Melt-down – (official definition) “Severe overheating of a nuclear reactor core, resulting in melting of the core and escape of radiation.”
Disney World Melt-Down (Diva definition) “The actions that result from being tired, hot, hungry, having aching feet, being over-stimulated, saying no to your greedy kids for the 1,000th time, dealing with a nagging spouse, and knowing that you spent a lot of money to be at WDW.
WDW Melt-Downs usually manifest themselves in the park as:
- Yelling/Snapping at anyone in your party regardless of what they asked you or who else is around.
- Talking ANGRILY through your teeth (usually involves some eyes bugging out and a furrowed brow and temples pulsing), <Beware the Diva’s Teeth Talking, it’s pretty fierce>”
- Snatching” things up (things can include: children, items, toys, drinks, or anything else its possible to grab in an angry way).
- Bench-planting. Where the person simply refuses to go further and plants themselves on a bench or table. Only slightly less irritating when its an adult than when it is a child.
- The HASTY retreat. Usually occurs when one or both parents have simply “HAD ENOUGH” and they half-drag their children while stomping their feet out to the car/bus.
- The sob-fest/ screaming uncontrollably. Slightly MORE irritating in this case when it is an adult instead of a child, however 100% possible to see/ experience as an adult.
- Prime Time for Melt Downs– 3:00pm. “The WDW Witching Hour”. WDW Melt-Downs happen. They are unavoidable should you be there with or without children. It doesn’t matter how good of a planner you are, how well behaved you or your children “normally” are.
This. Is. DISNEY WORLD. It doesn’t make you a bad parent if your kids (or you) completely “lose it” in a park.
So, what to do WHEN one of these melt-downs rears its ugly head?
In case of EMERGENCY: BREAK G.L.A.S.S.
- GIVE permission for melt-downs/cool downs to occur. Limit the amounts of melt-downs each person is entitled to have. Give people a time limit that they can be mad. Also, realize your kids are over-stimulated. So give them small breaks and just go and sit together under a tree and watch the birds fight over the popcorn kernels in front of Casey’s Corner, if your kids are old enough, give them small breaks and meet back up.
- LISTEN to your body. Are you sweating through your clothes? When was the last time you ate anything? Is your family’s non-verbal communication changing (crossing arms, rolling eyes, huffing, pushing in the stroller), do your children have a vacant look in their eyes? Time to head off that melt-down. First step is to find someplace to SIT that is COOL (as in air-conditioned). Standing in a line does NOT work here, try one of these Quiet Places in Magic Kingdom to take a break.
- ASK how everybody is doing. COMMUNICATE and ask your family frequently for a “check up” on how they are doing. Disney World is Huge, you’re not going to get it all in on one trip. Just do what you can and concentrate on QUALITY of time OVER QUANITY of rides (read this post if you are silently disagreeing with me). Ask how they feel on a scale of one to 10 frequently and honestly. If at any point anybody drops to a 5 or below slow down and re-evaluate.
- STEP outside yourself. Step-outside of yourself and really THINK about what is happening. Ask yourself, “is this something any normal, rational, and normally-enjoyable to be around, person would do?” If the answer is no then think… why?? What happened in the time leading UP to the melt-down occurred? Did you tell your teenager you would go ride a ride later then never come back to it? Did you tell your aging parents to hurry up? Did you tell your wife to stop spending money, then buy a giant turkey leg for yourself? Before you react, THINK. What role do YOU have in the meltdown? What role do THEY have? Are you turning them into the villain? I mean, do you think your 5 year old is sitting around plotting HOW to ruin your day? Think before you react, apologize if warranted. Sincere apologies turn most every situation around.
- STOP before you all act STUPID. Stop doing the mental math you lil’ engineers, accountants and extreme type-A personalities about how much each minute you are not in the park is costing you and remember WHY YOU ARE AT WDW IN THE FIRST PLACE. You are on a VACATION!
Let me assure you that your “hissy fit” is going to be remembered by your family members FAR longer and more vividly than how many rides they rode that day, much less the actual contents of each ride/meal/ or character greeting. All that most of you will remember is the photographs and if you all look miserable in those just GUESS how the trip will be remembered. You talk about wasting money. You can read more about this on my post Quantity of Rides VS Quality of Life.
Get out of the parks during the heat of the day and come back refreshed and ready to tackle the park. Switch parks after your mid-day cool down if you have park-hopper tickets (which I recommend in my post HERE on ticket options) so you can to keep things exciting and new. Remember WHY you are spending the money, not HOW MUCH money you are spending. If everybody is miserable it’s not much of a trip. And I’d say it’s the #1 reason why most people don’t return to WDW.
WDW is intended to be a dream world where your heroes are real and your family is even MORE so. So remember when that next melt-down starts trying to creep up on you. Just break the G.L.A.S.S. and do what is RIGHT by your family.
Kristin The Disney Diva
Kristin T. Scroggin is a Communications Professor and avid Disney blogger. Her blog, Tips from the Disney Diva, provides readers with easily applied tips on planning, packing, and more.
- The 7 Deadly Sins of Disney World Vacationing (chipandco.com)
- Top 5 Underrated Disney World Attractions (chipandco.com)
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