I’m planning an 8-night trip in October (Saturday afternoon through the next Sunday morning) and DW is really concerned that DS4 and DS3 (and her too I guess) will get burned out after 4 or 5 days. She is pushing for a shorter trip. However, I have an awesome trip planned out that really needs 7-8 days. Any advice? We will have DS4, DS3, and DD1 with us. Anyone with similar aged kids - please opine.
Does this trip require 7-8 days because you are tackling the parks in small bites and building in lots of breaks and rests and naps and pool time? If so, then I think a trip of that length is very reasonable and burnout is unlikely.
But, if this trip requires 7-8 days because you are trying to see and do as much as possible in this one trip, then burnout / exhaustion is a real possibility at any age, and especially for littles. I don’t think the # of days matters nearly as much as the pace.
We went for 5 nights this past November with kids ages 3.5 and 1. I originally wanted to stay longer and do more, but my wife was firm on no more than 5 nights. She wanted to wait until the kids were older to go to WDW at all but was willing to give it at try so long as not more than 5 nights.
The big question is how soon do you plan on coming back. We will be taking an annual WDW trip so I was ok (well, somewhat ok) with not doing everything I wanted. If we weren’t going back for another 5 or more years, I would have pushed harder for a couple more days.
As for the how the kids held up. Overall, they did well. I think they could have been ok for another couple nights. That said, we did a lot less each day than you currently have planned. Our days were typically:
(1) arrive at a park for RD and stay until 11:30/Noon.
(2) Lunch and Resort Rest/Nap break from Noon until 2:30/3:00 pm.
(3) Head back to park for a couple hours and then have a 5:30 pm dinner.
(4) Go back to resort after dinner and get read for bed.
We did about 5-6 park hours max per day. It was far less than I planned initially in my TPs, but my wife cut the TPs back when she reviewed them a couple weeks before we left and then we cut more out during out first day at the parks when it became clear I planned too much. Some things I really wanted to do that got cut from my TPs: MVMCP, HAE dessert party, Fantasmic! (notice the theme of night time events), and we cut out going to HS completely.
Personally, I think you have too much planned each day for a family trip (looks more like one of my pre-kid adult only WDW trips), but everyone family and kid is different in terms of what they can handle. You and your wife know best what the kids can handle and enjoy.
I will add one more thing. My kids loved our WDW trip and had a blast. Unlike us adults, kids don’t know and don’t focus on the parts they are missing, they only know how much fun they are having with the parts they experience. And you may surprised from time to time at the things they love. For example, climbing the Swiss Family Treehouse was one of my daughter’s favorite parts (it was an attraction I planned to skip until she saw the treehouse and asked to climb up).
Seeing my kids’ faces light up meeting characters and experiencing rides was much more fun than when I went pre-kids from RD to closing and experienced everything. We have been home 2 months now and my daughter still asks to talk about her favorite parts of our Disney World trip at least a few days a week. Tonight she asked how many weeks until we go back …
Plan quality experiences for your kids for whatever amount of days/times you and your wife agree is best for your family. And focus of what you will be doing with the kids vs the rides/experiences you are missing out on. At least that is how I learned to try to see things during out trip. [I know its easy to say and hard to do!]
We (DH, myself and DD4) go for at least 10-12 nights every trip (2-3 times a year) but we also keep a very relaxed pace. The first week is similar to @davej - we rope drop, leave the park at lunchtime, relax for a few hours, go for dinner and then go back to the resort. Time spent in parks isn’t necessarily all hardcore touring; DD loves the different play areas so we let her spend time in those, which helps keep the pace down.
Week two we take it easier most mornings and don’t plan to get to the parks before 10am. Some days we don’t go to the parks until after lunch, and leave straight after dinner. We spend some mornings in the room, others at the pool, Community Hall, pony riding…lots of things which DD enjoys and finds relaxing.
The only time DD has stayed up late at WDW was for MNSSHP last year, and she fell asleep in her stroller around 9pm. Our upcoming trip (April) we’re planning to watch some fireworks, but the mornings after will have no plans at all to allow her to just chill.
I don’t necessarily think you need to cut your stay shorter, but perhaps try to slow the pace down instead, and don’t try to cram “everything” in (if that’s what it feels like you’re doing).
I agree with the others. Regardless, something we found is that the kids held up okay for the trip itself, but when we got back home it took almost two full weeks before they seemed to recover. Sleep schedules were a mess, they were much more crabby, etc. And it was my wife who had to face the brunt of that. So I would definitely hear your wife’s concerns. She is probably very wise about this.
You might try putting in a couple off days instead of cutting it short. Day 4 and 6, maybe, don’t go into the parks and just relax.
I would agree that the possible problem is not so much the length of the trip but the amount you have planned for each day. As others have said I would definitely consider taking one or two days where you either avoid the parks altogether or just go for a few hours in the morning. We never went when our kids were as young as yours (youngest was almost 5 on our first trip) but we basically wrote off all plans for after supper when they were young. We ate sometime between 5 and 6 pm and then headed back to the resort. The kids had a great time and didn’t care about missing the fireworks and other evening events. We mostly took breaks in the afternoon with a few days where we stayed out all day, but our kids weren’t napping at that age.
I understand the fear of missing out, but try to remember that your kids won’t know about the things they didn’t do. They will love the things that they get to do!
Usually our trips are 14-15 days, no matter what we are doing. Our kids must be mutants because they are exceedingly flexible and we don’t deal with “re-entry” issues. I will say the number one thing we all seem to tire of is restaurant food. After a while it all seems so nasty. Even attempts to be healthy fall short. We get to where we just want plain old meatloaf and rice and broccoli dinners, (for example). This is true at WDW, on cruises (definitely here) and on our road trips. We haven’t found a solution.
I think this is true for the youngest, and frankly, can be a good reminder to the rest of us.
Thank you all for your words of wisdom. I’m going to try and knock off 2 days from the trip and see what it looks like. I’m still pretty confident that the full trip is doable because we are building in long breaks each afternoon, and putting the most desired activities in the mornings (so the evenings can be “called off” if everyone is too tired). The one exception to that is MNSSHP. I really want to do this since it will be Halloween for the kids. We shall see…
I’d also like to clarify that DW’s concern is more that the boys will get tired of the over-stimulation and just want to come home (we are all introverts except for DS3). Not necessarily “burnout” in terms of exhaustion or lack of energy. Our boys seem to have boundless energy! Again, I think the longer trip will be fine because each day is pretty unique, and we are switching hotels at the midpoint. So, I think each day will feel “fresh”.
Thanks again for everyone’s thoughts.
We get this occasionally. When it happens we eat in one night, usually something easy like roast chicken with rice and lots of veggies, and make a movie night out of it. So every now and then the full kitchens at DVC resorts do come in handy.
I’ve seen your plans, and I think pace is good for littles for that length of stay and as others have said, if you won’t be back for several years, then longer trip is warranted
I agree with others— if you keep
It relaxed then it will be fine. For an example- I didn’t last trip kids 5 and 2. Short trip but by day 2 we abandoned all afternoon activities. It was just too much. For our next trip they will be older 7 and 4 but I’m planningpark mornings pool afternoons abd a fun dinner. That’s it.
wise WISE words. I have been guilty of rationalizing why we need to go go GOOOO, especially with the money being spent. Next trip is just me and DH…I will remember these words when planning, because they apply to adults also
Well let’s not get carried away here With just adults I’m all for RD to close every day!
I would try (and probably not succeed as my brain thinks I’m 30 but my body laughs at that notion), but DH would revolt
I couldn’t handle it, for sure! Not unless I got in a good nap in the afternoon.
We did 10 consecutive park days 2 weeks after my son turned 4 and he was perfectly fine (actually he cried because he didn’t want to leave)…
Really depends on individual personality though…
My wife and I did 5 nights at WDW and 3 nights at UO 6 years ago … mostly RD to closing with 1 “break” day where all we did was MNSSHP. We woke up for our last full day and she said “I’m done with theme parks. I’m going to the spa for the day. Go have fun.”
I agree with what everyone has said. I don’t think they’ll be overstimulated as long as you are careful about the pace. and frankly, it’ll be easier to resist the temptation to pack it all in if you have more days. My oldest is an introvert and has never had a problem. He doesn’t like rollercoasters the way the other do, though. may or may not be related. I wouldn’t have non-park days because then you’re missing out on FPPs, but maybe some half-days.