This “Hack” Could Make or Break Your Disney Vacation

in Walt Disney World

Disney's Wilderness Lodge at night

Credit: Disney

There are a lot of tips, advice, and “hacks” that you’re bombarded with when planning your Walt Disney World vacation – and for a good reason. So much goes into planning; between Park tickets, hotel reservations, Park reservations, virtual queues, dining reservations, Genie+, Lightning Lane, additional experiences… well, it can be hard to keep track of it all. Additionally, Walt Disney World is so large it can be exhausting and near-impossible to see everything in one trip.

There is one popular yet divisive tip that people recommend to conquer this feat, and that is the fabled midday break at your Resort. But are you actually saving energy by leaving the Park in the middle of the day? Or are you putting your perfect trip at risk?

Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
Credit: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

Walt Disney World is exhausting. It’s less of a “lounge by the pool all week” kind of vacation and more of a “wake up at 6 a.m. so you can be the first people on Tower of Terror” kind. Thusly, the idea of starting early, leaving the Park in the middle of the day and taking a nap or having a swim at your Resort, and then returning for the evening sounds great. You still get your Park time in without the expense of your sleep and feet. But is the time spent napping at your Resort time missed riding your favorite attractions? You’re at the Most Magical Place on Earth; who needs sleep? And don’t you want to get the most bang for your buck?

Let’s examine some pros and cons to taking the famous midday break.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World
Credit: Disney

Why You SHOULD Take a Midday Break

  • Disney World is huge and exhausting. The entire property is around 43 square miles, and you can easily rack up five, eight, or even more than ten miles of walking at a Park.
  • Florida is HOT and HUMID. For most of the year, Florida is an extremely hot and humid state, and its tenfold in the summer. Walking around in the sun for twelve hours consuming nothing but Coke and Mickey ice cream bars will do a number on your body, and breaks in the air conditioning are good for you.
  • It’s raining. If you’re not one to stick it out through bad weather, the traditional Florida 3 p.m. rainstorm can be a great time to relax in your room or change out of your wet clothes, so you’re not trying to watch fireworks in soggy sneakers.
  • Your little ones need it. Bringing your children to Disney World can be one of your most treasured memories. However, even though they seem to have boundless energy at home, they need time to relax, nap, or just escape the extremely overstimulating theme parks.
  • Wait times peak at midday. Midday is the most crowded part of the day for the Parks. If you get to the Parks early enough in the morning to enjoy them, you can afford to escape to your Resort as the Park gets crowded and revisit once people start heading home.
  • You can enjoy your Resort. What’s the point of paying a LOT for a Disney Resort if you’re never in it? A midday break is a perfect time to try your Resort’s pool and other amenities. You can try one of the Resort’s restaurants or have a drink at the bar. Disney Resorts are top-notch, so enjoy all they have to offer!
disney's boardwalk at night
Credit: Disney

Why You SHOULDN’T Take a Midday Break

  • Travel to and from your Resort takes a while. Say your plan is to leave the Park at 3 p.m., take a dip in the pool, and return around 4:30 p.m.. Well, you leave the Park at 3 p.m., wait 20 minutes for the bus, then it’s a 10 minute bus ride, a five minute walk to your room, 15 minutes to get changed, you spend an hour in the pool, 15 minutes to get changed again, wait 20 more minutes for the bus… oops, it’s almost 6:30 p.m.. Travel at Disney takes longer than you think.
  • You’re staying off-property. If you think getting back to Disney Resorts takes a while, finding your car in the parking lot, calling a rideshare, or waiting for a coach bus could take even longer.
  • It’s raining. Counterpoint to what was said above: everyone gets the same idea and leaves the Park when it rains. However, if you’ve got a poncho or umbrella and are willing to brave the elements, wait times will plummet in a storm. It’s a perfect time to ride indoors or watch an indoor show.
  • Getting your money’s worth. A one-day Park ticket to Walt Disney World can cost upwards of $130. If the Park is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., how many of those hours do you want to spend resting? Some Guests don’t consider it worth it.
  • Missing your boarding group. If you’re waiting on a boarding group for an attraction like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, the app will try to give you an estimate as to when your group will be called, but sometimes, they move quicker than anticipated and open up early. You don’t want to be in the pool and get a notification that you have an hour to get back to EPCOT before you miss it.
  • You could be missing out on things. If you’re not a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World, this could be your only chance for the next few years to experience the Parks. For some Guests, it’s worth it to power through being tired to ride their favorite ride or meet their favorite character.
pop century
Credit: Disney

So… to midday break, or not to midday break?

It’s all up to you and the party you’re traveling with. Here are some things to keep in mind while planning your trip;

  • Know how to get to and from your Resort. If you’re staying in the Contemporary Resort, you can probably get from your room to the front gate of Magic Kingdom in under 20 minutes. However, getting to Animal Kingdom will take a little longer. Study the transportation options at your Resort so you can travel efficiently.
  • Gauge your party. Are you a group of energetic young adults ready to rope drop and stay until Park close? Or are you a large family with grandparents and small children? Some parties may need the break more than others.
  • Plan your reservations accordingly. If you know it’s possible your party may need a break around lunch, don’t schedule a lunch reservation in the Park. Save Lightning Lane reservations for early in the morning or later in the evening if you can.
  • Plan a Resort day. If you’d like to experience your Resort without leaving the Parks, and your schedule allows for it, plan a Resort day in the middle of your trip. Take the opportunity to sleep in, lounge by the pool, and explore the hotel with little pressure.
  • Get to the Park early. If you know you want to take a dip in the pool around 2 p.m., then make sure you get to the Park at 9 a.m., not 11 a.m. The Parks are much less crowded first thing in the morning, and you can get a lot done in the first hour of the Park’s operation. By the time 2 p.m. rolls around, you could have hit all of your must-dos and can return in the evening with little pressure.

Know your group and play it by ear. If there’s one thing we’ve learned on Disney vacations, it’s to be ready when plans change. Don’t forget, you’re on vacation!

Do you do the midday break? Let us know!

in Walt Disney World

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