We all love theme parks, the excitement, characters, rides, the magic that thrills adults and children. As a mom you want to take it all in and have an experience of a lifetime with your family. You and your partner/husband, baby and toddler in tow, may want to attack this foreign land with the determination of climbing Mount Everest. It can be challenging and feel like trying to reach the summit with a stroller, baby, toddler and significant other strapped to your back. The air may start to thin and you ask yourself, “What Was I Thinking?” Moms often are command central for vacations and planning. For a new mom/ mom with a new baby it can be overwhelming.
Yes, I was one of those moms! I flew with my 6 week old, toddler and husband to the Mecca of theme parks. It is an understatement to say that I was not prepared. Our trip began with a ride on the boat to take us across the magical waters to the Kingdom. Getting off the boat I did not anticipate the jockeying that was required when handling a stroller and competing with scooters for asphalt. Yep, I narrowly escaped a collision with a diehard theme park lover on a scooter. This was hard core!
The crowds were overwhelming; and the mommy/ baby area was at the front of the park, who knew? Time to feed baby: I couldn’t find anywhere to sit down. My husband was in a ride line with our toddler. I did what I could; I ducked behind my stroller, hunched on a curb, nursed my baby and prayed that I would not have a Janet Jackson half-time wardrobe malfunction. I was overwhelmed. After my experience at the theme parks as a mom with a new baby and toddler, I wish I knew the 411/Skinny on conquering the kingdom mommy style.
Theme Park 101: What New Moms Should Know!
1. Prepare to be swallowed by crowds. Scooters are dangerous. You may have a flight or fight response and experience overwhelming feelings. You may want turn and run out of the park. This is normal. You may be challenged by the copious amounts of walking and waiting. Plan to break up your day. Morning at the park, nap and return in the afternoon.
2. Get the Park Map. You can pull it up online. Finding somewhere to nurse or feed a baby is not easy. No privacy guaranteed with park admission. Don’t get confused by the time change and work this into your schedule.
3. Bring a well stocked diaper bag with snacks for the family. Your husband/ partner can stand in a line for food but you can’t. Hurry up and wait… it’s a theme.
4. Line ups. Standing in lines is torture for babies and toddlers. So many parents say to crying children “We paid for this, so we are doing it”. FYI, babies, toddlers and kids don’t get how much things cost and are not patient and tire easily.
5. An umbrella, rain or shine is needed. It provides shade for you and baby. It gets hot with post baby weight. Positive note… you may sweat it off in one day, if you don’t pass out.
6. Locate the bathrooms. Remembering bathroom lines can be long. Changing your baby in the stroller is ”ok”. Don’t worry what others will think, this is survival. Your hubby or partner will need to take care of your toddler’s potty needs. You can’t do it all!
7. Rides. Get Ready to watch your hubby/partner and toddler fly bye-bye on an elephant; while you chat up the baby, under your umbrella keeping cool in the shade.
8. Characters are scary, big and strange. A giant orange and black striped tiger standing on two feet might make you scream too. Babies and toddlers can be fearful and cry. Their response is 100% natural and organic.
9. Don’t go to the theme parks every day. Take a day to relax, play at the hotel pool. It’s not worth your mommy sanity. Yes, your sanity will be tested!
10. Save the Magic till your kids are 6-10 years of age, can ride all of the rides, stand in long lines and can remember the enchanting experience. Go on an all-inclusive beach Vacation instead! It might be cheaper and definitely more mommy, daddy, toddler & baby friendly. Sometimes just digging in the sand is enough, no fairy dust needed!
Comment with your “Mommy” Theme Park experiences and Advice…