Last Updated on August 25, 2023 by Happily Ever Park Hoppers
5 Reasons to take breaks at Disney
Whether you’re going to the Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort, one thing I always tell people is don’t underestimate the importance of BREAKS.
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The importance of taking breaks during a Disney Vacation
I get it. You’ve been looking forward to this vacation for a long time. And you have most likely spent a small fortune to bring your family to Disney. You want to make the most of your time. And you think that means you need to be in the parks, fighting the crowds, from sunup to sundown, is the way to get your monies worth. While you’re not wrong, you’re also not completely right.
There is one thing that will ruin any Disney vacation faster than anything. And that is exhaustion. Whether it’s the kids or the parents, Disney exhaustion is a real thing! Overstimulation, early mornings, long lines and high temps are enough to make anyone cranky. It’s very easy to go from “the happiest place on earth”, to the most miserable. And that’s why taking breaks is so important.
Reason 1: You’re going to walk… A LOT
The first, very necessary reason to take breaks, is that you’re going to need it.
Regardless of what coast you’re on. You’re going to walk A LOT. On average, my family walks between 10-13 miles EACH DAY when we’re at Disney. It may not feel like it, but even just a regular park day you will walk at least 3-4 miles before Noon. Your park steps will be filled with lots of zig-zagging throughout the park, standing in lines, walking to the nearest bathroom and then finally making your way back to your hotel.
If you’re someone who plans to be in the parks from Rope Drop to park close (with out without mid-day breaks) that is a long day, filled with 25,000+ steps! Some resorts are huge, so the walk from the bus stop to your room can feel like you’re walking forever (which equals more steps). If you’re driving yourself and parking, sometimes the walk from your parking space to front entrance of the park can be quite the distance. Resort hopping, shopping in Disney Springs or Downtown Disney and any extra exploring = more steps! And the longer you stay, the more steps you’re going to be making.
Reason 2: You’re paying for the room. Use it!
Another reason to plan for a breaks, is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
Planning for a break day is a great way to put all that hotel money to good use and sleep in. I know not everyone is a rope drop, be at the parks before the sun rises type of vacationer; but I know there is a big portion of us that are. Waking up early every morning on your vacation can cause some members of your family to turn into one of the two Seven Dwarfs, Sleepy or Grumpy. So it’s definitely nice to plan for a break day when you can stay in that nice cozy bed a little longer and everyone wakes up as the more enjoyable Seven Dwarf, Happy.
If you don’t want to pay to stay an extra night or your schedule doesn’t allow you to plan for a break day (and even if you are planning a break day), a mid-day break is just as beneficial. A mid-day break has been my go-to piece of advice for years. If your kids are used to taking naps during the day, do not break the routine.
It’s important to keep little ones on their schedule. Being in the parks is a LOT of stimulation. This, and early mornings can lead to very exhausted little ones. Trying to keep them in the parks past their afternoon nap just results in a cranky toddler and stressed-out parents. Too often I see families who want to get “their money’s worth” and it never goes the way they want it. Meltdowns from both kids and parents happen inside the parks because everyone is tired and maxed out. It’s better to head back to the resort where everyone can relax and take a nap (parents included!). This nap and mid-day break also allows your little ones to be able to make it to the end of the night. Versus having to skip the fireworks because someone just isn’t gonna make it.
Reason 3: Explore different resorts
One of my family’s favorite activities to do on a Disney vacation, is to Resort Hop. There are so many fun and unique Disney Resort hotels at both the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. We love to go visit different Disney Resort hotels and take in the fun theming each resort has to offer and enjoy new and different restaurants.
The best part about Resort Hopping is that you don’t have to pay for a theme park ticket, just to enjoy where you are and maybe try some delicious foods. Some of the best food I’ve eaten has been at the resorts. Every Disney Resort hotel has a variety of food options. Depending on the resort, there might be several scrumptious menu options! Be sure you give yourself some opportunities to try those places!
Another great reason for resort hopping is it allows you to slow down and go at your own pace. While in the parks, you may feel the urge to rush and get from one ride to the next. Whereas outside of the parks, there is no need to rush anywhere. Take the time to stroll down a peaceful walking paths and really take in the beauty of some of the Disney Resort hotels. It will really help you and your family enjoy your vacation that much more.
Reason 4: See the characters outside of the parks
Something else to do on your break day is to schedule character dining reservations. Instead of sacrificing valuable park time, have your character dine when you aren’t in the parks. This way you can still see your Disney besties and not lose out on time that you could be riding Space Mountain. There are many Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort hotels that offer character dining INSIDE of the resort (that you don’t need a theme park ticket for!).
Pro Tip: If you can’t plan for a break day, another idea is to schedule your character dining on your arrival/departure day
Reason 5: Break away from the crowds & cool down
The afternoon is when the parks start to fill up. If you are planning on hitting the parks first thing in the morning, odds are you’ve been able to hit some of the top rides with shorter lines. Let everyone else just arriving battle the crowds and long lines. Head back to your resort, nap, grab a bite to eat or swim.
Some resorts have some amazing pools. I know for my family relaxing at the pool is a huge element of our vacations. Our kids love to go down the waterslides and swim, while we like to lounge in a chair, soak up some sun and enjoy a beverage. As I said, afternoon/lunchtime the parks start to fill up. Heading to your resort to have lunch is another great way to take advantage of the dining options at your resort and avoid the long quick service lines. This could also be a way to cut down on your food expense. As I’ve said before in my Money Saving Tips post, having groceries sent to your resort is a great way to save during your Disney vacation. Heading back to your resort, you can grab a snack or meal from something you’ve had delivered via Amazon Prime or Instacart.
During our trips to Walt Disney World, come the third day our feet are feeling it! There isn’t always somewhere to sit in the parks so being able to kick your feet up in your room is totally needed. This is again, another reason why we always head back to the resort for a mid-day break and plan for a break day during our trips. Having a day when we’re not walking 13 miles and taking it easy definitely allows us to be able to keep going the next few days in the parks.
And that about wraps it up. Don’t allow yourself to fall into that downward spiral of Disney exhaustion. Remember it’s completely ok to need a break! Know your limits. You’re never going to be able to see and do it all in one Disney vacation unless you stay for a couple weeks. Don’t think that by leaving the parks for a break you’re having “less” of a vacation. If you’re staying at a Disney Resort hotel, you’ve likely paid a pretty penny to stay there. Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth there too! You’re still going to have a magical time if you spend an extra day at the resort and one less in the parks.
You might even find that you’ll have a better vacation if you take the time to actually slow down and let the magic come to you rather than forcing it.
Spreading magic one post at a timeKristin