Have you ever thought about the ridiculous things we do to our kids? We really do some strange things! We take cranky kids into department stores, expecting them to be able to make it through a four-hour shopping spree. Then we get frustrated when we have to scoot out of crowds, carrying a child who is literally falling apart with a temper tantrum. We dress our kids up at the Disney Parks, wait in long lines for Rides, and force them to do Meet & Greets with Disney Characters. Can you imagine what our kids are thinking? How confusing, their entire lives have been filled with warnings about strangers…we wonder why they cry.
We do all kinds of “stuff” (with good intentions) that only leads to stress, for both our kids and ourselves. While I don’t have children of my own, being a kindergarten teacher has forced me to think from the perspective of both a child and an adult. So, what am I getting at? How does this relate to Disney World? Well my friends, I have learned a lot from watching and working with kids! Today I am going to share 3 practical tips to help you and your little one get things “in line” before you are waiting in a line.
Avoid temper tantrums meltdowns, and line drama by utilizing these tips!
#1 Have a plan
Having a plan really helps both the parent and the child. You don’t have to have every single second mapped out, but it is important that everyone has a general idea of the days adventures. Talking together about rides you want to check out or avoid is HUGE. Picking up a park map to discuss the ride selection is a great way to prepare your child. I know that many kids think that when you are at Disney World it means that you can ride whatever ride you want, when you want, no matter what. Parents and children run into problems when children want to ride a ride that isn’t in the current park you are visiting For example, if you child really likes the Magic Carpet’s of Aladdin but you are in , it is impossible to just “hop on” and ride. Take time to talk about what park you are visiting and come up with similar rides. For example, in the Animal Kingdom and your child is begging for the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, a similar ride is the Triceratop Spin. Using words like “first” and “then” help in my classroom. It is important that kids know they will get a turn, but sometimes that turn isn’t going to happen right now. Making a plan and that includes your child is a great way to avoid a mid-line meltdown.
#2 Know your triggers
I remember taking a trip to a local amusement park as a child. I was terrified of roller coasters, but for one reason or another, I ended up in the “dare-devil” group. What? Yeah. You can pretty much imagine the joy experienced by all those around me in line. So, what can be done? Simple. Take time to know your triggers. Consider the ride/attraction you are waiting for. Is it going to be scary? What time of day is it? Do you need to stop for a break? Knowing what causes your undesired behavior will make for a better waiting experience! There are some moments where you have to decide “do I want to die on this mountain?” What this means is, pick your battles. If your little one is hot and sweaty, skip waiting in a long hot queue and go for a ice cream/popsicle break or find a cool spot to take a break. If your little one is scared for the dark, avoid rides with pitch black darkness. You can always take advantage of the rider swap if you have a child who is too small or who doesn’t want to ride. With rider swap, both the parents and the children will be happy. It works like this, head to the Fastpass line and ask a cast member for a rider swap pass. One parent can ride (with or without older children/family members) while the other parent and toddler /child are free to venture to other areas of the park. When the ride is over, the parents switch places and the parent with the rider swap pass gets a shortened wait time via the Fastpass line!
#3 Be Prepared
Preparation is half the battle! There are a lot of levels of preparation consider these:
-Have A LOT of discussion about waiting in line before you leave: It is hard for little kids to understand the concept of waiting…patience is completely out the window. So, what can be done? I’m all about talking about what to expect. As a teacher, I would even go so far as to create a social story about lines and waiting your turn. I would take pictures (that I took or found online) and put them together to make a small story-with simple language. I would make sure that what I said or show is accurate of what lines might look like at Disney World. You can practice waiting in line at the grocery store or mall. Reward your child’s patience with words of praise. Remember, small steps work best!
-Know before you go: Plan out what you’ll ride. Find out what rides are closed for renovations. Find out height requirements and measure your child and have the “height talk” before you go to Disney World! Also, take time to read ride review and watch videos on Youtube, that way your child will now what to expect!
-Think like a Boy/Girl Scout: Creature comforts are a HUGE helper when you are taking on the parks with little ones. Packing a few snacks, a small toy,a fan, and some juice boxes is a GREAT idea! I don’t over do it with my park bag, but I’ll say that from experience with my nephew, having a Ziploc bag with Cheeze-Itz or Goldfish to snack on has really helped us in a snap! Instead of having to abandon our place in line, we were able to satisfy a hungry little guy and avoid a meltdown!
-Have a backup plan: Having a backup plan in mind will help if something should come up. Planning out the “ifs” of life is hard, but having a general idea of what you’ll do, will help you think if the moment should come. Flexibility is key! Each child is different, but from the “go with the flow” kinds of kids to the “highly scheduled” kinds of kids, it never hurts to prep them and be upfront with what’s going on if there are some changes.
I hope these tips will help you the next time you are in the parks with your little one! We all know, that every child is different and for goodness sake, every situation is different! I just know that these ideas have worked for me! So, now it is your turn to be the expert…what is your number one suggestion for making the wait time with your child easier? Share your suggestions below in the comment section!
As always, thank you for reading!
For more tips and ideas, check out my blog:!
See ya real soon!
- Understanding the Riders Switch Pass at Walt Disney World (tipsfromthedisneydiva.com)
- Having a Walt Disney World Plan of Attack (chipandco.com)
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