation. (I have to admit: even when my boys were younger, my family chose not to return to the room for a nap. We simply planned to see a show during naptime. The littles fell asleep and the rest of us got to enjoy some top-notch entertainment.)
4. Slow down the pace.
Consider blocking out time for some of the slower-paced offerings on property. Walt Disney World has 4 beautiful golf courses, all operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management. Also, many of the Walt Disney World resorts offer spas and fitness centers where you can enjoy a massage or beauty treatment. And, if Mom and Dad want to enjoy a special evening out, take advantage of the Childcare Services offered at many of the resorts on property. After all, this is Mom and Dad’s vacation, too.
5. Don't over-estimate what you can do.
Before your vacation, plan certain things that you just aren’t going to do. Walt Disney World is over 40 square miles of magic and fun. Unless your vacation is a month long, it would be impossible to do everything in one trip. Maybe you decide you aren’t going to collect character autographs in the parks. (You could still choose character dining to meet certain favorites.) If you’ve visited all of the parks previously, you could decide to eliminate the family’s least favorite on this trip. You may decide to not take advantage of Extra Magic Hours, just to give your family more time to rest. When my boys were younger, we decided none of us would ride anything that we weren’t all tall enough to ride. Making a few decisions ahead of time will make it easier to prioritize your days and enjoy your vacation.
Returning to normal life after your Walt Disney World vacation is never fun, but it’s worse if the entire family is completely exhausted. Remember, it is a vacation. Relax and enjoy it!
Jessica McKee is one of the newest members of the Travelmation LLC team, but might be one of the most experienced! A Disney veteran for decades, she visits Walt Disney World multiple times each year and knows the parks like the back of her hand. She and her husband, Matt, live in Cumming, GA with their two boys Azlan and Patriot.