How To Avoid the Pure Agony of a Disney World Meltdown

There’s always one person on your Disney World trip that runs the show. They’re in charge of wrangling up the group in the morning, booking the Genie+ reservations, and keeping the party on schedule. It’s not an easy job! If you’re reading this, chances are you are that person, so let’s talk.

We’ve seen a meltdown (or twenty) in our time at Disney World.

Listen, you probably spent a lot of money on this vacation. You want it to be perfect (or as close to perfect as you can get). Unless you find yourself dealing with the most relaxed, agreeable group of people in the world, your group may start to feel a little tension as the vacation unfolds; it’s totally normal! Luckily, we’ve seen it all, so we know ALL the tips and tricks for how to avoid the pure agony of a Disney World meltdown. 

Before we get into it, we should point out that every family is different, and you know your family better than anyone. If you are traveling with a group of Disney experts, you can probably go a little harder than a family of first-time visitors. That said, this advice comes from experience, so trust us when we say that meltdowns happen more often than you may think (and it isn’t always just kids that start to unravel).

1. Do NOT skip breakfast

Please, we’re begging you: get something in your stomach in the morning. Even if you’re not a breakfast person, just a little hit of protein can do WONDERS! There are Starbucks locations and Joffrey’s Coffee kiosks in all four Disney World parks, and every Disney World hotel has some variation of a food court with grab-and-go breakfast foods

A little Starbucks goes a long way!

Even if you function without breakfast in your day-to-day life, Disney is a whole different ball game. Food is required for a place like Disney World.

2. Stay hydrated

We cannot overstate this enough: drink. water. More than you think you should drink! Especially in the summer, it is easy to become dehydrated; we see it happen all the time! Pack a reusable water bottle or have a case or two of bottled water shipped to your hotel. If you have easy access to water, it’s easier to remember to keep drinking.

Water Fountain Refill Station

Look for water bottle refill stations around the park and ask for free cups of water whenever you’re near a quick-service restaurant. You can usually find water in soda dispenser stations, too. We’ll pass along an old tip from lots of experience with dehydrated guests: if you start to feel thirsty, you’re already behind on the amount of water you should have in your body.

3. Take a break

Even if you’re feeling good in the Magic Kingdom come noon, we HIGHLY recommend taking a break if you’ve been in the park all morning. Go back to your hotel, get off your feet, and freshen up. It makes such a difference in your mood! We know, we know, you want to do as much as possible on your vacation; you’ve got rides to ride and characters to meet. But a little afternoon break gives you the chance to come back with a clear head and a fresh perspective. 

Caribbean Beach Resort pool

If you and your family aren’t the type to take a nap, go to the pool instead! No matter how you and your family choose to relax, we believe in the power of a good old rest.

4. Read the room

This is another common problem we see alllllll the time in the parks. Sometimes, parents get caught up in the moment and can’t deviate from their plan. It’s not easy to abandon your perfectly-designed plan, but if you aren’t flexible, you risk the chance of a meltdown. Even if you have a lightning lane coming up in half an hour, sometimes it’s better to ditch the ride and take a break if you start to see your little ones getting agitated. 

The ride won’t be any fun if everyone is too cranky to enjoy it!

If you notice someone in your party is starting to get a little hangry, stop for a snack. If you find family members starting to snap at each other, find an air-conditioned building and cool off. The point is, don’t be afraid to respond to your body’s feelings. 

5. Use the distraction method

While we love stumbling upon a character meet and greet in the park, it’s not fun to be turned away when it’s time for Mickey to grab a slice of cheesecake. Instead of telling your little one that Mickey has to leave, divert their attention to something else. 

Sometimes Goofy has to leave for a fishing trip with Donald.

The same strategy works for just about anything in Disney World. Instead of saying, “Sorry, Johnny, Frozen Ever After is closed,” try, “Hey, let’s go meet Anna and Elsa at the Royal Sommerhus!” Of course, we know that this advice is easier in theory than in practice, but if you can avoid giving your family bad news, go with the old distraction method.

6. Dress comfortably

Those pirate costumes and princess dresses for kids are adorable but UNCOMFORTABLE! Of course, this advice applies to both kids and adults — everyone in your party should be dressed to move and ride attractions comfortably, all while staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter (though it’s never really freezing in Central Florida).

Beware of the infamous itchy princess dresses!

Do not try and break in a new pair of shoes on vacation, either. Your choice of footwear can arguably make or break your entire day. Walking around with soggy socks in waterlogged sneakers is sure to ruin almost anyone’s day!

Click here to see some helpful packing suggestions

7. Think ahead

While we love the idea of living in the moment and going where the breeze takes you, there are some instances where you just have to plan ahead. If you don’t have any dining reservations and are planning to eat in the parks, plan to schedule a mobile order for lunch or dinner EARLY so you don’t have to struggle to find a return time later in the day.

Do what the sign says!!

On a busy day, all the mobile order return times can fill up at some popular quick-service restaurants, leaving you with fewer meal options! If you have some extra time while you’re waiting in line for an attraction or are sitting on the bus headed to the park, hop on the My Disney Experience app and place a mobile order. You can schedule the pickup time for later in the day, but it’s best to lock it in as early as possible. 

Bonus tips:

We could go on and on and on with TONS more tips, but we’ll spare your eyes. We’ve compiled a list of miscellaneous tips that can help avoid a meltdown, so here they are, rapid-fire style:

  • Find the shade and stay out of the sun whenever you can
  • Look for Cast Members handing out stickers around the parks
  • Go to the quiet pool instead of the main pool
  • Trade pins at various merchandise locations
  • Download some games to play on your phone while waiting in lines
  • Take a few extra moments to sit down whenever possible
  • Pack small toys or activity books for kids at sit-down restaurants

Pretty castles, real-life princesses, and spinning teacups — it can be a sensory overload! We all have moments when things start to feel overwhelming, so don’t forget to take a deep breath and relax. Energy is everything, so if necessary, take a moment for you and your party to catch your breath, both physically and mentally. We’re always on the lookout for the latest Disney news, so stay tuned for more!

Why Disney World Got Rid of FastPass

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Oh boy, planning a Disney trip can be quite the adventure, and we totally get it! But fear not, dear friends, we compiled EVERYTHING you need (and the things to avoid!) to plan the ULTIMATE Disney vacation.

Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned pro, our insider tips and tricks will have you exploring the parks like never before. So come along with us, and get planning your most magical vacation ever!

Save 25% on the 2023 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining with code WDW2023.

Do you have any other tips to help avoid a meltdown in Disney World? Let us know in the comments!

The post How To Avoid the Pure Agony of a Disney World Meltdown first appeared on the disney food blog.


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