Planning the perfect family vacation, you get to go somewhere new, somewhere fun, a place where you want to do everything. You want your kids to come home with hundreds of lifelong memories all from a single afternoon, and you want to walk away knowing you have provided your family a picture-perfect vacation.
Then reality hits. Your kids get cranky, you get frazzled, and your camera goes kaput. It's enough to make you want to go home and never try to have "fun" again. Perhaps we can provide a few suggestions to make your theme-park outing as peaceful as possible.
- Eat and drink frequently, in fact, more frequently than you do at home. Avoid, as much as possible at least, too many sugary treats and soft drinks. Virtually all parks offer healthful snacks such as fruit, and bottled water is everywhere.
- Take a break about midday. If you are staying on park property, you may want to venture back to the room for a brief siesta. If you can't do that, try finding a quiet place in the park to sit and wind down. Tom Sawyer Island in Disney's Magic Kingdom is an excellent retreat. It may seem impossible to do, but everyone will be happier at the end of the day if you take time to relax.
- To help keep track of smaller children, dress them in the same bright color. They'll be easier to spot in a crowd. Plus, put your name, hotel address, and, if you have one with you, cellular phone number in their pockets in case they do get lost. As a family, come up with a game plan of what to do if you get separated.
- If your children are old enough to venture out on their own, set up a meeting place and time. Also, make sure they have the hotel name and number with them just in case. You may also want to invest in the new small-sizewalkie-talkie-type electronic devices. They are becoming quite affordable and usually have a range of up to two miles, just right for inside a theme park.
- Leave the purse at the hotel. It gets in the way and can be lost or stolen. Fanny packs are much more theme-park friendly, and they leave your arms free so you can hug your favorite character.