So you’re at one of the parks and you’ve been there since about 30 minutes before it opened to avoid some of the crowds. You’ve gone on rides, met some characters, and tried not to buy every adorable stuffed animal or light up toy that your kids have seen. Not only is your energy starting to wane, but by now your kids are probably pretty over-stimulated and everyone is getting ready for a melt down!
If you happen to be staying on property, this is a great time to head back to the hotel for a nap or a swim and just relax for an hour or two before you head back in the evening for round 2.
But what happens if you’re not able to leave easily, do you just get ready for the tantrum you know is coming? Not to worry, this is where all of your planning will pay off, there are plenty of places in each of the parks to stop for a bit and unwind, and you just need to know where to find them.
Walt Disney Railroad: The train goes all the way around the park and stops at Main Street, Frontierland, and the border of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. The depots are quiet and mostly empty and the ride is extremely slow and relaxing. If your kids don’t mind the whistle this is a great place to lull them to sleep!
Casey Jr.’s Splash ‘N’ Soak: This is a splash pad right outside of Dumbo the Flying Elephant and many parents skip it because they don’t want to walk around with wet kids the rest of the day. Pack some extra clothes or a bathing suit, there’s a bathroom close by to change them into something dry afterwards, and let them run around splash in total freedom! Make sure to apply sunscreen before and after you set them free.
Carousel of Progress: This ride is a classic, full of nostalgia for any fan of Walt Disney since it was one of the first he created for the World’s Fair in 1964, but it was one of the first he created so society has progressed a bit past the carousel. You get to sit down in the dark and the ride moves in a circle for about 20 min. so it’s another great nap ride for those not entertained by the “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority: Affectionately known as the WEDway People Mover this is another classic Disney ride. It’s an urban mass transit system that takes you on a second story tour of Tomorrowland. It’s only 10 minutes long but still a great way to get out of the crowds.
Liberty Square River Boat: This steam powered riverboat takes you on a 17 min cruise around Tom Sawyer Island. It’s nice to get away from the crowds but if you’re tired be aware that the seating on the boat is limited.
Hall of Presidents: This 25 min show is an entertaining lesson about the history of America given by animatronic versions of all of the Presidents of the United States. In a dark air conditioned theater it’s the perfect place to relax.
Tom Sawyer Island: (Cover picture) Hop on a log raft to explore the island full of caves, secret passages, and a pioneer fort. The kids will love the unstructured running around and you’ll feel like you are in a completely different world.
Country Bear Jamboree: Similar to the Hall of Presidents this show is in a dark, air conditioned theater, but your children will have a hard time sleeping through this charming 16 min show and it’s cast of singing bears!
Enchanted Tiki Room: This 12 min show boasts a cast of more than 50 audio-animatronic birds as well as singing totem poles and masks! It’s a great place to enjoy that Dole whip and get out of the heat!
The Living Seas: Staring at fish tanks has been proven to lower stress, anxiety, and even your blood pressure so this enormous fish tank is a great place to explore when you need to get away from the crowds.
Strolling around this charming section of Epcot will transport you to countries all over the world. There are plenty of gardens with seating areas to sit and watch the world go by and most of all, give your kids a break from standing in lines!
The Boneyard: Located in Dinoland USA your kids can pretend to be archeologists while they dig up dinosaur bones and you can relax and watch them.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and Maharajah Jungle Trek: These aren’t sit down and relax in the dark attractions but are relaxing strolls through a Disney made jungle to see animals that don’t show up in your backyard (I hope!). Because they’re not “thrilling” the paths are much less crowded and it’s easy to forget where you are.
Finding Nemo the Musical and Festival of the Lion King: Both are adaptations of their stage shows and an entertaining way to sit down for a while.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Walt Disney Presents Beauty on the Beast Live Onstage, and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular: All are wonderful stage shows that you won’t necessarily want to snooze through, but they are wonderful for sitting down for a large chunk of time to rest your feet and get away from crowds.
While you’re taking a break it’s a good time to make sure everyone is well fed and hydrated. “Hanger” causes tantrums in adults as well as children, so that granola bar or bottle of water may change your whole family’s attitude for the better!
That 30 minutes or so that you step away from the excitement can be all it takes for everyone to re-energize and come out with a better attitude, and that’s all you need to make sure your day of fun stays fun all day!