Updated for 2016!
Do you realize how big those Disney theme parks really are? Can you imagine the toll all that walking will have upon your body? As I hit my mid- 40s, slipping and sliding toward the big FIVE-OH, I’ve come to one huge conclusion. I don’t care how much fun I am having riding roller coasters and seeing character shows, I need a nap to get through the Disney World day, and my friend, so do you.
On why you need a nap…
To see everything and ride every ride in all the parks (besides Animal Kingdom,) it can take more than a day per park. During busy seasons, the wait times in all the parks can prevent you from riding, exploring, and enjoying everything you plan to experience. If you won’t make it all in one day anyway, why not give yourself time for a little rest? After a several of days of park hopping and line standing, you are almost guaranteed to need it. Some of you think you can make it, but your body will tell you otherwise.
And believe me, there is no Disney shame in stopping for a rest.
We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans if they ever snuck in a nap on vacation, and we’ll share some of our nappers’ responses. I almost never miss a nap each day on vacation, but why take just my word for it?
Your kids need a nap.
Dawn, “With a four-year-old naps are essential.”
Cheryl, “We have a one and almost four-year-old, so naps/quiet time are extremely important (and not the ‘in the stroller kind’ generally.) We get to the park between 9-10, stay till about 1:30-2:00, go back to where we are staying, then return from about 4:30 to 5-8 or 9:00. It works out well for us, and in all honesty, it makes the transition back to ‘normal days’ at home much easier. I can’t wait until they are older though, and we can go to the parks for hours on end! In the meantime, these vacations are for them, and memories for us, and I’d rather spend less time in the parks with happy children than more time in the parks with miserable children.”
You say your kids aren’t big nappers?
Turn off the room lights and have them lay quietly – maybe they’ll fall asleep from sheer exhaustion.
If your child hasn’t taken a nap since they were 18 months old, which perfectly describes my middle child, then turn the hotel TV on a low volume and just close your eyes. The best that can happen is you’ll all fall asleep and wake up ready to take on the parks later that afternoon.
If the worst that happens is you get some rest and the kids watched one more TV show, well, that’s not such a bad deal in the long run.
Randy, “We don’t sneak a nap; it is a daily vacation occurrence. It gets us out of the heat of the day and allows us to enjoy the parks day and night without getting grumpy…”
There are certainly other ways to get in a nap rather than head back to your hotel room. Those dark rides are not only for your entertainment, don’t you know, but they also serve as an air-conditioned cave for a little nappy-poo. (That’s kid speak for “nap.”)
Brad, “There’s plenty of attractions at all four parks to sneak in a 10-15 minute nap. Why go back to your room?”
The couches in the resort lobbies offer a great place for a little mini-nap. And then there’s always a nice chair, comfy or otherwise, to be found somewhere inside or out.
Kelly, “Try Tom Sawyer Island: I usually nap for 30-45 minutes in the rocking chairs, while my child plays on his iPad. It’s a very relaxing place.”
Judy, “A nap is a Must Do during the summer! It lets us stay up late when the parks are open til midnight. Plus it gets us out of the hot sun…“
So take it from vacation napping pros…a short snooze is just what you need to get you through the day. It’s what your kids need to make it through the day and not drive you nuts in the process.
I’m a numbers-obsessed princess, and I wear a pedometer on vacations. I walk 10 to 12 miles (and up) each day at Disney, and one crazy day two years ago, between checking into hotels and staying up late, my entire family each walked 21 miles – that one day! It was brutal.
I seriously doubt you can do any of the parks besides Animal Kingdom in under six or eight miles per day. You will be tired by lunch. Your kids, especially in the hot Florida summers, will be tired by lunch. The younger they are, the more exhausted they will be.
Go back to your hotel, take a swim if it’s pleasant out, and then crawl between those cool sheets and take a nap.
Benefits of a Nap
1. Think More Clearly
2. Increase in Alertness
3. Decrease in Stress
4. Improvement in Memory
5. Enhancement of Your Creativity
So you might not need too much creativity on a vacation, but that could come in hand before your vacation. Everything else on this list is sure to come in handy.
No Thanks to Napping
I know we have readers who will wholeheartedly disagree with this nap thing. You pay a ton of money for a Disney vacation – why not just sleep at home?
And the beauty of that is simple. Every vacation is different, and there is no perfect way to travel. Take our nappy advice if it will work for you, and if not, you certainly will not be alone about mid-day, standing in those roller coaster rides. And that leaves more room, pre-nap, in the pool for me!
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you headed for a comfy couch. If you see me in the Grand Floridan lobby, asleep in a chair, you can assume it was planned 90 days out…
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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess