Theme Park Planning after a Redeye Flight?

Discussion in 'Disney World Tips' started by bryanb, Feb 12, 2019 at 3:22 AM.

  1. bryanb

    bryanb DIS Veteran

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    I think this belongs here. I live in California and have two choices when visiting Orlando.
    (1) Leave CA early in the morning and arrive by dinnertime on the East Coast, losing almost a whole day of vacation or...
    (2) Take a redeye flight late from CA and arrive just around dawn at WDW.

    The second option is always tempting because vacation time is precious. In theory, I love the idea of being on the plane while I would've been sleeping anyway, and waking up on the other side of the continent at 6:00am, ready to start vacation immediately. Being on west coast time, it's probably the only day I can reasonably make rope drop.

    Well, it's one thing if I were just planning this trip as a solo vacation where I can do whatever I want, but now I've got other friends who are interested in trying the redeye plan... and I could see it becoming a disaster if I don't plan day one correctly.

    So here's what I'm thinking:
    ~5:50am arrive at MCO, gather luggage and get on Disney Magical Express
    ~7:30am arrive at the resort and check in. Cross fingers that a room is available, but if not just check luggage.
    8:30am arrive at the Magic Kingdom in time for rope drop at 9:00am. Ride whatever we can.
    11:00am use our first three fastpasses and eat lunch
    3:00pm head back to the resort. If napping, try to nap for only 30 minutes max to avoid messing up body clock
    5:00pm get lots of caffeine and head back to the MK and power through all the fun, until the fireworks
    8:00pm watch Wishes and be done for the first night
    9:00pm head out of the park and back to the resort for a late dinner, then crash immediately into bed for an early start on day 2

    What do you think of this plan? Or am I risking too much? We've got four adults all in their 20s and 30s. I'm also thinking no ADRs on day one, as it's too risky in case we don't feel like staying up to eat.
     
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  2. OThopeful35

    OThopeful35 DIS Veteran

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    We live in California as well and we always do a red eye flight. We sleep on the plane and hit the ground running when we arrive in Orlando. We have left early morning before and by the time we get to Orlando, we only have a couple of hours before places start closing. One time there was an emergency on the plane which made us miss our connect in ATL. We didn't get to Disney until 1:30am:sad2:
     
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  4. LSUfan4444

    LSUfan4444 DIS Veteran

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    I don't know how much sleep you normally get but that sounds like too much for me personally. I would make my ADRs 9-10, 10-11, 11-12 since you will be at MK anyway and can likely get 4th FPs fairly easily and if your room is read early you can go back and take a longer nap.
     
  5. Alesia

    Alesia DIS Veteran

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    As someone who has done this before, I can give you two pieces of advice:

    1. Do not, under any circumstances, go back for a nap. Stay busy until about 7:00 pm and then go back to the hotel, get something to eat, and go to bed.

    2. No sit-down meals. Eat smaller meals on the go.

    The key is just keeping your momentum. Once you start to slow down, you're done for
     
  6. Vertical

    Vertical Mouseketeer

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    We took a flight that required us to be at the airport at 3 am one year. We were at AK by 10 am. This was several years ago, so before Pandora. It was fun at the park, but we made a fatal mistake by scheduling Boma at 6 pm. I wanted to fall asleep right at the table. I swore I would never book at table service meal on our arrival day again. It would have been a great plan without that.
     
  7. Mome Rath

    Mome Rath 3 Decade Disney Traveller

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    I was my own "red-eye flight," only it was a drive; I drove all night (left around 5 or 6pm and drove 16 hours) and hit the ground stumbling, but did fine. lol So, it is definitely do-able flying. I concur with Alesia above, and will add; do not hit the caffeine that hard in the late afternoon, instead make it an early night and go to sleep.
     
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  8. Meriweather

    Meriweather Being a Nana is my superpower

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    When younger we used to do the red eye from WA......I can not sleep on a plane, so that slowed me down.
    As we got older, couldn't do it. I was falling asleep on the bus and stumbling around. We just arrive later now and don't even go to a park.
    Sleep and then the jet lag is gone and we do fine and enjoy the rest of the vacation.
     
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  9. ForMyBoys

    ForMyBoys DIS Veteran

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    I think your plan sounds fine except for going back to the resort at 3 and expecting to go back to MK that night. I think it is likely some of your party members will bail and just call it a night.

    Some have a lot of trouble sleeping on a plane and everyone handles lack of sleep differently. I would say you should just be ok if others in your party prefer to leave earlier or not go back to MK that night. That is the beauty of Disney transportation, you can split up and its not a big deal.
     
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  10. ejdmomma

    ejdmomma Mouseketeer

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    DO NOT TAKE A NAP! It will completely throw you off! You want to be able to go to sleep at a "reasonable" time for the time zone. Napping will just mess this up. I travel for work a fair amount. Trips to the UK usually arrive first thing in the morning. I try to hit the ground running and get as much outside/sunshine as I can. It really helps to adjust.

    I would absolutely do this with the following suggestions: no nap!, no big meals, limit alcohol, and have a good plan because you will be sleepy and will not want to make any decisions.
     
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  11. DisneyWishes14

    DisneyWishes14 DIS Veteran

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    I would schedule the FP+ as planned and keep this as a draft of your day, but be prepared to throw it all out the window if need be. We do red-eyes at least once a year and our best laid plans have, sometimes, had to be thrown out the window due to pure exhaustion. Especially if you are traveling with people who haven't done this before and can't adjust quickly.
     
  12. cakebaker

    cakebaker DIS Veteran

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    Skip the nap and you’re good. You’re young, no kids, you can do it.
     
  13. BK2014

    BK2014 DIS Veteran

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    Obviously, everything will have to be flexible based on how you or others in your party feel throughout the day. I think the suggestion of scheduling your FPs earlier makes sense. If you start with the a fastpass booked for 9:00-10:00, you can still take advantage of the low lines of rope drop. But then when you're ready to use your first fastpass, it will be closer to your 2nd FP time, so you won't have a large window in between. Then once you have used your 3rd FP you can start getting the 4th and more in quick succession.

    I am a big fan of naps in the afternoon, but generally because I am tired because I exert myself more on vacation than I do sitting at work, not when it is due to jet lag or lack sleep. Instead of trying to go back to the resort for a controlled nap of no more than 30 minutes, I would try pushing through at least an early dinner. Then if people want to go back and get to bed early, just call it a night. Especially if you are planning an early morning on day two. But I agree with one of the previous posters, once sleep starts, its going to be hard to get back out.
     
  14. MousetersInc

    MousetersInc Mouseketeer

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    One thing you didn't mention: the length of the stay. This could work both ways: If it's a short trip, say 3 days, then you have more capacity to push your body, make it through, and then recover after you're back home. If it's extremely long, you have the margin to build in a rest or resort day and recover halfway through. If it's in the anti-Goldilocks zone, though, I'd be concerned about long-term endurance. WDW is inherently tiring, and if your first day wipes you out, where will you be on day 5? I think the advice here not to nap is good advice whenever crossing a lot of time zones, but I'd be inclined nonetheless to at least take it easy—maybe day 1 includes a bit more Tom-Sawyer's-Island-chilling and less mad dashing from park to park? Maybe chill by the pool?
    I'd also suggest staying flexible even within as small a party as 4 people for different people to have different needs. Some sleep better on the plane; some are hit harder by jet lag. Some might be ready for FastPasses 4 through 10 and some might just need to relax.
    Our situation: we're flying within the same time zone, but arriving at MCO at 7am, which means waking up 3am. We've got two kids, 7 and 9. We're planning to make our way to AK after checking in, ride our three rides by noon, and play it by ear after that—linger for lunch at AK or head straight back to the resort. At any rate, I'm counting on spending most of the afternoon unpacking, swimming, and relaxing—we don't really have any other day on our trip to enjoy Wilderness Lodge. We've got another full day of AK scheduled for "everything else" that we didn't do day 1.
     
  15. HuskieJohn

    HuskieJohn 3/2015-BLT & planning for 3/2020-AKL

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    Best wishes for your plan.

    Please let us know how it works out!
     
  16. miksicnarf

    miksicnarf Mouseketeer

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    We did this once. I'm old, did it with 4 20something kids. We also live in CA. We flew into Tampa and drove to WDW from there. Our room wasn't ready immediately, and our first priority was food--no way we could have waited until lunchtime to eat. The room was ready before noon and everyone crashed for a few hours, then we were all good to go for the rest of day and night. This is a key point--you can't be sure when the room will be ready and if we'd had to wait until 4pm it would have been a very different story. This was before FP+ and we had no ADR so we played it by ear. YMMV but I prefer leaving CA early morning. I've found even if I land at MCO at 6pm I can make it to a park for 3 FPs, a quick meal and nighttime show. I try to schedule my departure on the last day as late as possible, thereby getting in a pretty full day at the end. It all evens out.
     
  17. eliseisawkward

    eliseisawkward Earning My Ears

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    Something to note, if taking the magical express you do not need to collect your luggage! You will have tags that say they are disney bound and they will be collected for you while you board the magical express.

    I think you plan is reasonable. I would not make any ADR, just like you said you might not feel up to it. I also like a PP suggestion of eating small meals instead of sitting down and losing momentum. I always struggle to adjust to time zone changes when flying east, but the power through method works best for me.

    The only caveat is that if you can’t sleep on the plane you will be miserable. I have trouble sleeping on planes sometimes and red eyes are the worst when that happens. I have found that half a benedryl or other drowsy med helps as long as I take it before boarding and have at least 5-6 hours of flight time to sleep through.
     
  18. b5sgqueen

    b5sgqueen Earning My Ears

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    I am going against people who say no nap, at least a bit.
    I have traveled to several foreign countries with huge time shifts and while you do want to do your best to force your body into the new time zone this can have some pretty problematic effects for some people.
    I find that if I take a red eye and try to spend the whole day up and about, I start to frag, get foggy and glassy eyed. I can't focus and don't have any fun. I stopped doing this a few years ago and would give in to a less than hour nap and it worked wonders!
    Does it throw off my body clock? Probably. Would I actually be able to make it through and enjoy what's going on without it? No!
    It's a vacation and that means enjoying yourself. If your party is dragging by 3. take a rest.
     
  19. MousetersInc

    MousetersInc Mouseketeer

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    That's when it's time to replace "going back to the resort and sleeping for hours" with "a couple rounds of Hall of Presidents with a pillow" ;)
     
  20. LSUfan4444

    LSUfan4444 DIS Veteran

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    Definitely huge. For one day success, Id agree in skipping a nap and just keeping the ball rolling. BUT, to feel good over a couple of days I probably would not implore the same strategy. Ive always had the best success not trying to adjust all my travel fatigue in one night. If I only get 3 hours one night I don't want to end up needing 12 two days later.
     
  21. 1911

    1911 DIS Dad #856

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    we always take a red eye out of lax arriving around 5-6:30 am.we have tried 3 strategies so far.1-going straight to the parks after checking in which results in an early day back to the room around 5 or 6 pm.2- taking a nap and getting to the parks around 2-3 pm and closing them down. and then last year we used arrival day as a resort/exploring day followed by disney springs.
    I can do option one no problem but my wife and daughter just can't.we have found that option 2 is doable for them but using arrival day as relaxation day is best for them so that's our strategy going forward.being wiped out for the start of vacation tends to carry through the entire trip for them.

    edit to add: we can never sleep on the flight and it takes us 4 hours to get to lax driving so we have more than a full day of travel prior to arriving at disney world.
     
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