The true size of Disney World is deceiving on a map. Everything is scaled down and you think “oh it’s not that far of a walk!” I’m all about pedometers and my FitBit while in Disney World to tell me what the true distance of Disney is each day! My family (who tries to go around the parks in a fairly methodical way) walks 7-11 miles in Disney parks on a daily basis! This is a LOT more than my normal 3-4 miles of day to day walking. While the pace isn’t any sort of runners pace, it takes a lot out of your feet, ankles, legs, and knees, so it’s imperative to get in shape for Disney.
Start every day by doing a bit of stretching. I know that sounds completely silly, but it makes a world of difference for me! Also wear comfortable tennis shoes that you’ve broken in prior to your arrival. I wasn’t a tennis shoe type of girl for a long time but after a knee surgery, I wanted the extra support a flip fop or sandal couldn’t provide. I did a Disney trip THREE months after a knee surgery (a simple scope; I’m not telling you to have ACL surgery and then plan a Disney trip – 3 years in an orthopedic clinic makes me VERY well aware that it’s not possible!)
Melissa, do I really need to “train” for my vacation? Train? No, but stretch out your walks, stretch out your legs and get yourself a little prepared! About 3-4 minutes prior to your departure, start walking with the family – add the kids to the fun as well as their little legs will probably get as tired as yours! If you are planning on pushing your kids in a stroller, break one out and remember how much harder it is to push a stroller than to walk by yourself (let me tell you – LOTS of extra effort). On a weekly basis, walk a few extra blocks. Remember, this doesn’t have to be FAST walking. We don’t typically try and run or get anywhere fast in Disney World. It’s worth taking in the sights and sounds around all areas of the park and there’s often enough people that wouldn’t allow you to run without feeling like you’re on a police chase!
While I’m on the subject, let’s talk about “running” in Disney World. My general rule is that I don’t run for anything in Disney World. Another bus will come (and how mad will you be if you make a break for it and the bus leaves without you?) It’s happened to us and it’s less than pleasing, especially when a cast member is closing the door on you as you are running up to the queuing area! So just walk. Another bus will come, if you are 3 minutes late for a FastPass check in or dinner reservation, they aren’t going to turn you away. Plus it’s safer for everyone involved.
The last thing I’m going to talk about “in training” is water! make sure you have some available on hand at all times, especially during the hotter months. Bring water bottles (you can fill them up at the refillable mug station – the water is “disconnected” from the RFID chip requirement). Keep drinking water throughout the day. I know this means more bathroom trips, but it will keep you hydrated and joints will thank you!
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get going? Already starting to feel more like winter than fall? Check out your local mall and walk there!