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How To Survive A Meltdown At Walt Disney World

A trip to Walt Disney World can be the vacation of a lifetime. It can also turn into a total disaster. Kids get tired and cranky, adults then lose their tempers, and soon no one is having a good time. Meltdowns are common at Walt Disney World, and they don’t happen only to children. Here are some suggestions on avoiding meltdowns before they happen, and tips on what to do when there is a problem.

8. Let the Whole Family Help With the Planning

Avoiding meltdowns starts before you ever leave home. Walt Disney World is overwhelming for adults, imagine what it looks like to a small child! When your vacation is growing closer, allow the whole family to help with the planning. Let the kids pick some of your FastPass+ reservations. Show them pictures of the fun themed restaurants. Watch the free DVD together. If everyone in your family has an idea of what to expect, they won’t be as overwhelmed once you arrive.

7. Plan an Extra Day

Another thing that you should consider during your vacation is an extra “off” day. On that day you won’t hit any of the parks. You’ll sleep in late and then maybe spend the day at the hotel pool, or find something else to do in the area that won’t wear the family out. While an off day may add a little bit of cost to your vacation, in the long run it will help everyone to have a better time.

6. Don’t Try to Do It All

Since a Walt Disney World vacation is expensive, you’re going to want to get the most for every dollar that you spend. One of the main mistakes that people make is that they try to do too much. That leaves everyone in the family tired and stressed, which will often lead to a meltdown. Don’t try to do everything. If you plan to skip a few rides and attractions, you’ll enjoy the ones that you hit even more. When there’s less pressure on everyone, there’s less of a chance of a meltdown.

5. Be Willing to Stray Off of Your Schedule

FastPass+ allows guests to plan out their days in ways that we’ve never seen before. You’ll know which park you’ll be in each day of your vacation, and you’ll have a one-hour window to use each pass. Scheduling can be good, but sometimes you need to leave that schedule. If your son wants a picture with Goofy more than anything else on your vacation, don’t worry so much about your return time for The Seas with Nemo & Friends. There are a few attractions that you won’t want to miss your FastPass+ for, but many attractions can be left for the standby line, or skipped all together. Vacation is supposed to be fun. Sticking too closely to a schedule can add stress, which no one in your family needs.

4. Get Enough Sleep

Many families try to spend an entire week in the parks from open until close. That is a meltdown waiting to happen! You need your rest, as does everyone else in your family. Get a good night’s sleep each night. Don’t try to be at a park at rope drop if you didn’t get in until after midnight. The four parks are tiring enough when you have had a full night’s sleep, trying to navigate them on just a few hours can be disastrous.

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3. Bring Snacks

Meltdowns often occur because of a change in the normal routine. If your child (or your spouse) shows signs of a meltdown coming on, it could in part be because of the different eating schedule. Walt Disney World allows you to bring snacks into the parks, so take advantage of that! Throw a few granola bars or some fruit snacks into your bag. A quick snack can help ward off hunger until the next meal, and it could stop the meltdown. A healthy, low calorie snack can also help a child to pass the time, since there is a lot of waiting at Walt Disney World.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Florida’s heat and humidity can drain the fun out of anyone, especially during the hot summer months. If you feel a meltdown coming on, or if a member of your family is starting to show signs, find the nearest water fountain and take a long, cold drink. There are plenty of water fountains at Walt Disney World, so you won’t have to go very far. You can also ask for free cups of ice water at most quick service food options. Water is the best choice to help survive a meltdown, since it doesn’t have any extras like sugar or caffeine.

1. Take a Midday Break

Often a meltdown is caused by exhaustion. That is why it is essential to take a break in the middle of your theme park day. If you can, head back to your hotel for a nap. If that isn’t possible, find a shady place to sit for a little while. Shows can be great for a break, they will get everyone off of their feet and you’ll all be able to sit back and relax. Slow rides such as Magic Kingdom’s PeopleMover will also give you a break from the craziness, but you won’t be missing anything. Your midday break could also be a great time to get ice cream or a cold drink. If someone in your family is suffering from a meltdown, the best way to survive is to slow down for a little while.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.