Touring style with young, non-napping kids

My kids are getting bigger! The 2 oldest no longer nap, & the youngest may be over naps by the time we travel later this year (hopefully…). However, none of them are going to be able to hang all day open to close. What type of touring schedule have you found works best in this stage? My kids will be 2 (just shy of 3), 5, and 7 during our trip.

My current thought is RD to 2-3pm (with an early sit-down lunch), then head back to the resort. Swim if it’s warm enough. Eat dinner at the hotel & try to get to bed at a fairly normal time. Probably do 1 late night for MK fireworks.

Any other suggestions?

That’s what I would do.

1 Like

When our kids hit this stride, we found that some days of rope drop to late afternoon (4-5p) coupled with some days of late sleep and late nights worked well. It allowed us the rest and resort time we needed and wanted, but not need to break the day up quite so much the way that a long midday break often does. And since they were “big kids” it felt like a real privilege to them to be out “so late at night”! a few times.

All this to say, I think you’re on the right track with your thinking

1 Like

My DD5.5 hasn’t napped since the age of 3 and we’ve gone a few times now. For her, going back to the resort for a swim helps definitely. So does having a long air conditioned table service meal. Or a ride on the monorail a few times. Anything that isn’t “go go go” and isn’t waiting in more lines or dealing with heat. She’s not made it to fireworks however. If I were attempting that, I’d probably enforce some actual dark, quiet time in the room.

1 Like

So in January 2020 I had a 2,4, and 6 year old that none of them really napped at that point but we found it best to RD and then head to resort around 1 and rest, swim, or nap. Then we would head back to the park or character dinner at a resort. Also I feel like the break in the middle of the day avoided the biggest crowds and temperatures.

1 Like

That’s basically what we did last time. Lunch was sometimes at a TS and sometimes QS, or sometimes we did a very light breakfast and that a late brunch instead.

We did fireworks the first full day and the last full day. On the first day we just pushed through, but on the last day we built in some rest time in the early afternoon at the hotel.

If you’re going to be there for more than a few days, I highly recommend a rest day mid-trip. After RD a few days in a row, everyone in my group was so glad for a day to sleep in and get some R&R!

I agree it’s probably easier to push through until late afternoon and then call it a day. We did a number of mid afternoon breaks and returned to the parks in the evening for ADRs, rides, fireworks (with three 6 year olds, 9, 11). Our best days were the ones without the attempt at a midday break to swim. We did one swim day and it we barely salvaged dinner at Epcot. Another day I enforced nap time - those who napped got to stay and ride after fireworks for EMH and those who didn’t had to go back to the hotel. :woman_shrugging:


It’s often possible in the winter to close a park - see the night show, etc. - without being up late. Because parks might be closing at 7 or 8, which is fairly dark. And early, if you’re on property.

If Epcot were planned for a day after a late MK night there’d be the opportunity for a later morning start. Especially if your Epcot plans were mostly in World Showcase.

We’ve had older kids as old as 9 that weren’t excited about fireworks or noisier WDW attractions. Noise dampening headphones for younger ones and ear plugs for older elementary age kids have helped a lot.

We have in the past planned on renting a stroller in the evening when our touring group included preschoolers. We also liked the ability to have the stroller carry our sweaters and lighter jackets until we wanted them.

Our 2019 September trip included kids 8, 7 and nearly 5 years old. Tho our trip was impacted by hurricane Dorian, we still managed to include a late night at Epcot, with the next day being a resort day with a fun supper at 1900 Park Fair. Our late MK night was to be followed by a day at Typhoon Lagoon; TL happened but MK closed early to mid-afternoon on our late day.

Well, we are going the week after Thanksgiving, so temperature is not a big issue.

Midday breaks can be so time-consuming, which is why I planned to just end the day early instead. Going back in the evenings often doesn’t work out great for us as it still ends up causing later bedtimes.


My kids all gave up napping by 2, and I HATE the midday break idea that everyone touts. It’s a huge time suck. 20 minutes to the resort, at least 30 minutes of wind down, maybe 30 minutes of actual rest, then 20 minutes to get going again and another 20 minutes to the park. It’s actually more stressful to me than just staying until late afternoon and leaving.

My kids weren’t night owls when they were young, so we never really stayed up for fireworks except twice - both were cruises.

So I think you’re plan is smart.


We’re planning on something fairly similar for this trip as it will be our girls who are 6 and 8 plus my parents (who were in a bad car accident a couple years ago and luckily get around quite well generally but my dad can’t stand in one place for terribly long). This is also our first no stroller trip so we’re going to take it at their pace and do what they want to do. I anticipate a lot of breaks and snacks to make everyone happy and coming back in the afternoon if we started early or not heading to a park until afternoon and staying late a night or two. But any type of vacation in Disney will make all of us happy this year!

1 Like

We went in May, kids were 6.5 and almost 4, same boat re: no naps and too big to nap in the stroller (we took a double sit/stand which worked great).

I love your TS lunch idea rather than breakfast. We tried TS breakfast on our HS day and it really cuts into low crowd times. Worked ok on Epcot day since the park opened later so we did CM breakfast before and got to EP just about real park opening, but obviously missed out on pre-official-open touring on the only day we could have done so and still slept in. By lunch everyone wants a place to sit down in A/C, and then you can decide to keep touring after or go back and swim. It matches my kids eating patterns on normal weekends too, they just peck and don’t want to eat for real until lunchtime. I will opt for TS lunch in park our next trip. We tried QS too but it is really nice to sit down and have food brought to you and bathrooms guaranteed nearby.

We did dinner at the hotel every night except one (went to MK and Tony’s on arrival night and this will be a tradition it was so lovely!). It was 10/10 for convenience but for food variety… too much WCC brisket is a thing. But it was important to me to have the kids bathed and some downtime/reading stories before bed at a normal time, so the lack of commute was key.

If we had park hoppers, I would be tempted to go to the park closest to the hotel (MK for us) after the afternoon swim break a couple days for more interesting dinner options and no pressure touring, but I haven’t been willing to pay extra in case we didn’t use it.

1 Like

I think you have the right idea. When I took DS at ages 6 and 7 we started early every day and left mid-afternoon. We had plenty to do after that- usually we rested in the hotel room for a bit and watched tv, then did qs at the resort for supper and lots of swimming. Or other activities if the resort offered them. We did one or two late nights and that was fine too with his age.