I realize that, regarding children and naps, your mileage may vary, but I would like opinions:
I have “car sleepers” (will be newly 6 and almost 8 at the time of trip - we are visiting the last week of January). When we do weekend getaways, we usually force naps by driving, and telling them we can’t go do the next activity until they catch a snooze. It works 80% of the time, and we don’t have to go back to the hotel (where they are even less likely to sleep).
We will leave the parks for naps, if necessary, but looking at travel to snooze to making dinner reservations time, we would prefer to stay in-park. What would everyone suggest? Are the trains and trams smooth enough for a powernap? (The kids have earplugs, so sound shouldn’t be as much of an issue, if they can keep their eyes closed). Should we hop on the Monorail and cruise?
TL;DR: Where would you think we have the best chance of a moving nap in MK, Epcot and AK? (We are doing AK first, so that will probably be our test to see if this idea will fly, or if we will HAVE TO head back to the resort for a nap.)
So your thoughts are to keep your kids in the park most of the day through post dining reservations? Personally, I think just getting out of the park for some down time is a big key in keeping kids happy through their Disney trip. Even if leaving the park and going back to the hotel means they don’t nap, just relaxing by the pool or in your room most likely will lead to them having more energy and being better behaved in the evening.
In terms of the trains and trams, I’d be worried that your kids wouldn’t be able to get to sleep due to the consistent stopping and starting and all the commotion caused by people coming off and on the transportation.
I should probably add that strollers will be a last-resort option born of desperation, because 1) they haven’t napped in a stroller since they were two, and 2) the bickering, OH DEAR HEAVENS THE BICKERING. Who gets to ride, who is annoying who, and when they aren’t bickering, they play instead of resting, anyway.
That was my concern also, the starting and stopping of the trains.
I was hoping to find a balance…this trip is a one-shot deal, so we want to see what we want to see, but I want to make it leisurely. We are following the kids’ lead for the most part. I suppose the same will have to hold true for rests - if they seem to be toasted, we will just head out. We are doing MK last of the 3 parks, and I think that will be the most overwhelming, so we will have a learning curve.
We are there a week, with 6 day park passes. (one park day is a complete freebie, with nothing scheduled, along with our early-morning arrival day). Being January, we have warned the kids that the pool may not be feasible. I remember weather when I was a kid, and even with heated pools, swimming was miserable.
I just manipulated my TP to give 3 hour breaks instead of the two I had planned, unscheduled downtime would be good to have figured in. I would still like to attempt catnaps in park, though.
I totally understand your desire to not leave the parks mid-day. We tried hard with that method, but it just never worked out. They’d just get to the hotel and refuse to nap. or else fall asleep in the car and then wake up when it stopped. and all that added travel time was annoying.
That said, I wouldn’t be optimistic for moving naps in the parks either. I think it’s going to be trial and error. Good planning with MK last in that regard. You could try renting a double stroller and having mandatory rest for 15 min and see how it goes. or 2 single strollers and keep them apart for rest time. Divide and conquer is occasionally our only hope at night when our boys won’t stop talking
I’d like to make an alternative suggestion to your “moving” naps. Check out the blog entry:
If your kiddos have earplugs and are willing to keep eyes closed, those venues can be pretty restful. The parents also get a rest in those places too.
Although, I would agree with @bciranow that a trip back to your room could be beneficial. When I was there with my sons many moons ago, we returned to the (off-site) resort each day, and it seemed to help. Even if they don’t actually nap, at least they will have fewer distractions and might at least have some quiet time.
The above blog post is a really useful guide. One attraction I would add for MK is the Tomorrowland Transit People Mover, as it adds the motion factor that your kids might need. Plus, you can usually ride it several times in a row if you want a longer nap.
Yes, I can definitely see how decompressing would be good. Especially during Magic Kingdom. (And since, apparently, the adult beverages run freely everywhere except at MK, the adults may need to “decompress” midday, also!)
I should mention, also, that my youngest gets super cranky if he is woken from a TRUE quiet-room, multi-hour nap, but transitions easier from a “moving” catnap, but seems to get the same benefit from either, if we can achieve one or the other. I’m still torn as to which would be the better option for us, after hearing everyone’s suggestions, and knowing the repercussions I may face, either way. Lol!
Keep the suggestions coming - I love that I’ll have options when in the thick of things.
I feel the same way. I have 3 boys, 10, 7 and 4. 10 can go from early morning till late night with no problems. 4 can usually go pretty long during the day as well. 7, however, tends to get cranky with lack of sleep. But we are there in January and February when the hours are much shorter. I can’t justify a three hour break when we only have 10 or 11 hours total in the park to begin with. I think on-the-fly naps will have to be our friend!
I’m interested to hear how that approach works for your trip. Going in September with shorter hours and would like to see how a trip goes using a different strategy than I was planning on using with my kids.
Where are you staying? We would go back to our hotel on the bus (POR) but my kids would always fall asleep and when we got to the resort would wake up and not want to sleep. You could do a round trip to your resort. Otherwise, like my parents they took us to the Hall of Presidents when we were young
For the “heaviest” part of our trip (MK), we will be at the Polynesian. That’s why I was wondering how the monorail would work as a napping spot. Or maybe a boat? I haven’t even thought of that…I really would like something that was a variable length (do two round trips if they’re sleeping hard, etc)
When mine were 5 & 7 I was surprised that we did well really with the strollers for napping. I would have thought they would have spent the time poking and bickering, but they seemed to appreciate if we put a towel over the top (to shield them more) and told them we were walking to a place grownups would like and they wouldn’t miss anything. At Epcot there was a huge noisy ball contraption in Innoventions that seemed to work as white noise to lull them to sleep (it drowned out people and music). At AK we walked around the oasis. At HS we walked the streets of America. Didn’t try this at MK because it was raining 2 days there and we all wanted to leave and get dry and warm. But getting on the boat/bus back to WL took too much time, meant getting them in/out of the stroller, then when got to the hotel they were on a second wind and too wound up, so no one could nap in our room. And in winter, the pool was not an option. Now they are 14 & 12, and we do a mid-afternoon ADR and/or show to relax. Leaving to go to the room takes way too much time.
Last year, with my almost-2 and 6 year olds, we only stayed all day in one park - Animal Kingdom. With the short hours, we just couldn’t afford to go back to the hotel. We rode the train for quite a while, and the kids got a good rest. Neither one slept, but if yours are better at moving naps, that’s a great place to be. It’s covered and shady, and usually wasn’t very busy. We rode in the back of the train, and the CMs didn’t disturb us at all. Of course, the younger one fell asleep in the backpack carrier, later. That was just fine, though (until she awoke to the birds at Flights of Wonder)
We did 1.5 loops on the train at MK right before Christmas while our 3 boys (14,12 & 8) caught a little nap. We initially got on to get off our feet and figure out what to do next, but they all zonked out pretty quickly. And woke up in MUCH better moods.