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The Health Nut's Guide to Keeping Fit at Walt Disney World - Part 2: Following Through: A Walt Disney World Planning Articleby Amy Wear, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 10-01-2015
In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how to plan for opportunities to continue your usual fitness regime while vacationing at Walt Disney World.
We took a look at the fitness and recreation options around the Disney resorts, with the emphasis on choosing a resort that will meet your fitness needs.
To actually follow through with your good intentions to exercise, you’ll need to plan for success. Otherwise those workout clothes will still be sitting clean in your suitcase at the end of your trip – or at least until you’ve run out of clean clothes. Here are just some of the strategies you can implement:
Schedule your workouts in My Disney Experience. You can even add it under “notes” in My Disney Experience. Plan to hit the gym on your “rest” or lighter park days. Be sure to discuss your workout plans with your travel party.
Early bird gets the workout. Get up before the rest of your family and exercise first thing in the morning before you head to the parks. The chances of you carving out time for deliberate exercise later in the day are slim. Do be prepared for the Florida heat; for example, running outdoors may not be feasible in the peak summer months unless you are accustomed to running in high heat and humidity.
Consider room requests carefully. Request a room near the fitness centre or beside a quiet pool. This will give you easier access to the facilities and a regular reminder to exercise. Always remember that room requests are only requests and cannot be guaranteed.
Bring your best running shoes. Also wear those running shoes to the parks so you don’t develop blisters. Serious runners recommend having a separate pair for the parks to give each pair time to air out.
Pack your work-out clothes and gear. Keep them visible near the top of your suitcase instead of buried and forgotten. Also bring your ear phones and Ipad or Ipod. Listen to your favourite tunes or watch Netflix with the free Wifi while you do cardio in the gym (I’ve done this at two different resorts.)
Wear a FitBit. Or use an App that measures how far you’ve walked. Many people find themselves walking extra laps to reach their fitness goals each day, though this likely won’t be necessary on full park days.
Use the buddy system. If you’re traveling with friends or extended family, enlist an exercise buddy. You’ll be far more eager to do that early morning run or walk around the resort if you have a friend with you. Use this time to talk about the highlights from the day before or to discuss the plans for the day.
Go the extra mile. Take the opportunities to build in more activity to your park day. Walk around World Showcase rather than taking a boat back to Future World. Or walk the full distance around your large resort to the food court instead of taking the internal shuttle.
Store up work-outs before you go. Build in a little extra exercise insurance by maintaining your workouts right up until the day you leave. If you must travel to reach your departure airport and your flight doesn’t leave until later in the day, stop by the hotel fitness centre before heading to the airport. You’ll be off to a great start and feel like you can ease off a bit, knowing you’ll pick right up where you left off when you return home.
Participate in a RunDisney event. The ultimate way to stay motivated in the months leading up to your Disney vacation and during your stay is to participate in a RunDisney event. There’s something for everyone with 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, and the full marathon. Check out www.rundisney.com for all the details. Remember that your body will need recovery time after completing one of the longer events, so you may want to plan a day or two of rest before hitting the parks.
What about the kids? Parents who wish to have a tennis match, golf, or exercise together without the kids will want to stay a resort that offers both childcare and access to the fitness facilities they desire to use. Childcare centers are currently located at the Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the Beach Club.
Note that childcare centers are only open from 4:30pm to midnight and come at a hefty rate of $15/hour per child. Private in-room babysitting can also be arranged with more flexible hours.
Another option is to send the kids on one of the special children’s tours. Two-hour pirate adventures are offered on select mornings at the Yacht Club, Grand Floridian, Port Orleans Riverside, and the Caribbean Beach Resort. When my husband was attending a conference, I managed to send off my pirate daughters at the Grand Floridian, hop the monorail back to the Fitness centre at the Contemporary Resort, squeeze in my 40 minutes of cardio, and catch the monorail back in time to meet my pirates.
Confession: While I normally exercise at least five days a week at home, I try to let go of my need for structured work-outs when we are on vacation. So far my record is one fitness centre visit per trip while staying at both Animal Kingdom Lodge and The Contemporary Resort.
If your trip is less than a week long, I recommend skipping the workout. Build in more exercise, especially walking, to your park days rather than miss out on Disney time. I do miss being the “runner” for the paper fastpasses and look forward to resuming this role when we finally make that trip to Disneyland!
About the Author: Amy Wear is a work at home mom, travel agent, writer, and registered occupational therapist. She lives in New Brunswick, Canada, and specializes in planning magical vacations for people of all abilities at Click The Mouse. You can find her online at http://www.clickthemouse.ca/amy-w.html
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