The All Important “Down Day”

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I was attempting small talk with some other moms at a child’s birthday party the other day when the conversation took a pleasant turn for the better.  It seems that everyone I know is has either just returned from, is currently at, or is in the planning stages of a Walt Disney World vacation.   One of the moms announced that she was thinking of a Disney trip and did anyone know where to start.  Ha!  That was all I needed to jump right in and offer some words of advice!  I started like I always do by recommending my favorite travel agency, The Magic For Less, giving the website information and the name of my agent (Jessica).  Then I wait for the inevitable barrage of questions that always follows once it is known that I have made more than one pilgrimage to the Mouse Mecca.   I love to answer questions  and was not let down.  I always enjoy seeing  how the conversation will flow and what the focus will turn to.  This time it was “how long should we go for?”  Now you know as well as I do that there is different answer for everyone when answering this question.  However the person who was asking me was a friend with children who are close to the same age as my children and she wanted to know what I thought so I told her my opinion.  I said that a week was nice for a lot of reasons, but before I could get started on my reasoning another friend jumped in and said that they went last year for four days and that was “LONG ENOUGH!”  She proceeded to tell that by the end of day three they were exhausted and the thrill was losing momentum.  That ended up being the perfect lead into my whole point of why a week was a nice length of time.  I held my ground and started in on why seven full days is better than four.

My thoughts are that with a full week, you have time to relax and smell the flowers in the parks and you also have time for the all important down day in the middle of the trip.  I like to have three park days, a down day for swimming and laundry, and then two or three more park days.  The down day in the middle is essential for sleeping in and catching some extra zzzzz’s.  We take this morning to have a late breakfast at Chef Mickey’s so that our morning rope drop at the parks is not compromised, but we still have the character breakfast experience.  After we are sufficiently stuffed we head back to the resort and let the kids go nuts at the pool.  Let’s face it, the kids want to swim so we might as well make time to use some of the amenities that we are paying for.  I get to do a few loads of laundry (Hooray! Insert heavy sarcasm here.) which is desperately needed after three sweaty days in the parks and rest my feet while lounging poolside as my kids splash the afternoon away.  When everyone is water logged we head back to the room for a late afternoon nap/cartoon time.  The evening is whatever we feel like doing, shopping at Downtown Disney, ice cream, more swimming after dinner or just hanging out at the resort.  Whatever we decide to do, my only rule is that we have an early bedtime that night.  The whole point of the down day, is to be relaxed and well rested so that when we head back to the parks, no one is tired  and cranky.  The day after our down day is almost as exciting as that first park day.  We head out first thing in the morning ready for rope drop and a full day of fun.

I do understand that not everyone has the time or desire to spend a full week at Disney World, but this is the way we like to do it.  The friends that I were talking to were surprised that I had such concrete reasons for our “length of stay” and the woman that said that four days was too many at the beginning of the conversation admitted that my way sounded much nicer after I explained myself.  She said she had visions of showing up at rope drop and not leaving until the park closed in the evening for seven straight days!  I told her that as much as I loved going to Disney World, that was even too much for me!  It is a vacation after all.

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