Five Things You Should Do The Night Before to Help You Wake Up Early On Your Theme Park Vacation

How to Get Your Family Up Early For Your Theme Park Day

As many of you already know, my number-one theme park tip is get up early , but I will be the first to admit this is often easier said than done. Over the years we’ve developed some strategies to make our morning routine run smoothly.

Our aim is to get up and out the door as quickly as possible, and these are the top five morning boosters we rely on.

You can hear me discuss this topic on the Go Informed podcast episode 19: Master Your Theme Park Morning.

Lay Everything Out the Night Before

No matter how tired you are before you crawl into bed, take the time to get everything ready for the next morning. Pretend you’re a firefighter. Lay out all your clothes, pack your bag for the park, even put your toothbrush where you can grab it easily. The less time you have to spend in the morning getting ready, the sooner you will be out the door.

Schedule a Wakeup Call

When you’re staying at a theme park you can get a wakeup call from Mickey Mouse, Big Hero 6, or Spider-Man. Some resorts give you a choice of who wakes you up, like our favorite at Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel.

Here’s what the wake-up call options were the last time we stayed at the Hard Rock.

Whoever sleeps next to the phone should be prepared to hit the speaker button when the call comes in. A ringing phone isn’t really that fun to wake up to, but Alice Cooper telling you to get out of bed certainly is.

Order room service

Chances are your hotel offers room service beginning at six am. Place your order the night before and enjoy your warm breakfast while you get ready for the day.

Super convenient and surprisingly affordable, room service is a great way to start a theme park day.

Super convenient and surprisingly affordable, room service is a great way to start a theme park day.

Believe it or not, room service can be a really economical start to your day. If all you want is coffee and a light bite, one continental breakfast might be enough for your whole family. At our recent stay at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, our single continental breakfast included a big pot of coffee and about a half-dozen small pastries. More than enough for three of us to start the day.

Plus if you know the room service guy is going to show up at the door any minute you will surely get out of bed and get dressed!

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Use a wake up light

Wake Up Light


A serious travel hack, the wake up light tricks your brain into thinking it’s morning, even if it’s still pitch-dark outside. A wake up light is an alarm clock that gradually lights up as your wake up time approaches.

This is pretty much the coolest addition to my travel gear ever. Our travel wake up light has gone out of production, but here’s another version that won’t take up much room in your suitcase.

You can set the wake up light to gradually get brighter before your wake up time, so by the time you need to get up you’ll probably already be awake, just from the light in the room. You can put the light right next to the bed or off in the corner, depending on how intense you’d like it. Be sure to try out your wake-up light at home first so you know how to use it and what time to set it to light up.

(Editor’s note: I also have a Philips wake up light at home that isn’t portable enough for travel, and it has pretty much changed my life).

Have a Plan

Make sure you know exactly what to do and where to go when you leave your room in the morning. You are going to be tired and disoriented – figure out all the logistics before you hit the sack so in the morning you can go on autopilot to get to the park.

Do your homework ahead of time. These are my top recommended resources for planning your Orlando theme park vacation.

Why should you resist the temptation to sleep in? Here’s a video I shot at Universal Studios Florida park opening. You can be first in the park too!

In theme park touring, as in life, you've got to get out of bed. Because if you're not first, you're last.Click To Tweet

Here are my tips and reflections on early morning touring, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Florida, and Walt Disney World.


Orlando Theme Park Touring Tips & Advice From goinformed.netClick here for all of’s theme park vacation tips!


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