Family vacations tend to go by so quickly. Have you ever wondered how to slow down time at Walt Disney World? Our family discovered the joy in taking our vacation at a slower pace when we visited Walt Disney World this past October. Here’s our story, and a few ways to slow down time for YOUR family next time you visit!
In planning for our very first Walt Disney World vacation, we ordered the free customized park maps and vacation planning DVD. We pored over those maps, putting stickers on all of the shows and attractions we wanted to enjoy while we were there. There was just so much we wanted to do, we wondered if there would be time for it all. Those first family trips to our happy place were fun and frantic. We learned a few lessons along the way; and we learned our way around the parks, so that maps were no longer necessary. We also learned to manage our time better, and how to take advantage of early and evening magic hours to maximize the number of things we could accomplish in a day.
This time was different for our family. We learned to slow down, how to make the most of our time with each other, and how to maximize the memories.
This time we were there to celebrate our oldest daughter’s senior year of high school. We wanted time to SLOW DOWN, because we were aware that this may have been the last time she would be able to enjoy a family vacation with us for a while.
So, how DO you slow down time at Walt Disney World?
First, make your park days shorter.
If you have been to Walt Disney World many times, as we have, you realize that this will all be here next time I come. But, this is the only time I will experience it with my children at THIS age. Linger at your dinner table, reminiscing about your day at the parks. Browse the shops for a little longer while your children try on those silly hats. Take a stroll around your resort together, or slip on your swimsuits for a night time dip in the pool while other guests are still enjoying the parks. These will create precious memories.
Second, take a day off from the parks.
There are many things to take in on property while never setting foot in one of the parks. Take the monorail for a resort tour, and a loop through Future World in Epcot. Hop over to Fort Wilderness Campground for Chip and Dale’s Campfire Singalong. Stroll around Disney Springs where you can have a little family competition at Splitsville or Disney Quest. End the evening with a Movie Under the Stars at your Disney resort.
Third, take a time out from Social Media.
Unplug, and let your family have your undivided attention. I know, the world wants to know what you are eating and how many selfies you can post in a day. But, here’s an idea: make them wait! Can you imagine the suspense and anticipation your friends will experience awaiting your return to the world wide web? You will have comments and likes for DAYS after you plug back in….and you will have memories that only you and your family will know and hold dear. How special is that?
Last, let your children be your guides.
My children are old enough to know exactly what THEY want to do at the parks. Allow them to take a front seat in the vacation planning process. And when you are there, let them lead! Do they want to stay later? Will do. Are they ready to leave, and just relax in the room? Okay. Not interested in shows? Done. In “real life” they don’t get the chance to do this. Their days are planned out for them with school, sports, extra-curricular activities, etc. Let them spend vacation the way they dream of it.
Walt Disney World vacations can speed past us in a whirlwind. There is so much to do, so much to see, so many places to go. Just remember, it will always be there…your family will not. This vacation was very special for our family. And, as I said before, it may be the last one we are able to enjoy with this precious girl for a while.
Time…please, SLOW DOWN!!!