You've finally decided to bite the bullet, spend the money and take the family to Disneyland for a day. You want this to be a great day for everyone; after all, isn't this the Happiest Place on Earth? Here are some tips to ensure that your day is as full of fun and as free of hassles as is humanly possible.
Do Your Homework
Before you go, print out a map of Disneyland from their website. Learn where all the rides are and plan your day so that you're not running around the park constantly trying to get to the next ride. For example, if you don't make a plan, you may find yourself heading to Space Mountain for the older kids first, then hiking over to Toon Town for the little ones, then on to Splash Mountain for the big kids again and back to Fantasyland for It's a Small World. Instead, try to stay within one area and complete all the rides, shopping, etc.in that area before moving on to the next.
Crowds can be a problem and keep you from seeing all the sites you'd like. Also, you don't want to spend your entire day standing in line for rides. So, have each family member choose the one thing he or she cannot miss and make a plan accordingly. If you're lucky, there'll be some overlap; but, even if the choices land you at opposite corners of the park, with careful planning, you can still guarantee that everyone's wish is fulfilled.
If your kids are the same age, this might not be necessary, but if there is an age gap, you and your spouse may need to split up and take the kids to different spots in the park. This way, everyone has a better chance of doing the things they enjoy most and having a really fun day. Just make certain that you meet up at different times during the day to share your adventures with the rest of the family and make some memories together.
Make Use of the Fast Pass
This is a great idea Disneyland implemented a few years ago for the most popular rides. You can now get a pass (and yes you may have to stand in line for that too!) that allows you to come back at a designated time and enter the ride without waiting in a huge line. You can still opt to wait in the standby line if you like, but the Fast Pass holders get first priority.
Have Realistic Expectations
Young children get tired and may need a break during the day. If you're staying in a nearby hotel, it might be worth it to get your hands stamped, return to the hotel to rest for a bit, then return to the park refreshed and ready for round two. If you're just at the park for the day, find a quiet place off the beaten path and people watch while your youngster naps. If your older kids are still raring to go and your youngest has passed out, you might try a trip to Tom Sawyer's Island, where the big kids can run around while the little one naps.
Anyone can have a good time at Disneyland, but with advanced planning and the right attitude, you and your family can have a really great time!
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by parenthood? Do you question your actions and decisions? Or are you just plain out of ideas of fun things to do with your kids? Then visit Stress-FreeParent. blogspot.com and see what strategies other parents have used to keep parenting the fun and rewarding occupation it was meant to be. Theresa Schultz is a freelance writer and mother of three great kids. She can be reached at email@example.com