There is so much to do in Disney World, we may want to get to the parks early and stay as late as possible. When we finally make it to the most magical place on earth, we want to fit in so many things to see and do. Our “must see” lists are longer than the hours in the day. Besides, Disney World is SO FUN. Why wouldn’t we stay all day? But, hear me out. There are good reasons to leave the parks. Here are five reasons not to stay in a Disney park all day long.
I’m a mom with two little ones, so when I say naps are important, I have my fair share of exhausted meltdowns to prove it. Kids need naps in Disney. Even the big kids. Even Mom and Dad.
Being in Disney can be sensory overload. The excitement, the rides, the characters, and the heat. All of that can cause a serious meltdown if the little ones (and their parents) don’t get a break.
My favorite way to spend a day in Disney is to get to the parks early then take a break after lunch. We go back to the hotel, grab a nap and some air conditioning, and let our feet take a well-deserved break. After we’ve had a few hours to relax, we head back to the park around dinnertime. This works out perfectly because the toddlers are rested, and the parks are starting to empty out a bit. We can catch lighter crowds in the evening and hit some of our favorite rides a second time. And because they napped, the kiddos are happy and content to stay a little later into the evening.
Dining Outside the Park
Although the parks are the main attraction in Disney World, there are also some great restaurants. Many of these are found outside of the parks. Take a break from the Magic Kingdom and hop on a bus or monorail to find your way to the Disney resorts or Disney Springs.
You can enjoy Asian fusion at Morimoto Asia, Irish fare at Raglan Road, or classic Italian dishes at Maria & Enzo’s, all in Disney Springs. In the Disney resorts, you can find a perfectly cooked steak at Yachtsman Steakhouse (Disney’s Yacht Club Resort), grand views at California Grill (Disney’s Contemporary Resort), and some super-fun character meals at ‘Ohana (Disney’s Polynesian Village) and Chef Mickey’s (Disney’s Contemporary Resort).
Disney Resort Events
Another reason to head outside of the Disney Parks is to check out all that the resorts have to offer. The Disney resorts have events planned every single day of the year. But, you may miss them all if you’re in the parks.
If you’re willing to leave the rides behind for a few hours, you can catch a variety of events that are fun for the whole family. There are Polynesian-themed dinner shows, movies on the beach, campfires and s’mores, and tea parties for the kids. On special event days, you may even get meet-and-greets with some of your favorite Disney characters! Be sure to get a resort calendar when you check in, and make note of any special events you want to check out.
My favorite time of day to hit up a Disney resort pool is when we take a mid-day break. The crowds at the pools tend to be low because most people are in the park. There’s no better way to beat the heat than slip-sliding down a water slide, or tucked under an umbrella sipping a cold drink. Disney resorts have some amazing themed pools that include splash and play areas for the littlest of swimmers, and giant pools for the big kids (and kids at heart).
To me, The Boardwalk area of Disney World is seriously underrated. It’s just steps from Epcot’s World Showcase, yet you can walk there just about any time of day and find lots of open space. This area has a huge grassy spot just outside The Boardwalk Inn for the kids to run and play. There’s a boardwalk reminiscent of Coney Island and Atlantic City that circles Crescent Lake. You can find shops, restaurants, street performances, and some of the best ice cream in Disney World.
This is one of my favorite places to take a break from the parks. There are benches along the boardwalk to watch the Friendship boats sail by, people watch, or just sit and watch the kids run off some energy for a bit. Next time you’re in Epcot, take a turn by France and find your way to one of my favorite spots in Disney.
Disney Your Way
However you choose to do a day in Disney, do it your way. If rope drop to park close is your thing, I admire your endurance! But, if you’re willing to leave the parks, even for a few hours, you can find some great ways to re-energize, explore new areas of Disney World, and get yourself back to the parks in time for the fireworks! And hey, you may even find a new favorite place, or tradition to enjoy for many years to come.