The Magic of Taking a Break

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Here at TouringPlans.com and the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World we are constantly touting the benefits of taking a midday break form the parks.   Most of our Touring Plans have breaks built into them, encouraging guests to get a respite from the hustle and bustle of the parks.   A day of hitting attractions can be an exhausting undertaking so anything you can do to ease your pain is worthwhile!

You may be saying to yourself but why waste all that valuable park time when you’ve paid for your admission.  A couple hours out of the heat will do wonders for your groups’ morale.  Would you rather have a child who’s had a nap staying up past their normal bedtime to catch the fireworks, or one who’s had to tough it out all day?  I don’t have kids of my own yet, but I know how cranky my nieces and nephew get when they are wiped out.  That’s not to say we adults don’t need a rest from time to time as well!  It is amazing how rejuvenating a little rest and relaxation provides when I escape the parks (especially during the hot and busy mid-day hours).  A quick nap and my whole body feels better and I’m ready for the evening’s festivities!

A nap isn’t the only option, though.  How about a swim at your resort pool?   A few weeks ago I wrote about

Photo by Deanna Simmons

some of my favorites, and I’m sure you would find them to be a great getaway from the typical pace of a day at Disney World.  If you aren’t inclined to getting wet, how about lounging poolside for a while?  Maybe with a good book or your kindle and a cocktail.  Spending some time back at your resort no matter what your activity is a great way to take a breather.

To make taking a break back at your resort less time consuming, I recommend using your own car or a rental car to get around Walt Disney World.  This way, you won’t have to wait in like for a bus multiple times or stop at other resorts which can really eat away at your relaxation time.   If you have your own wheels you can create your own schedule and not have to rely on anyone else to get you from one point to another in a timely fashion.  You will also have more time to actually relax during your break too.  Of course, you can still use Disney transportation to move around WDW without a problem, you will just spend a bit more time doing so.

If you don’t want to haul all the way back to your resort there are plenty of restful options.  If you are at the Magic Kingdom or Epcot why not take a few laps on the monorail?  If they are not too crowded you should be able to sit comfortably in air conditioning for a while until you are ready to journey back into the parks.  The boat transportation offered at both of these parks as well as Disney’s Hollywood Studios would also provide a great place to sit down for a while.  I am partial to boats and being on the water puts me at ease, so this sounds like a great plan to me!

Perhaps you’d like to visit a nearby resort.  Guests can explore the lobbies and scenery at various resorts to escape the parks for a while.  May you’ve never been to the Polynesian before, well there’s no time like the present to check it out!  There is plenty of indoor air conditioned seating as well as chairs along the beach where you can watch the world go by.  The Boardwalk Inn’s lobby is another favorite of mine with its seaside theme I find very relaxing.  All of the resorts also have their own stores for guests to browse.  Some of these retail outlets offer unique items you won’t find elsewhere.  When all else fails you can head to the resort bar to hang out for a while.  My friends and I will often hop on the monorail from the Magic Kingdom to grab a drink from one of the surrounding hotels in the late afternoon.  It has been a great way to create our own little happy hour, especially since alcohol is not served in the Magic Kingdom.

Photo Provided by the Disney Food Blog

Heading to a resort for a leisurely lunch break is also a great idea.  Your party can wander around the resort of a few minutes before sitting down for a nice, quiet meal.  The restaurants in the resorts are often less crowded, making it easier for the cast members to accommodate your group.  Advanced dining reservations are more readily available at these eateries and sometimes you can even walk up without prior arrangements and be seated.  You will also not feel as rushed to clear the table and get back to the park if you’ve made the journey to a hotel restaurant. If you would rather stay in the park, there are obviously a ton of lunch choices.  I really recommend taking the time to have a table service meal midday if your plan is to stay in the park all day.  You will still get an hour or so of rest before heading back out into the heat and crowds.

These are just a few examples of ways to escape the often frantic pace of touring one of the WDW theme parks.  After a break you and your family will feel refreshed and ready to take on more attractions!  You could be the family who is genuinely smiling for photos late in the day, or you could be the family who is too exhausted to enjoy themselves.  It is amazing what a few hours out of that busy and often overwhelming can do!  What about you?  What are your favorite things to do during a mid-day break from the parks?  Let me hear your suggestions in the comments!

 

 

 

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Posted on June 22, 2011

29 Responses to “The Magic of Taking a Break”

  • We will be at Magic Kingdom on Thanksgiving weekend (Friday). We would like to plan a mid-day break as you suggest. However, I also read that on busy days, the park stops letting folks in if it gets too full. Should I be concerned about getting back into the park early evening on this day if we take a 3-4 hour break?

    • I think you should be ok. Although Thanksgiving break is busy, Christmas is worse. Especially if you are staying on property you should be able to get back into the park and if you are aiming to be back in the park after the afternoon peak.

  • We always take a break from parks in the afternoon. Relaxing by the pool is a great way to rejuvenate for the extra park hours.

  • Yes! A million times yes! On our many trips to the World we can count only a few truly bad days and without exception they were days where we tries to do marathon sessions and not rest. We have kids that are all normally in bed before 8:00 and by going back to our resort or condo and all of us napping we can go back in refreshed and all ready to stay up. I feel bad for families you see yelling/fussing at each other with crying children and you can tell they are all just exhausted.

    You might want to make a note about making sure to take time for snack breaks in the parks during the day as well. People don’t always realize that in going to the parks you can easily walk 3+ miles in a day and your body needs extra fuel if you aren’t (or even if you are) used to that activity level. Getting hungry can get everyone just as tired and grumpy and ruin a day!

  • Great post and one my wife will appreciate me reading – she keeps our family in check with taking necessary breaks. As you note, taking an afternoon break for naps allows younger kids (like our 2.5 year old son) to stay up later than they normally do to see the fireworks. Our son had never been awake as late as he was when we watched the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes, but he did amazing because we had taken a break for a long nap earlier in the day (in fact he only cried because he didn’t want to leave the park after the fireworks!). Plus, you can avoid the hottest time of the day at the parks if you break midday.

    Another routine we found to work well for us on our last trip was to hit Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon first thing in the morning before crowds got too long, and then head back to our hotel for naps after lunch before visiting a park in the late afternoon/evening.

    • Oh good, I’m glad it worked with your little guy. I like to do the water parks in the morning too, but not everyone plans for that. When I have gone, I get there for rope drop and do all the slides I want to with little to no wait then relax for the rest of my time there in the lazy river or wave pool. It is a great way to approach the water parks. Thanks for commenting!

  • While I think taking a break during the summer and other busy times are necessary, I do have to say that if you are visiting the parks during the off season, it can be hard to find the time to get back to the resort. With parks closing around 7pm, if you’re relying on Disney transport, an afternoon break could eat up 3+ hours of time, which is a lot when the park is only open for 10 hours. That being said, during this time of year the weather is much cooler and without the massive crowds, I find all I need is a few rounds of TTA to feel refreshed and ready to keep going!

    • You do raise a good point, Laura. But, I still think the idea of a midday break is a worthwhile one even if it is just a leisurely lunch in the park. The TTA ia s great spot like you suggested too! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • by David Ackerman on June 23, 2011, at 9:43 am EDT

      We are always at rope drop in the morning, so we don’t feel badly about leaving when we get tired (we normally do 8 day trips). Altho we’re retired now, we view trips like marathons – you have to pace yourself. Every time we visit WDW, we encounter wild eyed families with crazed kids trying to do every attraction before closing time. You can spot them in the morning as they already have that 1000 yard stare.

      Laura is right, TTA (or the train) will do a lot to restore your sanity (and energy level). At EPCOT, Ellen’s Energy or Images of France will do the same thing – sit down, slow down, and relax. At DHS, the Great Movie Ride works and at Animal Kingdom, Finding Nemo or Lion King will work.

      The trick is to sit, enjoy, and not be trying to figure out what the lines at the next attraction look like. And except for Lines, just say no to your cell phone.

      • Sounds Dangerous is a great place for a small midday nap in the Studios! It’s dark and provides a 20 min or so nap, more if you stay for a couple shows. We go during the slow times of the year, and they don’t even make you get up between shows.

  • A really nice way to take a break in the middle of the day is to schedule a lunch at a table service restaurant. It’s cool, you’re sitting down, you can talk with the rest of your party about what they enjoyed this morning, what they’d like to do in the afternoon, any problems encountered. (For any Agile software developers out there, think of it as an afternoon Scrum for your vacation. ;-)

    For the MK, there are few options for a really nice, true table service restaurant. There is the buffet at Crystal Palace (not table service as you’re doing lots of running around) or Tony’s Town Square, which is not so yummy, or the Plaza Restaurant, which is nice but has a limited menu. So, for a midday table service break, we usually jump on the monorail and take advantage of one of the finer dining choices at the Monorail resorts Kristen mentions.

    • I agree, when I’m spending the day at MK I really prefer the dining options in one of the nearby resorts. I find the food to be better and the atmosphere more relaxed. Plus I can get a beer if I want one! Thanks for the comment!

  • Building in some time to take a break is absolutely essential. I learned this the hard way. My son was three when we took him to Disney World the first time. As a result of being on the go constantly, the poor little thing little thing got exhausted to the point that he was actually sick.

    Now that he is older (11), we don’t always make it back to the resort. However, I always schedule snack breaks into our touring plan and enough time for a nice long lunch. It is amazing what an hour long lunch and a twenty minute snack break can do to revive your family. I make sure I actually put these things on my touring plan that way we don’t “forget” to take these much needed breaks.

    My tip: Don’t wait until you are exhausted to take a break. Be proactive about breaks. Once you hit the wall it is hard to bounce back.

  • Heading down for our first trip in September and our one full day has an early afternoon rest period where my 2 year old and husband go back to the room (we’re staying at the Wilderness Lodge) for a nap and my 4 1/2 year old and I will hang around MK. He loves trains and the monorail so we will probably ride several loops of each and just chill. He doesn’t nap much anymore but if he gets tired we might head to the Hall of Presidents or ride the TTA a few times. All our other days will start early in the morning and have us finishing up early afternoon with an early dinner and then back to the room before the sun goes down. We’re going with two sets of grandparents, an aunt and 10 yr old neice so we should have plenty of backup.

    • It sounds like you’ve got it all planned out! It is great to have your plans all set and even better to have plenty of help. I’m really looking forward to when I get to the aunt on our trip and show my nieces and nephew the magic of WDW (and insist they take breaks)! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • by John E. Levis on June 22, 2011, at 4:12 pm EDT

      Breaks aren’t just for the kids, we older folks need to take a break too. My wife and I both have physical disabilities and use ECV’s. Even so a long day at the parks is very tiring. We like to have a leisurely lunch at a table service restaurant. We also will just find a “quiet” spot and have a soda or ice cream and people watch.

      • by Kelly Roberts on June 22, 2011, at 9:52 pm EDT

        I totally agree with John! On our first trip to WDW last October, our 9-year-old daughter had much more stamina than I did. After 8 hours at MK and nearly nodding off during Country Bear Jamboree (all before the 3:00pm parade), I finally had to cry uncle! I laid down on a bench in the shade and actually fell asleep for about 1/2 hour while my husband and daughter carried on (my daughter told me I looked like a hobo when they came to “get” me, eh, wake me up). We’re going back to WDW this October, and on our exceptionally long scheduled day at MK we will definitely be heading back to our hotel for a mid-day rest!

      • Breaks definitely aren’t just for kids! Even those of us lucky enough to wander around the parks without assistance need a break. I’m glad you and your wife have found ways to grab a breather from time to time. A leisurely lunch is a great way to escape for a bit for sure. Thanks for the comment!

  • About a year ago I took my husband on his first Disney trip since his childhood. I think he was a little apprehensive, but ended up having a fantastic time. He said the only thing he had been worried about before the trip was being exhausted – apparently his dad had a “park’s not closed, we’re not leaving yet” attitude, whereas daily rest periods are mandatory when I travel. Now that he’s more familiar with my style, he’s up for a Disney trip almost as often as I am. In his dad’s defense, I think they always stayed off property and leaving for a break was really time consuming, AND they had obviously never read the Unofficial Guide.

    • Sorry to hear your husband had post traumatic stress from his childhood trips! I’m glad you’ve been able to steer him in the right direction. I hope you enjoy your next trip and your breaks!

  • by James Garfield on June 23, 2011, at 8:06 am EDT

    We first visited WDW in 2007 as a family and experimented a bit with taking afternoon breaks versus staying in the park. Taking a break always made the difference between an enjoyable day and an exhausting one. We’ll be returning late September and will follow the afternoon break routine religously.
    One point to note, it you are staying on Disney property, its usually quicker to use the transportation system at the Magic Kingdom as returning to a car can easily eat an hours touring time each way.

  • This is the best advice. And when I read this in the Unofficial Guide, I took it to heart. It helps that when we went to WDW in February we had a not quite 2 year old who adores and needs his afternoon nap.

    What helped me to get over the “breaks waste park time; park time = $$$” mentality was something else from the Guide — WDW is not going anywhere. We’ll be back. And what really wastes $$$ is having a terrible time on a pricey vacation. It should be fun, not a forced march!

    Viva la Afternoon Nap!

    • That is exactly right, Kelly. Would you rather have a miserable evening because you powered through or a pleasant one because you took a break? That is totally worth the price of time off to me. Viva la nap indeed! I think we should put that on a tshirt. Thanks for the comment!

  • Where would you suggest taking a break while at Animal Kingdom? We probably won’t have time to return to our hotel between a noon ADR at Tusker house and the parade. Do you know if Animal Kingdom Lodge would be a good choice?