Toddler nap in middle of day or push through?

Hey there. We will have our 3.5 year old with us. We have always done naps during the middle of the day when it was just my husband and myself then gone back to the parks at night. But we are trying to figure out if it’s better to take a nap and head back to the park at night for a bit or just push through until 2-3pm and not go back? We will be there when Christmas shows will be going on so I feel like it’s going to be hard to not go to the park at night but going back to the hotel for a mid day nap takes up a lot of time too. Help. Haha.

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With our now 20yo, we had lofty goals of going back in the afternoons to nap and returning to the parks later She wanted no part if it.

She would fall asleep on the bus back to the resort, and wake up when we arrived.

What did work for her was to keep her going a little longer and have her nap in the stroller in the park. We would either shop or park in a shady spot and take turns riding “adult” attractions using Rider Swap. She would nap for 1-2 hours vs the 20min on the bus

Her younger brother was similar, but he preferred napping in a carrier to the stroller.

Both kids would then close down the park … and crash hard before we got to the front gate. :grin:

I realize my kids aren’t the norm (most will nap just fine) but wanted to offer a different option. I definitely felt like a bad parent the first days we tried to just keep going, but figured out pretty quickly that the kids got more sleep that way!

I will note that when the kids were that young we generally visited in November/December. We didn’t have to battle heat & humidity so we could go all day and have them nap on the go. It definitely would not have worked in July!

I think each kid is different. At 3.5 definitely so. It’s much easier to power thru with a 2 yo or younger who simply falls asleep where and whenever.

Most of the over 3s we’ve had in the parks weren’t napping for any reason. We did like the quieter time away from the parks early afternoon. Less stimulation for a brief time was almost as good as a nap. Eventually tho even the most stubborn 3+ crashed for a few hours.

We had one 3+ who needed to be back at the resort to be comfortable enough to go to the bathroom. And a kid who seemed to need to play for at least a little with his normal toys each day.

If you’re used to napping/refreshing midday, I’d continue with that tradition. You’ll be more able to handle whatever comes along.


Every kid is different, as others have said. We usually power through and if needed, our kids sleep in the stroller. But it’s also good to have a realistic overall schedule - kids that young can’t usually go dawn to dusk, so plan to either have a condensed schedule (finish your day after dinner) or have an afternoon break.


100% agree with Jeff. Though I will say even if your kid is the type who can power through more than most, be sure there’s some “down time” within the park itself - a longer lunch in an air conditioned sit down restaurant or time at a splash pad or the Hall of Presidents! Something to just let them turn their brain off for a little bit. Even my 5yo still needs this.


I always just pushed through. The time spent returning to a room and then hoping they actually sleep on cue would be crushing to my commando touring style. My kids were always happy on their strollers, though, and could sleep anywhere.

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Where are you staying? The effort it takes to get back to the room is a big factor. It also doesn’t have to be the same every day. But like Jeff pointed out, you probably have to do some sort of either or each day. My kids have done both in different settings at different ages. Depending on your kid, you might have luck going back on the early side and “making” them nap (if those eyes don’t close - no fireworks!) if you want to have a late night for a specific firework show or something. Then on other days hope they nap in the stroller but be ready to call it early if they don’t.


That is great advice. Thank you! My son normally takes naps at home

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Thanks so much for the detailed reply. Yes going in November and December helps for sure. That’s the time frame we are going.

Thanks for input :grinning:

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Great advice. Thanks!

Haha. Right. My son doesn’t normally sleep in a stroller. But he did a few times the last time we went to WDW but he was 18 months. We shall see how this trip plays out

Thanks for advice. We like to stay on the board walk so for Epcot and HS it’s not a crazy amount of effort to get back and nap but for MK and AK it is. We won’t go back to AK at night but love to do the others at night.

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From a different post I saw you have 3 MK days. You could consider having a resort morning one of those days and going over to MK for the second half of the day. If you get Genie+ for that day you could line up lightning lane while at the resort for later in the day.

That’s a good idea! Thanks

I will point out that dd was a solid, 2 hour napper at home …to the point that we had to cut her off cold turkey a month before she started full day kindergarten. She still napped better in the stroller than at the resort.

Every kid is different and will react differently. I think the best advice is to try what you think will work and if it doesn’t, try another strategy! :slight_smile:

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We always do a 3-4 hour break at the hotel for nap/rest for two reasons: 1) the kids need rest or they’ll be grumpy and 2) we get out of the park during the high crowd/hottest part of the day.

Our plan is typically RD - lunch, break, back to park for early dinner - close. Then we can enjoy the parks/fireworks at night without cranky kids. They’d never make it to park close if we didn’t nap!

ETA: Also depends where you’re staying! We try to stay at BWV/Contemporary so it’s easy to get to a few parks. Typically on our AK days we leave after lunch and don’t return.


This has been our plan since our first on property stay in 1988. For certain there were only 2 parks and one of them usually closed by 6. And I only convinced DH it was ok to try an on property stay because “if we didn’t like it, we don’t have to do it again.” Afterwards he was sold, wondering why anyone would do different. He was quite happy to leave the driving to Disney. Tho on that trip we only rode the monorail.

Because we were “paying the big bucks” for the Polynesian we made sure to enjoy the pool and water slide every afternoon after doing MK in the morning. We finished the day at Epcot.

Over the years we’ve continued to enjoy our resorts, figuring they’re part of the experience. After all, they’re chosen for location, transportation, pool or general ambiance. When we returned to the Poly in 2008 I asked my grandson, then a high school senior, if he only had time for a 3 day stay would he skip the afternoon resort time. His response, “It’s Disney World not Disney Parks.”

I think tho, we’re just too lazy, um . . . chill, for commando touring!


[chuckles in Canadian]