Tad and I covered traveling with the little ones in the first part of this series. Now we're moving on to our top tips for traveling with school-age kids...like we are now. From planning the trip to parents' night out, it's all here.
Tip #1 – Let us tadpoles help in the planning.
Tad and I are always involved in planning our itinerary and picking our “must-dos.” This helps us have a better idea of what to expect when we get there. The point-of-view videos on our YouTube channel is a great way to show us what's in store. Tad has lots of great ideas that get us excited about our trip without making Mommy Frog hoppin’ mad...
Tip #2 – Review safety tips with the kids.
Theme parks can be busy and crowded, but more importantly, they're unfamiliar. Knowing what to do if we get separated and how to spot each other at night not only keeps everyone safe, it minimizes stress. Take a look at the safety strategies we use.
Tip #3 – Bring a few familiar things from home.
It REALLY helps when our parents pack a few familiar things from home. Tad and I sleep better with our favorite pillows and blankets, and we don't pitch a fit brushing our teeth with the toothbrush and toothpaste we use everyday. It’s the little things, ya know? Here are some packing ideas.
Tip #4 – Ease into the fast pace.
Take it easy for the first few hours after you arrive at your destination. Sometimes the Frog Family even waits until the day after we arrive to hit the ground hopping. Easing into the fast pace of theme park excitement helps Tad and I get acclimated to the new environment and gives our parents time to unpack and get organized. If you want some fun ideas for your arrival day, read 5 Best Ways to Kick Off a Disney Vacation (blog).
Tip #5 – Pack surprise snacks and souvenirs.
My dad says I have something called “dramaqueenitis” so he packs a few surprise snacks to rescue me in the event of an empty-stomach meltdown. On that note...I’m not a spoiled tadpole, but I’ve been known to throw a fit outside Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. My parents buy souvenirs before our trip and surprise me if they sense a tantrum approaching.
Tip #6 – Long lines and wait times are just part of it.
The Frog Family uses the Undercover Tourist's wait times apps to know which attractions have the shortest lines. If we do have to wait in a long line, we have a good idea of how long we'll wait. We also use the filter feature on the apps to know which attractions have the FASTPASS option and if we're big enough to ride. Here are some ideas of ways to pass the time if you're stuck in line.
Tad and I love taking a break from the parks to enjoy the awesome pool complexes and play areas at our hotel. It gives us a chance to regroup, relax and rejuvenate. Just a few hours of napping, swimming and just plain ol' relaxin'...and we're rested and ready to go!
Tip #8 – Take some time for you.
Mommy Frog and my dad, Leap, take a few hours to go out on the town while Tad and I have a blast at one of the Children's Activity Centers at the hotel. Of course, we have to practically push them out the door, reassure them that we are perfectly fine and actually enjoy a few hours away from them, but they always come back in a MUCH better mood. ;)
Tip #9 – There's always next time.
It's impossible to see every attraction in every park on one trip, so the Frog Family doesn't even try. We have a much better time when we do as much as we can at a steady, but relaxed, pace. Trying to do EVERYTHING does three things: makes us look like African dwarf frogs, tires us out and leads to grumpy attitudes.
Tip #10 – Patience, patience, patience.
Traveling, getting a little less sleep than usual and dealing with large crowds can wear on anyone's patience. Instead of becoming tense and stressed, we just take a few deep breaths and remember how lucky we are to be at the Most Magical Place on Earth!
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