First things first, please know that every parent has experienced the EPIC Disney meltdown. As you can see in the photo, this is our littlest mid-tantrum at Saratoga Springs resort. I’m the first to raise my hand to say “Yup my kids have lost their minds for everyone to see.” Not to mention, I’ve seen some adults (my husband included) lose it at the most magical place on earth. The only real way to stop the meltdown is to know what the triggers are so that you can stop them in their tracks.
Pro Mom Tips on the Disney Meltdown
The most common culprit is the destructive combination of being overtired and hungry. With kids in tow, it’s very easy to over plan when you’re at the parks. Skipping naps is a dangerous game to play for the toddler crowd. Currently, we’re living the “nap rules our world” life.
My favorite way to plan the day to accommodate our daughter is to enjoy the early morning extra magic hours, lunch, and head back to the resort for a nap. Then, I like to save our Fastpasses for after dinner. Make sure to keep in mind how long it will take to get back to your resort when leaving the park. You want to head out with ample time. I’m still amazed when we stayed at Saratoga Springs this past fall. My husband was able to break down a stroller to get on the bus when littlest was napping, keep her asleep on the bus, unfold the stroller to get off the bus, put her in the stroller still asleep, and make it back to the room to put her down for a nap. Frankly, it was unbelievable and will NEVER happen again.
Now on to the other half of the lethal cranky combo… hunger! Being “hangry” is no joke and can quickly derail the fun. Your best bet to promptly stop the tears and yelling are snacks! No matter the age of your Disney crowd, always carry a few treats in your bag. My favorites (that travel well) are applesauce squeezers and sandwich crackers. People tend to forget that you can bring food and drinks into the parks. Plus, it’s a great way to save a buck!
Another primary cause of crankiness is tired legs. Don’t underestimate the power of bringing a stroller. I saw a tip years ago on Pinterest where a mom had bought a cheap umbrella stroller for her seven-year-old. At first, I couldn’t believe using a stroller for that old of a child. But I figured oh what the heck. I’ll pay the 50 bucks and if we didn’t use it oh well. As you can see in the picture (first family trip back in July 2014 when our oldest was going into first grade), that stroller was a LIFESAVER. Not to mention, he wanted to ride in it.
Just this past weekend alone for one day, the step counter on my Apple watch was over 20,000 steps which are equal to about 8 miles. Most adults get tired walking that much all day in the parks. So just think about the little legs in your party and how much harder they have to work.
You can always rent a stroller (numerous companies will deliver a stroller to your resort) for your trip too. But the better deal I believe was just buy a cheap stroller (Amazon or Walmart). That way you can use it for your other Disney trips too. When browsing online or in store, make sure it has a sunshade and a basket underneath to stow your stuff.
When using the stroller at the parks, put something on the handlebar to identify it as yours, because the cast members move them from time to time. Plus, a lot of them look-alike in the massive sea of stroller parking areas.
Recently, I used my running stroller and had the tire go flat at Animal Kingdom. If that happens to you, pop over to the stroller rental (located at the front of each park), and they will comp you a free stroller rental. It was such a relief! Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a few little toys tucked away too in your stroller for the younger kids. I love shopping for little Disney trinkets at the dollar store and Wal-Mart. Nothing puts a smile on a kid’s face like a new toy. The dollar store is also my go-to place for glow sticks for the nightly fireworks. I hate spending $30 for a toy that will only be used once.
Lastly, let’s talk about the Florida heat. This is central Florida, so most of the year, it’s hot and humid down here in Disney World. The heat can take out the best of us, myself included. My number one tip is FREE ice water. Don’t ever pay or use a snack credit for bottled water! Whether at the quick service restaurants or the popcorn stands, you can always ask for a free cup.
Another great way to enjoy the A/C is going for a stroll in the gift shops. If you are bringing a stroller, don’t forget to buy a clip-on stroller fan for a couple of bucks. The dollar store also has excellent mini towels that travel well in Disney theme. They’re great soaked in water to put around your neck or on top of your head.
You can always pop into attractions to enjoy the air conditioning and take a load off. My favorite attractions in the Magic Kingdom are the Enchanted Tiki Room and Country Bear Jamboree. At Epcot, we enjoy sampling pop from all over the world at Club Cool and checking out the vehicles on display at Test Track. In Hollywood Studios, we always head to Muppet 3D Vision and Star Wars Launch Bay. When trekking in the Animal Kingdom, It’s Tough to Be a Bug 3D is our go-to spot.
(Our son loves pretending to take the cars out for a spin)
Final Thoughts on the Disney Meltdown
What do you like to do to keep the peace and keep the fun going? Post in the comments below so we can all avoid the Disney meltdown! If you are looking for more tips read Disney World Splurges for Kids and Best Places to Eat with Kids at Disney World.
Life is too short not to live YOUR happily ever after, so my husband and I decided to move the family out of the D.C. suburbs to live in the land of the mouse. I’m raising 2 kids on pixie dust and dole whip behind the castle. Everyday is a new adventure with Mickey! I look forward to sharing my pro mom tips to help you create your own magical adventure.