Handling the Imminent Meltdown at Disney


Regardless of if you have kids or not, you’ve been somewhere while a child was having a meltdown.  Believe it or not, that happens at Disney too! The combination of heat, stimulation and exhaustion is a perfect formula for a meltdown.  Here’s another shock for you – it’s not only kids that have meltdowns at Disney!  The adults have them too.  Luckily, there are a few things you could do to help try and avoid meltdowns as much as possible:

·         Stay on schedule.  Little ones (and big ones too) will do better if you try and maintain your home schedule while you’re on vacation.  Trying to stay up late, get up early and see everything will only wear everyone out making a meltdown almost certain as patience wears thin and tempers grow.

·         Have some rules.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “we’re on vacation – there are no rules!”.  Without rules you’re setting yourself up for the epic battle to buy everything your child wants in every store you go through during your trip.  Instead, you can easily make a deal with everyone in the family that purchases will only be made on the last day (or another specific point in the trip).  That will help shut down the meltdown down.

·         Be consistent.  Now that you have an agreement about when you’re going to buy things, you can’t run into stores to pick something up after telling the kids no.  On the other hand, you can’t waffle and let them get something to stop the meltdown – it will only happen the next time they want something.

·         Reward the good.  The reward itself may not matter – it could be something as simple as pointing out a good choice or going as far as getting them a Mickey bar for being excellent during your morning adventures.  More importantly, whoever is making the good choices is being rewarded.  If you simply can’t reward just one member of the family, let the one making good choices decide where to sit and enjoy your next break (or snack if you brought them instead of purchasing them), where to get your next snack or meal at or what attraction to visit next.

·         Know your limits.  You know your family – when they’re reaching their breaking point, don’t push the limits for “just one more thing” before you head back to your resort.  Everyone’s worn out and tired so when one meltdown starts, it’s more likely to spread through your group making everyone grouchy.  That’s not how you want to end your day.

Keeping everyone calm and happy will help prevent some of these meltdowns.  Not all of them can be avoided but you can help reduce the ones your family has.

How does your family handle Disney meltdowns and what are your tips to avoid them?

Lynn Wiltse lives five hours from the most magical place on Earth and is always planning a visit.  When she’s not writing for The Disney Moms or WDW Fan Zone, she’s managing The Disney Driven Life or writing for her own blog, My Pixie Dust Diary and planning the next  Disney trip while working in finance and human resources full time and spending time with her two pirates and princess.

4 comments for “Handling the Imminent Meltdown at Disney

  1. 12 August, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Thanks Liz! We are on Day 7 of our WDW trip and I must admit to a couple of those meltdowns. I insisted we take a break today to recharge. In fact, the kids are still sleeping this morning, some much needed rest. Great advice on dealing with meltdowns, I’ll keep it in mind as we finish us our trip this week!

    • TheDisneyMomLynn
      12 August, 2013 at 10:28 am

      Yay for a day of sleeping in! We’ve already decided when we go in a couple of weeks that our plans are going to include lots of pool time and just relaxing. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  2. Shannon M.
    12 August, 2013 at 7:49 am

    From experience, I can verify that this is all true. I recommend that folks with little ones stay on property so that they can get back to the room easier for that coveted “nap time”. It is significantly more challenging to have to hike back out to the car in order to drive back to your hotel. Also, we told our kids their spending limit up front. Each kid got a bank envelope with Disney Dollars in it. Once it was gone, then they were done. As far as scheduling goes, I found that my kids did well with lots of verbal communication. A “We’ll head over to Tomorrowland as soon as we finish with Peter Pan” made a huge difference to my temperamental daughter. If we were vague, she fussed a lot more. And lastly, it really isn’t the end of the world if you didn’t get to everything. So don’t push it so hard. Take your time and really enjoy the attractions that you get to do.

    • TheDisneyMomLynn
      12 August, 2013 at 10:30 am

      Staying on property can really help getting back for nap time. We drive even when we stay on property but it’s nice to have the transportation if your group wants to split up. I love your tips too! Thanks for sharing.

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