How many rest days for 4 kids?

Hello Liners,

Who’s ready to go deep on some trip planning advice? There are some subtle details here that I need your help on… please.


I am planning a trip booked for late May that I hope I don’t have to cancel. My Fastpass Day is next week, so I need your input.

I had Option 1 planned, but started to worry that it was too aggressive for our kids. In turn, I started planning an alternate version. The primary difference between these two options is the number of rest days included between park days.

Option 1 takes a rest day (and an H2O Glow Night at Typhoon Lagoon) after 3 park days. Basically 3 park days, a day off/evening at a water park, and then 3 park days.

Option 2 gives us a rest day after 2 park days. Basically 2 park days, a day off/evening activities, then 2 park days, followed by another day off/evening activities.

Option 1 gives us two days at MK, a day each at every other park then we let the kids vote on the park we return to on the last day.

Option 2 gives us only a day and a half at MK, a day at every other park, and then a half day at either Epcot or Hollywood Studios.

Both give us an evening at Typhoon Lagoon via the H2O Glow Nights.

Which one looks better to you, at a glance?

-Kids ages: DD13, DD10, DD7, DS4
-We’re staying at the Cabins at Fort Wilderness.
-We haven’t been to WDW since Toy Story Land, Pandora, or Happily Ever After, so all of those (plus all the evening spectaculars) are highlights for us.
-We’re staying at Ft. Wilderness and want to make sure we have plenty of time to enjoy that resort.
-Priorities for my DDs 10 & 13: Typhoon Lagoon and exploring World Showcase.
-Priorities for my DD7 & DS4: Toy Story Land and meeting Mickey and Stitch.
-Priorities for me: Flight of Passage + experiencing as much as we can without wearing my kids out.
-Priority for DW: Margaritas.

Time for truth: in your opinion, will the first option wear my kids out? What other “weaknesses” do you see in either plan?

Thanks, Liners. I love that I can look to you for help with even the weirdest of plan questions.

Here’s a link to an outline of the two schedules in full.

I would definitely go with option 2 for the rest. Especially with little ones, getting back to the cabin by 10 (which is a little bit ambitious when you’re catching a late night spectacular…if the show ends at 9:30 it will be 10:00 before you even get to your bus stop to load) and then waking up at 8:00 the next morning will be difficult even if you have rest breaks in the middle. Presumably there has to be some plan for breakfast which will take time and coordinating 6 people isn’t always smooth sailing. I am personally of the opinion/practice that if we’re not doing a nighttime spectacular or evening EMH, we get to bed “early” so we can rest up for RD the next day.

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I love your spreadsheets! So colorful!!!

I think this highly depends on your kids and their energy level. I spent 9 straight park days with my four (also three girls - 8, 4 and 2 - and my 6 year old son) in February and it was lovely. Weather was very mild though so that really contributed to us being able to enjoy that many park days in a row.

I’m generally of the mind set of scheduling as much as possible but being open minded and willing to call an audible and cancel plans as needed when energy levels wane.

So, I guess that would make my vote option 1 with caveats built into the plan for additional rest. I did this with a couple of our park days where I had stuff penciled in for the later part of the day that would be nice to see if we could, but wouldn’t devastate us if we had to miss it.


I don’t have the most WDW experience but I do have a 4, 7, and 9 yr old so here goes my thoughts:

Your Epcot day for option 1 might be tough. In my experience, my kids start burning out around day 3 or 4 but that might just be us. Also my kids can make it through FW or WS but not both completely (and happily) in one day.

This would cause me to lean toward Option 2 and maybe tackle WS on Wed.

Another option might be for your DW, DDs 10 & 13 to stay at Epcot while you and the two younger children stay at the resort or join them just for IllumiNations.

I think your TP looks great overall! I really don’t think you’re pushing it too much with either of these. Good luck with your FPP reservations!

This is perfect.

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I wojlevite option 2. My kids did not complain about insufficient park time when we went - even though it was not a long trip but they did say they wished we had more time at the resort.

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How did I miss you have another trip planned? How exciting!

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FWIW, I went with a 5 year old in November of 2017. We stayed 6 nights. We never rested or went back to the hotel, but did occasionally spend 30 minutes under a tree or on a bench or sleeping on IASW (Well, my kid did, anyway.) We went to 2 PPO breakfasts, stayed til the park closed 3 different nights, and didn’t have a stroller. It was HOT and CROWDED that week.

So I guess what I am saying is it depends on a lot of things. If my DD had acted poorly, been exhausted, thrown tantrums from being tired, etc, we would have rested. But she didn’t, so off we went.


We’ve never done rest days. We just usually finish up each day a bit early, or, if we want a day where we close out down the park, we’ll take a break mid-afternoon. Honestly, it is less about the kids needing a break as it is the parents. :slight_smile:


We rarely do whole rest days, but we usually have a few later mornings (and evenings) the second week. Our DD is 5, and we hardly ever stay out as long as you’re planning to - the aim is for her to get 11 hours sleep each night since this is what she gets at home. Of course, all kids are different and 8 hours sleep might be enough for your younger ones; for us it just wouldn’t work. If we stay out late we have a “proper” sleep-in the next day, with no plans before lunch.


This makes me want to stay at FW!! I think I would prioritize 2 of the night time shows. 4 seems like a lot to me. Choose your top two, if you end up doing more, bonus, but if you don’t plan a mid day break back at the resort every day you can push on a few hours more while already there, then head back at the resort for late afternoon/early evening for your swim, rest, campground activities, etc. You might get tired of the round trips back and forth to the parks every day. Also, what happened to date night on option 2?? :slight_smile:

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You’re sweet, @PrincipalTinker We had to cancel the trip I was planning for this time last year, so I’ve been tentative with this one. It’s booked, but everyone (read: mamma) is not quite on board yet. I’m hopeful that she will come around, but a lot of that depends on if money will come through for us to pay for it in full in advance… which I fully believe it will!

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That is one of the true weaknesses of Option #2. No time for love, Dr. Jones.

Thanks, everyone, for your input. Sincerely. Though there are clearly two “camps” @ApolloAndy, @AltaD, and @SMo vote for more resort/rest time, while @DeepInTheHeartofTexas, @onceabird, and @ryan1 find that their kids rarely need it, everyone agrees with the need for flexibility.

Everyone, including @lecras and @Ariel79, seems to be saying that we should plan to get done early what is most important and then be comfortable with playing it by ear, listening to our kids needs, cutting things from the plan and making sure everyone gets rest. And I think that can be done with either Option 1 or Option 2.


Priority for DW: Margaritas. HAHAHA. I do like option 2 better, but date night IMPORTANT

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Yes, indeed! Remember that no matter how detailed your plan, it is, once you arrive, merely a suggestion. You are not married to it. If, as a group, once you get here decide to do things differently, throw away the plan! :slight_smile:


I should mention that I took my 9,7,5 in December for a 7-day and we never did a full resort day. We did 3 of the nighttime spectaculars (DS9 actually did all 4) and we “slept in” for a 10:00 FP twice. All other days (5) were RD with one EMH RD. So, my kids were definitely troopers and were definitely mostly ready to go in the morning and didn’t get down until 10:00pm-11:00pm most nights. BUT, knowing what I know now, I think I would have preferred to have a little more rest time. The “go, go, go” of being in the parks and doing everything and fighting crowds was not that enjoyable by the end of things and we all passed out on the Tragical Express from exhaustion.

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And that’s when your REAL vacation starts! :wink:

It is a running joke that we always come home from vacation needing a vacation.

I should say that for our May 2020 trip, we ARE planning a couple rest days. Although, in our case, it isn’t so much about getting days to relax as much as days we are trying to stay away from the weekend crowds. We’ll do parks on Monday through Friday, take two days off, and then do two more park days. (Although, we MIGHT pop into a park on Sunday…haven’t decided yet.)

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Personally I would choose option 2. I would look at which night shows you would be okay missing if the kids get tired early. Trying to get multiple kids up after a late night could be hard. If yours are anything like mine half the naps we expected to have got cut in half because mine wasn’t tired midday because of the excitement. We still went to the resort to rest but it was usually just hanging in the room while DH napped

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You have gotten some great advice, but I will throw mine in anyway. On our last trip to WDW, our kids were 10, 7 and 4. We were going pretty much from open to close, except for one day where we started our day at 10. We didn’t do any extra hours and we went in January/February, so the parks weren’t open super late. We never had a resort day in 7 days. Two kids and dad went back to the room one afternoon because one child got sick, but other than that, we never even went back to the room during the day. And the kids never melted down or had any issues. When we started getting a bit weary, we had a relaxing sit down dinner or got on a longer, slow-moving ride. It worked well for us, but that’s how our kids were for that trip. Now, this past year at Universal, dad and one child insisted on sleeping in one day and that was fine, too. The rest of us headed out early. I think you need to plan to some extent, but be able to play it by ear as well.

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My DD needed a stroller until age 7 (almost 8). I’d be prepared for a stroller for both the DS4 and DD7. Having 2 singles will provide more flexibility in case you split your party up.

Letting in the kids vote in my family would have caused a war. By not pre-booking your fast passes, you are also at the mercy of whatever is available. That’s ok if that’s your touring style. Maybe the vote should be based on what fast passes are available the night before. This way, they know what they’re up against and don’t expect the impossible ( 4 hr wait for FOP for example!).

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