To "Red-eye" or not to "Red-eye," that is my question

We have a choice to take a red eye in and get there at 5:50 am or take an early flight and get in at 5:50 pm. I am leaning towards the Red-eye and will book our room for the night before, so it is ready when we get there, but I am a wee bit worried that we will be exhausted for the remainder of our trip. What are your thoughts?

*Some pertinent info you should know:

It is my first trip. It will be me solo or one other friend might join me. We will be coming from the west coast, so really we are getting in 2:30am our time. The closing time for the parks is quite early while we are there (9pm each night), so getting park time the night we get there is not likey (unless of course we take the red eye). Without the red-eye, we will have 4 full days in the parks. With the Red-eye, we could get some park time even if we have to take a nap.

If you think you can sleep normally on the plane, go for it. However, if you aren’t sure, you may regret getting in so early. How do you handle changes in time or changes in sleep patterns? This could have a negative effect on your trip.

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I had planned to do the same last month, but chickened out. I was going to arrive similar time, booked an extra night at POP and was planning to go directly there to nap. In the end, I couldn’t do it so left the day before. I was happy with that plan, I just think I would have been too tired, I really need to sleep in a bed during night hours. :rofl: Any chance you could leave in the late afternoon instead of the red eye? I live on the West Coast as well. Then you would be onsite and able to sleep in a bed. 4 days just seems awful short, my minimum from the West Coast is 6 nights. If you can’t go during the day before, I would probably take the red eye just to get another park day.


As much flying as I do, I CANNOT sleep on a plane other than maybe an occasional 10 minute nap. And although I can go pretty much indefinitely on 6 hours a night, much less than that an I am not a pleasant person to be around. I would be miserable. But if COULD get a decent 4 or 5 hour sleep on a plane, I would probably go for it.

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I would do the red eye, but treat the arrival day as an adjustment day. Don’t plan on accomplishing anything specific, and treat everything you get done as a bonus. However, tough it out and don’t nap during the day, and then go to bed at a reasonable time. This should help you beat the jet lag and have you ready to go for your true Day 1.

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Does the red-eye have first class and do they have fully- or near fully-reclining seats? You can actually sleep pretty well that way. Then you could skip buying the room that first night when you won’t even be there, in which case the cost is pretty close to the same.

I’ve done that kind of flight accidentally (got routed to Seattle instead of Denver and had to fly all night) but it worked out just fine. You get food & free drinks so that helps with the sleeping, too. A little Benadryl and I’m out like a light!

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I would take the red-eye especially if you are willing to get a room the night before so it will be ready upon arrival. Then when you arrive to resort at 7 am (which is 4 am to you), you can go to the room and sleep. That way, you can get a few hours of sleep, hit the parks for the afternoon/evening, and then still be tired enough to go to bed and get on EST for the rest of the days. Traveling is tiring but I’m usually able to sleep at the drop of a hat–not so well on flights but more so on the red-eye than a day flight (especially after a drink).

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Thank you everyone. I think I will give it a shot!

Haven’t travelled much lately, so no idea how I would do sleeping on a plane, but I figure I can give it a shot. I will bring some benadryl and cross my fingers.

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We (or I) are flying out of a small airport in central CA, so not a lot of choices. The ones that leave in the afternoon get there at the same time as the evening one (they all go to Seattle and then leave Seattle at 9pm to MCO), so I figure I might as well get some work done that day. I would LOVE more time, but finances and work schedule prohibit a longer trip. I have been trying to go for 3 years now, so I am just grateful to go.

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I haven’t had to sleep on a plane in 20 years, but I have stayed up until the wee hours in the morning packing for our DLR trips and then gotten up at 5am and been able to make it to the parks and been fine. It is amazing what adrenaline will do for you. I figure being my first trip, I will have PLENTY of that. I usually don’t sleep before a trip anyway.

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This is great advice and the exact approach I will take! Thank you!

This is a great idea, however after running the numbers, it does not pan out for me/us. We are staying at Pop and got $153 per night (with taxes) and that is much less than the upgrade to first class. I will keep this trick in mind for another time though!

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I am actually thinking that we might hit a park for a few hours (depending on how we/I feel), then come back take a power nap and head back to the parks. when we get back to the room at the end of the night, I will take something to help sleep so that my nap doesn’t mess me up.

That’s probably what I would do too but I was thinking maybe it would still be “night” enough for you when you arrived that you’d be ready to sleep. And I was wondering whether an afternoon nap might keep you on west coast time, making RD the next day difficult. Glad you decided to go for it–extra time at Disney is always worth it. We booked a 515 am flight (also cheapest–hmmm, wonder why?) to get that extra day of park time and so we will have to stay right next to the departure airport the night before. :woman_shrugging:

I was thinking more along the lines of a late morning nap. Hit the parks from 8 to 11 am, Nap, rest, shower, etc… and be back at the parks by 2 or 3. Just incase I won’t book fp until 2:30 pm.

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I would try really hard to avoid a nap. Did trips from the east coast to London many times, and in my experience naps prevented me from adjusting to the new time zone. Powering through and then going to sleep at the new “normal” time made things much easier for me on the next day.

We sleep pretty well on the plane (and the kids sleep really well) so we red-eye to the East coast from SJC all the time. It’s so much cheaper. We were actually planning on taking a red-eye and then RDing Epcot, but American changed our flight to a non-red-eye (and incidentally didn’t help us with a hotel, but that’s a different story). It felt about the same since we landed at 10:30 pm got our bags, checked in, slept, checked out, and caught Magical Express at 6:00 am. Epcot was not much fun and we were pretty pooped by 9:00, even with the time change. We RD’d EMH the next day at DHS and crashed mid-day. For the rest of the vacay we had trouble waking up but were able to stay out pretty late. I suspect that was just regular jet lag and lot red-eye related.

I would do it. The first day will be hard, but adrenaline is a wonderful thing. After that, I’d count on waking up later for the first few days and staying out later.

okay, so adrenaline and caffeine will be my friend! Thank you! We thought about SJC, but that is a two hour drive for us. This way our families can drop us off and we don’t have to pay for parking.