A theme park might seem like the most family-friendly vacation destination, but that’s not always the case. With the rides, attractions and cartoon characters coming to life, you and your child may well encounter long lines, high temperatures and frayed nerves.
Still, a theme park can be a great vacation spot if you plan your days and stay flexible. Take inspiration from your child: if he is tired, take a break. If she’s afraid of heights or dark places, avoid rides with those characteristics, and if she’s shy, don’t force her to pose for a picture with Snow White. Here are some other tips:
Even the most diligent parents can lose sight of their child in the crowd. Dress your child in a brightly colored t-shirt so they are easily seen. To make sure someone can contact you if she gets lost, write your name, hotel, and phone number on an index card and stick it in her pocket. Tell the park staff if your child is old enough to understand and tell them that if you are separated they should find one of these people.
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Because theme parks can be expensive, you’ll probably be tempted to pack as many attractions as possible. But no one has fun when the kids are tired or hungry. If you plan to stay several days, choose a hotel near the park so that you can return to your room whenever you want: siesta, meal, swimming. Even if you don’t live nearby, schedule several snack and rest breaks to give everyone time to catch a second wind.
Most people have a strategy for avoiding lines. Some parents prefer to arrive before the park even opens in order to be among the first to enter. Then they head to the most popular rides. Others prefer a more relaxed approach, arriving later and reserving high-volume attractions for meals, when most people are having lunch or dinner. To make sure your day goes well, make a game plan that suits your child’s needs and temperament.
Whichever approach you choose, rent a stroller if you have a young child. This way you will save your back when it gets tired of walking.
High temperatures and high humidity can deflate even the most enthusiastic child. Make sure yours eats healthy meals regularly to keep them strong, and pack bottled water to keep them hydrated. Your whole group should wear hats to protect their eyes and face from the sun’s rays, and don’t forget to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you go; reapply it according to the directions on the label.
Navigating the crowd and strategizing your plan of attack might not seem like a vacation, but it will be worth it when you see your child’s face as they meet Mickey Mouse or take their first ride on the big Wheel.
Always ride with your young children on potentially scary rides like roller coasters or Ferris wheels. In very rare cases, some got scared and tried to escape.
Parentcenter.com, Secrets to a Successful Theme Park Visit
The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland, Bob Sehlinger, Hungry Minds, Inc.
The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, Bob Sehlinger, Hungry Minds, Inc.
Originally published on consumer.healthday.com, as part of TownNews Content Exchange.