Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wow, our summer is full speed ahead! Our girls' dance troupe was thrilled to perform at Disney World's Downtown Disney stage last week, which meant four days of park hopping craziness with half the sleep and twice the heat. I believe Disney must be not only the "happiest place on earth", but one of the most challenging family destinations.
How many families have kids who all have identical likes and dislikes when it comes to an amusement park? Usually one likes shows, another likes the characters, another ONLY wants to do the "thrill rides" that give mom vertigo, and one develops a fear of darkness and loud noises. Unless you've been lucky enough to have a parent for every child (ie., able to divide and conquer), this creates a wonderful opportunity to work on compromise. Except that everyone is tired, hot, hungry, and cranky by mid-afternoon.
My completely unsolicited advice? Be at the gates when the park opens, with fully fed (if not fully awake) kids. Cheerfully rush in with the other Disney Commandos, and you will likely be able to hit a dozen of your favorite rides in the first two hours. Do the "kid swap" where a kid that does not want to do the ride only has to stand in line with the gang, but then is allowed to wait with an adult rather than be dragged kicking and screaming (as we saw, believe it or not, on Small World) on a ride that terrifies them. Then, as the lines swell, slow down and grab food and drinks, and do the shows. If possible, take an afternoon break and go back to the hotel for a swim.
It's easy to get caught up in the desire to stay at the park because of how much you paid, but is it worth it if the kids are whiny and miserable? Enjoy it in chunks, and relax.
Bottom Line: Remember you are at amusement parks for FUN and family memories. Stay flexible, and don't force the "FUN" on a terrified kid!