No one wants to see a grumpy child while living the fantasy of Disney World. Long lines are almost a certainty to build stress, and disappointments can mount as kids realize they don’t get to do something (or meet a character) that was important to them.
Even the hardiest of children (and adults) can eventually melt down given enough on-going pressure. The hustle and bustle of a trip away from home exacerbates the situation.
Children build off the excitement of the long-talked about family vacation, but no matter how much enthusiasm a child has at the beginning of a day, the reality is that it may eventually come crashing down as the day drags to an end.
As we all know, misfortunes are bound to happen. The younger the child, the more difficulty they may have coping. This easy advice will make sure your family is able to experience the fantasy without the heartache. Use it to keep your vacation from turning into work.
1. Avoid Playing in the Sweltering Heat
Walt Disney World has an abundance of outdoor play areas. Unfortunately, the combination of heat and sweat can lead to more than simple irritability; it may result in nasty sunburns or other medical issues.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very real dangers in Florida. If your kids have excess energy to burn, a side trip to the pool or water park is an excellent way to keep cool and still enjoy the sunshine.
As a side note, it’s important to stay Hydrated. Whether you are going on rides or playing in the pool, take a water break at least once an hour. Children don’t know when they’re dehydrated, but it definitely affects their disposition!
2. Food and Nutrition
Irregular blood-sugar levels can easily lead to temper tantrums. Keep your children well fed starting with a healthy breakfast. Consider bringing fresh fruit or granola bars to snack on. It is important to keep their blood-sugar stable and where it needs to be.
Stay away from sugary beverages and ice cream since these will spike sugar levels leading to an eventual (painful) crash.
Avoid Restaurant crowds. The best time to plan meals is when others won’t be eating. Plan lunch as early as 11:00 a.m. or as late as 3:00 p.m. An early evening snack will tide over appetites until 7:00 p.m. Make Advanced Dining Reservations when possible to avoid delays in getting the little ones fed on schedule.
3. Daily Schedule
The research and planning needed to maximize a family trip should start long before arriving in Orlando, and it’s always a good idea to involve the children in making those plans. Give them realistic expectations about what they will be seeing and doing each day.
No matter your schedule, stay flexible. Keep your schedule flexible for the unexpected character visit, downpour, or other last-minute diversion. Keep in mind that the vacation should be about having fun not sticking to a strict schedule. Trying to do too much can kill kids’ (and adults’) spirits, so don’t let the pressure of “doing” become too stressful.
It’s also a good idea to take a day off. You may be surprised at how beneficial a day off after one or two days at the park can be not just for children but for the entire family. When asked, many children tell us the hotel swimming pool is the best part of the vacation! That’s not necessarily because they don’t enjoy the parks, but the rigid schedule required on park days can be grueling.
You won’t be able to see absolutely everything during your vacation. Don’t fret. You can read all about the shows and attractions that you missed in our soon-to-be-released VIP Tour Book – Walt Disney World Resort® guidebook. World of Walt readers can send us an email (freeWOWpromotion@VIPDisneyTourBook.com), and we’ll put you on our list for a free copy!
When planning, learn about the very simple FastPass+ service and use it! It allows advance attraction reservations, giving you a window to show up within an hour for rides and 15 minutes for shows where you need to be seated.
The alternative means spending additional hours in line each day, which won’t be good for anybody’s mood.
5. Minimize Crowds
Plan to get to the parking lot about 45 minutes before opening. This gives you time to reach the park entrance 30 minutes early. The first hour or two after opening lets you walk on rides with little to no wait. This has an added benefit of freeing up your afternoon for much-needed naps.
If you’re staying on Disney property, you can take advantage of Extra Magic Hours for an even lower-stress morning.
Avoid holidays, as they tend to be the most crowded. If you have to visit when the parks are busy, remain on the outskirts of any large crowd gatherings. Pushing your way through throngs of people, particularly after a show or parade, is a huge tension builder for the entire family. It can be especially stressful for youngsters.
6. Afternoon Siestas
Many visitors who make it to the park very early try to stay all day.
After touring the park all day, they or their children get pooped out. This increases the risk of tantrums and bad behavior. Enjoy a midday break to allow the children to take a nap and cool down.
The entire family will be refreshed for an evening park jaunt and will be able to take advantage of cooler temperatures and shorter wait times.
7. Sensory Overload
There are many triggers that can over-stimulate children. These can include the constant barrage of loud ambient noises and the sporadic and intense sounds associated with many attractions and shows. Everywhere you look, there is something new to take in.
During your trip, try to enforce daily quiet times for very young children. If heading back to the hotel is not an easy option, take children to the Baby Care Center (at each park) for a peaceful break.
At the least, spend time in an out of the way place, away from the path of parades or away from firework shows.
Speaking of which, fireworks and parades are loud. Use earplugs for sensitive young ears if you plan to take in the evening fireworks or a musical show.
8. Anticipate the Rain
Nothing ruins a day more than a soaking wet child that has just been terrified by a major storm. If you are visiting during the summer time, understand that it may rain almost every afternoon in Florida. Stay indoors when a storm is on the way unless you are prepared with ponchos.
9. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Make sure that the family turns in at a reasonable time each night if you intend to get an early start the next morning. Without a good night’s rest, tired children can become cranky in very short order. Even well rested youngsters will hit their breaking point after being kept busy for hours at a time.
10. Merchandise Impulse Purchases
Talk with kids in advance about souvenirs and set realistic expectations before getting to the parks. Give your children a strict budget to let them decide how to spend it. By putting them in control, you will avoid the bargaining and wheedling parents often suffer from.
How do you avoid meltdowns in Disney World?