How To Avoid Meltdowns at Disney

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Meltdowns in Epcot

You have this perfect image of your kids walking hand-in-hand down main street with the castle up ahead.  They are laughing together and whispering secrets to one another.   It is the perfect trip.

And then you get to Disney.  And reality hits.  The kids will fight.  There will be meltdowns.  Tears will be shed.  There might even be a minute where you question how it could ever be called the “happiest place on earth”.  It is okay.  We have all been there.  I am here to tell you that there are ways to prevent most of these things from happening daily during your trip.  Steps to take in order to prevent most meltdowns.

  1. Talk to the kids

We found that it helped telling our kids the plan the evening before they fell asleep.  Walking them through where we were going (the castle, tree, hat or ball) and what they would be able to do seemed to help the next day with eliminating meltdowns over them wanting to do something that was at another park entirely.  We even made little literary sheets with pictures to help them understand.  I saw a mom that had a mini book with her on the stroller that her kids flipped through as we waited for rope drop.  It had pictures of all the different rides they’d be able to do that.  No matter how you go about doing this, letting the kids know that tentative plan can go a long ways.

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Communicating he was done with the stroller

2.  Listen to them

This one is hard for me.  I am a planner and I don’t like when things mess with my plan; however, my kids challenged me on this and I had to learn quickly during our trip to slow down and listen.  When kids are crying, whining, pouting or all out throwing a tantrum they are normally trying to tell you something.  It is time to revert back to when they were babies and go through the checklist: are they tired, hungry, hot, cold, overwhelmed?  When our kids started to get crabby, I had to remind myself that it wasn’t the time to dig my heals in and power on with my plan, but to stop and figure out exactly what they needed.  Yes, we might have lost fifteen minutes or so of ride time, but in the end we gained time as by taking time to listen we prevented a major meltdown that might have caused us to leave the park altogether.

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This little one needs her sleep

3.  Don’t drastically change their schedule

Stop and think about your kids’ typical day.  When do they eat?  How long do they sleep?  Do they nap?  Do they shower before bed?  In order to prevent meltdowns and tantrums, try to stick to their routines as much as possible.  If you kids need 10 hours of sleep normally, don’t think you can magically change it to 8 and have no meltdowns.  Plan some breaks, rest time,  and sleeping in mornings.  Even if they are like my kids who will still be up at 6:00 am even though it is a day to sleep in, not having to rush to the park will help them.  If lunch time in normally around 12:00, try to make sure you are eating close to that normal time, or make sure you are having snacks to prevent a food meltdown.  Kids, just like adults, bodies have internal schedules and it is important to be aware of those while on vacation.

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Enjoying Dream Along With Mickey

4.  Relax, breathe

Don’t get mad when they don’t want to follow your schedule and plan.  I struggle with this one as well.  As much as I would love for my kids to see our plan and be ready to follow it perfectly, this never happens.  And it is okay.  Some of our best memories from trips are those that were not planned.  We watched the Dream Along with Mickey show at least three times our last trip and it wasn’t even in our plan once, but our kids saw it from a distance and it became a favorite.   We ended just chilling after a show and letting the kids play with bubbles and just be kids.  It is one of my favorite moments and it wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t stop and breathe.  Don’t miss those magical moments because you are so stuck on the plan.

  1.  Be proactive

Kids are kids and will act that way no matter where you are even if it is the most magical place on earth.  Try to plan ahead and think about what might cause a meltdown and take steps to prevent it from happening.  Hunger is a major trigger for meltdowns in our world.  I know this, so I always make sure to have a quick snack and water with us at all times.  Bathroom breaks are especially important to plan in as it will be stressful for all if you are waiting in line and have to leave for a bathroom stop.  Think through those triggers for your kids and take some steps to prevent them from happening.

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Hanging out at Epcot

Meltdowns will happened by kids and even adults at Disney.  I hope these quick tips will help you prevent them from happening too much throughout your trip.  

Do you have any great tips for preventing meltdowns from happening? Share them in the comments!

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