Planning in-park Afternoon Breaks for Kids Staying Offsite

Hey there,

First time visit to DW with two kids age 4/6. I like the idea of an afternoon break but we are staying offsite and would rather not spend the whole time on a bus or shell out $20-30 on Uber to the hotel and back.

Here’s my plan: Take a small blow-up camping mat and eye shade for my 4 y/o. My older daughter can read, take a nap herself, or do something low-key with one parent. The weather should be in the mid-70s but if it’s raining we’ll try to find an indoor spot.

My question: (a) think this will work? (b) Any favorite spots to snooze for 30 mins - 1 hour in MK, AK, EC? Any other advice on breaks and time management would be appreciated!


My kids napped in the stroller! Just found a shady spot and we chilled while he napped.

I agree with your “don’t bother going back to hotel” sentiment.

I second the stroller. I also second not going back to the hotel. It could take you 30 minutes just to get to the parking lot of MK.

Stroller and a shaded area is your best bet. Plus the stroller can also be used for storing random things you may need.

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Is there a reason you’ll not have a car?

With a car is so easy to leave and return when you want when our children where that young we did the morning, left the park had lunch a break and then returned later. The parking fee (while expensive these days) is valid all day and any park. DW and the whole area is so large I think we would feel trapped if we didn’t have a car.

The whole area is massive and while it depends on how long you are there difficult to get around without a car … I think anyway.



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We hadn’t planned on renting a car because we hoped we wouldn’t need it. We’re staying at a cluster of Marriotts (love them points!) with a free shuttle to the Disney TTC.

Our basic plan: Hotel breakfast, shuttle to the park, rides all morning, eat our packed lunch and take a long nap break (inside or near the park) Sit-down dinner at in-park restaurant (just used the res finder app on this site to get dinner at Biergarten, Be Our Guest and Tusker House!) a few more rides then Uber/Lyft back when everyone’s spent.

Do you think it’s worth it to get a rental car? Is traffic bad around there? I’d thought about possibly getting one for a day to drive up and see a friend in St. Augustine, but thought it would just tie us down otherwise. Not to mention the parking pass and $10/day to park at the hotel.

Thanks all for the great advice so far!

Make sure you know how often the Marriott shuttle runs. Our first trip we stayed at the Hilton at (then) Downtown Disney which had a shuttle to each of the parks. But it was a once an hour shuttle which is a far different world than the free transportation offered if staying within the bubble. Adequate, but inconvenient basically.

The Marriott shuttle might be great, no idea personally, but I’d do some research in advance to see. If they only shuttle to the TTC it could be a L-O-N-G ride back home after a long day if after waiting on DIS transportation to get you to the TTC you have to wait a long time for another shuttle back to the Marriott.

I’d personally look into a rental car, but it’s probably not essential. I would also say that, with a 4yo, you might want to abandon the idea of going open to close. For us, traveling with 5yo, he was good from RD to maybe 2 pm, and then he was out. Tired, cranky, just done. Sometimes, we could revive him with some hotel time and maybe pool time, but sometimes we were just done with parks by early afternoon. We saw only 1 night time show on our first trip, and that was the night that we arrived, we got to MK around 5 pm.

In MK: DS has napped inside the hall of presidents foyer, it’s very icy cool in there. If in strollers, there are quiet shady areas that might be nappable on Tom Sawyer Island, but that might be warmer. Frankly, Tiki Room is usually fairly empty and if the noise doesn’t disturb them, it could be a decent nap.

EP: There’s a baby station off to the left as you approach the bridge from future world to world showcase that would be a good area to nap. In between the voices of liberty shows, it’s very cool inside the American adventure. It’s fairly cool and dark just inside the temple in Mexico, though not necessarily quiet. If you’re okay being outside in the stroller, there are usually benches or wall seating areas around the lake, especially near the transition from Germany to China (I think it’s called the Outpost area).

AK: on discovery island, there are some “caves” that are dark and quiet and relatively cool. AK is a hot park and there tends to always be music playing, so it can be hard to find someplace quiet.

Good call. I believe it’s hourly or something like that. We thought we would take it there, but not bother taking it back, and just do uber. Looking at the map, for Animal Kingdom we should not bother with the shuttle to TTC at all.

The hotels are actually very close to the parks, closer distance-wise than many of the disney hotels. Using the fare estimator for uber x, looks like $7-15 fare, a bit more if we use the one with the car seat.

Thank you!! This is great info. I am doing my best to not turn into Clark Griswold and drag them all over the park :slight_smile:

We’ll be going for the first time in August with five kids between the ages of 1-12 and we are renting a car so we can go back to our off-site hotel for a break each day.

I found a minivan under “Standard Vans” for $358 for our 8 days on Costco Travel.

The amount of money we saved by booking offsite for our large family covers our car rental and park parking.

Back to your original question - some places that are good for breaks in the parks. ADR’s can be great to get you (and the kids) off your feet and forces you to relax rather than rush, rush, rush. AC, a place to sit and forced calm really help as otherwise you can be tempted to eat in line and just be going all the time.

  • MK: People Mover, Tom Sawyer Island (rocking chairs near the rafts), the Train you can just ride continuously for the duration of the nap
  • Epcot: Ellen’s Energy Adventure is ideal for a long nap - hit rest rooms prior
  • AK: Train to Rafiki’s planet watch
  • HS: Less good options - maybe Indy or one of the moves at One Man’s Dream or the SW movie


I guess everyone has their own ideas and whats good … my view is based on always doing the same since we started going with DD x 2 when they where 5 and 7 (now 13 and 15.) We’re from the UK so there for 14 days and we have always stayed off site at Windsor Hills. We never liked the idea of sleeping in the same room as our DD’s for two whole weeks :slight_smile:

So while our parking is free at Windsor Hills obviously we pay at Disney for parking, i’ve never thought about not having a car and with everything so inaccessible without a car, can not really ever think we will. The traffic is easy I would say and having the car means you get there when you want, leave when you want and go where you want.

Our plan on park days looks like this:
Breakfast either sit down or pick up (dunkin’ etc)
Pick up snacks for the day cut fruit etc (if not picked up night before)
Parks around rope drop
Leave around 11:30 - Midday
Lunch (Sweet Tomato is a favorite)
Break if we need one or shopping, swim etc.
Back to the parks around 4:00 - 5:00 either with a ADR or we may just snack (it’s a body clock thing)

We go in October so may be different when you are there crowd wise, don’t get me wrong these are very busy days the DW and I need a holiday after our trips to Disney :slight_smile:

Great family days we love it!