Early Morning Flight...am i crazy?

My children will be 8 and 4 when we go…i am thinking about taking the 5:15 AM flights, arriving in Orlando at 8:00 AM. I’m loving the fact that we could be at WDW so early. However…i’m concerned about over-exhausting my kids at the very beginning of the trip.

just looking for thoughts/opinions…

I should add that there is another flight at 7:30am we could take, landing about 11/11:30…

We went in 2016 kids were 8 & 6 and our flight was at 7:30. They did get a little cranky around 4. For our flight in 2018 we opted to take the same flight time, they will be older and will last a little bit longer.

Personally that 5 am flight is too early!!

Both times I’ve gone my flights have been 6am arriving around 8am. I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. I would always tell myself I’ll take a nap in the hotel room but I’m always way too excited and am able to go all day no problem. Best sleep of my life that first night.

here are some suggestions

1 - If you are more than 1/2 hour from the airport - in EITHER situation - I would suggest staying close to / or at the airport so that it is a less hurried morning
2 - Be flexible with your first day and have NO expectations. If you get to WDW and people want to sleep - let them sleep. If people want to go to the park (even if for just a bit - go to the park)

Either one of those flights is going to mandate an early morning. If you leave at 7:30 - you need to be at the airport around 6, so depending on where you leave you are up at 5 or 4. So either way - you are up early my friend.

Personally - I would do the LATER one - from the standpoint that you have a better chance of having a room available at your destination resort.

I personally don’t like to fly that early when the kids are involved. I imagine for a 5:15 flight you will be arriving b/w 0330-0400 to airport. What time does that have you leaving home?!

Ours are older - 9 and 13 - and we flew early - 6:35 - over Labor Day against our own wisdom and DS (9) pooped out early in the evening. We live 10 mins from airport so we only left home around 5:15. It wasn’t smart. Fly in the night before and stay affordably or fly later. We generally consider travel days lost to touring and use the time to settle in to our resort and have a nice dinner followed by a good night’s rest. We hit it hard (and usually very early) the next morning.

We come from the west coast, so our flights are always that early. Our DD handles them well. I agree that you should be prepared for an easy day on arrival day.

1 Like

We’ve done 6.30 flights to the beach, arriving about 8.30, but that’s a very different prospect than intending to go to a theme park. I’d do the later one. If there was one an hour or two later still, I’d pick that.

We’ve done a 5:30 am flight from Texas to Disney before and it went well…it’s nice to arrive early but you have to weigh if it’s really that worth it since you’ll likely need to call it an early night with littles that young…with that being said, one thing I do like about an early flight is that if anything goes awry (cancellation, delay) there are usually a few more to get on afterwards.
I would personally recommend the 7:30 am one. It’s not 5:30 that’s so rough but the time you have to get up and get out of the house to get to the airport is brutal lol. A couple hours that early in the morning makes a world of difference.

1 Like

I did the 5:30 flight with my 5 year old. We made it to AK in time for TH lunch then enjoyed the park until about 5 had an early night and were at MK rope drop the next morning…it was great but we were only there for 2 nights and mine Is a great sleeper! If you have a bunch of long days planned it might be too hard.

You know your kids better than any of us… but for a 5:15 am flight, you’ll probably need to be at the airport no later than 4 am. That probably means getting up at 3 am or worse. My take is that any joy in getting to Disney sooner is going to be lost in making your afternoon and evening unbearable. Most likely, you’ll probably lose the extra time (and then some) by being forced to cut your day short in the end.

I’d shoot for the 7:30 am flight myself. And look at options the night before as well, and then spend the night at an airport hotel.

I would take the earliest flights and then either option:

  1. Get to WDW as early as possible, hang out by the pool, grab a fun, early dinner, get to bed early and be ready to dominate day 2!

  2. The kids will be running on adrenaline the first day so should be able to hang for a good portion of the day. Then I would just schedule a “pool day” or something chill for day 2.

My kids are 7 and 4 and we are taking our 3rd trip next week! We have always taken the earliest flight possible. The way I figure it, I would rather spend that extra hour or two in WDW (even if it’s just relaxing by the pool or in the hotel) as opposed to in my bed at home :wink:

1 Like

I agree with the PP who said that you know your kids best and how they’ll do with an early flight!

We have two kids aged 3 and 6 (almost 4 and 7) and I avoid early flights like the plague! It usually leads to an over-tired meltdown either on the plane or soon after arrival. Also, I find for myself, I barely sleep if I know I have to get up super early which leads to me being tired and not having as much patience to deal with grumpy kids. We’ve done it a few times and, for us, it made for a stressful start to vacation.


I’m the same when I have to get up early - I lie awake worrying I will oversleep.

1 Like

That’s it for me too. Even if I set three alarms, I’m afraid I’ll oversleep!


We’re taking a 6:45 am flight on our first trip to Disney next year with our 3 kids. It was the only nonstop of the day until late in the day. All the other connecting flights had ridiculous layovers. Mostly, the price on the first flight out was too good to pass up. I guess because no one wants to get up that early! So we will get up too early and suffer a little, and then have a week of fun to make up for it. When my husband and I fly just the 2 of us, we like the early flights because there’s rarely a delay.

Solo adult here, but my flight in Feb is at 5:35am. Best rate I got. I’m staying at an airport-area hotel the evening before so I can get some sleep - otherwise i’d barely get any having to get into Manhattan to catch a shuttle to Newark International.

Can you put the kids on the plane in their jammies and let them sleep on the flight? Just a thought! On my last trip I took a 6 am flight, but I’m in Colorado so I still didn’t arrive in Orlando until noon. It was actually great because at 9 at night when the parks were closing it was only 8:00 at home so it felt like an early night.

All things considered if you’re going to be there for a few days or longer, I would wait for the slightly later flight. A 5:15 flight means an airport arrival by 4 or earlier, so it’s basically an all-nighter. Just my two cents!

I would do the 730. We’ve done that with the kids that age. It worked great, still gave us a lot of time without total exhaustion meltdown. the earlier flight would be way to early for us.

is it possible to take a flight the afternoon/early evening the night before and just stay at an airbnb or something super cheap, and then just check in and head to the parks first thing in the morning?

That’s what I would do.

If you have connections on flights, you could also consider overnighting at that connection point. We did that at Chicago this year to avoid a 5 am departure. There’s a Hilton connected to O’Hare by a tunnel with a nice indoor pool.