Sleep Deprivation and Disney World

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Kristen K.'s picture
Joined: 09/01/2011
Posts: 23803
Sleep Deprivation and Disney World

When most people think of heading off on vacation it's for a relaxing week away from their everyday lives. I've noticed however that is doesn't seem to be the case for most people headed to Walt Disney World. In fact many pack much more into both their days and nights than they would ever dream of doing at home. Especially during the summer months, being at rope drop in the morning and closing down the parks at night can often mean that there's only 4-6 hours to get some rest. It's no wonder some tourists get so cranky!

So here's my question, do you sleep at Disney? If so, do you get more or less sleep than when you're at home? If you're up late do you sleep in? If you hit rope drop do you go to bed early? How do you manage your non-waking hours at the vacation kingdom?

RobynPrincess's picture
Joined: 03/14/2010
Posts: 2859

We never, ever make rope drop - I have tried a few times but just never make it Wink we tend to stay up late and sleep in late Smile


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The Colonel's picture
Joined: 11/08/2012
Posts: 2943

I always get 7 or 8 hours which is more than at home on work days. But the days are so long, and hot and you usually eat too much and are constantly on the go and on your feet,that it's exhausting. I used to feel that I needed a vacation when I got home from WDW.

In recent years, since I've been to WDW quite a few times and have seen everything multiple times, it's much more relaxed. I no longer go commando. I schedule a mid-trip day with nothing to do and try to make it a pool day. I'm done with touring plans and running from ride to ride. I also refuse to do more than one ADR a day. I don't want to eat that much. I try to schedule one ADR or event per day and wing it the rest of the day. I need rest.


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Allie's picture
Joined: 06/26/2012
Posts: 5477

We got practically no sleep on our last trip, however it was our first adult trip so we did go a little more commando. That paired with the fact we will not be trying to fit two days at Universal in our next trip so we'll have a couple of extra days, I have a feeling we will be much more relaxed in the future.

crazycatperson's picture
Joined: 09/19/2011
Posts: 3718

I try to get a reasonable amount of sleep, but I usually find myself lying awake in bed at night (it's Disney World, how can I not be excited). But I usually wake up plenty early enough to hit the parks shortly after rope drop if not before. And I generally don't feel tired during the day. So I guess the adrenaline makes up for any sleep I may have missed out on.

Joined: 09/12/2010
Posts: 4704

We pretty much keep to our normal routine at Disney. Sadly, both of us are early risers 7 days a week - we just can't sleep in! It's a curse.

We hit rope drop at all the parks because we're up anyhow. We might stay up and out a little later than we usually do, but we're not big night owls. We're usually done with the parks by 10:00 - 10:30 pm, which puts us pretty much in line with when we normally go to bed anyhow.

We also take a break after lunch and go relax at the pool or resort for an hour or 2. This works best for us. One of the first years we took no breaks at all, and by day 5-6 I was exhausted and lost alot of the magic for the remaining few days. I actually was ready to leave and go home before the trip ended! Imagine!! Not any more...we found our groove Smile

Kristen K.'s picture
Joined: 09/01/2011
Posts: 23803

I just can't do the Park commando thing anymore. One of the reasons that we're staying at Wilderness Lodge for our June trip is so that I can go back to the hotel in the afternoon and take a nap if I need to.

When we were at Disneyland last year one of the things that *really* made the vacation fantastic was how close we were to the hotel. It's not always as easy to do that at WDW.

mikesteffen's picture
Joined: 01/25/2013
Posts: 81

What is park commando?

We are way more active on vacation that at home. We usually completely wore out by the last day.

fmknightuk's picture
Joined: 08/23/2012
Posts: 259

Like most UK-ers, we visit for 2 weeks so we can take it a bit easier, with 2 dds i consider it essential that we all get enough sleep and i always schedule down time. I find we can make RD in the first week easily as we are still partly on UK time, so 6am the first morning feels more like 11am to us awesome Then into the 2nd week we're on US time so we lie in more and catch the evening parades, fireworks and shows. Works well for us. clapping



Kristen K.'s picture
Joined: 09/01/2011
Posts: 23803

mikesteffen wrote:
What is park commando?

That would be someone who's in at rope drop, out at closing, hitting as many attractions, and as much fun activities as you can possibly cram into one vacation! "Park Commandos" usually attack the day with strategic precision to avoid lines and optimize time!! They generally think resorts hotels are just a place to crash for the night.

Belinda's picture
Joined: 08/09/2012
Posts: 771

We tend to stay up later than normal - I absolutely love the parks after dark - and then sleep in. Sadly, this means I have never made rope drop. That should be a great excuse for another trip! crossfingers


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finngirl's picture
Joined: 04/11/2012
Posts: 1072

We're usually up early anyway, so we usually make it for rope drop. Our first adults only trip was last May, and we found our groove pretty easily. Early in the parks, ride our favourites, have a good lunch, and head back to the resort around 2. Then pool time, and nap time for DH. I usually find it impossible to sleep in the daytime, but I've been known to doze off at the resort too. laugh In the evening, we head wherever the spirit moves us, have a light dinner, and back to the resort by 11. I don't think we could go commando all day without a break - crankiness would definitely break out.



Time marches on. Eventually you realize it's doing it across your face.

Joined: 08/01/2012
Posts: 2037

I am a morning person (and so is my friend) so we will be at the parks when they open. But that also means that by 10:00-10:30 p.m. I start to wilt. I know that I won't be able to do everything and won't be able to which means that another trip must be planned. clapping

Joined: 12/29/2011
Posts: 499

When it's just the two of us I find the pace much calmer and more restful. I do enjoy closing the parks in the wee hours, but I just can't be up and at the next park 5 or 6 hours later. If absolutely necessary I can do it, but it seems to catch up with me a lot faster as I get older.

Just earlier tonight I mentioned to NHShorty that I might like to see the rope drop at MK on our next trip, but I know in my heart that it will be very difficult.

Aliceacc's picture
Joined: 02/16/2013
Posts: 75

Well, for starters, we're both teachers. We go the first week of August, so there are still at least 2 weeks of summer vacation before we all have to return to school. So we can return from Disney a bit tired, and still be OK.

I'm a morning person. I'm up first, whether at Disney or home. At WDW, I get up and shower, then wake my husband as I leave to get coffee. He showers, and I wake the kids when I return. I pretty much hand them their breakfast, so they get and easy half hour or 45 minutes extra in the mornings.

We're at the park from Rope Drop until lunch, then return to the resort for a swim. That swim really rejuvenates everyone.
Anyone who wants to nap, either in the sun or back in the room, can... but we seldom do.

At dinnertime we return to the resorts, and go until fireworks. So we're back by 11ish, and go right to bed.

To be honest, it's not all that different from regular hours. Yesterday, my alarm went off at 5. (It's 5:43 now, and I'm up and dressed for work.) I taught all day, came home and got dinner/did homework/threw in a load of laundry... and went back to school for parent-teacher-student conferences. I got home at about 9:20, but was wide awake from the drive. So I got to bed shortly before 11.

The difference, of course, is that I was teaching Geometry, not in DISNEY WORLD.

I don't know, sleep deprivation doesn't seem to be an issue for us.


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Vettelover's picture
Joined: 03/28/2009
Posts: 4658

BuffaloBill wrote:
If absolutely necessary I can do it, but it seems to catch up with me a lot faster as I get older.

Hey Bill you must be the only one getting older, Heck I'm only 30 (with 40 years of experience).


Emilio's picture
Joined: 03/23/2013
Posts: 339

Sleep confused ? During our first few visits to WDW (back in the 70-80's), we tackled the MK and later on EPCOT, like if it was going to close down forever. It was not a relaxing experience at all! As a matter of fact, we would have to take a day or two off on our return home, just to recuperate from our "vacation".

We realized in one of our visits that to fully enjoy WDW we had to slow down and "smell the roses". We took in the views, nature/wild life watched, stop and admired all the architectural details, people watched, have a snack at that little over the counter food place or just sit down and have a formal lunch or dinner. Then, we began to fully enjoy WDW, and yes, sleeping-in during our WDW vacation. laugh

Today, we look forward to each and every visit and basically just lazy around the parks or the resorts. wheelchair

p.s. No, I am not that old dude sitting in a wheel chair by the flowers laugh .

MrHub's picture
Joined: 10/29/2009
Posts: 9504

Never have a problem getting sleep at WDW. it's always the night before we get there is when I have trouble. biggrin

BoBo713's picture
Joined: 04/16/2012
Posts: 380

I've got to say we always hit it hard when we go to WDW. Our 2 weeks are always packed, days in the parks, nights in the parks or DTD. On the days we go shopping, we normally get up a little later. Sometimes we might head back to the resort and take a quick splash around in the pool, relaxing for the night ahead. We always go home feeling tired but extremely happy.



"Live well, laugh loud & love much"

EmmaV's picture
Joined: 07/15/2012
Posts: 26

there is no better nap in the world than a cheeky afternoon kip during a busy Disney day! biggrin biggrin
My family could not complete out trip without a nap every few afternoons! that tends to allow us a bigger choice on how much to do in the daytime and then how long we want to stay out for later on Laughing out loud

WDWfanatic's picture
Joined: 01/18/2013
Posts: 356

We generally don't go back to the resort for a nap. I would not say that we are commando either, but we do go all day.

I schedule a day, somewhere around half way through the week, sometimes toward the end of the week, where we have only an early lunch at DTD booked. Always Rainforest or T-Rex. That's the day we sleep in, get our big shopping done, slow down a little. If we decide to hit a park, we do, otherwise, it's back to the resort after we have had our fill of DTD and DH takes a nap. Then we decide what to do for the rest of the evening. DD's, well, they are young, their nap time is not as important to them as it is to me! They just like playing in hotel rooms.

We live not too far North of Atlanta, so we drive to WDW. We head to the resort to get our truck if we have late ADR's at another resort so that we don't have to do the whole long Disney transportation thing from resort to resort. On those nights, we do go back to the resort kind of early, rest up and clean up and then drive to our ADR. We do the same thing if we have early breakfast ADR's at a different resort. Just makes it much easier on us with the 2 & 4 year olds.

But, we really like to get all the park time that we can. The girls have learned to sleep in the stroller. Yes, even the 4 year old has learned how to nap in the jump seat of our sit & stand.



SpamGoddess's picture
Joined: 04/10/2013
Posts: 292

I got plenty of sleep my last trip, and it was my first time going, and only over a weekend! We would get so worn out that we'd sleep as soon as we'd get back to the resorts at night, and we wouldn't wake up in time for rope drops, but we'd normally get to the parks about 9 every morning. We did Commando it a bit, but the two full days we were in the parks, we'd go back to the resort and nap for an hour or two in the afternoons in between parks (Animal Kingdom, nap, Epcot, then the next day Epcot, Studios, nap, Magic Kingdom). It really helped a lot, and for this next trip I'm planning, nap time will also be included. laugh


Mrs. Minnie's picture
Joined: 02/13/2013
Posts: 76

We've only ever been to WDW once before and we only visited MK and Epcot and weren't staying on property so naps were unfortunately not an option. When we venture down in Oct we are staying at POR so I think we will include nap times into our schedule. The first time we went I felt very anxious and wanted to see and do as much as we possibly could. This time around we'd like to take it slower and like Emilio said, stop and smell the roses!


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Kris1971's picture
Joined: 08/10/2011
Posts: 2350

I used to be all about squeezing everything in, but as I get older I've actually taken a much more laid back approach. In fact, on my last grown ups trip with my husband we limited our time to just MK and Epcot. We never even hit the other two parks. However, when I took my niece and nephew this past October, we did a lot more. I guess it depends on the mood and who I'm with.