It's naptime, or is it SNAPtime? Talk to me about naps

We will be going to WDW in 2023. Two families:

Family 1: Two adults and one 2.5 year old (mine)
Family 2: Two adults, one almost 6 year old, and one almost 4.5 year old

We don’t really know what to expect for naps, which makes it a little hard as I’m trying to figure out the best approach for the parks. I’d always heard it was best to go back to the hotel midday for some R&R, but as I read more online, the anecdotal experience of many people seems to be that their kids fall asleep in the strollers and you’d be nuts to risk waking them up by going back to the hotel, and that when they did, they just had meltdowns. Things are also complicated by the age span being like 2.5 to 6 years, so our kids are probably all going to have different needs for naps.

I guess the best approach is just to slot like three hours in the day for lunch/R&R and if we take it great, if we don’t, great. But I was wondering what your experiences were regarding naps. Did your kids stroller nap (esp if there were multiple kids involved) or did they require a trip back to the hotel? We’ll be on the monorail, so it won’t be a giant hardship, but of course I’d love to be able to stay in the parks and just let them nap while the grownups eat, too.

How did it shake out for you?

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We took my DD now 18yrs old way back when she was 2 for her first trip, we rented a stroller from a local company because we were able to lay it back for her. She napped while we strolled in the parks and we never had an issue. I say play it by ear, we weren’t sure how she would do either but it actually worked out for us.

Sounds like a fun time, can’t wait to hear more about your future trip:)

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I would LOVE to have this be the case. I have a feeling it could work for MY kid, being that he’ll still be a toddler more or less, but the older kids may need more ‘nap atmosphere’ to settle down enough. I guess we’ll just have to see, but this gives me more hope!

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It’s really hard to tell, as it varies by kid and situation.

Some will be overloaded by stimulation and want/need a nap, even if they no longer nap as part of their regular routine. Others will find the excitement of WDW such that they can’t/won’t take a nap, even if it’s still a part of their “normal” schedule.

The 2.5yo is the only one I’d probably consider planning for naps. The other two are way less likely to be napping on their regular schedule, so i wouldn’t make special accommodations unless it turns out they really need it.

Will your 2.5yo nap in a stroller? Will you have a stroller with enough recline to encourage it? What time of year are you going? Napping in August heat/humidity is less likely to be successful than more temperate times of year.

I was worried about our just-turned-5yo might need naps, but he preferred to power through the day and crash early.

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We will be going in April, and we’re going to rent a stroller from someplace off-park that will recline. He has napped in a stroller before, but what he will/will not do changes on a daily basis, we’re finding, so counting on consistency is a fool’s errand at best. :smiley:

My first trip with a 15 month old was in 2012 - we had always been given the advice to keep schedules as normal as possible, but actually I found that everything was so different (time zones, stimulation levels, food) that actually that did not work at all - particularly if toddler is not able to settle with someone in the room with them. Our afternoons consisted of us trying to be invisible in the room (we had an AC unit on our balcony :woman_facepalming:) and him NOT napping.

We got on MUCH better in 2014 when he was 2.5 - he’d have a bit of a wobble behaviour wise and then pass out completely in the stroller or backpack.

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First trip we had a 3.5 year old and a 14 month old. The 3.5 year old had long abandoned naps and the 14 month old easily napped in the stroller or in a carrier. We did end our days fairly early though (3 or 4?) and did not have mid-day breaks.

Second family trip we had mid-day breaks. It was always very clear which kids had taken a nap and which had not when we went back to the parks. We solved this by splitting up - kids who napped could stay late and kids who didn’t had to go back to the hotel. By this time my kids were 6, 8, & 11 and not even close to an age of regular naps.

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We’ve taken multiple trips with 18 months, 2.5 years, and 3 years (all 4 of my kids are older now). I found that in all cases, our kids did better napping on the go. The few times we tried to take breaks at the hotel for naps, the kid would fall asleep on the bus or monorail and then have to be woken up to go back to the room, completely forgoing a decent nap. So, we just stayed in the parks. Typically went in Nov/Dec/Mar/Apr and we would split up and one of us would take the stroller to wander around a boring area and then chill or walk with the sleeping toddler. Disney tired is no joke so even the 3 year old sleeping in the stroller through dinner went to bed easily at the end of the day so strict schedules were not as key as on other vacations. YMMV,

I do agree that napping in the parks during July/August/Sept would be tough–but in those months, the adults need an afternoon break as much as the kids.

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Well, the 6 year old may not even nap at Disney and probably not at home either. The 4.5 year old is the outlier, could be a napper, could be over naps by then). I think your 2 yr old may nap mid day if there’s enough morning activity to tire 2 yr old out, if they can nap with noise, stay in park. This may also be a good opportunity to slot in things that the 6 yr old might enjoy that the younger ones may not quite yet. I have 2 plans for our next trip with 2 yr old, 1 stay in park, 1 back to hotel. Stay in park nap time will include lunch for adults, shopping, RS adult rides and anything that is more “adult” that doesn’t require removing 2 yr old from stroller.

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Our first trip was with an almost-3 year old who still napped and a just barely 5 year old who did not. We made a schedule that would let us go back to the hotel for a few hours midday for a nap but never did it, as neither kid actually napped - when we did go back to the hotel they just wanted to swim. It was just too exciting to nap! They did, however, fall asleep in the stroller/on the bus back to the resort basically every night, I don’t think we brushed teeth a single night.

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This is a good point. The 6 year old is probably going to be the only one into princesses, for example, so they could go do some meet and greets while the littlest one sleeps.

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I would also suggest to make note of 2 or 3 different places in the park that might be quieter/ less traffic to be when little ones are napping. That is my next part of planning phase.

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We always go back to our hotel for naps after lunch (kids are currently 5, 2.5, and 9 months). It gets us out of the park during the hottest/most crowded part of the day and we’re refreshed and ready to go for the evening. We’re usually back in the park around 4 or 5 and the kids are able to hang until park close. There’s no way they’d make it otherwise.

Also - neither my 5yo or 2.5yo nap at home but they nap HARD at Disney.

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Ooh yes, I’ve been wracking my brains for this. Also with AC/at least some decent shade. The baby care centres are fine but they’re just so tiny and crowded.

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When are yall going? I may work on a list this weekend and can share what I come up with. I’ve been so many times, just never fulltime with anyone under 7, lol. I have a few ideas already but need to put it in a spreadsheet.

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Not til April 2023, but would love to see your ideas!

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We’ll be there in July. Figuring out chill out space for 6 kids aged 14 years to 4 months will be interesting!

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My son, who turned five on our Nov 2019 trip, was used to resting every afternoon at daycare, napping rarely at that point. At WDW, we took four hour breaks mid day, each day, and he napped easily every day except one.

Also, he hadn’t used a stroller since he was about three, and so at WDW, he absolutely refused a stroller until day 6 when my husband put his foot down and said we weren’t taking one more step til he got in. Many kids older than mine rode in strollers and while I admire my son’s desire to walk on his own (or ride dad’s shoulders), it was so much better the two days he used one. However, he did not nap in it at all.

He was tired when we returned to the parks at night, even asked to leave during fireworks, and in retrospect, he’d have been just as happy to spend evenings at the resort, swimming, watching movies on the big screen, exploring playgrounds, making smores, etc.

No doubt all kids are different and you know your kids best. That’s said, at WDW, my son gave me a few surprises. I had trouble, in moments, flexing to meet his needs (because my plans!) but we were all happier when I could, like Elsa, let it go, and flex. Stroller naps and powering through rope drop to close jseems to work for a lot of families, but it just wouldn’t have worked for us - and probably still wouldn’t for anyone in our family except me.

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We took our kids at these ages:

DD3.5, DS7m

DD9, DS6, 2xDS9m

Our family are naturally night owls, so an afternoon break was perfect before returning to the parks. We didn’t target to rope drop, but got up close to their regular schedule. The infants would immediately sleep when we got back to the room in the afternoon (plus sporadic stroller/carrier naps). The others would go for a short swim with DH, then come back to the room, snuggle in bed with a book, and fall asleep.

I think giving them books for a “reading time”, as opposed to billing it as a “nap” made them less resistant.

If your kids aren’t naturally night owls, a different schedule might work better.

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:raising_hand_woman:t2:

I firmly believe that this is the best course of action.

Anecdotally, went with a 10 mo and 2.5 yo. 2.5 could NOT nap in the hotel room. Far too stimulating. He wouldn’t stay in a pack n play so we had him on a bed, but he hadn’t been in a bed very long. When we tried to nap him at the hotel- lights out, we were out on the patio- he would turn on the lights, turn on the tv, and generally cause chaos. One time they both fell asleep in the stroller and we decided to walk back and try to transfer them, yeah, no. Didn’t work. What worked best for us was stroller naps. They still didn’t nap as much as they did at home, but they napped longer than they did in the hotel room. They? Who am I kidding. The 2.5 yo caused ALL the trouble :joy: Well, except the 10 mo is the one who would wake up at 5 AM which woke the 2.5 yo, who was only doing one hour naps max. Thankfully there were no nighttime shows so I wasn’t tempted to keep them out too late.

But anyway, though that was all chaotic, we truly do speak rather wistfully of the whole trip. We remember the not-so-good parts, but the great parts far overshadowed the poor naps.

Though my husband still blames that trip for breaking the nap habit in our son. :joy:

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