Breaks in middle of day and/or in middle of trip

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by BillyBuckner, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. BillyBuckner

    BillyBuckner Mouseketeer

    Dec 20, 2008
    First, I apologize if this has been answered. I tried to search but I must have used the wrong words because I couldn't find an answer.

    I'd like to know what people think about breaks both in the middle of the day and in the middle of a two week trip. We are a family of 4 with DD(6) and DS(4) planning a 12 night trip in November during the week that DS turns 4. We have been to WDW once before; however, we weren't extremely organized (by the standards of readers on this board) and we hope to do better this time.

    The question has two parts

    (a) The guide books I read (especially Unofficial Guide, but also others) stress the importance of taking a nap/break of up to three hours in the middle of the day. QUESTION: I'd like to know whether the mid-day break is intended for times of year when the parks open at 8am and close late (10pm or later), or whether you still advise the mid-day break during the slower times of year when the parks open at 9am and close around 6 or 7 pm.

    (b) Our trip is Nov 8 - Nov 20, with 10 day park hoppers. 12 nights, 13 days including arrival and departure dates.

    My original plan: 1 day off (arrival), 5 days in parks, 1 day off, 5 days in parks, 1 day off (departure)

    I showed this plan to a guy I know that's been to WDW frequently and he mentioned that with his family they like to have a day off from parks after every 2 days in the parks (to keep everyone fresh). If I take his advice and modify it slightly then I would probably end up with something like:

    Modified plan: 1 day off (arrival), 2 days in parks, 1 day off, 2 days in parks, 1 day off, 3 days in parks (including departure day).

    Note: We are NOT swimmers and we don't do Water Parks. So if we take days off we would end up doing things like Sleep Inn, Downtown Disney, sightseeing at other resorts, playgrounds, etc.

    QUESTION: Which of the two plans above looks better? For those who have been a few times, especially with children, what is your advice regarding taking days off and how many consecutive days in the parks is optimal?

    Thanks in advance. I'm trying to settle this so I can finalize my ADR plan and backups. I was trying to come up with one set of ADRs that works with either plan, but there are some instances when the constraints are too numerous.
  2. Anglefan

    Anglefan DIS Veteran

    Jun 22, 2009
    I'm in the same boat, Bill. Going in October. You just cannot take a mid-day break when park hours are 9-7. That's dumb. Plan a few sleep in days, maybe. You can do 9-3 or 12-7 on different days.

    Don't let your vacation go right through your legs, Billy Buckner. Be careful.
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  4. vicki_c

    vicki_c DIS Veteran

    Dec 22, 2007
    I'm all for breaks of all kinds, especially with younger kids. Even when my husband and I went alone, we took an afternoon break. My family has only done a whole break day once and that was on a long (almost 2 week) trip.

    But we take an afternoon break almost everyday, and we more often travel when the parks close early. 4-5 hours in a park is long enough for us at a stretch and we get everything we want to do done on our trips. If a break isn't convenient on a particular day, then we go from rope drop through mid-afternoon and then just leave for the day and have the evening off.
  5. danceintherain

    danceintherain DIS Veteran

    Oct 2, 2007
    I definitely support the middle-of the day break. All day Disney can be taxing to people of all ages, so even when it is cooler, breaks can be nice.

    We did a 10 day trip last January; we found that breaks were necessary, even for us, two 22 year olds. On days we made it to rope drop, we were able to get large chunks of the parks done by noon, when we started to get tired.
    On days when we slept in a bit, we still found the need for these breaks, although we often didn't make it back to the parks in the evening.

    My suggestion for you would be to look at the various calendars for each of the parks when they come out, then plan accordingly. If you are planning on utilizing Extra Magic Hours, then take into account those schedules. If not, still take them into account, but avoid them.
    If you plan 2-3 Rope Drop/Early Extra Magic in a row, then schedule a Sleep-In, or Day Off for the next day.
    I like to plan at least one Rope Drop/Early Extra Magic for each park, in order to be able to experience the major attractions with little or no wait.
    I really like to utilize Park Hopping, which means Mornings in one park, and evenings in another. My evenings usually end up being in EPCOT or Magic Kingdom, because they are usually open the latest, which allows for a midday break.'s really hard to conceptualize a plan without calendar information.
    Overall, consider midday breaks. Ten days is plenty of time in the parks, so don't worry if someone gets tired and needs a break.
  6. MariDisney

    MariDisney Queen of the World

    Apr 20, 2004
    I disagree. We take a mid day break every day, even when the park hours are short. Frankly, I don't think it's dumb at all.

    We make rope drop every day, take an afternoon break and then go back to the parks. MK and Epcot never close at 7:00, or never in my experience unless MK has a hard ticket event.

    We would not do well without our break during the hottest hours of the day. We rent a car, which makes getting back to the resort for a rest easy.
  7. Anglefan

    Anglefan DIS Veteran

    Jun 22, 2009
    MK closes at seven about half of the time (at least) from September-December. If you are there at rope drop, stay four hours, that gets you to 1 PM. A three hour break (which is really MAYBE two counting transportation) leaves you with 4-7 when you come back. That seems like a huge waste of time to me. And AK closes at five or six during this period. Just do six or seven hours and leave. It takes a lot more effort to do all of this coming and going.
  8. ransom

    ransom DIS Veteran

    Aug 2, 2006
    With cool temps, relaxed touring, and plenty of sleep, it's possible to skip the mid-day break. Otherwise, mid-day breaks are a good idea, IMO.

    As for mid-vacation breaks...they can be nice, esp. if someone in the party would really rather spend a day at the pool rather than at a theme or water park, for example.
  9. Mom2PrincessK

    Mom2PrincessK DIS Veteran

    Nov 4, 2006
    When we first started going, we never took breaks...and that was with younger kids. It was very stressful for us leading to cranky kids. Last several trips we did mid-day breaks (and we usually go during times with earlier park hours) and enjoyed it MUCH more. With that many days at the parks, you will have no problem seeing everything you want to see including the breaks. You could tour RD - 1 or 2 and then take off the afternoon and do a dinner and a early evening and be very refreshed - or you could go back to the parks if you feel like it.

    Rather than taking full days off every couple of days I would rather just sleep in on those days and play it by ear for the afternoons - whether it is doing the less popular attractions in the parks or resorts, DTD etc.

    Whatever you do - be flexible...if what you decide to do is not working, change it up - and have fun!!!
  10. Shenanigoat

    Shenanigoat I shall call him squishy. And he shall be mine. An

    May 20, 2009
    I take a mid day break too. I'm always at RD and my break starts with a TS lunch, followed by about an hour or two of slow meandering. If I'm at EPCOT I will usually check out the EPCOT resorts and maybe read a book in their lobbys. My mid afternoon is usually resort hopping time, during which I take it slow and check out places I might want to stay next time and window shop. It works for me. I don't ever go back to my "home resort" though, I just take it slow checking out other places.

    I get so much done by arriving at RD that I can leave a park for a few hours in the afternoon and find that I still get more done than other vacationers. The fact that I travel solo to WDW also helps I think.
  11. Crazy Kanga

    Crazy Kanga DIS Veteran

    Feb 9, 2003
    I say yes to both!!! We are here now and in the heat it is an absolute must for us. In Nov. it may not be quite as necessary but still a very good idea.
  12. alleghator

    alleghator Mouseketeer

    Mar 23, 2005
    We were there with our kiddos (at the time, 7 and 4-1/2) for a week in March 2006. Similar hours and weather to November, I think. We liked having the breaks. We didn't take one absolutely every day, but we sure noticed the kids and we were definitely more beat at the ends of the days when we didn't. We had a rental car and the timeshare is very nearby. From exiting the park to flopping in bed only took about twenty minutes, if that.

    At home the kids were used to waking up around 7am and going to bed by 8pm. So, the long WDW hours and all the walking, I knew would take their toll on all of us. Neither child still napped at home.

    We got up early and were there for opening every day. We ate breakfast in the timeshare (except for our early CP and CRT days). The kids each had their own fanny packs filled with little snack-sized baggies of goodies to nosh on (goldfish, fig newtons, peanuts, pretzels, raisins, etc). They were allowed to nibble whenever they wanted without asking.

    We toured moderately commando-style until mid-day. Then (most days) we'd leave and head back to the timeshare. We'd nap, I'd refill the kids' fanny packs and about half the time we ate lunch (usually the kids were good with the snacks they had). We always had the earliest possible dinner reservation at a TS restaurant, and that would be our cue to head back to the parks. The only days we ate substantial lunches were the days we stayed in the park. I think we did that twice in our trip.

    Oh, and in the afternoons, we'd rent a double stroller. The kids walked throughout the mornings, but in the afternoons and into the evenings, they rode. We stayed until closing every night. We never had a tired-cranky meltdown. We never had hungry-I-wanna whining. When we felt like buying the kids popcorn or a Mickey bar, we did it, but it was never because they'd begged for it.

    It was a beautiful thing.
  13. MariDisney

    MariDisney Queen of the World

    Apr 20, 2004
    I should clarify, also, that we often don't return to the same park, thus making it easier to go to a park open later in the evening.
  14. Pooh&OurHunny

    Pooh&OurHunny DIS Veteran

    Jul 25, 2007
    My son still nap when we went to Disney our last four trips so we had a mid-day was great even if he had a short nap (afterwards we would go to the pool)and then shower and head back to a park. On our next trip...hoping December (my son still 4), we will still take mid-day break or just hang out at the resort to get some downtime.
  15. Tomh

    Tomh DIS Veteran

    Feb 2, 2008
    I think this is going to be one of those things that depends on how your family works. Many people swear by taking mid day breaks, they didn't work at all for us last year. We were a family of 7 (DW and I, DS4, DD13, DD19, plus my cousin, and my mother, both in their 50's) at the time. We took mid day breaks the first couple of days, but it took us a minimum of 3 hours, and at worst nearly 5 hours, and we really didn't accomplish much in the way of resting. Most of the time was spent getting back and forth between the resort and the park (you could easily waste an hour and a half to two hours just in transit), and no one really settled down for any rest. In the end, we wound up doing better just staying the parks, and taking advantage of air conditioned shows and attractions for our "rest," as well as a TS for some more down time.

    The mid trip breaks, however, we intend to take full advantage of this time. We'll be spending 13 nights. Our first afternoon we will sight see / shop at DTD a bit, and have dinner at T-Rex. Our 5th day we'll do laundry, and hang out at the resort until noon, then do DTD, with supper at Planet Hollywood, and the 9:00 La Nouba showing. Our last day, we'll again spend the morning at the resort, getting everything packed up, and then go to MK for MNSSHP that evening. I figure that should be enough down time for us.
  16. Tigger79

    Tigger79 Mouseketeer

    Feb 5, 2005
    We are a family of 5 adults who go down to visit Mickey at least once a year. We usually stay for 5-7days. We always take a break. By the mid point of our trip we are usually tired of going,going,going 110% all day. We usually go to Downtown or we've there during the holidays and we dont go to a park but resort hop to look at the decorations. We've gone back to the resort to catnap for a few hours.

    It always depends on the person and the family. We usually take breaks and its great!
  17. serene56

    serene56 DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2004
    with the ages of your kids 5 days on with 1 day off is pushing. There is bound to be meltdowns.

    My DIL thinks that my gd wont be taking naps-- will be in school so she should be able to handle touring disney. What she doesnt understand is all the walking / standing in lines that she will be doing.

    I am thinking of leaving the parks right after a parade. head to dinner then back to the resort for an early bed time so we can be at rope dro the next day.

    Yu didnt mention if rope drop is important to you.
    We leave on Saturday--- first touring day will be Sunday= Tuesday is a sleep in day (MNSSHP that night) Wednesday-- Epcot at noon. then back to rope drops on Thursday / Friday.
  18. 3R1C

    3R1C Mouseketeer

    Jun 21, 2009
    We went when our kids were the same ages as yours. We tried to make them rest each afternoon, but found it a waste of time. They just would not sleep in the room. We found that just riding the buses around worked better (they always slept then).

    We would often go back to the resort and do something different, but trying to make them sleep was a huge waste of time!
  19. DIS Veteran

    Feb 22, 2006
    we've never taken mid-day breaks before, but this is the first time travelling with kids. i'm not sure what we will do this time, mine might both zonk out at the park, i just don't know. however that being said we are taking a day off to jsut relax, hit the pool and eat at dtd.
  20. megrod74

    megrod74 <a href="" targ

    Oct 22, 2002
    I agree with the person who said you will probably have to play mid-day breaks by ear. Just don't try to burn the candle at both ends, and pay attention to your kids. Try not to let them get to meltdown stage. It is hard to take afternoon breaks when the parks close early, so maybe do some rope drop days and some sleep in days. November will probably be much cooler and it will be easier to tour all day. It could also be in the 80's, so figure the weather into your planning. Afternoon breaks are only breaks if you go into them knowing you'll miss 3-5 hours of park touring and you're ok with that. Once you decide to take one, commit to it:)

    I have a 3yr old who has been to WDW about 10 times for 2-7 days at a time and my experience coincides with your friend's - we have adopted the 2 day on/1 day off schedule. 3 days in a row at a park for rope drop does not go well (for our family at least). However we hardly ever do late nights.

    We will be there at the same time for the same number of days with our 3 and 1 yr olds. As mentioned we are doing 2 days in a park and 1 day off the whole time. Also we will do maybe 2 sit-down restaurants because for some reason at WDW they feel like work with the 2 kids;) I guess they just know there are better things to do.
    I'm looking forward to the Nov park hours to better plan my trip, as I'm sure you are too! Have fun!
  21. daisax

    daisax DIS Veteran

    May 26, 2003
    I always take a break, and I go in November.

    Epcot is usually open until 11, so since you have park hoppers, just make Epcot your evening park. It also tends to be the hottest park (IMO), so seeing it in the evening suits me better.

    I get a lot more out of trips when we open a park, stay through lunch, go back to the hotel for 2-3 hours, grab dinner, and then hit another park (either Epcot or whatever park is open until 8 or 9 that night -- they rotate). I get more done in two 5-6 hour blocks in one day with a break in between than I do going 10-12 hours straight.

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