Sunday, March 25, 2012

Packed Parks...Making the Most of a Busy Situation

A lot of families are about a week out from a most magical spring break.  Amongst all the magic and memories you are in the midst of a sea of guests.  The parks are packed and that creates near boiling conditions for small children and grown-ups alike!  So, how do you avoid a breakdown?  Today I have a coping mechanism you can use to make the most of the parks, even when there are lines for days.  I'm making it easy to remember by creating an acronym.  Use these steps to keep C.A.L.M.  Give these a try next time you are in the parks (especially if it is a crowded day).

Don't fret! Keep C.A.L.M 

C- Come Prepared:
Getting in and out of the parks on a slow day may seem like a cinch!   On crowded days, that may be a different story!  Sometimes the parks become so crowded that they are at capacity for guests.  This means that if you choose to leave the parks (for example to go back to the resort for a nap or lunch) you might not be admitted back.  I like to come prepared on these days.  I bring a backpack with the necessities for a long crowded day. Each person's bag may look different, holding your essentials.  For example, sunscreen, fans, snacks, baby care, cell phone, you name it.  By coming prepared you can avoid wasting time on the monorail or bus and you can avoid spending money.  Having a plan in mind seems to help avoid meltdowns!  

Need more help with this?  Check out these two "bag board" posts on packing a park ready bag:  Summer Bag and Park Essentials

L- Look for Chances to SLOW down: 
This suggestion seems so simple but, it is one of the first things I tend to forget when I get in the go-go-go mentality of the parks.  There is so much to do that for me, it often seems like a waste of time and money to not be 100 mph at all times.  I've found that my happiest days in the parks are the days that I take a moment to slow myself down.  There are lots of ways to do this; hitting a ride where you get to sit for a long time, stopping to sit and eat, finding a quiet spot to sit, etc.  are all suggestions that have worked for me.  I know that in the Magic Kingdom I like to head over to Tom Sawyer Island when I feel like taking it slow.  There's tons of shade and even some great rocking chairs.  This last trip we spent about an hour there just enjoying my 2 year old nephew.  That was one of my favorite parts of the trip because we took time to slow down. He loved it too!  Remember to stop. Breath.  And keep your cool by slowing down!  You've got plenty of time to enjoy the parks and it is so much easier to do when you are not in a grumpy mood!  

If you have children, this is especially important.  If the parks aren't too bad, hitting the resorts for a nap or pool time seems to help.  I love this article from The Disney Diva at Tips from the Disney Diva on using your time with your little ones effectively!  Check it out here!  If you just can't leave the parks, try to find a shady or slow/low noise ride.  For me, a good "snooze" can be had by all in the Hall of Presidents (Magic Kingdom), Ellen's Energy Adventure (Epcot), Rafiki's Conservation Station (Animal Kingdom), The magic of Disney Animation (Hollywood Studios).  The Disney Diva has created a HUGE list of possibilities for quiet spots in the parks/resorts check them out here!

A- Avoid Low Blood Sugar
Many of my family's biggest meltdowns have come at the hands of low blood sugar.  Tempers seem to fly when we are hungry.  If you have this same problem you can do yourself a huge favor and come prepared.  There are two ways to go about this.  1.) pack a ziploc bag with some sort of snack or 2.) plan out when you will eat and don't neglect mid meal chances to snack (if your meals are not spaced out well).  Last time we were at Disney we didn't go with the meal plan (BIG mistake...what were we thinking.  More on that later).  Any rate, we did eat all our meals in the parks (with the exception of about 4 days we ate breakfast at our condo).  Long story short, we decided to try for last minute reservations at Liberty Tree Tavern and we got them!  That was good news!  Unfortunately, our reservations were for a really late dinner (at about 8:00).  The streets of the Magic Kingdom were packed and tensions ran high as we made our way through gaggles of people.  We didn't plan on going so long between meals and boy did we pay for it!  By the time we checked in with our reservations we'd already been separated in the crowd, failed to communicate what attraction we were headed for, completely tried my sweet nephew's 2 year old patience, and friends, a big blow up ensued!  You can bet the next day I pack emergency rations of Cheese-itz.  This tip is for everyone but, it is especially important if  you have kids (or anyone in my family :D  ) with you !

M- Maintain Communication 
Communication is important.  That is an understatement.  Of course we all know this is true and while you are at Disney World, especially with a huge crowd, you need to remember this is especially true!  Here are some areas that often cause meltdowns-consider your communication with these areas:
  •  What park you'll go to
  • What you plan is if you get separated
  • Where you'll eat
  • Who will ride with who
  • How much money you'll spend
  • How fast you walk (I've been accused of a fast walker.  Fast walkers and crowds =  confusion and being lost and that all adds up to a great big meltdown!)
  • Going to the bathroom
  • Taking care of the kids needs
There are countless possibilities and it helps to remember that if you communicate while you are at the parks it will save you a lot of trouble!  Stop and have a chat, talk before you enter the parks, keep your cell phones handy, don't be selfish.  Communication is HUGE!  Have you ever had a blow up over something simple like getting separated in the crowd, having to go to the bathroom, or finding a restaurant that everyone will agree on.  This girl has.  It was no bueno.  Next time you notice you are starting to get a bit frazzled and short tempered, remember to get C.A.L.M and bring that boil over under control!

1 comment:

  1. I think these are awesome tips! Except for the slowing down one! haha I've never gone to Disney with kids though, so that would definitely change it. But, personally, I'm go-go-going from park opening to park close. My "slow down" time is waiting in line for a character greeting and then it's dashing off to the next character or ride!