How to avoid melt downs at Disney World
Park days at Disney World are jam packed. From attractions to character experiences, the day is full of activity. With all the walking around the parks and the crowds, it can make anyone, even the most composed, fall apart. So use these tips to keep youngsters and let’s be honest, everyone, from having melt downs.
Plan to Eat
Whether this means well timed meals, or having snacks in your bag, make sure everyone is eating at their normal schedule. Getting those coveted dining reservations may seem like a priority but having a late lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table may cause a melt down at 1pm because everyone is hangry. Plan to eat at appropriate meal times. This means planning out where you want to eat ahead of time. Take a look at the menus ahead of time to make sure you eat at a restaurant that has something everyone will actually want to eat.
If you have younger mouseketters in your party then bring a stroller or rent one. This will alleviate how much walking around they’ll be doing, saving their energy. The parks are huge, especially Epcot, without a stroller your littles are going to be walking miles during the day. You can’t take strollers into attractions so that will be a given for having to walk, so make them walk as little as possible by putting them into a stroller. In my opinion, don’t rent one from the parks because you’ll still have to walk from your transportation, whether it’s a resort bus, monorail, boat or your own car. That can add another km right there.
Have a plan for lines. These can be the festering pot for melt downs. Waiting for that attraction or character can feel like a life time so have a plan of what you’re going to do in the mean time. Check out this list for ideas with kids. For adults, download some fun games on your mobile device. We’ve seen groups playing Heads Up in line before, GREAT IDEA! Waits are inevitable, so have a game plan.
Keep your kids in check. Melt downs can sometimes have to do with exhaustion or hunger but it can be a child pushing the limits. So don’t be afraid to put them in a time out to remind them of who is in charge. For ideas on time outs during your Disney vacation, check out this previous post.
Everyone needs some down time during their park days, how each party chooses to do that is going to be different. Maybe that’s having a sit down meal at a table service or buffet restaurant, maybe that’s sitting down to watch a stage show or one of the quieter attractions. For some smaller visitors that may be grabbing a power nap in the stroller. Whatever it is, take some time away from the crowd to prevent burning out.
Have a conversation among your party about the plan for the day. This will give everyone an expectation for the day. No one should be upset because they want to go ride Splash Mountain first thing if you already have a plan to hit Tomorrowland first.
Carve out time during your vacation for days away from the park. Otherwise you’ll be up at the crack of dawn everyday. Everyone will be overstimulated and exhausted half way through your trip that melt downs may be how you start your day. Just because you have a day away from the parks doesn’t mean it won’t be fun. Check out this previous post to see what you can fill your day with.
For younger visitors, grab a character meal before you hit the parks. This will prevent kids from being overwhelmed by the size of the characters. By going to a character meal they’ll be able to see them from afar and warm up to them for that perfect photo. Otherwise you may have a perfect storm for a melt down.
Make a list of everyone’s must do’s and plan your days accordingly. Make sure everyone feels heard. That way you won’t have someone freaking out because all they had wanted to do was meet the Star Wars characters and you didn’t fit it in. For tips on making must do’s take a look at this previous post.
With the many miles you’ll be walking, a good pair of footwear is necessary for your park days. This is true for every member of the family. A well fitted pair of sneakers, or sturdy pair of sandals will lend to a successful Disney vacation. We’ve also brought Crocs for our littles because of the heat and accommodating for swelling feet. Comfortable feet will curb unhappy mouseketters.
Make sure to bring appropriate clothing for your park days. Sweaters for the evening when it cools off. Comfortable shorts and T-shirts. If your little will be wearing a costume, make sure they’re wearing something underneath to avoid crinoline scratching skin. An uncomfortable choice of clothing is a recipe for a good melt down. For ideas on packing for your kids, take a look at this previous post.
For more tips on a successful vacation with kids, check out these previous posts:
Our Experience Renting a Stroller
Why You Should Take Your Kids to Disney Before They’re 3