How to Avoid an Adult Meltdown at Walt Disney World

We hate to break it to you, but Disney World isn’t always perfect. In fact, meltdowns are about as common here as Mickey Waffles and Minnie Ears!

So many Ears, so many meltdowns

Sure, it’s the Most Magical Place on Earth, but it might also be the Most Meltdown-y Place on Earth…even for adults!

Obviously, meltdowns for young children can be expected, and something parents are well-equipped for, but what about Disney meltdowns for adults?!

Meltdown starts in 3, 2, 1…

It happens. Between the heat, the crowds, the annoyingly difficult-to-get reservations, it happens. And we’re here to help avoid social catastrophe.

Don’t Dramatically Change Your Routine

Yes, vacation is a time for change, for fun, and for living fancy-free, but let’s not go too wild. If you’re accustomed to eating or snacking, waking up,  and falling asleep at certain times, it can be quite jarring and stressful to do something too dramatically different.

Hangry? Grab a pretzel!

When traveling, especially in a place as entrancingly magical as Disney World, it’s totally ok to make changes to your norm, but don’t push yourself too far. You never know what might make you feel a bit too uncomfortable or cranky!


It sounds so simple, but sometimes the simplest things are the most effective. Feeling a meltdown coming on? Starting to get irritable or agitated? Hanger pangs?! Just take a deep breath and know that it’s ok.

Great place to relax!

Be proactive about the ensuing meltdown by sitting in the shade, finding a quiet alcove somewhere, or even just sitting on a slow-moving ride that you normally would have skipped. This’ll help you hit the mental reset button and emerge refreshed.

Have Realistic Expectations

As magical and perfect as you’d like it to be, not everything will go according to your picture-perfect plan in Disney World, nor will everything even be available for you (ahem Cinderella’s Royal Table). Having realistic expectations going in will help mitigate the dismay.

Don’t be too bummed

Try not to get too flustered if you can’t get into your fave restaurant or if certain rides are closed for refurbishment. This stuff happens all the time, so just know that there are plenty of other joy-inducing alternatives in Disney World that’ll put the smile back on your face.

Drink a Lot of Water

As similarly simple as taking a deep breath, drinking a ton of water actually makes a huge difference in how your day unfolds — and how your mood swings.

Water is important, snowflake or not

Between the heat, the sunshine, the crowds, and the potential stresses that come with all of that, simply remembering to stay hydrated and nourished is crucial. It’s something that often gets overlooked, but water will keep you feeling good, feeling energized, and feeling balanced.

Take Naps

We’ve opined at length about the benefits of naps when vacationing in Disney World. Even if it seems like a waste of precious Disney time, naps are a game-changer.

Doesn’t this look refreshing?!

Whether you’re snoozing in your hotel room or on a sleepy ride, there’s no shame in a little midday siesta to help you recharge and get your body back on track!

Try Not to Go TOO Overboard With Sugar

You’re vacationing in Disney World, a sugary wonderland of sweet treats and epic desserts, so it’s all too easy to go a bit overboard with the sugar. And frankly, you should! It’s totally ok to treat yourself, especially here, but try to keep things in check at least a little?

Gideon’s is great, but don’t forget your veggies!

While you’re treating yourself, try to set a realistic cap at the same time. Or at least balance out all those cupcakes and beignets with some more nourishing items, of which Disney has surprisingly many! Like water, a balanced diet has a huge affect on our emotions — and our capacity to mitigate meltdowns.

Your body will thank you for this

By following this handy checklist of what to do — and what not to do! — you’ll be able to avoid an adult meltdown in Disney World, and ensure your vacation is pure magic without the hanger pangs or stress!

In Defense of Taking a Nap on Your Disney World Park Day

Do you have any Disney World meltdown horror stories? Let us know in the comments!

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7 Replies to “How to Avoid an Adult Meltdown at Walt Disney World”

  1. I found that making a dining reservation for mid-afternoon helps my family tremendously. It gets them into a cool place where they can sit, relax, and refuel. Roughly keeping to our regular wake and sleep schedule also helps. I discovered both of these after running my husband too hard to capture all the Disney “magic” resulting in some epic adult meltdowns!

  2. My wife and son want to go to WDW for the 50th anniversary. After reading the “Inside the Magic” articles for several months and how the entire place seems like a shakedown to empty the guests wallets. My expectations are hope for the best, expect the worst. I’m not overly excited about going there. I’m worried that my wife and son will be greatly disappointed. They’re convinced that it will be great. I’m convinced that the magic died for the sake of profit. I hope I’m wrong.

  3. Also – even if you’re not staying on site, go and visit the grand Floridian or the Polynesian at about 1pm! Go and have a chill in their beautiful foyer, take some time to have a quieter drink at one of the restaurants or cafes and then head back after a couple of hours of just relaxing and people watching. They have lovely outside areas as well you can chill at. Really will help having some downtime, reading a book or just phone staring! Soaking up the atmosphere of one of the Disney hotels will be just as memorable as the hustle of Main Street I promise.

  4. Our family vacations at Disney World wouldn’t be complete without someone melting down practically every day. When your plane lands, adrenaline starts up. You tend to hit the parks hard the first two days. Even if you’ve only had three hours of sleep in 48 hours. Everything is magical and new. By the third day, you find yourself counting how many days of vacation are left; the days fly by. Sure, it could be that you are hangry, or tired, or your feet hurt, you are sunburned , your entire leg hurts, you have a headache. Maybe you realize you haven’t had a bathroom experience in five days. Maybe your husband gave a granddaughter your only extra phone charge, unbeknownst to you. A dead phone could cause a huge meltdown. It is your entire lifeline at the parks. Melting down at Disney is very sad. You know you are at the happiest place on earth, and you are not happy. You can’t afford to be miserable at Disney. So remember that the next time you start to complain on your magical vacation. You can’t stop a meltdown! Just know it will pass. Gaze at Spaceship Earth all lit up. Devour a cupcake or flight of wine. Things are looking better already

  5. Just got home after a week at Disney World. Totally agree with finding shade, drinking water, and taking a deep breath! Also recommend some quiet time exploring treasures such as Walt Disney Presents; amazing Walt stories, park models, and memorabilia! I would also recommend limiting your alcoholic beverages. It’s great to enjoy a cocktail or beer at the park but we noticed more than a few guests enjoying a few too many drinks on a very hot day unable to walk a straight line and slurred speech. Takes a little bit of the Disney magic away for the other guests. Lastly have some patience with the online services such as Genie +. When it works it’s great but when it doesn’t it’s super frustrating. Don’t hesitate to visit the folks at the Guest Relations tents; we visited them multiple times and they were super helpful!

    1. Good advice, Dale. I am all for quiet time. I like taking the train around Magic Kingdom for down time. I look forward to that coming back.