Let me start by saying that I do not have children of my own, nor do I travel anywhere with children. So, you’re probably wondering what makes me qualified to speak on the subject? Well, I do have one major qualification: I use to be one of those theme park children.
Even though I did not go to Disneyland a lot as a child (it was too expensive for my family), I did visit other Southern California theme parks quite often — specifically Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios Hollywood. My parents managed to teach me a lot about planning, having fun, and cherishing each experience, so below are the four strategies that I would like to pass along to you to help set up everyone in your family for a happy theme park experience.
Let the Children Be a Part of the Planning
As a child, one of my favorite things my parents let me do was plan out our theme park experience. I am about to date myself, but there was very little information on the internet back then, so my parents took me to the local library to do my own research. I would get books that were written about Southern California attractions and bone up on whatever theme parks we were going to visit.
Even though most of the information was bare-bones (opening/closing times and attraction information), it was more than enough for me to get started. Then, when we got to the theme park, I would grab a map and start leading the way. Fortunately nowadays, TouringPlans makes it a lot easier to do research and plan your trip. So, going through TouringPlans with your child and creating a plan together can get them involved early.
Even though I was the one that gathered the theme park information, my parents were the ones that had to plan which supplies to bring, when we would eat, and when to take a break. It is important to know which supplies you will need to pack for the day, but remember to keep in mind not to pack too many items because over packing is easy to do. Simple necessities such as sunscreen, water, snacks, and hand sanitizer is often all you need, although supplies vary greatly depending on the children in question. Also, putting together a plan to know when your family will need to eat and to recharge are key moments in any trip. Knowing when to eat and rest can mean the difference between having a great time or a terrible one.
Have Children Take Part in Capturing the Memories
One of the most important things to do while on any vacation is to document the moments you shared. Parents should not be the only one taking pictures — let your children take a turn at being the photographer.
I am about to date myself again, but as a child I did not have digital camera, so my parents let me use my own disposable film camera (Ed. – Look it up youngin’s). I was able to snap away whenever I wanted, and the next day my parents would take me to the nearest photo developer place and have them developed. These are pictures I still have to this day.
It Will Bring Your Family Closer
Experiencing a theme park can be an exhausting and tiring experience, especially with children. Giving your children and your family an amazing traveling experience is priceless, and it is something you will remember for ages.
I learned so much from my parents taking me to different theme parks as a child, and allowing me to truly be a part of the entire trip. Even though I know that every family is different, just thinking about how you involve kids in your travels is a great starting point to help you discover how to make your family have long-lasting, happy memories.