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Tips to keep kids happy while waiting in line at Disney World

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Large-screen video games were added to the Space Mountain queue.


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The weeks before and after Easter are some of the busiest at Walt Disney World, which means that even with using FASTPass, you are going to be spending time in lines for attractions, as well as restaurants, transportation, stores and bathrooms on your vacation. That's hard enough for adults, but for kids, it can be seemingly impossible.

Cast members recognize this. The queues at Disney World have always cleverly helped tell the story of an attraction. Recently, Imagineers have begun to ramp up the effort to make lines more interactive as well.

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The centerpiece tree from the adjacent playground and other interactive elements spruced up the queue for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.


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After a lengthy refurbishment, Space Mountain reopened at the end of 2009 with big-screen video games along the stand-by queue. When Pooh's Thoughtful Spot closed in April 2010, the huge tree was moved in front of The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh. The ride's queue now wraps around the tree and little guests can explore the garden-themed play area. In March 2011, a new queue for the Haunted Mansion opened, allowing guests to peruse the graveyard more fully while waiting to go inside.

Storybook Circus, the first area of the Fantasyland expansion project to soft-open, is expected to have an indoor interactive queue for Dumbo The Flying Elephant when that section of Magic Kingdom is complete.

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Haunted Mansion fans were delighted with the optional graveyard tour in the queue.


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But, even with Disney's improvements, it's tough to keep little kids from melting down in long lines. Here are a few things you can do to help keep them entertained:

** Tuck a new coloring book and crayons or word-search book and pen in your bag for surprises. The $1 bins at Target and Michael's often have these items themed with various Disney characters. Perfect to stash away until your trip!

** Bring snacks and bottles for water. Disney World allows guests to bring in their own food and drinks, except alcohol or glass containers, and there are water fountains throughout the parks. In addition, guests can request cups of ice or ice water at no charge from counter-service food locations. Having a snack in line not only saves time later, but it also gives everyone an energy boost.

** Pull out your family's copy of Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World's Best Kept Secrets and see how many classic Mickey icons you can spot in the queue. You can report any new finds to author Steven Barrett at http://www.hiddenmickeyguy.com/. Read his blogs on AllEars.net at http://land.allears.net/blogs/stevebarrett/

** Electronics, such as a Nintendo DS, iPod Touch, smart phone or other handheld gaming device, are worth their weight in gold. I resisted bringing electronics when my kids were little, because I mistakenly thought screen time had no place at The Most Magical Place on Earth. I have since decided they are perfect for long lines -- and maintaining my sanity. Be sure to pack the cord, too, because if the battery dies you can drop the device off at Guest Relations to charge for free.

** If you have a point-and-shoot or disposable camera, hand it to your child and see what he or she photographs. You might be surprised by the perspective of a child.

** Check out the theme-park map and plot your next few stops. This is more important than ever with the FASTPass times now being enforced. For more than a decade, the end time was ignored, meaning guests could come back any time after the window opened. (Read more about the reason behind the change in my post http://land.allears.net/blogs/guestblog/2012/02/disney_world_to_enforce_return.html)

** If all else fails, make friends with the families in line with you.

The previous post in this blog was Disney World creates themed Easter baskets and lets guests customize their own.

The next post in this blog is DisneyQuest is more than video gaming for kids.

Comments (9)

Susan:

I also recommend small bottles of bubbles (other kids in line will like trying to catch and pop the bubbles) and sheets of Disney character stickers to share.

Cindy Garfinkel:

I bring along Disney tattoos that I've found via Disneystore.com and give them to my daughter to hand out to other kids while we wait in line. Snacks do the trick, as well as games on smartphones.

Another neat thing I found was bubblewands that have the bubble solution dried on them - just stick in water and you have bubbles to blow. I found them at Toys R Us years ago, but I would bet they are still around. We do Hidden Mickey searches and sing Disney songs too.

Peggy:

Kristin:

What is the proper procedure when you are in line for Winnie the Pooh? Does one parent stay in line while the other parent takes the child to the interactive play area? We weren't sure how to hold our place in line on our last visit.

Kelly Adkins:

When I took my Granddaughter to Disney, she had just turned 5. Her Poppa and I decided to give her, her Christmas present early (we went to WDW the first 2 weeks of December). We had purchased a Leapster 2 for her with 3 games. If we had to wait in line for more than a few minutes, I would take it out and hand it to her. She forgot about the time and learned something to boot. At about a week into the trip she would say, is the line long enough for me to play my game? It kept her quiet and calm and I got to keep my hair. lol Its definatley worth it to take a small hand held game or Ipod for the kids to play with. At one point I even saw Poppa playing the game with her because he had gotten tired of waiting in-line, so its great for the "big" kids too.

Teresa:

I agree that a handheld game is great! Angry birds will while away a good part of a long line. Also, we've taught our 5 year old daughter to play 20 questions, rock, paper scissors, and I spy while waiting in lines at Disney. I let her pack a little fanny pack with her "things" for our trips to the park. She usually brings a play cel phone, a little pad of paper and pen, lip gloss (to put on herself and Mommy and Daddy), her squished penny collection to look at and add to, and those little plastic bottles of bubbles from weddings. The bubbles are great for outdoor lines and get the kids around us involved as well.

Samantha:

I like those ideas! I remember when I was in high school, my sister and I would separate from our parents (but still stay in the same park) until our agreed-upon time and rendezvous place. Not only did we learn patience and time-management, we had stories to tell our parents at dinner time. Obviously, you can't let little kids do that, but there's really no reason you can't let well-behaved and responsible teens do the rides they want to (and let their little sisters ride the 'baby rides' lol).
Of course, I'm in the camp that you shouldn't bring smartphones into the parks for more than just calling the rest of your party to know where they are. If you can't enjoy the park, then why would you be there?

Wendy Johnson:

we recently returned from a trip to WDW and the little ones loved the interactive area while waiting to ride Winnie The Pooh...I brought along small bottles of bubbles and the kids loved blowing them and popping them...I found a package of 10 bubbles at our local $ store in the party section...kids had fun and I got some great pictures!!

Great tips Kristen! When it comes to distraction snacks, try things that take some work like suckers, string cheese, and even peanuts in the shell. They will keep the kids occupied a bit longer!

Tammra:

Last year my 12 yr old son decided to play "Where in the World." He took his camera and picked a random picture he had taken earlier in our vacation and put it on his display screen. He zoomed way in and asked me to guess where in the "world" it was. We had so much fun with both of our cameras that it became our new what to do while we wait pastime.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 5, 2012 7:34 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Disney World creates themed Easter baskets and lets guests customize their own.

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