The one thing many people I have talked to who have just taken their first trip to Walt Disney World say over and over again is that they feel like they need a vacation to recover from their vacation. Yes, you can do Walt Disney World commando style. Some may even enjoy it that way going from dawn until closing every day for days on end but at most points someone in the group will break down and not be able to keep up that pace. What then?
Disney doesn’t have to be the must do it all now vacation. One great thing about Disney is that everything from your hotel room, to the food courts, restaurants and theme parks are supposed to be experiences to be savored and enjoyed. Think of them like a fine wine. At first glance or sniff you think you know everything about what you are getting in your glass but that first sip tells you differently. There is much more here than I thought.
You can find quiet little niches in all the parks to sit and watch the people, animals or world go by. Take the nap in the middle of the day. Go back to your hotel room, relax, swim and get clean fresh clothes to enjoy a cool evening in the parks. Schedule an early dinner or late lunch at a hotel other than the one you are staying at and linger over it. Yes, you can do this in Disney World! If they bring your entree too soon and you have not finished your soup or salad, politely ask them to hold it for a bit so you can savor your wonderful meal and atmosphere.
Let the kids stop and play. You do not have to be on the go all the time. There are play grounds and spray grounds all over. We once spent almost an hour with our daughter in the jumping fountains at Epcot. (These are usually open seasonally). We learned to carry a change of clothes in a back pack when our kids were little not only for spills and messes but for water and fun time. Go into the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground and let yourself think you are the size of an ant. Get into it with them. Just be sure to know where they are headed as some of these playgrounds have more than one exit and where they enter a tunnel may not be where you think it will come out! We learned this the hard way.
As you enter each attraction think of each step of your way onto the ride or show as part of the experience. Notice the corny jokes on the Jungle Cruise walls, read all the quotes on the wall outside of Living with the Land or let out your inner child by creating a lion faced picture of yourself at the Imagination Pavillion and e-mail it to all your friends at home. Read the windows over the shops as you walk down Main Street. Search for Lady and Tramps paw prints outside of Tony’s Town Square Restaurant or look for hidden Mickeys.
The United Kingdom and Japan have our most favorite gardens to relax in at Epcot. Unless there is a show on in UK the gardens tend to be fairly deserted. The children can look at all the buildings in the UK and hop up and down the stairs if the like without bothering anyone. Japan offers Koi and bonsai trees along their paths. My children loved watching the fish swim for quite a while last trip and found the bonsai trees enthralling.
The Animal Kingdom is be BEST place for quiet little nooks and crannies. As you enter the parks take your time and explore the animals if you can. Read the plaques. Learn something about the animals. There are hidden benches around some of the areas on the right of the Oasis. You have to go through the paths to see them.
Around the Tree of Life there are small nooks and crannies in shade to find a seat or between Africa and Asia follow some of the smaller paths and you will usually find a bench or a small overlook to the Tree of Life. These are great spaces for quiet times in the shade and perfect places to grab a small snack.
Play golf (even miniature golf). Get a massage. Rent a boat. Put your kids in The Neverland Club and have date night.
You are in charge of your schedule it is not in charge of you. Make this a great vacation that you all will want to experience time and time again.