Admittedly, I don’t consider myself to be a great father. Working long hours and short fuses and a wide variety of other shortcomings, there are a wide variety of areas where I drop the ball. That said, theme parks and other Central Florida activities often provide a much-needed break from the day to day monotony and often provide must needed opportunities to reconnect with my kids. Based on trial and error, here are some theme park tips for dads that I have learned along the way for enjoying the parks with your kids.
Theme Park Tips for Dads
Out of the gate, I must confess something, I am a big kid… I am a big kid who is absolutely crazy about his wife and kids. Now I am also a big kid who loves theme parks. I have for as long as I can remember. From playing on Splash Mountain to Spider-Man and from Back to the Future(I am still sore they removed this) to Star Tours some of my favorite memory’s growing up happened in theme parks.
You see this is an important tidbit of information because like any self-respecting father as I got married and had kids I wanted to share these experiences and joys with my family. However, between height restrictions, small legs, the constant need for naps (and no I am not talking about the kids), and the urge to scream as we wait in line for an attraction just to have them decide right before we get on the attraction they have become paralyzed with fear and have to beehive for the nearest exit sign I have learned a thing or to about going to the parks with my children.
It’s OK to slow down
This is something my wife almost always gets on to me about. Growing up, whenever we went to the parks it was a game to see how long it would take us to take in every attraction. From the time we would hit the opening gate until the time we were on our way back to our room or car it was as if we had one of those guns that go off at races and while we were in the parks it was a mad dash to finish the marathon that almost always left us longing for a vacation from our vacation. Admit it, you’ve been there too. It’s ok we all have.
I thought this was normal practice until I was on my honeymoon with my wife at Disney. She drove me crazy initially. She had never been to any of the parks and as it was her first time she wanted to take it easy and take it all in. Though this was very counter-culture to me it allowed me to enjoy the parks in a new way. There were many details and experiences I had often passed over in our mad conquest.
This lesson provided the framework for our theme park strategy as we had kids. This is not for everybody but it is often common practice for us. Before we hit the opening gate we will pick the 3-4 things, usually one for each person that they absolutely have to do. From then on we hit those attractions or shows and then take the rest of the day sort of as it comes. This has often helped us avoid over exhaustion and minimized that whole “vacation from the vacation mentality.”
Naps are important!
Let’s Talk Parking
This tip is inspired by recent events as my family and I visited one of the big five theme parks not that long ago. Typically either my wife or I will make a concerted effort to either write the section down or look for markers as we are leaving our vehicle. However, for some reason in the frenzy of hurrying to get into the park both of us forgot. Of course, we did not realize this fact until both of us were exhausted and had two equally tired kids in tow. The end result was me wandering around aimlessly for about 20-30 min until things began to click and I was able to track the car down. So my advice, take a picture of the section and row you are in any time you visit the parks. I know what you’re thinking, this is lame or a waste of time. To be honest I have heard this advice a couple times already and said the same thing. However, after this last occurrence that we had at the park, you better bet we are adhering to this. This simple step will alleviate a lot of heartaches, tired feet and keep your trip rolling on a happy note!