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You are finally taking your kids to Disney World! After spending months planning, saving, and dreaming of the perfect trip, the last thing you want is for your children to have the meltdown of a lifetime in the middle of the Magic Kingdom! Unfortunately, many kids lose it at the happiest place on Earth. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Don’t let a tantrum ruin your trip! Dry those tears and read on for some easy tips to stop Disney meltdowns before they happen!
Tip #1: Don’t try to do it all.
The biggest key to preventing Disney meltdowns is to realize that you can’t do it all in one trip. It is impossible. Disney World is bigger than San Francisco! It includes 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 4 golf courses, 2 miniature golf courses, a dining/shopping district, 25+ hotels, and much more. Chances are, unless you are planning on being there for 2 weeks or more, you won’t even be able to do everything in the theme parks.
We have been 7 times, and I feel like we have barely scratched the surface. On our first couple of trips, I tried to do it all. Not only did I end up being exhausted, but no one in my family had any fun because we were just running from one thing to the next. I was more focused on checking things off the list than enjoying the experience. Once I changed my mindset, our trips became much more entertaining for all of us.
By accepting the fact that you can’t do it all, you will allow yourself, and your family, to slow down a bit and actually enjoy the trip. This alone will help prevent your kids from becoming overly tired, which is the leading cause of meltdowns.
Tip #2: Take a break.
To avoid running your family into the ground during your trip, be sure to take a break everyday. Everyone, especially your children, need to have some down time to rest and recharge. There are different theories about how best to schedule breaks while at Disney World. We prefer to take a midday break with mandatory naps for everyone. We also have a sleep-in day in the middle of our trip. It doesn’t matter how you schedule your rest time. Do whatever works best for your family. The important thing is that you are taking time to relax and recharge each day.
Tip #3: Build in time to swim.
Scheduling time to swim goes hand in hand with taking time to rest. It’s amazing how spending a little time at the pool can eliminate arguments between kids and parents. Most kids love to be in the pool. To them, the Disney pools are some of the best attractions on property. Compromising on pool time can save you headaches and buy you some cooperation during the rest of your trip.
During our first few trips, I didn’t want to waste time doing something we could do at home. I soon realized that by giving my son time to swim made him much more willing to work with me when it was time to go to the parks. Scheduling pool time on specific days gave him something to look forward to and prevented him from constantly begging to swim.
Tip #4: Have a snack.
Snacks have a magical effect on Disney meltdowns. Because of this, it’s important to have some ready when your kids start to get cranky. Disney allows you to bring food into the park with you, so you can pack your own snacks for the day if you choose. If you don’t want to bother, there are plenty of places within the parks to grab a snack. There are even a few places where you can get fruit and other healthy options.
Once during my son’s first trip, he had a complete meltdown as we came out of the Lion King show. We quickly realized that he was hungry. By stopping to grab a snack, we put an end to that meltdown before it ruined the day.
Tip #5: Ask your kids what they want to do.
Now, I’m not saying let your kids run the show. But, as adults, we forget that kids live in the moment much better than we do. Sometimes, by following their lead, we can have a lot more fun. The more fun the entire family has, the fewer meltdowns you have to endure. Many times, your children’s favorite things to do at Disney World are things that don’t even register on your radar screen. So, it’s important to include them when deciding what to do next.
On a recent trips, my son and I were in the Magic Kingdom at night, just the two of us. He wanted to spend the whole time playing in the circus tent at Dumbo. He didn’t want to ride rides. All he wanted to do was play. There were hardly any kids there at the time, and he had a blast! Later, I realized that the reason he chose to play in the tent was because it wasn’t crowded and he could enjoy it. Plus, it allowed him to burn some energy. Letting him decide what to do helped us have a meltdown free night.
Tip #6: Be present in the moment.
My last tip for avoiding Disney meltdowns is to just be present in the moment. This means enjoying being with your kids right now instead of thinking ahead to the next item on the list. This also means paying attention to your children and addressing their needs before they get out of control. Watch for signs of exhaustion. Remember that they haven’t eaten in several hours. Realize that they need to have time to run off some energy.
Being present in the moment will allow you to have a better trip because it will prevent you from pushing your family past their limits. It will also let you enjoy the time with your loved ones and create those memories you’ve always wanted. The perfect Disney trip isn’t defined by doing all the big things. It’s about having fun and all the little moments spent with your family.
No one wants to have Disney meltdowns, but they happen all the time. Avoid tantrums from your kids during your trip by resting, be present in the moment, not trying to do it all, and paying attention to their needs. But most importantly, just have fun with your family! I am confident that you can put an end to the Disney meltdowns on your next trip. For more tips on Disney World trips with kids, see how to save time, magical must-dos for kids, advice for first timers, and how to save money on souvenirs. To book your Disney World trip, visit Disney’s website. Happy travels!
P.S. Want even more help planning your Disney World trip? Our Travel Resource Library has planning tools such as a Disney Trip Planning Worksheet and a Disney Packing List. See the box below on how to get free instant access to the library!