Summer is almost here, which means it’s family vacation time and a lot of us are planning trips to amusement parks.
Amusement parks throughout the country that are favorites for travelers not only in the U.S. but from around the world include Disney World, Universal Studios, and Busch Gardens in Williamsburg or Tampa.
Of course, there are other great parks as well, but these are some of the big names.
While amusement parks are a fun family vacation idea, what if your family includes a toddler or younger kids? How do things work out?
The following are some survival tips if you’re taking a trip to an amusement or theme park with a toddler in tow.
As a mom of young kids, you’re probably used to researching pretty much everything already, so take some time to research the park you’re going to.
Most parks will have a detailed map available on their website, and on these maps or guides, you can find age and height restrictions, as well as notes that let you know if your child can go on the ride but has to do so with an adult.
Not only will you know what’s available for your young child, but planning and mapping things out ahead of time can help you avoidthe disappointment that can lead to major meltdowns.
You can avoid things altogether that your child can’t ride, so there isn’t an issue.
If you know where you want to spend time versus where you don’t, you can save time and not waste it while you’re there.
A lot of parks will have ride swap options. If both you and your partner want to do the same ride, but you have little ones who can’t, these options will let you wait for one another and then switch places without having to wait in line alone or again.
If you’re going to a park that has onsite properties such as Disney World, Universal or Legoland, stay onsite if at all possible. It may seem more expensive at first, but when you think about all the perks it can come with and the time and energy you can save you, it’s well worth it.
For example, if you don’t stay onsite and you have to park very far away, you’re already going to be dealing with a tired and cranky family when you arrive at the gates of the park.
When you stay onsite at theme parks, they’ll provide you with easy forms of free transportation. Often you can book your rides and attractions ahead of time as well.
When you have kids of any age, but especially young kids, these things can make a huge difference in everyone’s experience.
Another note about choosing a hotel—try to find options with kitchenette areas. You don’t want to have to eat every meal in the park or a restaurant, and if you have at least a refrigerator and microwave, it can help you get a better start in the morning.
Pretty much everything in a theme park is expensive, and in particular, food and snacks. You don’t want to spend a lot on snacks for a toddler, and you don’t want to have to combat lines either so bring your own snacks.
This will allow you to save on food costs and have things ready on-demand when your toddler wants to eat.
Make sure you bring water as well.
Equip Your Kid’s Stroller
First and foremost, if you have a toddler or even a kid younger than 5, you are more than likely going to need a stroller.
Trying to do things any other way is going to be extremely challenging. Most parks have stroller parking throughout so you don’t have to worry about folding it up to store it.
Make your child’s stroller a comfortable place for them. A stroller fan can be a great way to cool young kids off,and they can be entertaining.
You should also think about investing in a quality pair of noise-canceling headphones because the loud noise in parks can be too stimulating for young kids, and they might need a reprieve from that.
If you’re planning the logistics of your day, think about doing the things geared toward younger children in the morning when they have more energy.
Then, as your child tires out or naps in their stroller, you and your partner can take turns doing the rides and things you’re interested in.