Napping at Disney is something most parents with young kids think about, or they should. It is not typically possible to stay on the same rest schedule you have at home. However, don’t throw in the towel. There are ways to find rest on your Disney vacation.
If you are worried about napping at Disney resorts with your young child, my most important advice is to stop worrying. Just stop. This doesn’t mean your three-year-old should go from 7 a.m. to 12 midnight without any problems though. Just loosen up your definition of napping and you (and your child) will be fine. Napping at Disney does not have to look like napping at home. Don’t expect it to!
For those who are planning a family vacation to a Disney resort with a child five or under, it makes sense to think about how and where to get a nap in. Check out these five ways to help you get some nap time in on your next Disney vacation.
5 Ways to Make Napping at Disney Happen
1. Use a stroller.
If you are coming to Disney World with a child under the age of 6, chances are you need a stroller. We tried to get away without one this month because our youngest is almost 5. Nope! We missed it. He missed it. And my 7-year-old missed the opportunity to squish in with his brother too. Strollers carry things. They keep a little one out of the sun. They keep kids contained. And they are a wonderful place to sleep. I’m always amazed at how quickly my kids fall asleep in a stroller. Even a short cat nap helps revive them to avoid meltdowns later in the day.
2. Let them sleep wherever they can.
Whether it’s on a 20-minute bus or monorail ride, during a show, or in the air-conditioned tent in Dumbo, let them get sleep in wherever you can. One of the reasons I like to drive to Disney World is because I can let the kids sleep in the car. The 2017 Ford Explorer I drove this year let the kids recline and relax, even in the third row. The smooth quiet ride helped too! Remember though, just because the kids usually get a two-hour nap at exactly 2 p.m. every day, that doesn’t mean they need that necessarily at Disney World.
3. Plan a mid-afternoon siesta.
For those who are adamant about actually napping at Disney, you may want to shift your day around a bit. Get up early and hit the parks as early as you can. Then go…go…go until about 2 p.m. Head back to your hotel room to rest during the hottest part of the day. You can head back to the parks after dinner for some more rides and of course fireworks. If you have older children, you might get some push back. This could force you to divide and conquer, with one parent staying with the younger kids who need to rest and the other parent managing older children who can push through.
4. Utilize “rest” periods.
Sometimes, napping at Disney just isn’t possible. For many kids, it may be enough to just get out of the heat and the sun and let them chill out for a while. I love using the Baby Care Centers for this. They are relaxed, often quiet, and can give you a chance to just sit and recuperate for a bit.
5. “Wear” smaller kids.
Baby wearing has become more and more popular, especially at theme parks. However, it’s not just newborns that can be worn. From the smallest of babies to some pretty big four year olds, there are not carriers that can comfortably fit each child. Small babies who may get overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and smells of Disney Parks, can particularly benefit from baby wearing. The carriers can shield them from the noise around them and let them quiet down and sleep.
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For bigger kids, think about investing in a backpack carrier that can comfortably fit toddlers and preschoolers. Even the crankiest kids tend to fall right asleep when nestled against your back or your chest. The downside about wearing kids is that they can get heavy and make you hot. Try to avoid one parent carrying the child all day as this may be too strenuous in the heat and humidity of Orlando.
Napping at Disney is something that can help to make your day a little less stressful. Naps can also help to curb tantrums and meltdowns so your family can make it to the fireworks each night. While it is difficult to keep a strict schedule on a Disney vacation, embracing a little structure can be useful. Younger children will especially benefit from your foresight in thinking about how to nap on vacation. And when your little kids are in a good mood, it is so much easier for the whole family to be in a good mood.
If this feels overwhelming to you, just know that this is a short season of life you are in. In a few years, you won’t even think about having to stop for a nap during the day for your kids. Enjoy these magical young years when you have them!
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We have a child who will be 20 months old when we go to WDW this November (2018). As he has gotten older, he has become progressively more alert and interested in his environment, and therefore doe snot fall asleep as easily in a carseat or stroller. However, when he is very sleep any/or worn out (say from playing, swimming, etc), he will fall asleep in the carseat or stroller. He does not nap at consistent times at home, so we don’t know what time to plan to go back to the resort for a nap. Also, I think if we did plan for naptime back at the resort, by the time we go there, he probably wouldn’t sleep, meaning we will have wasted a round trip from resort to hotel and back again for nothing.
Any tips for encouraging stroller sleeping?
With much appreciation,