It’s hot, the lines are long and the park is packed. (We can't change the weather, but we can help with the other two: crowd calendar and rides app.) Add to the nonstop theme park adventure a drive and a plane (or two) to get you back your original destination, and you might think you need a second vacation to get over the first. Don’t despair!
Here are our top 5 tips for a smooth transition after the Disney trip is over (hint, some of these start before you leave):
1. Clean the house: Do this before you leave for vacation. Yes, you already have a million things to do to get ready, but there is nothing quite like returning from a long trip to a clean house. You will have enough to do when you arrive home without needing to pick up the broom or get out the vacuum. Get the kids involved. Yes, I sound like a taskmaster, but I promise them a special reward once we arrive for all of their hard work. And there is no shortage of scrumptious treats at the parks, as evidenced by Theme Park Foodie's recent guest blog on Orlando's 5 Sweetest Treats.
2. Separate your clothes for the wash: When packing for the family, I tend to overdo it and pack more than we actually need, even if I know we’ll have access to a washing machine. Plus, Tad and Lily tend to wear the same clothes over and over, and leave many of the clean clothes untouched. (Pro tip: Bring along a pop-up laundry basket that folds flat so that dirty clothes don't get thrown around.)
When I’m packing for the return, I like to bag all the dirty clothes at the hotel. This helps keep the clean clothes clean, and it’s easier to squish them all into the suitcases. When you arrive home, the dirty bag goes straight to the wash, and the clean clothes go straight to the bedroom. Your call if you want to actually do laundry on the day you return.
3. Rehydrate: Florida is hot. If you’ve been traipsing around the parks, chances are good that you and the rest of the family are still dehydrated (yes, even if you have been drinking water). Make sure you rehydrate when you get home and get back on a regular eating schedule.
4. Take another day off: As Leap likes to tell me, RELAX. Don’t do the housework (except laundry and putting clothes away, if you must). Make sure you get enough sleep. Don’t go back to work the next day. If you can, schedule your return on a Friday so you can decompress over the weekend. If the budget allows, arrange to pick up the pets that were boarded the next day. If you’re a glutton for punishment and must return to work the next day, at least arrange for an early re-arrival. Do your best to ease back into your normal routine!
5. Check out your photos on PhotoPass: With Disney's PhotoPass, you can rest easy that your family's precious moments are captured by Disney's own photographers who are stationed around the parks, including in the most picturesque locations (as you approach Cinderella Castle from Main Street, U.S.A. and from World Showcase heading toward Spaceship Earth, for example) and at character greetings. All of the professional photos are uploaded automagically to the PhotoPass card you receive, so that once you get home all you have to do is register and enter your specific passcode to view or purchase them.
It’s so easy, even I can muster enough energy to do that, and we Frog Family enjoy reliving the memories from vacation around the glow of the laptop.