Meltdown in the Magic Kingdom

Meltdown in the Magic Kingdom

This article is one of the most popular articles I have written for Magical Distractions:

Meltdowns happen even in the most magical place on earth. It’s not really even a question of if, but when they will happen. The trick is to make sure that everyone in your group doesn’t have one at once!

Photo Credit Robin Pauley

Photo Credit Robin Pauley

What are some of the main causes of meltdowns at Walt Disney World?

  • Dehydration
  • Heat
  • Over-Stimulation
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Crowds or Anxiety
  • Selfie Sticks
  • Line Cutters
  • Expectations

Here are 10 tips to help keep meltdowns at bay for everyone in your group:

  • Sunscreen -Don’t skimp and reapply! Sunburns are no fun-especially on day 2 of a 6 day trip!
  • Hand Sanitizer – keep those germs away so you can feel your best!
  • DRINK WATER! Dehydration is sneaky and will make you grouchy!
  • Over-stimulated? Crowds getting to you? Take a break in a quiet, shady spot.
  • Eat something – Feeling grumpy? Drink some water and get a snack.
  • Let It Go. Sometimes there will be someone that tries to cut or steal your parade spot- just politely let a Cast Member know and bring a little extra patience.
  • Wear comfortable, well broken in shoes. Buy a new shirt for your trip, not new shoes!
  • Realize you will not be able to do it all- attitude is everything! If you are grumbling about what you didn’t get to do, so will Grandpa and the kids.
  • Late Night = late start the next day. Don’t set yourself up for failure staying out till midnight and having an 8 am reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table.
  • Dress comfortably.

Tips just for Babies:

  • Naps! Naps! Naps! In the stroller or in your hotel
  • Bring an extra bottle – sometimes they just need a snack
  • Stroller Fan – the breeze will make a difference
  • Wear your baby- the Baby Bijorn Air is mesh and breathable, one of my favorites for summer babywearing!
  • Take advantage of baby care centers – they have everything you need in air-conditioned comfort
  • Practice napping in stroller before you go
  • Make sure they wear a hat- their little heads can get sunburned very easily.

Baby Sleeping in Stroller

Tips just for Preschoolers:

  • Applesauce pouches/Gummy snacks/juice boxes. When the kids get grouchy, this is my first line of defense. Sometimes they just need to get those bloodsugar levels up.
  • WATER – keep them hydrated!
  • Rent a stroller or bring one with you – Disney does not hand out medals for “toughing it out.”  This may be the only time all year your kid uses a stroller, there is no shame in it and it is much easier to push a passed out 6 year old than carry one
  • Load a new app on your phone and save for longer waits in line
  • Naps! In the stroller or in your hotel.
  • Bubbles (Gymboree bubbles are hands down the best)
  • Stickers (good for sharing and putting on the end of Dad’s nose for a laugh)
  • Put a few favorite tv episodes on your smart phone- (We keep a few Little Einsteins the kids have seen a million times, so it doesn’t matter if they can hear it)

Sticker Princess

Tips for Big Kids:

  • According to my tween boy, a Mickey Bar will solve any discomfort.
  • WATER, even the flavored kind – keep them hydrated!
  • Find Hidden Mickeys – reward whoever can find the most with bragging rights, choice of the next ride or something from the gift shop
  • Pressed Penny Machines are a great quick distraction, but make sure you let THEM choose which ones to do!
  • Pin Trading – Get a few extra pins that your big kid can share with others (some tweens may be too cool to approach someone their age, but will enjoy sharing with a little one who doesn’t have any pins. Doing something nice for someone else always makes you feel better!
  • Take them to watch Gaston interactions. Guaranteed laughter.
  • Threaten to sing Let it Go in public unless they smile…works everytime.
  • Find Minnie– she knows what to do.

Minnie Meet

Tips for Grownups:

  • The sneakiest meltdown for grownups- the bill. Magic bands make it very easy to accumulate a huge bill. Check with your resort concierge daily for a balance to keep sticker shock away.
  • Plan potty breaks before you get in line – kids don’t want to stop having fun sometimes.
  • Be ready to throw your plans out the window and take a nap, or ride It’s a Small World 5 times in a row.
  • Don’t work too hard to make the kids happy- they will be no matter what, it’s Disney!
  • Be prepared for super sad faces when it’s time to leave.
  • Patience. Patience. Patience.

Sad faces

Here are a few of my favorite places to “reset”:

Magic Kingdom:

  • Mickey’s Philharmagic: air-conditioned, dark, little to no wait.
  • Hang out on the boardwalk in Frontierland across from the Country Bear Jamboree – you can see Tom Sawyer Island, is typically not crowded, and there is usually a corndog stand nearby.
  • Storybook Treats- grab a chocolate covered apple or pineapple spear and sit on the curb in the shade on the side of the building

Storybook Treats


  • Ride Living with the Land: it’s seated, cool and a nice break with normally shorter waits.
  • The exit area near Soarin’ – it’s air-conditioned, a large open area and there are usually lots of preschoolers that were not tall enough to ride hanging out waiting on brothers and sisters. They will usually find each other and begin to play or chat- a new friend can bring a smile.
  • France in Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie – it’s air-conditioned and everyone can find something to nibble on from a sweet treat to a sandwich or just a croissant….and they serve wine and coffee 🙂

Soarin Exit

Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

  • Watch the Disney Junior – Live on Stage Show: It’s air-conditioned, you get to sit and it has your kiddo’s favorite friends!
  • The Great Movie Ride: dark, air-conditioned, a chance to get off your feet.
  • Grab a snack and eat inside Backlot Express- food is just okay, but its shaded.Great Movie Ride Oz

Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

Walt Disney World is a very magical place, but sometimes it can be temporarily a little too magical. The most important tip I can give you is to be patient, be silly, have fun and remember “your response is your responsibility!”

Animal Kingdom Family pic

If you are having fun, they will too!

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