We are heading to MK on May 18. One day only at MK. Kids are 4,6, and 8. I'm trying to figure out what time to take a break for naps. (Not that my kids will want one!) DH wants to see fireworks so we need to push them to the end. Q1) Has anyone done Disney without breaks with little ones? Any feedback on best times to take a break and not miss the 3pm parade? Q2)We are at an off site hotel, how much time do I need to allocate to parking and getting back in the park if we leave the park for naps?
It's best to take breaks in the park.
It will be difficult to catch the 3pm parade, take a break off site and come back for the fireworks. You'd basically JUST be coming back for the fireworks, and you'd hit the hottest part of the day, making everyone more tired. I would probably not take a break but plan a bunch of slower and indoor rides for after the parade.
No kids here, so I won't comment on whether to take one or not, but I'll comment on timing.
Coming to the MK, I would allow at 45-60 min from the time you drive through the WDW gates until you are entering MS (driving to the parking lot, getting to the TTC, taking the mono or boat to the MK, bag check, etc). Outbound may well be as long depending on your timing, crowds, mid-day traffic, etc. Not sure how far off-site your hotel is (and off-property Orlando traffic can be "challenging" at times), but I'm guessing you would have to add around 2.5 -3 hours of
transportation time to your break time.
I see no possible way to see the parade, have a "productive" break, and be back for anything but the FW (and as the new show will less than a week old, it will be packed - with people staking out places to watch hours in advance).
For timing, considering your transportation issues, I think most people would recommend leaving the MK between 12:00 and 1:00 and returning between 5:00 and 6:00.
If I was in your situation I would consider in-park breaks, or a break at one of the mono resorts. When I go, I typically have a TS lunch and a TS dinner which gives me a chance to sit in the AC for awhile, and eat at the same time (the two birds with one stone thing).
We haven't been in a while, but went often when the kids were younger. We stayed on-site and still didn't go back for a break. Here are options that we did in MK to just relax:
1. Tommorow land transit authority -- we would ride that around and around because they usually would let you stay on it.
2. Tom Sawyer Island -- quiet and peaceful
3. Reservation at the Plaza Restaurant. Even if we couldn't get a time suitable for dinner, a mid-afternoon time is great for a leisurely ice cream break.
4. Carousel of progress.... could normally get at least one child to fall asleep in there!
Normally I would recommend a break at the hotel, but with only 1 day at MK and staying offsite, I do not think that will work. If you are willing to cut the 3pm parade out, you could get a decent break. If you really want to see it though, I think you should stay close. Book a midday lunch somewhere, even on the monorail loop to get you out of MK for awhile. Then plan indoor attractions for the afternoon like Carousel of Progress, Mickey's philharmagic, and Tiki Room to get out of the sun. Good luck!
Why not consider a late start? Arrive at or just after lunch time after sleeping in and relaxing at your resort. Find a shady spot for the parade. Get a TS dinner for on the later side of the dinner hour. Enjoy the fireworks. You may find that your crew will even be willing/able to push past that time if you take it easy and rest up in the morning.
The late start is a good idea. Also, another idea is find a cool and quiet place and drape a beach towel over the stroller to block out the light. When my child was a toddler, he would nap in the stroller in the afternoons and I would toss a towel over it for shade and quiet. It wasn't a great nap but it would work sometimes.
I agree with the late start option or a break at one of the monorail resorts. . The Poly is a short boat ride away and has Capt Cooks as a QS option and comfy sofa's in the lobby which are ideal for a break.
If kids need to take a nap and you dont want to leave. Try taking them to Hall of Presidents. Its cool, dark and within minutes will be napping. Did it for our son when he was 6. Perfect MK nap spot.
The idea of taking a break at Poly is a good idea! Lots of nice couches to nap on. My sister took a pretty funny snapchat when we were there waiting for dinner. I will share in a second. Another good idea is maybe have a nice long TS lunch around 1. Gets you out of the heat and the crowds.