Vacations can be great for you, both mentally and physically, if they are done right. However, if they are done wrong, they can be disastrous and detrimental. So, how do you keep your Disney vacation from killing you? How do you maintain your health at Disney World? Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind as you prepare for, embark upon, and recover from your Walt Disney World Vacation.

The Planning Process

It is called the planning process, not the planning cram, not the planning rush, or the planning marathon. This is because planning your Disney vacation should take time. It’s actually part of the fun.

It is not unusual to begin planning your Disney vacation a year in advance – almost like planning a wedding. Giving yourself plenty of time to plan your vacation means that you get breaks, and that you have plenty of time to check and double check everything, and that you get time to think and come back to things. It also means that you won’t forget any of the small details that will make your vacation great. Taking time to research and make reservations ahead of time is essential to the enjoyment of your vacation – Disney Dining, Disney resort hotels, and Disney Magic Your Way Packages can be made may months in advance!

Make careful choices to ensure you stay healthy on your vacation.

Make careful choices to ensure you stay healthy on your vacation.

Be sure that you pack sensibly. Make a list, so that you’re not scrambling around at the last minute like a chicken with your head cut off trying to make sure that you’ve remembered everything. Be like a boy scout – prepared! Bring Vitamin C for the airplane. Carry cash for tips and cab fare. Make sure that you and every member of your vacation party bring a pair of good, sturdy, comfortable, supportive walking shoes. Bring little games or activities to entertain you while you’re waiting in line. All these little tiny details will make your vacation easier for you, mentally and physically. If you have not only what you need, but also what you want along with you, you are less likely to get stressed while you are on vacation.

Don’t Splurge For Every Meal

A lot of people have this attitude on vacation that, “vacation calories don’t count.” Sadly, they still do. This is not to say that you should enjoy what you eat while you are at Walt Disney. Walt Disney World, in fact, has some of the best dining you will ever have available to you in your life. You should, instead, pick your splurges. This will not only help you keep a lid on the calories, but will also make the meals you do choose to splurge on much more special and enjoyable.

For example, say you’re a black coffee drinker, and you want to try something new to shake it up. Plus that early morning rush to get Cinderella‘s autograph for your daughter just took it out of you. Don’t go for the triple caramel mocha with a pile of whipped cream as tall as Goofy. Instead try a skim caramel latte or even a skim mocha. Get a salad at lunch and vote for an occasional water instead of soda. You don’t have to cut meals or eat celery sticks all week; you just have to trim. Trim calories. Share meals or desserts that serve large portions. Don’t be afraid to take leftovers back to your hotel. Chances are you have at least a mini-fridge, and leftovers make a great early morning breakfast. You will save calories, waste, and money. Eating sensibly doesn’t have to equate to having no fun at all.

Benches Are Your Friend

If you do find yourself indulging a bit more than you would like, never fear! You will find yourself getting quite the work out. At Walt Disney World, you will spend about 60% of your time propelling yourself across theme parks to get from A to B, standing in lines, and skipping excitedly in and out of attractions. You will burn more calories than you can imagine.

There is a down side to all this exercise, however. With the sporadic Florida weather, along with your, no doubt, normally sedentary lifestyle, there are dangers to overdoing it. You could faint, or become dehydrated, both of which make for a bummer of a day. More likely, however, you will get a blister, a Charlie horse, or some other such painful injury, ruining not only that day, but also the entire rest of your vacation after that point.

Don’t be afraid to slow down and take it easy sometimes – not all the time, mind you, because Disney’s restaurants have amazing dessert, but from time to time. The Disney Imagineers don’t just make tortuously spread out attractions, they also make hundreds, nay, probably thousands of comfortable places for you to sit for a few minutes and enjoy yourself and soak in the magical details all around you. If you find yourself enjoying the view from your butt, whether it is planted on a bench, a chair, or even just leaning on a wall, you may find that you notice little things that you hadn’t when you were fighting your way through the hustle and bustle. Maybe it is a smell, or a faint melody. Perhaps it is just staying in one place long enough for your thoughts to catch up with you. A nice sit intermittently throughout the day will do your mind, and body, good.

It Is Supposed to Be Fun

The health risk that ruins more vacations than blisters, over eating, and ill-preparedness combines is stress. So many people find it hard to leave their lives and problems behind and just enjoy being on vacation. So the most important thing you can do is remember that you are at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida to relax and have fun – whether with family, friends, or even by yourself. Mental health and physical health affect each other in big ways. The healthiest thing you can do on your Walt Disney vacation is to relax, and have fun.