Nap Time and Disney
As a mom who has taken twins at various ages to Walt Disney World I wanted to give my perspective on this dilemma. I have read what all the experts say to do, but here is what has worked best for our family.
Nap time at Disney, do you stay or do you go? Do you let your kids skip a nap or do you go back to the room and let your children rest? That is a big question with not the easiest answer. The truth is that you know your kids better than any one else. You also know what your tolerance is for cranky kids. As a mom I know that if my kids are cranky, fussy, whinny, or throwing tantrums, it will not be fun for anyone in the parks.
I have a saying, “Feed the grumpies,” but sometimes all they really need is to rest. Now, we do not always stay at a park resort (shhh…don’t tell Mickey), so leaving and coming back is not really an option for us. We are lucky that our guys can fall asleep in the stroller and used to get a good hour to hour and a half nap in. While they were napping, we would use the time to rest, go on rides, or get ourselves a snack. Sometimes I just like to sit and watch people while my husband goes on the roller coasters that I refuse to ride. It is just as relaxing for us as it is for them.
If you need a quiet place for your little one to nap, there are the baby care centers in every park. You cannot take in a stroller, but they have chairs you can sit in and hold your child. And by the way these care centers are great for diaper changes and feedings. There are also quite places to be found in the park. In Storybook Circus there is a yellow tent tucked into the back corner. This spot is usually quite, near nice bathrooms, and shaded. The Hub Grass at the end of Main Street is also a nice place to let your little one nap. If they are light sleepers though beware that this area can get loud during parades and shows. Also, now that we are not in need of a nap every day, we love to hang out here, grab a snack from Casey's and watch the shows in front of the castle.
Now if you want to go back to the hotel, then plan accordingly. If your child takes a nap at the same time every day and you want to stay on the same schedule, do not leave the park 10 minutes before nap time. Set an alarm or reminder for about an hour before you want to get back to your room. This gives you time to head to the exit at a slower pace and to go ahead and set up your child that you are leaving (a tantrum because you are leaving before they want to is never fun). I always tell them before the last ride or activity that we are leaving after we are done. You will also need to take into account your travel time back to the hotel. This will make for a less stressful time for the whole family.
Of course you can be brave and push through without a nap and just deal with the fall out. I will say that if you try this strategy with a plan to stay in the parks all day and see the night time shows, the chances are that your little one will be asleep before the first firework. If you plan on skipping the nap, then I suggest either going when the park opens and leaving in the early evening or arrive to the parks late and take in the shows.
I do understand the desire to see and do everything. I really do get it, but if your children are so young that they may not remember most of the trip, then plan to make things easier on yourself. Choose the things you want to see or do the most and pick the top three for each day. If you really want to ride space mountain, then do it while your child sleeps. If fireworks are your jam, then go in the afternoon so the family will be awake to watch with you. If you get bored while your baby is sleeping, then try the interactive games that Disney World has in the parks. At Magic Kingdom try the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, the Phineas and Ferb Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure at EPCOT, or the Wilderness Explores at Animal Kingdom. These are great ways to see more of the parks and have fun while you wait for your sleeping beauties to wake up.
No matter how you choose to handle nap time at the most magical place on earth, remember why you chose to go to Disney World in the first place and have a wonderful family vacation.