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How to Make Kids' Trips Even More Special


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Word up everybody.

 

I was just talking with a co-worker who just got back from a week at Disney. She told me of an outstanding tradition that I am going to adopt.

 

She has two boys (like me) and during every vacation they take, each boy gets an entire day where they get to pick everything the family does. From where they eat breakfast, lunch, dinner to what the activities for the day are. She said that one of her sons picked going to the waterpark over any of the other parks and even though they had just spent most of the day there a two days earlier, they went back and stayed until he made his next choice.

 

I can see some potential infighting between siblings if one doesn't like the other's choice(s), but I think it would still work nicely since the other(s) know they will get their turn too. I can only imagine how special and important this made her boys feel. I can't wait to give it a try on mine when they get older. I think it will make an outstanding tradition. I think I'll probably use this some even when not on vacation.

 

What are some of your tips/tricks/ideas/traditions to help make your kids' vacations even more special?

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Rewind to 1999, our family made our first trip to Orlando, Being a major Coaster Enthusiast at the time, I was over the moon, My mum and dad asked us both to pick a day of what we wanted to do, whatever it may be.

 

Knowing that Islands of Adventure was running a soft opening that year, it was my immediate choice (didn't realise till later we probably would have gone there for that day anyway (dammit, knew I should of picked Busch Gardens.....grrrr) Well, my brother picked Kennedy Space Centre (I enjoyed it, even though it wasn't something that really related to my interests, but I went through with it)

 

I think letting the kids pick one day of their choice is a great idea, it lets the kids think they are having input into how the holiday is planned, it also gives them a certain sense of adult responsibility, as they are planning for the whole family.

 

This is really good idea for a topic, can't wait to hear some other peoples ideas, will be fun to read!

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From my experience - kids can't stand long lines for rides and unlike most adults they just can't stand it. What we used to do is to bring fun stuff so we can enjoy something while waiting in lines. It can be cards game like TAKI or anything that may be usable during lines.

 

My second tip concern the "I want this... and this ... could we please buy that one ... " The souvenir shops desgin so kids and adults won't be able to resist those items. Even as an adult I found myslef buying and buying in Disneyland stores. Although it is good to let kids get used to take NO for an answer, it can ruin the day in the park for everyone, so the trick is to give them the money they can spend before so they can control their shoppings and wont be able to cry when they spent it all.

 

Always take an extra shirt for the littleones. Water rides mayb be fun for big kids but most little kids hate getting wet not to mention staying wet. I remember being with my niece in a park having a blast till the splash ride. She was abut wet and was so unhappy we had to go home an hour later as it wasn't anymore fun for her or for me.

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This is really, really obvious, but don't underestimate it: a surprise trip!

Actually, I find that spontaneity in general (whether genuine or feigned) is really helpful for people of all ages (including me). It really cuts down on that crazy, anxious "I can't wait!!!!!!!!!" feeling that can go on for months for trips happening in what seems like a distant future. It's so great to have no idea when you'll get to go somewhere, then finding out you'll be there in 24 or 48 hours!

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This is really, really obvious, but don't underestimate it: a surprise trip!

Actually, I find that spontaneity in general (whether genuine or feigned) is really helpful for people of all ages (including me). It really cuts down on that crazy, anxious "I can't wait!!!!!!!!!" feeling that can go on for months for trips happening in what seems like a distant future. It's so great to have no idea when you'll get to go somewhere, then finding out you'll be there in 24 or 48 hours!

I agree 100% with that one. This year, on a whim, we decided to hit ValleyFair, Nick Universe and Adventureland in 3 days. The hotel was booked on Tuesday night and we left Friday at 4 am. There were no plans, no real research other then basic ticket prices and coupons. It was fun to just go somewhere new with no plans.

 

My other advice is autograph books for the characters. They are cheap, easy to pack, and normally can last years if taken care of. I still have mine from WDW trips when I was a kid and took the thing everywhere in FL. It gives me a warm feeling when I see the page signed by 2 people in a show at Busch Gardens where I was picked to be Wally the Gator. It is something they will love then and cherish later in life.

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Wow...this is a really nice thread...I plan on taking a day off this summer so I can take my kids to USF/IOA...

 

I usually take charge by killing the rides early & we'll do the Curious George area/Jurassic Park kids area midday when about 70% of the goodies that usually take a while are done....I usually limit them to 1 toy each (less then $15 if at all possible...times are tough).

 

But this time maybe I'll let THEM decide....yikes...it'll be an adjustment...if it was up to my 4-year old daughter, she'd do the Horror Make-Up show ALL day (weird, I know...I think she's gonna be a horror nut like her old man)!

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This is really, really obvious, but don't underestimate it: a surprise trip!

 

I can't wait to try this one as well. One of my plans is to pick an early season day in May while the kids are still in school. We'll all get into the car and drive like we are going to school and then blow right by it.

 

SURPRISE! We're off to the theme park (or wherever) ON A SCHOOL DAY! Of course, we will have called them in "sick" and have a bag of their things stashed in the trunk. I think the element of being naughty and playing hookey will make it even more fun for the kids.

 

Of course it does set the possibility for future complaints of, "Do I have to go to school today? Why can't we go to (the park)?". But I'm sure we'll be getting those no matter what, so if we're going to have to listen to them anyway we should at least get the trip.

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I don't think we've ever gone so far as to have the kids pick WHERE were going to go, as far as parks are concerned.

 

Usually what we do is let the kids pick alternating rides while in the park. Granted, if were riding Splash Mtn. at MK and then the other one picks Space Mtn. we have them pick again.

 

Also, when we go to parks on "Birthday Trips" the birthday kid get's to pick everything.

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This is a great thread, even though it automatically made me think of one particular "Deep Thought by Jack Handey".......

 

 

One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh, no," I said. "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.
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When I was real young we used to frequently visit Great America and Santa Cruz Boardwalk. The tradition we always had was to ride the carousel as the first ride of the day, and the last ride of the day as they were the park's signature attractions, and of course, a kid's favorite ride (when afraid of hi-speed stuff). I'm not sure how we made decisions on what rides we did, I think we just went with the flow. Occasionally, we would get bribed into riding some ride we'd be afraid of, followed by breaking that fear (which has probably made me who I am today).

 

At a later time we went to Disney Land where everyone wanted to do their own thing yet were too young to wander off alone...and were doing things as a family. No one could come to an agreement what to ride, leaving us to do a 'turn-based' system. That worked to be a success.

 

Today, I go back to the roots and go with the flow...I begin my visits with a first ride on my favorite ride, and making it also the last ride of the day...it adds a nice finish to a long day.

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Whenever we go to a theme park we let each child pick one thing they *have* to do, and make sure we do those, before running out of time.

 

That worked really well at WDW, because even spending a week there, we couldn't do everything. They already have lists going for "next time", whenever that may be.

 

But the idea works on a smaller scale, even at Six Flags, so everyone knows that at some point during the day they will get to ride their favorite ride.

 

Before our Disney trip the kids (we have 3) did little extra jobs around the house to earn "Mickey Money" which was to be their souvenir money. However, at the last minute Grandma gave each kid $100 to spend on the trip. Grandma rules!

 

Last thing... I checked eBay listings for Disney trading pins almost daily, and bought cheap ones, that way, they started out with pins to trade. Although a lot of Grandma's money was spent on new pins as well.

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