DISNEY WORLD – HOW MANY CALORIES DO YOU ACTUALLY BURN?
“Yeah, but you walk so much at Disney you’re probably burning a lot of calories….”
I DON’T GIVE A CRAP! Pardon my French, but the truth is…
…YOU ARE NOT BURNING AS MANY CALORIES AS YOU THINK NOR ARE YOU WALKING AS MUCH AS YOU THINK…SO NO, IT’S NOT OKAY TO EAT THAT MUCH MORE WHILE AT DISNEY WORLD!
Now that being said, let me be 100% honest here, when I go to Disney World with my family, for me, it is an all-you-can-eat buffet for 8 straight days. The last three years I even broke my fast early those 8 days to eat breakfast with the gang…and tear up some Mickey Waffles…but this wasn’t on our most recent trip. But, even though I didn’t break my fast early this year (due to reasons I’ll go into in another post) I still ate nearly 5,000 calories every day…but that was okay right? I mean I was probably walking it all off right?
NO, I WASN’T…HELL I WASN’T EVEN CLOSE!
DISNEY WORLD AND MY APPLE WATCH
Over the last few years I’ve heard countless people talk about not watching what they eat (and/or not sticking to their “diets”) while at Disney World “because of all the walking and standing” they’d be doing. And, though these statements annoyed me every time I heard them, I had never actually tracked my Disney World experience calorie burn so I couldn’t, without being certain for sure, tell these people how ridiculous they sounded and how dead wrong they were.
I had thought about tracking my calorie burn while at Disney World the last few times we went but, though I am all about tracking my fitness, I wasn’t about to wear a heart rate monitor to Disney World out of mere contempt for people’s false beliefs…but this year…this year was the year…this year, with Apple Watch in wrist, it was finally time to do so!
Now, just to make sure I had some standard form of measure, I wore my Apple Watch every waking hour for a good month and a half before our Disney World trip. This way, even if you do not believe Apple Watch’s accuracy, at least the data collected for this experiment was consistently inaccurate.
APPLE WATCH CALIBRATION
So, what did the Apple Watch tell me about a regular-ol’ Roly day….?
During my first month and a half of wearing the Apple Watch daily, I found that that I burned (workouts included) an average of 2,900 – 3,200 calories per day (about 700 – 1,000 via workouts and another 2,000 – 2,200 via my daily normal activity).
In terms of daily steps and distance I would average from 7,500 – 12,000 steps and 4.25 – 7 miles a day.
So, with my standard daily calorie burn, steps, and distance set, it was time to give the Disney World Calorie Burn Experiment a go.
FRONT ROW, THIRD FROM THE RIGHT – MY GORDO…AWESOMENESS
DISNEY WORLD, MY ROUTINE TRACKED
It is important to note that when I go to Disney World I continue my regular summer workout routine.
I wake up about an hour and a half before the rest of my gang and workout for an hour, run for 30 minutes, and then hit up abs for about 10 minutes. This routine, while at Disney World, accounted for about the same amount of calorie burn as my regular workouts back in Atlanta (about 700 – 1,000 calories burned depending on which specific workout I decided to do).
So, because I maintained my daily workout routines while at Disney World, any and all extra calories burned, steps taken, and distance traveled, would be due to the Disney World experience.
Now, without further ado – the Disney World Calorie Burn!
DISNEY WORLD – CALORIE BURN VARIABLES
I know you are all anxiously awaiting my findings but there are a few general notes/disclaimers I would like to discuss first….
DISNEY WORLD VARIABLES
It may go without saying, but, just in case, it is important to note that the amount of walking, standing, and/or miscellaneous Disney World calories burned depends on not only which park one visits but also how long one stays at the park.
So, for the sake of having some sort of gauge on which for you to compare your typical Disney World calorie burn with my own, I have described my gang’s typical Disney World Day.
A TYPICAL RODRIGUEZ DAY AT DISNEY
During this past Disney World experience my gang arrived to whichever park we were visiting that day around 9 am and left at closing…even if “closing” was Magic Hours’ closing….“That’s right Roly, if they are open until 3 am then we’ll be here ’til 3 am.” – Niña.
Now, sometimes we’d go to one park and the park hop to another park but, in general we walked the most on the days we visited the Magic Kingdom and/or Epcot (which makes sense because these parks are bigger than the Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios….not to mention that Animal Kingdom closes earlier than the other parks…so you won’t be walking around as long).
Magic Kingdom Days
Day One – Noon – 3 am…(Niña doesn’t play with Magic Hours…if they happen, then we will be there rain or shine).
Day Two – 8 am Until 11 pm
Day Three – 10 am – 10 pm
On our Epcot Days
Day One – 10 am – 11 pm
Day Two – 5 pm – 1 am, after a full day at Hollywood Studios (10 am – 5 pm) we ended the night at Epcot.
DISNEY WORLD – HOW MANY CALORIES?
So, after 12 – 15 hour days at Disney World, how many extra calories did I burn?
Drum roll please….
…about 400 calories.
So, 12– 15 HOURS AT DISNEY WORLD’S MAGIC KINGDOM OR EPCOT ADDED AN EXTRA 300 – 400 CALORIES TO MY OVERALL DAILY CALORIE BURN!
“Wow! That is amazing! Right?”
Uhm…yes that’s amazing….but not because it’s a lot!
300 – 400 calories is NOT THAT MUCH!!!!
Especially if it’s only 300 calories…so let’s keep this post going assuming I burned 400 calories extra while at Disney World…this way we have more calories to play with.
Yes, in terms of exercise 400 calories is a good 30 minute-heart pumping lifting session or a decent 5K, BUT in terms of food consumption, 400 calories is not that much!
400 Calories is about:
One large fountain drink
Two chocolate chip cookies
One Ice Cream Sandwich (330 – 380 calories depending on sandwich)
One chocolate croissant
Mickey Ice Cream Bar (330 calories)
One Dole Whip order
A side order of fries
Two Mickey Waffles with syrup
GET THE PICTURE…?
“But, that’s you Roly, you work out all the time and seem to be a pretty active person…what about people who don’t workout regularly or are not that active regularly…won’t they burn more calories.”
Well, yes, they will be burning more calories than they normally do, and, more likely than not, their total extra daily calorie burn due to their Disney World experience will be greater than my 400 calories.
BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY SHOULD BE EATTING MORE AT DISENY WORLD SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE WALKING AND STANDING MORE…if they are, then they are missing the point!
THE DISNEY EFFECT, MY POINT – CALORIES BURNED AND FOOD
The point I am trying to make is that people don’t really burn that many more calories when visiting Disney World and should therefore not be of the mindset that they’ll be okay eating more because they’ll be standing and walking more…
…hell, I burn 400 calories in 30 minutes of exercise compared to an entire day at Disney World!
From the data I collected on myself, on my most active Disney World days, I only accumulated an extra 420 calories burned due to visiting the Disney World park.
In terms of steps per day, I took an extra 3,500 – 4,500.
In terms of distance traveled per day, I traveled an extra 5 – 7 miles.
Yeah, the numbers seem like a lot – a mean an extra 5 miles!
Walking an extra 5 miles is about 400 calories which is about two chocolate chip cookies worth…and I was eating 3 a day….not to mention the 5-6 croissants, chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches, two cronuts, buffets, and….you get the point….
“So, if you only burned 400 extra calories but ate all you wanted, you must have gained weight right…?”
…I GAINED 12 POUNDS TOTAL IN JUST 8 DAYS AT DISNEY WORLD….EVEN THOUGH, ON AVERAGE, I WALKED AN EXTRA 5 MILES A DAY!!!!!
IN SUMMATION, DISNEY WORLD AND CALORIES
NO…You can’t have an extra order of fries and another coke simply because you’ll be at Disney World…especially if you’re typically a pretty sedentary individual and/or if you are worried about maintaining weight while at Disney World!
My advice then…just eat as you regularly do back h0me and if you are going to be at Disney World for a week’s time then pick 2 days out of the 7 to have the extra treat…just don’t have that extra treat (or, if you’re like me, treats) everyday…unless you don’t care about gaining a few extra pounds…hell, it’s up to you, do what makes you happy…just know what you’re doing!