Afternoon breaks - back to the room vs park?

I’m starting to question myself on whether I should be planning afternoon breaks. PLEASE give me honest advice on whether I’m doing too much or what you’d recommend. Driving down day before - 8yo DS and 2yo DD.

Park Days:
Saturday - Epcot - FW only. Start around noon and do most of FW except TT (and maybe one or two more). FPP planned for Soarin’, Character spot, and maybe Mission Space. Exit around 7PM unless decide to do Illuminations.

Sunday - AK - breakfast at 8:40 at Tusker House. Plan to spend the day there, but leave around 5 or 6 and head in for the night.

Monday (Columbus Day) - MK - Not doing party, so leave early. Adventureland, Frontierland, part of Fantasyland. I DO have 2 20-min back to back train rides built-in for an in-park break. Dinner 7:10 at Whispering Canyon.

Tuesday - HS - Breakfast at H&V around 8:45. The 8yo loves Star Wars and thrill rides so we’re struggling to fit everything in. Possibly splitting time between DH/DS and myself/DD. Not 100% sure if we’ll be staying for Fantasmic.

Wednesday - Epcot - WS- Lunch at Via Napoli(11:30) / dinner Teppan Edo (5:00). Plan to RD TT with FPP for FEA but flexible. Plan to go to MK for Happily Ever After and a few attractions that night.

Thursday - MK - Breakfast (9am) and Dinner (4:25PM) at BOG. Plan to do Tomorrowland, part of Fantasyland and parade. Planning to exit park (MNNSHP) and go back to hotel after BOG dinner.

Friday - Breakfast at Akershus, dinner at Ohana. Still deciding what to do here so FPP for FEA is possibility.

Saturday - come home.

Too much? I’m struggling to decide if the early (or earlier) nights make up for not going back to the room during the day. I feel like (especially on MK days) since we have to leave the park early for MNSSHP, maybe a 3 hour room break isn’t a great idea on those days? Suggestions?

I’ll simply say, if you’re not staying in the parks till closing (or if leaving by 7pm-ish) then you shouldn’t go back to hotel for midday break, because you will not have enough time to get everything in.

Just work some breaks in to your TPs. Especially for the 2yo. Things like Spaceship Earth, People Mover, Carousel of Progress and pretty much any indoor attraction can make for good “down time”.

Hi. Great plan by the way.

We never take breaks with our kids (we went when they were 4 and 2, and then 2 years later). When she was 2, she would fall asleep in the stroller or sat on our laps during the day, but we didn’t run around like mad - we took it easy and were led by the kids. If they were getting tired or grouchy, we’d find a show or something (Festival of Lion King etc). We also booked some table service lunches to break up the day and give them a sort of break.

Follow your instincts. We spend so little time in Disney, we don’t like to waste it back at the hotel having a nap :smiley:


Thank you! That’s what I was thinking, but was questioning myself!!!

Thanks! I’ve tried to not make a dusk-til-dark plan but was worried maybe I had too much! :slight_smile: Usually, with this trip, we’d start on Sunday, do a park a day and then have two days of “extras” so I’m already spreading it out with 2 Epcot days and 2.5 MK days!

So we are not doing breaks, but I did take the extra step to make sure that we are riding some more restful indoor rides or going to shows during the hottest time of the day. Worked well in my plan because those attractions tend to be higher capacity so wait times weren’t bad either.

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Both of my kids (2&4) did great with no mid day breaks, they napped in the stroller when they were tired. You know your kids best and how they will handle it.

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In MK take a break on Tom Sawyer island. It’s kind of an adventure playground but away from all the hype and over-excitement of the park. You can easily spend an hour there and unwind, but with tunnels, caves and the fort to explore. In the fort you can find somewhere to sit and let the kids explore - just tell them not to go through the escape tunnel without you.

The riverboat is good too for a shorter breather.

In Epcot, I like to split the park “vertically”. Some of FW and some of WS one day, then do the rest. That way gives a bit more variety of rides and “sightseeing” as I used to call it.

In HS, I use the Indy show as a sit down break. Also doing Launch Bay after a late lunch gives a good 2 -3 hours of calm time in air conditioning. And that’s with mid to late teens! Maybe nearer 2 for little ones not yet into Star Wars but still worthwhile.

In AK we haven’t actually seen any of the shows, but I guess you could do lunch followed by a show to give a decent break.

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Your son is old enough to do TT using the single rider line, if he’s up to it. Or maybe for a second ride on it. Since World Showcase doesn’t really open until 11 (except for FEA and Norway, plus bakery in France which all open at 9) you might plan for more FW things Wed morning, besides TT.

I like using People Mover as an in-park rest. It’s quieter, constantly moving, and you can easily do multiple laps. The train takes 20 min for a full lap, but that’s noisy, with stops and starts, and other people near you. Not as peaceful.

I forgot about WS not opening until 11! Thanks! And good tip on the People Mover!

Last May, we took the advice of afternoon breaks. It was a great idea. We would rest or hit the pool from 2-4 and then head back to the park for supper with an abundance of energy. Made the late night parks more enjoyable with the rest. The parks and several rides are just better at night. I AM SOLD ON BREAKS.

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We were there this week last year with 4 and 6 yo. We did not take breaks but also didn’t do full days. I made sure to have plenty of pool time. And no MNSSHP for us either. Expect heavy crowds.

We had 2 MK days. One day we did Tomorrowland in the morning, CP lunch and then Adventureland and Frontierland in the afternoon including the parade. We probably left around 4-4:30. The other day was a Fantasyland day with CRT lunch. We only lasted until around 3:00 on this day. Are you staying at WL and will get a break before WCC?

We had a pretty full Epcot day as we did RD through CR dinner. You are smart to break it up into 2 days. I would be wary about doing a full day on Wednesday without a break. Expect MK to be insanely crowded that evening if you head there for HEA as that’s the only day during the week without a party. I would also be wary about having a late night and trying to make RD/breakfast the next morning.

On our HS day, we started a little later (10ish) and stayed through Fantasmic. We did H&V for dinner. This was our one late night. If you decide to stay for Fantasmic or Star Wars fireworks, I would consider taking a break since you have an early breakfast.

Our AK day was similar to yours. We were there from RD until maybe 5-5:30 with Y&Y for lunch.

Not staying at WL - staying at AS Movies. Probably won’t have an out-of-park break before WCC but do have plans for People Mover, so might be able to “chill” a little bit.

I’ve been debating on the Epcot day. Original plans were to start at RD, get a FPP for FEA and rope drop TT. However, I was thinking today, I could wait about getting there until lunch, work backwards from Italy, get an early afternoon FPP for Test Track (wait until Friday for FEA), and then continue around Canada, etc. I do plan on doing the American Adventure so that will give the kiddos a little bit of a break, plus two sit down meals that day.

The next morning, breakfast is at 9 - it wasn’t intended as RD - just ended up that way (I guess that’s when our TA was able to get dining reservations). But dinner is at 4:25 that night and then we’re planning to head to our resort, so it should be a VERY early night.

Thanks for the help! I’ve tried talking some of this over with DH but he doesn’t like the planning/talking about it!

I think it’s fine to not do an afternoon break if you are leaving the parks relatively early, but will your kids be begging you for pool time? We took our DS1 and pool time before dinner really hit the spot for us. Then you might be able to stretch out for a dinner in Epcot or something.


Your plan looks totally doable. As others have said you know your family best. Keep an eye on how they do the first day and be prepared to be flexible to changing the rest of the if it’s needed. When my DS was 3 he just crawled in his stroller when he got tired, at 9 he refused to stop and got crabby with everyone, at 13 he is not happy without scheduled pool time. One thing you might consider is a bag of cereal that can be eaten in the move in the morning instead of a sit down breakfast. Our family finds that works better for us. More park time when it’s cool in the morning and lunch as soon as the restaurant opens. This allowed for longer lunch break as the restaurant wasn’t crowded yet, then we would hit an air conditioned attraction right after A’s lines would be a little shorter with other people heading to lunch. Made us feel like we had taken a break.

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I think your plan works too, especially since you’re not necessarily staying to park closing at night.

But, I’ll 2nd melcort10’s question: we learned that pool time was surprisingly important to our kids.
Also, even with the promise of cool stuff back at the parks, getting them away from pool time was sometimes challenging.

Especially for my daughter, who would jump in the Long Island Sound in winter if you let her.

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We aren’t really pool people - actually, right now, DH is the only one who knows how to swim (I know - horrible - I’ve mentioned that we need to get DS swimming lessons several times!) Anyway, I don’t think the pool will be a problem. Now, if there were a splash pad at AS Movies, that would be a different story!

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One option, also, is to split up if your little one needs a break… one of you takes the little one out of the park and the other stays and does bigger kid stuff with your 8yo (which the 2yo couldn’t do anyway, so it saves some “But I wanna gooooo!” meltdowns too). I’ve found that some kids are fine in the park all day and will just sleep in the stroller when they get tired, but others get even more riled because of the stimulation and just meltdown instead so the break is as much about getting them just away as it is about sleeping.

Another thing to factor in is when you’re going… I don’t see dates, just the MNSSHP reference. CLs will really affect how long it takes to do everything you want, and possibly very high temperatures could make the pools more appealing even if you’re otherwise less inclined. When we’ve gone at the end of August/September the crowds are so low that if we do an early/RDish morning then we’ve usually done almost everything by the time we leave for a break around 2. We come back around 5 or 6, maybe have dinner and then it’s just finishing up, re-riding some stuff and maybe fireworks if we feel like it. In a 4 or 5 day trip we have plenty of time to do everything and still take 3+ hour breaks most days, and really never ever go open to close (usually the exception is if we do the party and another park on the same day… then we’ll have an early morning somewhere, leave by noon and then be at MK around 4 or 5 for the party and stay until they get tired, or closing). At that time of year we do spend a lot of time in the pool because it tends to be mid to high 90s and VERY humid and we just need a break from walking around in the heat.

A note about the WDW pools, in case it can help allay any fear or hesitation to try it… they’re mostly not more than 4.5ft deep at the very deepest (and much shallower in most places) and they do have life jackets in sizes from infant to adult XXL available for free. My 10yo niece just learned to swim last year, but still liked to just be in the pool in the shallower parts on the really hot days even when she was still somewhat afraid of water over her waist, she usually just liked to sort of hang out on and near the stairstep entries (which seems to be a pretty hoppin place at most WDW pools, actually), and the CMs lead games all day at the feature pools, some of which use water balloons and such and don’t even require going in the pool. The AS Movies feature pool (the Fantasia one) does have a kiddie area/splash pad as well.

I didn’t know AS Movies had a splash area! Awesome!

We are going Columbus Day week (Saturday-Friday are park days), so it will be crowded. We’d actually planned to take advantage of Rider Swap for a lot of the rides with the older one - DH & I both love (most of) the big rides and this will be the first time for DS to be able to do some of them with us (like Rock N Roller Coaster, our FAVORITE!). The 2yo will fall asleep in her stroller so I’m hoping that will be an option; however, I’m not sure how she’ll do in a place like Disney. I think we do stand a chance of her being able to wind down in her stroller, though.

With any luck it will be slightly less hot by then too!

When you’re using rider swap don’t forget that you can sort of double up on FPs that way as well… only book the big ride FP for one adult and DS, because the rider swap pass will amount to the same thing so you can book a tamer FP (maybe a character DS isn’t interested in) for the other adult to use with DD at the same time.

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