At home, we try to live healthy. We encourage Tad and Lily to spend plenty of time outdoors, hopping around the lily pad, get plenty of rest and make quality food choices. On vacation, we relax a little bit. We want everyone to stay healthy, but have fun. The last thing I want to do is worry about having that caramel apple, especially when I've already logged a dozen miles in Magic Kingdom! We've been to the parks in January when Leap and my resolutions were in full effect, but we also know that being too regimented on vacation is just no fun. Today, we wanted to share some of our tips for staying healthy at Disney World.
Decide how it's gonna go down.
No, you don't have to plan every aspect of your day as it concerns diet and exercise, but before you leave, you should plan for how you will keep to your healthy routine while on vacation. Are you going to exercise every other day? Are you going to stick to your diet for most meals, but allow one big splurge? Are you going to let the tadpoles to push bedtime by an hour? You have a better chance of sticking to any of your healthy habits, if you decide how your going to behave on vacation while you're at home.
Indulge in moderation.
This goes for the Dole Whips as well as the alcohol. It's good to know your limits, and stick to them. And do keep in mind as your savoring the drinks around World Showcase in Epcot that alcohol plus the Florida heat can impact your tolerance and hydration!
Pack healthy snacks and bring water.
If you want the family to not go off the rails completely, it helps to bring some of your own food with you. Healthy snacks, such as dried fruit, nuts and beef jerky, travel easily and work just as well in the parks as they do on the plane or in the car. Because of the aforementioned heat and all of the walking, we always bring our own water bottles and refill them in the parks. If you forget, you can always pick up bottled water. Or if you're watching the budget, you can ask for a cup for water at any of the quick-service restaurants. Leap isn't a huge fan of the taste of the Florida water, so I also pack flavored drink packets.
Make smart food choices.
Even though it's a theme park, Disney World isn't all greasy fries and burgers. Yes, you can find them, along with hot dogs, pizza, nachos and traditional theme park fare, but you'll also find healthier choices, such as fresh fruit, salads, soups and wraps too. Foods that meet Disney's nutritional guidelines also receive the Mickey check of approval. When you see the symbol, you can be sure it's a good choice.
Mind your dietary restrictions and food allergies.
If you have any food allergies or dietary requests, you will find Disney World tries to be accommodating. For table-service restaurants, you can note any particular allergies when you make your reservation or upon check-in. Chefs will personally walk you through the buffets and identify the foods that will meet your restrictions. For quick-service restaurants, we recommend you research ahead of time so you know which ones can better accommodate your dietary needs.
Keep track of those miles.
Note that the sentence above did not include the word treadmill. Yes, I know there are some of you that wouldn't dream of abandoning your workout routine for a little thing called Disney World, but for me, walking around the parks all day, alternating between carrying a backpack and Lily (and sometimes both!) is a workout enough. We can easily log 10+ miles each day that we're in the parks. By the time we're back at the hotel, I feel like I've sweated enough! Track your miles, and you can brag to your friends back home about your new PR!
The exception to this, at least for me (you're free to do whatever you want!), is if you're spending a week or more at Disney World and planning more leisure days than hard core park visits. The good news is that there are tons of places to get your sweat on and pump it up. All of the resorts have jogging trails, and the deluxes and villas (plus Disney's Coronado Springs Resort) have full gyms.
Don't forget the vitamins, key toiletries and medicines.
Just because it's vacation, you shouldn't let go of all your healthy habits. Make sure to pack your vitamins and prescriptions, separating them, if you need to, into pill boxes or small ziplock bags for each day. And just because it's vacation doesn't mean you shouldn't prepare for illness. I always pack allergy medicine and ibuprofen for Leap and I, and tadpole versions for Tad and Lily. Plus, extra bandaids! Bring aloe vera if you're prone to sunburn, and by all means, don't forget the sunscreen!
If you do have a medical issue in the park, like that time Lily fell down and banged her knee on Tom Sawyer Island (which called for a really big bandaid and ice cream cone from Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, you can pop into First Aid. All of the parks have them, and you can find them on the map or ask a cast member.
After a few days of logging miles in the theme parks, we highly recommend a recharge, whether it's a day at the pool or time at the spa. Sometimes just taking a break from the parks in the afternoon, and going back to the hotel for a nap or a swim, is all you need to keep going. For the ultimate get-away-from-it-all in Orlando, we highly recommend Discover Cove. This all-inclusive tropical paradise has plenty of fun animal encounters, like swimming with the dolphins or feeding the birds in the aviary, but you could also spend your whole day sunning yourself on its beaches or floating down the Wind Away River.
Try a recreational activity.
All of Disney's resorts have jogging trails and playgrounds so you and the little ones can burn off some energy. Plus, Disney's moderate and deluxe resorts all offer recreational activities, including jet skiing, fishing, wake boarding, tennis — even archery! — and you don't have to be a guest at the resort to take part in them. Want to burn some calories? Rent one of the surrey bikes at Disney's Boardwalk and try to make the loop around the entertainment area. Of course, you could spend your day at the ultimate recreational activity — the water parks!
These are our top tips for staying healthy at Disney World. We think a little bit of moderation plus maximum fun is the key to vacation bliss! Now it's your turn. Share with us your top tips for staying healthy at Disney World.