A Dad’s Guide to Maintaining Sanity at Disney World

Disney World is probably not what you would consider to be a relaxing vacation. I’m sure you’d rather be watching football from your recliner, or laying on a Mexican beach with a cooler full of cervezas next to you, but these tips can make your Disney vacation a little less stressful.

Make dinner reservations well in advance. Normally, some spontaneity is nice, but Disney World is not the best place for that. Many of the popular restaurants – especially those with characters – fill up six months or more in advance. Make sure meal reservations are made as soon as you book your trip or you might be waiting a very long time for a table. Nothing induces crankiness faster than hunger. Stay well fed and you’ll stay happy.

Get the dining plan. For a family, this is well worth the cost. We had plenty of food and were able to grab snacks, quickly any time we felt hungry. The quick service meals are perfect for breakfast, lunch and snacks on the go, and we had nice dinners at restaurants like Tony’s in Magic Kingdom, and Coral Reef Restaurant in Epcot each night.

Go during the off-season. Nothing’s worse than waiting in long lines when it’s 95F and humid. If you go in Fall or Winter, it’s cheaper, the lines are shorter, and the weather is much nicer.  This guide can help you plan when the best time to go is, based on crowds, cost, events, and weather.

Prepare your feet! If you’re not in great shape, or if you spend the majority of your day sitting, you may want to do some conditioning before hand. Jogging or walking as much as you can for a few months prior to your trip will help your feet get used to all the standing and walking that you’ll have to do at the park. If your shoes are old, buy a new pair of running shoes with a good amount of cushion in the sole. Most importantly, take a bottle of ibuprofen. As long as you have no medical issues that prevent it, a daily dose of ibuprofen will keep any swelling and pain to a minimum. Your feet will thank you!

Take a stroller. Even if your kids are a little too old for a stroller, take one anyway.  Toward the end of the day, the little ones will be ready to pass out. You don’t want to have to carry the little guy while you wait for the bus or tram. You can also use the stroller to haul all the stuff you bring and buy along the way. There’s stroller parking near each ride, so you can leave all your stuff in the stroller and not have to wrestle with it on the ride. Just take a poncho to cover it up in case of a sudden downpour while you’re waiting in line.

Alcohol is your friend. Why not loosen up a bit and take the edge off with a drink or two? Adult beverages are easily found in the parks, especially at Epcot. If you like to partake every now and then, stop in at La Cava del Tequila in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion for a shot of Tequila Blanco, or visit Anaheim Produce in Hollywood Studios for a Magic Hat #9. A judicious amount of liquor goes a long way for keeping the spirits high.

Stay on Disney property. There are many affordable options for staying at a Disney hotel and doing so relieves all sorts of headaches. Let the busses and trams do all the driving for you. You dont have to worry about airport shuttles, traffic, directions, parking or a rental car. It’s well worth the extra cost for the added benefits, and maintaining some of your sanity.

Just have fun! Let your inner child come out, and enjoy the time with your family. Pick a ride or attraction that you want to see each day and get it on your trip schedule. My favorites were The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios, and The Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom. Just remember, there are many worse places you could be – like work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *