Evan Laughing

In 5-minutes I will have a meltdown, you just wait and see!

It’s everyone’s hope that while at Disneyland your children will behave and be cheerful for the duration of of your stay, but the reality is that sometimes kids will be kids and get out of line from time to time.

Yes it is Disneyland, but we often have to remind our kids that just because it’s “The Happiest Place on Earth” doesn’t mean the rules go out the window. So what happens when your child has a major meltdown and doesn’t listen to anything you say? Here are some ways to enforce a little discipline while still enjoying your day at the Disneyland Resort.

Whistle a Time Out!

Disneyland has plenty of places to sit down and relax, so why not use this as an opportunity to give your child (and yourself) a nice time out. We don’t use these in the traditional sense, but more of a way to let your child know that it’s time to take a break. If you’ve spent the majority of your day running back and forth trying to catch attractions, shows, and fight crowds, there is a high probability that irritability is going to rear its ugly head at some point.

If you’re at Disneyland try traveling along the backside of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad between Fantasyland and Frontierland! This is one of the least crowded areas of the park, and a great place to take a 5-minute breather to get everyone back on the same page.

If you’re at Disney California Adventure (DCA) try heading over to Grizzly Peak! There are a few nice quiet areas behind Grizzly River Run to catch your breath, and the sound of the rushing water always seems to do the trick!

Stay Engaged

You would think that kids would be happy enough to just be at Disneyland, but sadly this just isn’t the case. We find that if we keep a steady dialogue with our kids throughout the day, this seems to minimize potential meltdowns later on. Here is what we mean:

  • Remind them to give other guests personal space while waiting for attractions and standing in line for food.
  • Kindly encourage them not to climb on rails, planters, chains and other fixtures around the resort.
  • Enforce park rules like standing behind yellow lines while on attractions, keeping their hands, arms and legs inside ride vehicles at all times.

We encourage this behavior by allowing our kids to map out a portion of the day and choose the next attraction to ride or show to see. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that by simply enforcing a few rules (consistently), your kids will eventually catch themselves breaking one and correct the behavior all on their own!

Empty Threats Rarely Work

We can’t tell you how many times we’ve threatened to leave the park (or heard other parents threaten to leave) due to a child having a meltdown, or not listening to a word you say. The exact amount of times we’ve left is ZERO “0″. We have the benefit of being Annual Passport holders so we probably should have followed through, but if you’ve just dropped upwards of $400 to get your family through the front gate, chances are you’re not going anywhere!

So what do you do? Most of the time your kids dictate what attractions, shows, heck even where you eat while visiting the parks. If our kids start to act unruly, we will just take a break in the action and do something that we know they won’t really enjoy like popping over to the Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln show, or maybe window shopping at a few stores (that don’t have toys). When they wonder why we aren’t riding any fun attractions, we kindly remind them that because of their previous behavior we won’t be able to ride anything fun until said behavior is corrected. You should be back to riding fun attractions in no time, kids really don’t like looking at crystal figurines or hooded Disney sweaters!

Get To The Root

Sometimes kids act out for reasons that may not be immediately known until you simply ask. Hunger, fatigue, being too hot, or a scary attraction can cause a kid to act out rather than tell you what’s wrong. All you have to do is ask and most likely your child will let you know when something is wrong. All it may take is a nice cool drink and a nice snack to bring things under control!

Know Your Kids Limits

My wife and I can stay at the parks all day, and you would think that kids would want to as well. However kids have limits and sometimes (even if they won’t admit it) they can get tired and cranky. If you’re staying at a hotel that’s close by, sometimes getting away for an hour or two can refresh and recharge the crankiest of kids. If you don’t have a hotel you can hit up the Downtown Disney District for a change of pace. They have outdoor entertainment in the evenings and a different array of food and shops to mix things up.

Elijah Looking Cool

I might look calm, but I can meltdown too in 3…2…1

These are just some of the things we put into play when we go to the Disneyland Resort. What are some ways that you keep your kids in check while visiting Disneyland? Please let us know by leaving a comment below, we’d love to implement some new strategies!

Until next time.

Filed under: Useful Tips

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