While going to Walt Disney World is definitely a break from your real life, it’s also not a vacation in the way that many people picture it.
Personally, when I hear the word vacation, I’m thinking about lounging by the pool with a cold drink in hand, after sleeping in late, of course. Many Disney World trips aren’t quite that relaxed, but they can be, depending on the way you structure your trip.
If you’re not interested in clocking 20,000 steps a day, beating the crowds to the park at rope drop, and waking up before the sun every day of your Disney trip, you’re my kind of people.
Having a lazy Disney World trip is totally possible, and here’s how you can do it.
Touring with Genie+
Though it will cost a little extra money, touring with Genie+ can save you valuable time at all four theme parks.
If you’re willing to dish out the cash (starting at $15 per person, per day, with the price increasing during busier times of year), you can skip long Standby lines, and instead you’ll be able to book a time to hop in the Lightning Lane.
On a lazy trip, you might not be interested in waiting for rides at all. If so, check out our touring plans using Genie+ for advice on how to really make the most of the service.
It’s important to note that some of the most popular rides in each park do require a separate purchase of an Individual Lightning Lane selection (up to two per day) to skip the Standby lines.
Right now, these rides include:
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom
- TRON Lightcycle / Run at Magic Kingdom
- Avatar Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios
VIDEO: How to tour Magic Kingdom with and without Genie+
Use Extended Evening Theme Park Hours
Though guests at all Disney Resorts (and select other hotels) have access to Early Theme Park Entry, this is a lazy trip we’re talking about, which means you’re sleeping soundly while everybody else is throwing on Mickey ears at 6 a.m. (or even earlier).
That’s where Extended Evening Theme Park Hours come in — a perk that’s reserved for guests with reservations at Disney Deluxe Resorts, along with those staying at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, Swan Reserve, and Shades of Green resorts.
Certain nights each week, Magic Kingdom or Epcot will remain open for these guests for 2 extra hours on select days.
Typically, these special hours are held on Mondays and Wednesdays, but you’ll want to check the schedule when you’re planning your trip to confirm when they are.
After you’ve gotten all that sleep, you’re ready to stay up late, which means you can take advantage of these extra hours — though there are a few downsides.
Staying at Deluxe Resort can be costly, and the additional money may not be worth the extra couple of hours you get in the parks. It’s also important to note that not all rides are open during this time, though the headliners typically are.
Eat at Quick Service or less busy Table Service restaurants
If you’ve been to Disney before, you know that eating at popular Table Service restaurants at the parks and resorts often requires snagging a reservation up to 60 days in advance. But on a lazy trip, you may want to go with the flow — and that’s totally possible!
Despite what some may tell you (including us who believe dining reservations are important for the most coveted Disney World restaurants), you’re not completely out of luck if you show up at Disney with no dining reservations.
Many restaurants will offer walkup seating and last minute reservations. You never know what will open the day of (even for those highly sought after dining spots), so it doesn’t hurt to try!
It is highly recommended to download the My Disney Experience app, which will allow you to see wait times at different restaurants and make dining reservations as you go, even for the same day.
There are also certain Table Service restaurants that tend to be less busy than others, but they’re still worth checking out.
At Magic Kingdom, the Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper’s Canteen offers a yummy and adventurous menu, and often has plenty of walkup availability. Another hidden gem is Nine Dragons in Epcot, which you’ll find in the China pavilion in the World Showcase. It’s never very crowded, but I’ve never had a bad meal there.
Eating at Quick Service restaurants is another chill option, and you can make it even more stress-free by not waiting in lines and using Mobile Order to order your food. All you have to do is walk up and grab your order when it’s ready.
And don’t discount the resort restaurants that have carryout options! Who doesn’t want Table Service quality food without the ordeal of an actual sit down meal sometimes?
This is a relatively new service, but right now, Disney’s Table Service To Go is offered at:
Mobile ordering is available for these offerings, too, making it extra easy. You can even eat your fancy food in bed!
Avoid busy times of year
The worst time of year to have a lazy Disney trip is during peak travel times — we’re talking around big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, spring break, and summer.
This will make it hard to enjoy yourself without planning ahead, and who wants to fight crowds just to walk on Main Street when you’re supposed to be relaxing?
Some of my favorite times to visit when the parks are quietest are the end of September, after kids have gone back to school, and in January, after the dust from the new year celebrations has settled.
Most of May (before Memorial Day) can be a great time to visit, too, along with the first couple of weeks of November, the last real lull in the crowds before holiday travel starts picking up.
Plan non-park days
If you typically hit the parks every single day, you should consider scheduling in a rest day (or two) during your trip.
This can make the whole vacation seem a bit slower paced, and allow you to rest your feet after all of the walking that a Disney trip requires.
You can use these rest days to sleep in, hang by the pool, and take naps (my favorite).
This is also a great time to leisurely stroll around Disney Springs or do a little resort hopping. If you’ve never done a Monorail or Disney Skyliner bar (or snack) crawl, now is the time!
Scale down your must-do list
The most stressful part of any Disney World trip is trying to fit it all in, and feeling like you’re going to miss something.
But this is why it’s so important to embrace the fact that missing something — probably many things — is definitely going to happen.
The truth is that nobody will fit it all in, but people wanting to have a more relaxing trip should plan to just identify a few must-do attractions so they can take their time getting to it all.
Maybe pick a couple of rides in each park you want to make sure you hit, along with one or two restaurants (or snacks) you definitely want to check out. Everything else you get to do will be a happy bonus!
Consider a “no ride” trip
I am fortunate enough to visit Disney on a pretty regular basis, and that means I have all kinds of trips… but many of them are lazy ones.
At the end of one trip, my friend and I realized that we hadn’t ridden a single ride over the course of the four days we spent in the park… and we didn’t even miss them!
Not trying to run from ride to ride can give you so much of your time back every day. I love to use that time to try new foods and drinks I’ve never had at Disney before, to take my time walking through the gift shops, and to really soak in the atmosphere.
After all, that’s what really makes Disney so magical, isn’t it?
Plan a Hub Grass day
One of my favorite places on Disney property is the hub grass at Magic Kingdom (I know, I know… very original).
But during my first solo trip to the parks, I brought a book and some headphones, grabbed my favorite Starbucks drink at Main Street Bakery, and camped out on the grass for the day. The people watching was great, I caught the castle show more than once, and I had prime viewing for Festival of Fantasy.
Maybe for you it’s not the hub grass. Maybe it’s right in front of the fountain near Spaceship Earth at Epcot, or the rocking chairs that overlook the water and the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom.
Wherever you find your zen at Disney, consider hanging out there for a bit longer than usual during your lazy trip. This opportunity doesn’t come around when you’re rushing to get to your next reservation!
Book a resort only trip
It is absolutely possible to go to Disney World and have a blast without actually setting foot in any of the parks — and you can use the money you save on park tickets to stay in a resort you may not have been able to fit into the budget before, which can be really fun.
While a resort only trip can be fun no matter where you stay, at Deluxe Resorts, you’ll often have a few different options for dining, and some even have spas on site.
Besides, there’s so much to do outside of the parks. You can visit Disney Springs, go mini-golfing, check out the other resorts, go horseback trail riding at Fort Wilderness, rent a watercraft and go cruising around Bay Lake… the possibilities are endless!
All kinds of Disney trips can be fun, including the ones that leave you wishing for a vacation from your vacation. But if you’ve never had a lazy trip before, it’s worth considering. Imagine leaving Disney World feeling refreshed and well rested!
What’s your favorite way to spend a lazy day at Disney World? Let us know in the comments!
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Friday 9th of September 2016
I'm glad you shared and updated this post! We Disney fanatics sometimes forget that there are people out there that don't want all the craziness in their trips. It's nice to see an article geared to those who just want to slow down while there!
Friday 11th of September 2015
Great tips! Disney is such a relaxing vacation for my family. Not having to buckle kids into car seats, not even having to get in the car at all, always being walking distance from a meal, loads of fun for everybody no matter what is on the day's schedule! There's nothing more relaxing than that!
Wednesday 16th of April 2014
I was amazed at the price of just entry into Disney World. I figured out it would be over 1,000K for 4 of us for I forget if it was 4 or 5 days. But then I'm spoiled when our son was young my husband had a yearly meeting at Disney World and his job paid for us to stay at the Yacht Club and many other expenses. Now with our grandchildren that option has passed. It also seems so much more overwhelming and complicated. approximately 25 years ago there was no need for Fast Passes etc. However much of that was because we were there in October and that's still a great time to go. So maybe no Fast Passes still needed.
Thursday 2nd of January 2014
I know you don't like EMH, but I find that the morning hours are much less crowded than the evening ones. In the first 2 hours (including EMH) my dad and I were able to ride all of Fantasyland and Space Mountain, and we were there in the summertime. The evening also tends to bring around small, crying, overtired children. (Silly Parents!)
Sunday 8th of September 2013
Spend 4-5 days at Disneyland instead! You can go at a much more leisurely pace and still see nearly everything. I know DL isn't quite the same thing as WDW but at least you are still getting some of the Disney magic but at a more relaxed pace. Once you have rested up and are ready for another intense and active vacation, go back to Disney World!