We talk a lot about getting tweens and teens to unplug and tune into family on a vacation, but we parents need to learn to do it, too. These 7 ideas for unplugging at Disney can be a good start for the whole family.
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Disney Unplugged: Can It be Done?
We live on our phones. Our laptops. And televisions. And whatever other screen we use regularly. But family vacation time should be different, right? So how do we break our tech addiction, put down our devices and tune into the world around us? Here are a few ideas for ways to do Disney unplugged.
1. Stay at Fort Wilderness Resort
This might be the easiest way to do Disney unplugged – camping the Disney way. The 750-acre Fort Wilderness is nestled in the woods along the shores of Disney World’s Bay Lake.
The Fort (as its fan affectionately call it) is a destination for RV and tent campers alike, with lovely, private sites, lush landscaping and top-notch comfort stations. And you don’t even have to own an RV to partake of this special Disney magic. Nor do you have to buy one. There are lots of ways to rent an RV. For example, RVshare is a company that connects RV owners with those who want to RV. It has a huge selection of RV rentals, ranging from luxury motorhomes to small travel trailers. Even better, you don’t have to drive it from home. You can fly into Orlando and rent one when you get to Florida. A quick search of “Orlando” on the RVshare website turned up, literally, thousands of rental options. I recommend renting one without a TV to help you stick to your promise to unplug!
For folks who like the idea of being in the rustic environment of Fort Wilderness but who think camping is for others, Fort Wilderness offers cushy cabins. They can sleep up to 6, have full kitchens inside and a deck, BBQ and picnic table outside.
Chances are the lure of a making s’mores over a campfire will get kids (and their parents) to put away their phones.
2. Let Everyone Know You’re Unavailable
Put an “out of office” auto responder on your email that tells people who email you that you are “out of the office until (date).” Most people will wait for a reply until you get back to your desk.
3. Turn Off Those Annoying Notifications
Some people go so far as to delete their office email app from their phone. I don’t know if I could go that far, but I certainly don’t want to be distracted by those constant dings every time another email or text arrives. What if it’s bad news? Or, worse, something you can’t fix from afar? It will stress and distract you for no good reason. Just about anything can wait until you get back to the hotel and put the kids to bed at night.
4. Keep Your Phone in Your Bag, Not Your Pocket
If you have turned off the notifications, you don’t need to keep it handy, right? Just slip it into your backpack and try to forget it’s there. If you can’t forget it altogether, set yourself limits. “I will only check the phone once an hour.” Or, “I will only check the phone while the kids are riding that roller coaster that makes me want to barf.” Really want to commit to this? You can download an app that will limit your time on your phone. Better yet, put your kids in charge of keeping you off your phone. Chances are your kids will love keeping you in line for a change.
5. Take in a Show
Just like going to the movie theater, phone use inside a Disney theater is discouraged. So head inside to the air conditioning and put your phone away while the performers take to the stage.
6. Commune with the Animals
Why would you ever want to look at your phone when you could be watching a giraffe stroll across the savannah? Animal Kingdom Park is the place to go. Even if you don’t have a ticket to get into the park, you can commune with the animals at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s one of the Disney hotels everyone should visit, even you aren’t staying there. Chances are, you’ll find an African storyteller spinning a tale that will be far more intriguing than anything on your screen.
7. Carry an Actual Camera
Pulling out your phone to snap a photo leads to posting that photo on Instagram, which leads to scrolling through your feed, which leads to liking and commenting, which leads to …. You get the idea. So don’t use your phone for those precious Disney photos. Tuck a good old fashioned point and shoot camera into your bag. You’ll get the same great shots without the distraction of feeling like you need to immediately share those pix with the world! It can wait until you get home.