Entry #460, March 27, 2011
So… I’m officially in Orlando, Florida and I realized that everyone and their mother visit amusement parks. Regardless of your nationality, age, race, religion, every country seems to be represented at Walt Disney world.
So I’m also realizing that surviving your own family can be work in itself! I thought I would share with you some tips that help keep me sane when we travel!
A post from the archives….
Original Entry #231, August 1, 2010
Last weekend, my husband and I decided to take a 1 day, 2 night trip down to Disney World. Living in Jacksonville, Florida you would think we would visit Orlando more often – but to be honest we only go once a year, if we are lucky… or unlucky depending on how you look at it. Family amusement park vacations are one of the most popular destinations for families.
The nostalgia of amusement parks has always been a long standing summer tradition in my family. My sister and I used to always get excited to know that we would spend 1 week in Orlando and that was all we needed in our summer!
As I’ve gotten older, the thought of amusement parks isn’t quite as fun. Maybe it’s the thought of money, food, hotel, gas, sweating, whining kids, and hurting feet that has marred my memory of wonderful years when I was young. Although, last weekend it was about perfect. I think my husband and I finally have figured out how to make the experience fun for everyone!
Here are 5 tips that helped us enjoy the amusement park:
1.) Plan your day according to your family:
Depending on the age of your kids, endurance of the family members, and how much territory you are trying to cover in the park(s), consider this the day before you hit the park.
- If you’re traveling with teenagers, ask them what they want to do. What rides they’d like to go on, so everyone will be on the same page on park day. There is nothing worse than a family vacation being ruined because everyone’s expectations were different.
- Over estimate how much time you will spend at the rides, eating, standing in lines, shopping, etc..
2.) Eat a good meal before you get into the park:
This one seems obvious, but then families don’t often do it. Unless you enjoy spending a small fortune for hamburgers, fries and a drink for each family member 3 times in one day, eat at a good restaurant before arriving.
- If you eat before hand it will give you energy, and it will probably be more healthy. Consider bringing granola bars, nuts, and bottled water with you to the park.
- Most parks will allow a diaper bag (good place to stash snacks, bottled water, etc.. Don’t try to bring fast food bags, coolers, etc.. Most parks will not allow).
3.) Determine how much time you REALLY need at the park:
In the past, our family would get to Disney at 9:00 am and stay until the park closed at 11:00pm. The next day we were worn out, and it took another two days to recover. This last time we decided to go at 5:00 at night. This helped us avoid the awful heat, and enjoy the park at night. After about 5 rides the kids were tired, and it was enjoyable to just sit and watch the light parade!
- You and your family may enjoy themselves more if they actually do less! 🙂
- Remember, you still might have to drive home or go to work the next day – take it easy!
4.) Have a budget:
This one is hard. It seems like you never can estimate how much souvenirs, snacks, meals, etc.. cost at amusement parks. My best advice if you’re on a budget are below:
- Stay in a hotel that is off the premises of the actual amusement park. If you don’t want to drive, choose hotels that offer shuttles to the park.
- If you will be in town for a number of days, consider getting a hotel room with refrigerator, microwave, and/or kitchenette. Then you can buy food, and eat smaller meals in the room.
- Buy souvenirs in local gift shops rather than the amusement park. Often times they have similar items, and your child won’t know that’s it isn’t the ‘official’ merchandise of the park!
5.) Wear comfortable clothing:
This tip is especially for dressing your kids. I have seen too many children with Minnie Mouse dresses and black dress shoes running around the park. By the end of the day, you could tell their feet were hurting! Make sure adults and kids have hats, comfortable shoes, light clothing, and plenty of sunscreen!
For more family vacation ideas on Stagetecture, click here.