Disney World is the ultimate vacation, because they’re is something there for everyone! There’s princess’s and Mickey, there’s thrill rides and great eats. There’s food for those with allergies and golf for those that would rather be on the green.
But with great choice, comes great anxiety!
All of these incredible options, and bucket lists, and must do’s can make planning a vacation daunting. Even if you use a travel agent or grab one of the 3 inch planning guides at your local book store, Disney Vacations aren’t exactly the picture of relaxation.
But here’s the secret…
Your Disney World Vacation doesn’t have to be stressful.
It doesn’t have to be stressful with the family, the extended family, the adult only trip, the solo trip. It can be fun and enjoyable for all- without you needing a vacation from your vacation.
Yes, folks, Disney can be magical and stress-free! Let discover how!
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Foolproof methods for reducing stress at Disney World
With a few simple and foolproof methods you CAN have a (mostly) stress free Disney World vacation!
Let’s take a look at what you can do to drastically minimize stress and enjoy your Disney World Vacation- so when you get home you actually miss Disney and can’t wait to go back.
Let’s make this vacation a success!
First things First, Packing for success before you leave for your trip
At the most basic level, think about what you might need for your trip! Like if it’s hot, PLEASE consider bringing a portable fan- you won’t regret it! This one is my favorite for myself, and then I have ones for the kids strollers (pro tip, they also clip to baby carriers!) Ponchos are ALWAYS in my bag. Always. Always. Florida is ridiculous when it comes to the rain.
If you end up having chafing problems, definitely get some chub rub. You will be walking a lot. I have a favorite brand and it has saved my life more than once!
Seriously- good shoes are a must. You’ll likely be walking OVER 10 MILES a day. Which is great for your heart, just make sure it’s great for your feet too 😜
Bring a portable phone charger (don’t forget the cord) because the My Disney App KILLS your phone. Or just write everything on paper. Or get one of the fuel cell chargers when you get to Disney (They are 30 dollars and you rent them).
though there’s been a controversy when it comes to the Fuel Rods, so I’d pack your own charger instead. I LOVE this one, and it’s lasted me all year every where I go. 12k reviews on amazon don’t lie 🤣🤣🤣
And the winter- oh winters in Florida.
One minute their cold, the next their hot, and before you know it you’ve got sunburned faces and wind burnt lips.
You’ll start out with warm clothes in the morning, shed your layers but lunch, and be downright frozen when the sunsets. Then the next day is perfect shorts and flip flop weather even though you brought 2 jackets to the parks just in case.
I can’t make this up people.
When you pack, plan for most of whatever weather you think, but then pack 2 outfits for the opposite weather.
So shorts AND jackets. Sneakers AND sandals. Sunscreen, sunglasses AND lip balm. Bring one outfit per day- then add two extras day’s worth of clothing.
Remember you are on vacation, you don’t want to have to run to the store (or even worse, the resort gift shop) and load up on outfits because you didn’t plan ahead.
This is especially important if you are coming for a week or longer visit, because it’s likely that half of your trip will have one type of weather and the other half won’t.
Also, to save yourself some packing space, plan to do a load of laundry- I promise the facilities are clean. It will save you some room to bring home souvenirs too!
You can check out more 30 Helpful Packing tips you need to know, and the 5 essentials you will want to bring on your Disney Trip, for more info!
Hangry is NOT pretty
I don’t care who you are- Hangry is NOT pretty. Despite the large amount of options at Disney, sometimes the Pooh Bear hungry grumbles sneak up on you!
Make sure that you have your days planned out with the bigger things you want to do, and then plan your meals around those things. Some people go all out with a minute by minute schedule- but for a stress free vacation I’d suggest just a handful of top items each day and keeping flexible with the rest of the plans!
Also consider ordering from Amazon or packing a bunch of snacks. Let me paint a picture for you.
Your hungry, you forgot your refillable insulated water bottle, and now you have the choice of waiting in a 15 minute line for water and popcorn or a 25 minute line for quick service.
And the kids are screaming. and its hot. really hot.
If you had ordered from Amazon you would have had everything you needed before hand (or if you are staying for a week or longer, you can order and have it before your trip is over!)
Also, Disney has this nifty thing called MOBILE ORDERING.
If you are eating from quick service, you can order your food ahead of time. This is SO helpful! And it does have SOME allergy accommodations (like gluten).
Don’t set yourself up for failure.
Pack some snacks, bring in a water bottle and plan ahead so you can have a relaxing meal without having to stress about where you are getting it from.
No one wants to wait in line in the middle of the summer lunch rush while their entire family is hungry.
What’s your top 3?
Sit down as a family, a couple, by yourself and think.
This is really important because part of the reason people get so stressed out is that they want to do EVERYTHING.
Newsflash! You can’t do everything.
In fact, I say it’s hard to do even a top 10 unless you have a 7-10 day vacation. That’s why I’m recommended the top 3. The top 3 things you make 100% a priority.
If you don’t have a top 3- you can learn about the Disney Bucket list!
Then everything else can fall in place as the schedule allows and you don’t feel super upset that you didn’t get to do everything you wanted.
Disney is especially magically in that there is so.much. stuff. to do. But they also boobytrap you with it. Street performers and character meals that take 2 hours and showtimes that can get pushed back all add to the time debacle.
I remember one event really vividly, we were at Magic Kingdom at Tony’s Restaurant for lunch and a couple next to us was about to have a full blown argument over the fact that they were 20 mins behind schedule.
Between an unscheduled bathroom trip and the waiter taking too long they had “messed up their day”. In fact, they were so stressed they left their camera.
We turned it into management and tried to look for them as we were two minutes behind them out the door- but they had already taken off- desperate to make up the time they had missed.
What about a detailed plan?
One thing I can guarantee is that any minute by minute plans will get messed up- even with advanced reservations and fast passes. In fact, I’d say that the ONLY way to do a detailed plan would be to:
- get to the parks an hour early
- by Minnie Van or Uber (not your own vehicle since you have to wait for tram)
- hit up every fast pass exactly at the beginning time (not middle or end of the hour long window)
- show up to your restaurant 20-30 mins early (since these places are packed!!!!) and plan for the meal to take 2 hours
- Or bring all your own food so you can eat in the lines and when you have time
- put on blinders so you don’t see any street performers, parades or shops
- skip anything that isn’t fitting into your schedule immediately- no down time
That doesn’t really sound like fun to me though… but to each their own!
Don’t stress yourself out with it- pick the top and enjoy your trip!
Planning for Vacation
Can you intentionally plan for a stress free vacation?
YES, yes you can. This is done by planning something known among the Disney Vacationers as an “off day” or a “rest day”
What do you do on an Off day?
Anything you want!
Most people like to chill out at the resort before a reservation somewhere in the afternoon. Resort hopping is a super fun experience! I have a giant list of free things and also cheap things you can do at the park on your off day.
You can also do certain character meals on an off day without a ticket. Check out my guide for that! That’s a favorite for rest days and it works really well for arrival and departure days too!
Basically, you’re giving your feet and body some rest so that you can actually enjoy your vacation- while taking in the beautiful Disney World scenery.
Or Plan for something Easy
I like a good “off day” but I like an EASY day even better.
We like to call easy days the days where you spend half the day at the parks.
This can be an early wake up to take advantage of the extra magic hours and then come back to the resort by mid afternoon.
You can sleep in, have a late brunch, let the kids burn off some steam in the pool.
Then head over in late afternoon for a fun evening and night at the parks! Many Many people do this when they do the special events, like Mickeys Very Merry Christmas and the Not so Scary Halloween Party.
Since it’s a separately ticketed event, you can just plan it into your vacation. You can get into Magic Kingdom as early as 2pm- so don’t waste another ticket for the morning. Just chill out and then head to the special event for a night full of fun holiday experiences!
This way you still get to enjoy all the Disney Magic without running yourself to the ground with exhaustion and stress.
It’s not all for the kids
Sure, Disney is a family vacation. But let’s not forget, that parents and caregivers need to enjoy themselves too!
Take advantage of many of the cool things for adults and you won’t regret it!
You’ve got spa options, bar hopping (and a really cool dueling piano bar!), fancy restaurants and hitting up the parks by yourself.
You can even golf, get a back stage tour and hit up the Orlando area for some of the unique sites.
What do you do with the kids???? Disney has you covered. They have vetted their own group of babysitters and special child only events for you to catch some time to yourself.
Some of the options for kids include two different play areas/daycares, in room baby sitting and hiring an independent Orlando Baby sitter.
You can also send your kids on a magical pirate cruise or drop them off to enjoy a few hours on the safari.
Take advantage of that and make it a vacation that everyone can enjoy!
Change the way you view spending at Disney
Yep. Even if you aren’t doing Disney on a budget, Money can still be a bugger.
Why? You want to get the most value for your money. You paid good money to be here and enjoy yourself- and if things don’t go so well(like rain every.single.day.) that can be really frustrating!
And if you are on a budget and constantly counting every penny- you are not going to enjoy yourself.
So I have two recommendations.
One. Find your max limit and add money to that max. Disney is EXPENSIVE. I’m an annual passholder and I watch the prices climb before my eyes. Even if you don’t plan to spend a lot- you will. Things happen and you want to make sure you won’t stress about it.
Two. Remember that you won’t be back next month. This is a special trip (even if it’s yearly) and you can still have fun, spend some money (because it’s going to be necessary to eat and get a few things at the stores) and still not stress about every cent.
If you’d like some budget ideas, my budget section is full of great tips!
Know when to go
Some would say I saved the best for last, and this is a very important tip for planning a reduced stress Disney Vacation.
You need to know when to actually plan your Disney Vacation.
Disney sees annually 50 million people a year. That’s a LOT of people! And they know that most of those people come during two seasons.
Summer and Winter.
So if you want to avoid the crazy crowds, the long restroom lines (even though they have like 100 stalls) and the 30 minutes lines for the snack cart, try to plan your vacation during these off times.
The best times to go would be Jan-March (skip the end of march) and August-October. January you will see a lot of rides closed for refurbishment and August is HOT!
But you can deal with these things if you aren’t fighting the crowds, missing your fast pass reservations, or not getting the food reservations you want because it is SO busy!
There you have it folks! Disney World can be a magical experience for the whole family- without everyone pulling their hair out. You CAN have a great trip at Disney with it being a low stress vacation.