Tips for taking your kids to the theme park

Crazy as it sounds, I wish we were doing the theme park circuit again. I’ve done the California theme park bit 3 times and once to Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida. Still that little child in me can’t wait to go again!

This last time, we just decided to do it at the spur of the moment in the middle of a cold, wet winter. That’s adventure for you.

Each time I’ve been to a theme park, it’s been a whole new experience and I’ve chalked up a list of should’ve-done’s and not-to-do’s.

Sailing quietly past the ‘original’ pirate ship as cannons and guns boomed all around us on our favorite Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, Anaheim. We loved this ride so much we went back on it like 6 times 😆 .

1. Stay at a hotel within walking distance of the park and that lets you park for free. That way you can use the parking money to treat yourself and the kids to some snow cones and kettle popcorn.

2. Bring lots of snacks, and I mean, tons. Between me and the kids (that’s 4 of us), we must’ve gobbled over 100 granola bars during our week of theme park hopping last winter. Kids (and hyper adults like me 😆 ) get hungry quickly with all that walking and standing in line at the rides. Those granola bars were a real life-saver.

Fire and brimstone and thrilling stunts by real actors in the Water World show at Universal Studios, Hollywood. The set was amazing with real life-sized boats, airplanes and men on fire!

3. Assign each person to be in charge of something. That way, you can all enjoy a great time without the weight being on the shoulders of 1 or 2 people having to worry about the tickets are, or if you’ve left your camera behind. This makes the older kids feel important, and worked well for us.

4. Do a headcount every now and again to make sure your group is together. Theme parks are big, big places with big, big crowds and not exactly the best place to lose a child or leave someone behind.

Shamu doing the flip at Sea World, San Diego. Totally awesome killer whale. We were careful to sit in the no-splash zone. Can’t imagine getting drenched in winter, brrr!

5. Bring caps and sunblock if you’re going in the summer. Bring an extra set of clothing for younger kids. Wear comfy shoes. Wear light colored clothing in the summer.

6. The food at Disneyland, Anaheim is reminiscent of college cafeteria food, if you know what I mean. So it’s worth taking a short walk over to Downtown Disney for meals. Lots of restaurants there. Our favorite, Naples Ristorante E Pizzeria, serves a great pizza. There’s a cute waiter working there too 😉 .

Feel free to jump in and share your theme park tips and experiences. Oh, and if you’re at any of these theme park this summer, say hi to Captain Sparrow and Shamu for me, won’t ya?

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  • Erin

    These are excellent comments, especially the one about assigning a job to everyone. I’m one of those “take it all onto myself” moms which stresses the bejeesus out of me; it would be so much better to enjoy my theme park trips!

  • Posh

    Wow- how fun!

    Stopping by from the Friday hops to say hello.
    Have a great Friday!


    The pirate ship ride looks fun! We have got to go again!
    We won’t be going to Sea World anytime soon. Shamu ate a pelican (during the show) when we were there and my daughter doesn’t want to ever go there again! Too funny! We tried to explain that’s Shamu’s instinct, but she doesn’t care. Personally, I would have freaked if I was the trainer. Thank goodness she wasn’t in the water with Shamu at the time!

  • diane

    I must admit, I DETEST going to theme parks but sometimes you just have to do it for the kids, right?

    I am a new follower from the weekend blog hop. Hope you get a chance to visit and follow back. Have a great weekend!


  • jenny at dapperhouse

    Can I take the personal items, granola bars and water bottles etc in a backpack and still go on the rides? ShouldI do shoulder bag? I have never been so I dont know what is allowed, and what is the most convenient? Thanks!
    – jeny at dapperhouse

    • Clairity

      I find a backpack to be more practical than a shoulder bag as it leaves your hands free. Backpacks are okay on rides. When we were there, they checked our backpacks at the entrance every day and water bottles weren’t allowed. Hope this helps.

  • Kelly

    We love theme parks too! I always try to bring one of those old “fanny packs” instead of a purse so that I don’t have to worry about stowing it somewhere while we are on a ride.

    I am your newest follower from Relax and Surf Sunday!