We all love Disney, but we also know that a trip to a Disney Park means a significant amount of time waiting in lines. Even during the slowest season there is simply no way to completely avoid lines. There are lines for attractions, shows, parades, transportation, dining reservations, etc. While for some of these the term line is used losely the principal is the same; waiting in essentially one spot until the given time you enter the attraction or the entertainment begins. For parents of small children this can be a particularly icky situation, and quite honestly sheer torture. And I’ve been there. I’ve dealt with Connor, our 4-year old, while he swings the blasted chain or rope, bumps into strangers on purpose, complains loudly, and just about every other horrible thing a toddler can do in a line that you can imagine… The good news? You can combat the waiting in line blues! There are plenty of things you can do in line with your child to keep them occupied during even the longest wait.
1. Play Games – Simple, yet effective for small children. We have found that a simple game of “I Spy” at Walt Disney World is a great deterrent to line-boredom. We set some parameters, such as the item spied cannot be something that someone outside of our party is wearing, and then we begin. There is so much visual stimulation around the parks that the game can go on and on.
2. Disney Trivia Books – For older children and teens, there are a TON of Disney Trivia books on the market, and many are available via Kindle or iPad e-books. Personally, I have Lou Mongello’s Walt Disney World Trivia books. For our next trip, however, I’m looking forward to downloading The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Veness, because it breaks down the parks clearly by destination and land. The books are small enough to fit in a backpack or stroller without weighing it down, and they feature great bits of Disney Parks trivia. These are great for adults only trips as well!
3. Small Toys – Never underestimate the effect that a small toy can have on a child in line. Reader Val recently took a trip to Disneyland with her three small children, and stocked up on items in the Target Dollar Spot for their trip. Things like Disney Magic Ink books, Mini Magnadoodles, and Disney Play Packs helped keep her little ones busy during wait times. Additionally these items are great because they are small and compact, and at just a couple of bucks each on average you can bring several different items to change it up daily.
4. Hidden Mickey Books, Apps and Websites – Never underestimate the power of a Hidden Mickey challenge, but be prepared for your child to see Mickey in every grouping of 3 going forward. Our son’s absolute favorite thing is finding Hidden Mickey’s throughout Walt Disney World. This has become one of our top boredom-busters when waiting in line, or when eating a meal. He will literally grab three sugar packets, put them on the table and proclaim that he has created a Hidden Mickey. Steven M. Barrett has an entire series of Hidden Mickey books on the market, and each one is specific to a Disney Destination. They are the size of a field guide book so they are easy to take with you. You can also check out his website, HiddenMickeyGuy.com for an online catalog. I’ve used both his print edition and website at Walt Disney World, and really like both of them. The print editions include additional scavenger hunt games that were a hit with my high school students when we travelled to Walt Disney World! Additionally there are Hidden Mickey apps available for purchase in iTunes and Google Apps. Hidden Mickey hunts work great for waiting in line simply because there are so many of them! Plus, Steven is a really nice guy whom I had the pleasure to meet at D23!
5. Snacks – Yes, snacks. An apple, a package of peanut butter crackers or fruit snacks can be just the thing to help hold a little one over until their turn to ride. Often times the simple act of munching on something small is all they need to help them forget that they are in a line at all. It gives their little brains something else to do besides think about being in line. This works best for us when waiting for a parade or other entertainment event, as we can hand Connor a baggie of popcorn and he will be perfectly content for a while.
I hope these tips make your next trip to a Disney Park a little more bearable! What tips do you have for keeping children occupied while stuck waiting in line?