Should we adjust our time zone/schedule while at WDW?

We are traveling to WDW from Washington state on the West coast. Last time we were at WDW the kids were so tired in the mornings. Do you suggest we stay on our West coast/Pacific time? If we do that means we’ll miss most of the park openings. My kids are 5 and 10 years old. They were able to stay up late without having too many issues. Would love to hear any suggestions. Our trip is Mar 26 - Apr 5, 2017. Thank you!

Personally, we just let the kids sleep as long as they need in the morning and don’t stress about getting to the park early. It’s a vacation! We make our first fast passes for around 10 and fast pass anything that is a must do.

One thing to consider is that the first couple hours if touring are best in terms of crowds. In fact, we tend to arrive at the park entrances 45min before opening. This is arguably more important for the Magic Kingdom which has many ‘must do’ attractions. Sleeping-in is a bit more compatible w/ DHS and DAK provided that you have decent FPPs

Doing the late night hours can be just as great for smaller crowds as the mornings. @Wahoohokie lives in WA state. She might have some advice.

My suggestion is that you get everyone adjusted to Eastern time before the trip. The rule of thumb is that it takes 1 day to adjust for each hour of time change, so you would want to adjust the wake/sleep times by 1 hour a day for 3 days before your trip. This will make it much easier to get up for RD and get a lot done during the initial hours at each park when crowds are lower.

Another way to look at things is to adjust to “WDW time”. Say you are used to getting up at 7:00 PST, and you determine that you are going to have to get up at 6:00 EST in order to make RD. So, you are going to have to adjust your wake/sleep times by 4 hours - 3 for the time change from PST to EST, and 1 for getting up a hour earlier than you are used to. Doing this adjustment in advance makes it much easier the first day you are at the parks. :smiley:

Coming from the UK we have a 5 hour time difference (ahead) so we tend to use our first full day as an adjustment day, so it’s a go with the flow sort of day, making sure we go to bed at a reasonable time. It’s suprising how quickly you adjust, even the kids. For us it’s getting home that’s the problem! Trying to get back to work/school routine is really tough!!


Hi! As @SallyEppcot said we live in WA as well. We have been to WDW quite a few times in the past few years. We have tried it both ways- getting on Eastern time ASAP, and also sleeping in and staying up late. For us, it works best to just get on East coast time. Our main reason- crowds and heat. We usually go the end of March/beginning of April just like you are planning. The weather there feels like WA in the summer (temperature wise, the humidity is much higher than home) so we are often hot mid-day. Arriving a few hours after the parks open would mean much higher crowds, and warmer temperatures which make us grumpy. We prefer to go to the parks early- 8am EMH is our usual, leave after lunch for a rest/pool/air conditioned room break, and then return and stay until close. The key is getting on east coast time the first day. That usually means getting very little sleep the first night, but by the end of the day we are tired and able to go to sleep at a reasonable time (whereas if staying on Pacific time, you will all will be staring at the ceiling at 2am wishing you could sleep). The next day we are usually on Eastern time.
I was just there in late May and had a harder time adjusting, not sure why. I could get up early every morning without problems, but could not go to sleep before 1:30 or 2am no matter what I did. Finally on night 4 I fell asleep by midnight.
If the parks stayed open until 2am every night, we would probably sleep in every day and tour late into the night. But they close at 9-11pm on a regular basis, and we have found the crowds at 9pm are still high, compared to at 8am. WDW is not a relaxing kind of vacation for us, so sleeping in is not really an option. We go to Hawaii to relax, Disney is a lot of work! However, you should do whatever works best for your family. We just think it is worth the tradeoff to be a bit tired in the morning to get the low crowds during EMH and/or rope drop.
Where do you guys live? We are in Spokane.


Wow lots of Washingtonians here! We’re also from WA and have been looking into this - ultimately my husband and I decided to do exactly what brklinck said - we’re going to spend the 4 days before or so getting up an hour earlier to jumpstart our bodies for RD (it’s very important to us that we hit RD, and we’ll be eating breakfast in our room since we doubt we’ll be hungry that early in the morning).

We don’t have kids though, and we’re already sorta early risers (we usually get up about 6-6:30am but have lately been getting up at 5:30 and think we might stick with it… maybe by the time our trip actually rolls around we’ll naturally be at 4:30am PST/7:30am EST like the old people we are ;))

1 Like

We are coming from the UK too, and I’ve been wondering how fast we will adjust to the time difference. Will the kids always be up for RD and are late nights a non starter? I’m trying to plan our early mornings for the begining and the fireworks for later in the week. Any thoughts appreciated?

To be honest we have never done RD! We are an afternoon/evening sort of people :grinning: with the FP system we book in for top rides in the afternoon and then catch others late in the evening, we are not fans of parades/fireworks! If you want to do RD I would suggest mixing it up a little with the late nights and rest days rather than doing one week of each. Also go with the flow, it’s very easy to try and fit everything in and over plan, that can tie you in knots. Make a list of what you most want to see/do and book those in, then fit in other things around it. It does depend on your kids ages and when you are going and how they will cope with crowds/heat etc…our kids are older now so it’s easier, but when they were young we let them set the pace to avoid meltdowns! :grinning:

1 Like

Also from the UK :slight_smile: we always do RD on the first few days because we are awake from jet lag so may as well!! Given the amount of walking though, it won’t take long for you body to want to sleep in a bit more so you can do a few evenings in the first week. Mid-day breaks also help with doing late evening!

1 Like