What to do with the Kids?

 You can skip reading this if you don’t have children. But maybe not, after all. There may be some general tips for those without little ones…come to think of it.

Here’s a half dozen tips for when visiting Orlando to make sure your mood stays mellow:

  1. The very first thing to consider is this: if you get separate or lost. It happens all the time. So beforehand, before you even get to the park, set up a meeting place if you get split up. Also set a time (if everyone is old enough to tell time, that is). Finally, don’t pick a spot where everyone else in the world wants to meet (Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom is a no-no, for one example).
  2. Write phone numbers on a child’s hand. Children often forget (so do adults). No better place than a wrist-reminder, though you will remember to tell them not to wash it off, of course.
  3. Kids may hate lines more than adults. But try as you might, you can’t always avoid them. So if you want to squeeze more into the day, arrive early or well before the gates open to try to get as many experiences as possible before the late-risers get there.
  4. Whether or not you love watching the various shows, plan to do some rides during that time (and during parades and other crowd-pleasing events), when lines are almost always shorter.
  5. Everyone screams not for ice cream but souvenirs. Any wise parent knows prices for even down-to-earth items are Star War are from outer space. And you don’t want to lug any items around, no matter what you buy. So consider that some parks have services to send your stuff to the front gates during your visit or, if you are staying at a resort hotel, the policy may allow you to have the package delivered to your hotel. But also consider something inexpensive and easily stored in a shirt pocket like those pins that can be nice reminders of your visit later.
  6. Can you swap the kids? Check beforehand about “child swap” programs. Disney has been a pioneer here, allowing one parent to accompany a child as the other waits (to avoid standing in line twice). See what your theme park offers.
  7. Check your mentality or common sense. Don’t forget to leave it at the gates in that excited anticipation of all the fun your family will have. Don’t try to do it all. Pace yourself (and your family). Stop at times for slower or sit-down attractions such as exhibits or films or virtual reality shows. Change pace. Crowd watch for a few minutes. And by all means, stay cool. ###