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Old 09-16-2012, 02:18 AM   #1
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Nap/rest in the afternoon

This will be our first trip and, while I totally understand the advice I see everywhere about going back to the hotel to rest in the afternoon, I don't see it happening with my kids. I have 4 kids - 9 with special needs, 7, 4 and 2. The 2 year old would be no problem. She'll fall asleep in the stroller, but I just don't envision my other kids being willing to nap or doing it when they're bouncing off the walls with excitement. That's the one thing I'm worried about. It seems like a huge hassle to make our way back to the hotel to have the kids NOT nap, KWIM? We plan on taking things slow. We will come up with a few things each day that we absolutely want to do - maybe have each person choose 1 that they definitely want to do and 1 that they would like to do if we have time and then play it by ear after that. We were thinking that instead of going back to the hotel we could hang out on Tom Sawyer's Island, for example or have a leisurely lunch. We're going in January so the park hours will be a little shorter and we're planning to alternate longer days with shorter days. The tentative plan is MK, then AK, then EP, then HS and on the last day go to whichever park the kids want to go back to (I'm 95% sure they'll pick MK, but you never know).

Are we totally crazy? In theory the afternoon nap is a fabulous idea, but I just don't see it working for my kids. The only way I can think of to force a nap is to get in the car and drive and the 9 year old most likely still wouldn't sleep.

This makes me nervous because I don't want meltdowns from them being overtired, but I'll have a hard time enforcing any kind of rest period.
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:34 AM   #2
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No napping here, either, except for my 1yo and maybe my 3yo. My 7yo and 9yo wouldn't have it.
If we go back to the hotel, the baby will nap, but it's more so the big kids can unwind and relax. They love to swim at the resort almost as much as the parks, but we are going in Sept/Oct, instead of Jan. We did go in December last year and it was plenty warm enough to swim.
I think that anything where they can just run around and "be free" is enough to help them unwind and rest. Tom Sawyer Island in MK, Honey I shrunk the kids playground in HS, the Boneyard in Animal Kingdom and maybe Innoventions or Living Seas in Epcot.

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Old 09-16-2012, 10:59 AM   #3
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I wholeheartedly agree with naps for kids 3 and under, but if your 2yo will nap in the stroller that may not be a problem for you. The 4yo is the iffy one in my opinion, just depends on how your DC handles it. We took two 3.5yo last time and regretted a day we did not stop for naps. We have two older kids now and two younger kids, so DH and I plan to split up if necessary for him to return with the little ones to the hotel for naps.
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:45 PM   #4
Funny thing is now my 17 year old naps almost every day and so do I!

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Depends on how much walking you expect out of all the kids - the 2 yr old in the stroller should be fine, but what about the 4 year old, the 9 year old with special needs? Can they walk all day, and not get exhausted? If you only have 5 days in the parks, you are either going have to do long days or plan not to do a lot of stuff. EPCOT is a 2 day park if you plan to do FW and WS, and it is a long hike around WS.
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Old 09-16-2012, 01:28 PM   #5
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I look forward to our Disney trip so I can take an afternoon nap. Both my husband and I do that. And this trip, no kids (our son is in college and fall break was cancelled because they were off for the hurricane). So daily naps for us!!
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:07 PM   #6
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I'm planning on bringing the double stroller so the 4 year old can ride in the stroller if he wants to and he and the 7 year old could even take turns, if necessary. We're looking into getting an adaptive stroller for the 9 year old. This summer we went to Dutch Wonderland in PA as sort of a test. It's a much smaller park, of course but they all did fine and only the 2 year old was in the stroller.

We do plan on taking a lot of breaks, just maybe not going all the way back to the hotel.

Maybe it's just me but IMO standing in line is far more exhausting than walking around. I've been watching Touring Plans and the estimated waits don't look too bad, except for a few attractions, so we'll either hit those first thing in the morning or skip them. I've pretty much decided that since we have a limited number of hours each day, there isn't really anything I'm willing to spend huge amounts of time waiting for.
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:37 PM   #7
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I write a blog about going to Disney with children. One suggestion I make on my site plus to family and friends is a great way to take a rest while at the park is to plan it around the midday parade. MK, HS, and AK all have one. To get a good spot you ideally want to be stake out a spot about an hour before. Bring a blanket and have the kids sit down. Bring some paper, stickers, coloring books, crayons. Have some quiet time. Use it also for a snack.
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:48 PM   #8
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We would go back to the hotel as much for a break for the heat and crowds as we would for actual naps. If you have two adults, send one of them to the pull with the children that don't want to nap. Or, don't bother leaving the park.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:20 PM   #9
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I am with the PPs who say that the mid-day break isn't just about naps, it's also about just resting, chilling out, taking a break from the crazy atmosphere of the parks. It recharges everyone, both kids and adults. IMO the "break" where you stay in the park and try to remain calm doesn't quite cut it.

But of course every family is different and should plan accordingly. And getting into and out of the parks for a break is a big pain for bigger families (then again, so is a meltdown caused by exhaustion!). I am sure that you will have a good time no matter what you do
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:21 PM   #10
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Even though this will be our first trip with kids, I've been reading the DIS boards long enough to know not to overplan. We're not super structured people and we're all pretty good at going with the flow. My plan is to pick a few things we really want to do before we go and hit those in the morning and go from there. that way we'll be sure we get to see a few things that we're really interested in and anything else will be a bonus.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:51 PM   #11
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There are some good ways to take a break without heading back to your own resort for a nap.
We like to take the boat across to Fort Wilderness and take a stroll, sit in the rocking chairs, visit the stables. This trip we went over to Wilderness Lodge and spent a little while relaxing in the lobby, getting lunch, window shopping and then exploring the resort. On the way back we rode the boat back and forth between there and MK twice whilst our DDs took a nap
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:23 PM   #12
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Last time we went the only melt down DD (then 17 months) had was the one day we tried to leave the park for a nap. We plan and napping in the stroller for both DD's.
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:31 PM   #13
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We went back once to nap/rest and I found it more exhausting. That was our 1st trip, when at the time our twins were 5, and we had a 7 and 9yr old. Our August trip we came back to shower/rest/watch tv, but no swimming before we headed out for dinner. Then we normally ate and came back to swim. We only had a few late nights in the park. I found it was to exhausting for my kids to swim in the afternoon
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:19 PM   #14
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That's what I'm thinking too. just getting back to the hotel sounds like a hassle and 3 of my kids rarely, if ever nap. Of course that could be different at WDW, but I also don't sleep well during the day and I think it's more likely that on the off chance we managed to get all four kids to nap at the same time, b the time I got a nap they would be awake. Since we'll have shorter park hours in January, I'm leaning more toward getting to bed at (or near) their regular time. I'm sure we'll be able to find a way to get them to rest - monorail, boat, train... We're also going to play most of it by ear. We'll pick a few things each day we want to do and then go from there. I'm most excited about getting DD2's first haircut at the Harmon Barbershop. We have reservations for the first day so we'll be able to check that off the list early.
POR - January 2013
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:50 PM   #15
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We've tried naps/break at hotel and it doesn't work for us. My kids are done naps completely by 3 (Two were done by 2)- and they didn't magically nap at Disney at 3 years old - either back at the room or in the stroller. (I've been with two different 3 year olds different times and a different child at 2.5 years old and it doesn't work for any of them). What works for us is getting there at rope drop and we go-go-go. Then we take it easier in the afternoon - in the park. Then get a surge of energy. And get everyone out when one person acts like it's time. This is sometime between 5-7pm usually. (Though we had an 8 and 9pm on the last trip the day before an off-day). I can't get my kids to nap nor rest. But I can get them enough sleep at night - so we focus on that.

However, time of year makes a difference. We go when it's cooler in the off-season. If we went in August, then we would have to find a way to make a swim break work for us. That's not needed for us in Nov/Dec/Jan.
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