Ever come home from a vacation and wonder how you could possibly be more tired than when you left? It happens all the time!!
You know what really makes it possible?
Going on vacation with kids. Even more so with kids of the toddler and preschool variety when you head to Disney World.
Kids don’t want to sleep at Disney World. There is so much excitement going on, so many things stimulating their little brains, that sleep is the absolute last thing on their minds!!
Can you really blame them though? Disney World is the most magical place on Earth.
Who has time to sleep when magic is happening? I mean, I know I don’t!
You know what isn’t magical? Having to deal with a toddler and a preschooler who don’t sleep while at the most magical place on Earth.
Yes, my friends, when toddlers and preschoolers who are being bombarded with an overload of sensory stimuli don’t sleep, it is a recipe for disaster.
Tired kids at Disney translate into a meltdown faster than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. The meltdowns happen quick and are hard to stop.
What, then, is the remedy? The one thing that often seems hardest to come by when you are on vacation. Sleep. It becomes cyclical, because this is exactly what they are avoiding!
But, you knew that already. As a matter of fact, you might be sleep deprived right now and reading this post. You don’t want me to tell you, you need sleep. No, you want tips, suggestions, or any helpful answer that might bring you to the promised land full of sleep.
Therefore, without further ado, let’s dive into what is going to help you bring you that precious sleep at Disney World. Learn my tried and true tricks which help us all get a decent night of sleep when at the most magical place on earth: Walt Disney World.
Sleep, afterall, is magical…
1. Limit the Treats After 6pm for Sleep at Disney
By all means make sure you enjoy a few treats here and there while on vacation, but it might be really beneficial to limit the sweets a few hours before bedtime.
Especially any sweets with chocolate in them due to the caffeine.
Over here we are super sensitive to caffeine. Even the little amount that is found in chocolate makes us a little nutso. There are times we don’t follow this rule of limiting the chocolate late at night. …then we end up being up…late at night!
If you know this is you or your kiddos too, be sure to watch the chocolate consumption in the evening and afternoon.
In summary, just be aware of your kiddos sugar tolerance late at night when in Disney World. If you know sugar, chocolate and all of that yummy stuff makes them a little loopy, it might be best to limit it before bedtime.
2. Bring a Buddy from Home (Or Buy a New One!)
Whatever you might call them: loveys, buddies, stuffed animals, teddy, the list goes on and on. Be sure to bring one of them from home.
This is especially true if your little on is accustomed to sleeping with a stuffed animal in their bed. By having a familiar pal, it makes settling into bed a little easier as your little one recognizes this familiar part of sleep back home.
Bringing your little one’s most favorite stuffed animal from home might seem like a no brainer when helping your little one doze off, but it actually might not be the best choice.
If you happen to bring the best little buddy from home and then some unfortunate event, like said buddy gets left behind, your in for a much bigger potential problem than your little one not falling asleep fast.
On a recent Disney World vacation, my son brought along a Tsum Tsum Lion King character which was unfortunately left in the Magic Kingdom during Mickeys-Not-So-Scary-Halloween-Party. That little Tsum Tsum was never returned even after we spent some time on the phone and in person with Lost-and-Found.
Thankfully, that Tsum Tsum wasn’t ‘Lambie’, my little one’s pride and joy stuffed toy. If ‘Lambie’ had gotten lost, it would have been a sad, sad situation.
In conclusion, bring along a stuffed toy your little one loves, but make sure it’s not the ‘favorite’. Or even better, buy a new stuffed toy for your little one to cuddle when you’re down in Disney World! The cuddles might lead to sleep in Disney World.
3. Get Your Hotel Room Dark
Speaking of light, be sure to get your hotel room super dark to help encourage sleep. Disney World has decent blackout curtains in each of their rooms, but even with blackout curtains light likes to sneak into the room. If you notice light seeping through the cracks of your blackout curtains, you could try pushing a chair against the curtains to help keep the light contained.
Alternatively, I’ve tried painters tape to close the curtains. The curtains are often too heavy for painters tape to do much. Just a heads up in case you planned to go that way.
4. Have a Settling Down Routine
Odds are your little one’s regular bedtime from back home isn’t happening when you’re living it up in Disney World.
You’re on vacation and so is your little one. Having fun and staying up late is the name of the game (most nights).
To help get your little one to sleep, try creating some similarities to your little one’s sleep routine at home. For us it’s as simple as brushing teething, going to the bathroom and reading a book and saying prayers before bed.
Bring a Book
Often we bring a few Disney themed books from home or pick up a new one to read while we are in Disney World. Bonus points if the books are at all related to the parks we’ve been visiting.
Alternatively, there are a few Disney stories that are ‘read’ on one of the Disney resort TV stations in your room. This is subject to change, but it’s worth looking into if this is part of your normal bedtime routine at home.
Normally, TV has been known to get kids a little more on the excited side than tired side.
So, even though the TV is technically ‘reading’ a story to your little one (the TV shows ‘still’ animations), it might not be the best trick for getting your little one to settle down.
5. Use a White Noise Machine
Seriously, use a white noise machine. Especially if you find that you are a light sleeper.
While most Disney resorts never seem too noisy, if little things seem to keep you up from the outside, odds are they are keeping your kiddo up as well. In our home we swear by a noise machine.
6.Everyone Go to Bed at the Same Time
At home chances are your kids probably go to bed a few hours before you do. After they are in bed, you might catch up on a few chores, read a book or enjoy a little TV.
On vacation if you plan to share one hotel room, this probably isn’t the most feasible option when it comes to bedtime. If that bright TV is on, even if the sound is turned way down, you might find yourself yourself with some very, very alert kiddos on your hands.
Everyone heads to bed at the exact same time!
Might not sound the like the most exciting option, but after walking around the parks all day (sometimes up to a 1/2 marathon worth of distance!), sleep at an earlier hour probably doesn’t sound all that bad. Every kiddo is different. Some might not mind a little noise, so just be sure to monitor and determine what is going to be best for your kiddos.
Conclusion for Getting Your Kids to Sleep at Disney World
There you go! Some of our tried and true tricks for getting kiddos to sleep at Disney World. Remember each trip is different, so even if some of these tricks work for you for one trip, but not another, don’t give up.
Keep trying different tricks and tip and adjust as you need to for your own family to figure out what works best. Keep in mind, as well, that it’s okay to bend the rules on vacation.
So, if that cupcake at 10pm is going to make your trip a little more magical, go for it! Just be sure to make plans to stay up until midnight ;).
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