I often get asked, "What's the best way to do and see it all at Disney - how do I fit it all in?", and I hate to burst your Disney bubble, but if you want to truly enjoy your Disney vacation, you don't.
The reality is there's just too much to fit into a week - or even two weeks! Riding every last ride, or watching ALL the shows isn't the point. The point is breaking away from our busy lives to reconnect with the people we care about most in this world.
So how do we do this? How do we find connection when we're surrounded by the most exciting attractions and theming in the world?
My friend, don't stumble into the trap. The trap of scheduling every single second of your day, where you must militantly order your family to their next 'fun' thing. Because believe me, I've made that mistake so you don't have to.
Now I'm not saying go all willy-nilly and don't schedule anything, but there has to be balance. Here's how our family breaks down their time during a day at Walt Disney World.
You've got two choices - get up early, or don't. I know many will tell me it's sacrilegious to wake up to an alarm clock while on vacation, but hear me out: if you want to maximize your time in the parks while the crowds and temperatures are lower, getting out of bed is a must.
I always recommend being at the park 30 minutes BEFORE it opens. The first hour of the day will be the slowest the day will see, so we do popular attractions we DON'T have Fastpasses for. One hour into the morning (and every hour after that), I have a Fastpass scheduled to use.
TIP: remember, once your 3 Fastpasses for the day are used, you can add additional Fastpasses individually throughout the day.
We grab a snack to keep us satisfied through the normal lunch hour (because the lines will be out-of-this-world long at noon, and because a Mickey Bar at 10 AM never hurt anybody.)
A late (or early) lunch will save you a headache, as I said prior. Plan to eat slightly off of your normal schedule. Seating inside will be more abundant, and by this point, you'll likely be thankful for the air-conditioned indoor seating (or at least a shaded table).
As the crowds and temperatures are spiking mid-day, we LEAVE the park. YUP - I said it. We're just strolling out of the theme park when there's still a ton more 'to do'.
This is when we head back to the resort to enjoy it! You are paying a premium to be at a Disney Resort, after all. Disney's accommodations are unlike any others, each with its own carefully curated landscapes, pools, dining, and activity areas.
Let the little ones (or the big ones) rest. Take a swim. Get a drink. Talk about the things you normally don't have time to talk about. I told you before, planning a day at Disney is all about balance. This is the downtime that you need so everyone's not exhausted and on-edge. You can thank me later.
Freshen up and get ready to head back out in the World for an evening of lower temperatures. Some possible ways to spend your evening may include:
a special dinner reservation
heading back to the park for more attractions, shows, and nighttime entertainment
an extra-magic event such as an after-hours party or a fireworks dessert party
Then head back for a good night's rest - let's do it all again tomorrow!
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