Theme park-centered vacations can be exciting, energetic, and magical. However, they can also be draining to one’s energy. Parents full of great intentions plan amazing trips with their children, only to become burnt out halfway through (or earlier). As a mom, I can certainly relate to this feeling. Encouraging little ones to eat and sleep when they should, to stand in lines, to mind their personal space, etc. all while making sure you make it to your reservations or the next dining experience can be exhausting. On top of all that, you can’t underestimate the miles and miles of walking, the heat, etc. Here are some ways you can reclaim a bit of calm and avoid burnout during a vacation so you can enjoy every magical minute!
1. Plan to avoid burnout in advance
Every day does not have to be jam-packed. The impulse to schedule every minute is a hard one to avoid, but try to mix in some restful time. This is a lot easier to achieve when you know you’ll be back to Disney soon. If you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip, we know you’ll want to cram in as much fun as possible. Still, don’t expect to be at the parks every day from open until close if you want to avoid burnout.
2. Temper your expectations
Know that you will not accomplish everything that Disney has to offer in one trip. Also embrace the idea that, despite your impeccable planning, something (or things) will go wrong. Try not to let one attraction or coveted dining reservation make or break your trip. If someone in your group is not feeling well, is cranky, or just plain tired, do not be afraid to bail on your plans and give that person the rest he/she needs. You’ll be glad you did. Rest and a snack or even a few hours by the pool does wonders for a negative attitude!
3. Encourage pool time & naps
Your kids are probably craving pool time, anyway- so you might as well encourage it. You’ll still have to supervise, but at least you can do so from the soothing pool water or a nearby lounge chair. Likewise, adults and children can all benefit from nap breaks mid-day!
4. Take care of your body
Feeling physically sick or in pain can lead to a quick burnout. Be sure to stay hydrated throughout your trip and use plenty of sunscreen. Also mind your feet, and take care to bring appropriate shoes for your trip (you’ll want at least 2 options, so your feet aren’t rubbing in the same spots every day). If you want to indulge your food and drink cravings, try not to overdo it. If you eat much differently than you do at home, you may find yourself feeling unwell.
5. Schedule a date night
There are plenty of date-worth experiences around Walt Disney World, and scheduling some adult time is a great idea to combat vacation burnout. Some great ideas for a date night include strolling Epcot’s World Showcase, having a delicious meal at Disney Springs, or having dinner at California Grill and watching the Magic Kingdom nighttime entertainment.
Wondering what to do with the little ones? There are local agencies that provide in-room childcare services. You may also prefer to enroll your children in Disney-run activities, which do vary from time to time. Currently, you might consider Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew, where children ages 4 through 12 can enjoy a pirate themed night (including dinner) and a boat ride) while parents enjoy a night out.
6. Enjoy lunch reservations instead of dinners
Many families focus on making dinner reservations each night, but you may want to consider a nice sit-down lunch instead. Especially during the hottest months of the year, taking an hour to relax in the air conditioning and enjoy a meal can be the recharge that a family needs to continue the day in good spirits.
7. Look for indoor/seated activities and shows
Feeling burnt out at a park, but leaving just isn’t a great option for your family at the moment? Take a look at your map/times guide or My Disney Experience app and find an activity that involves air conditioning and sitting down for a bit. Shows at Hollywood Studios or attractions like the Hall of Presidents or Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom are great choices for brief rest opportunities.
8. Don’t be afraid to change course or bail out!
When moods are going south, don’t be afraid to cancel a plan or change course. If someone has a blister, needs a nap, or is just “done”, consider that giving that person the break they need- it may be necessary to keep the trip as a whole a positive one.
We hope this list gives you some ideas that will improve your upcoming trips to Walt Disney World! What are your favorite tricks for preventing Walt Disney World burnout?