5 Tips for Taking a Theme Park Trip with Young Children

Are you planning a theme park trip with young children?

Last week we went on a whirlwind Orlando trip with our two kids, ages 5 and 2. Orlando is about an eight hour drive from us, so we decided to make a trip before we move away this summer. We drove there and back and visited two popular theme parks in three days. So, yeah, you could say we are a little crazy. However, our crazy ends up for your benefit. If you’re planning any kind of theme park excursion this summer with your young children, I’ve got some pro tips for you!

This post is brought to you in partnership with Legoland Florida Resort. All opinions are 100% my own. Affiliate links are also included. Your purchases through these links help keep this blog running! 

#1 Keep it laid back

When planning a visit to a theme park, its super easy to go overboard with the planning of every last detail. While it’s good to be prepared, don’t go too crazy and set yourself up for frustration when things don’t go as planned.

For our first theme park, I wanted to get there before the opening time… we woke up late.

So I wanted to get there as soon as possible… then we got lost on the way there.

I was hoping to bring a packed lunch to save money… but we didn’t have time to stop at the grocery store.

After these set backs (and more!) we could have let discouragement settle in and take hold. However, we chose to let it go, move on, and make the best of what we had – two small children who were still having a blast, regardless of whether the adults plans were flowing perfectly.

 

#2 Bring snacks and LOTS of water

If you are visiting a theme park at any time of the year, your energetic little ones are going to want a snack at some point. Unless you want to pay top dollar for theme park snacks (annoying if you’re already planning on purchasing meals there), bringing a few along is a much better option. Plus, unlike packing a whole meal, snacks are usually more portable and easy to take along. They also make great distractions during breaks – or for while big brother is riding the “big kid” rides!

If you are visiting a theme park during the summer, do not underestimate the importance of water. Sure, it’s important all the time, but I don’t know about you – I don’t normally spent 90+ degree summer days outside the entire day. If you don’t bring your own water bottles, you will either blow through the expensive theme park water, or be seriously parched.

Avoid heat stroke and bring one of these bad boys – we filled this water bottle up with ice (which stayed in there all day) and refilled it with water as needed throughout the day. Seriously, these water bottles are awesome (we got this straw lid to use with it).

#3 Use a stroller that has a basket and can lay back

While you probably don’t want to be lugging giant double jogging stroller around a theme park, having a stroller with a little room to carry your stuff is a must with small children. We brought our Britax B-Agile Stroller and it had the perfect amount of room for our snacks, supplies, and water bottles. I saw so many people with tiny umbrella strollers – I don’t know how they did it!

Another added benefit to a nicer stroller is that most have the option for your child to recline back. On both of our theme park visits, the toddler nodded off in the stroller and took a nice little nap. A must when you have kiddos used to taking a nap – especially when they are out in the heat all day! Unless, of course, you enjoy afternoon meltdowns!

#4 Let your toddler out of the stroller if at all possible

I know, I just praised the awesomeness of the stroller. However, here’s the thing, if the toddler rides in his mighty chariot all day long with his devoted parents pushing him around the park this is what you will end up with at the end of the day: a toddler with tons of pent up energy and exhausted parents. Ask me how we know.

If the park you are visiting is going to be too busy to let your toddler toddle on his or her own, I certainly won’t judge you for using a kid leash. I totally would have if I would have thought about it early enough. Even something like this would have been great for my five year old (who I’m not even worried about bolting off) because it got awfully sweaty during the times we needed to hold hands.

#5 Go to Legoland Floria Resort Theme Park

Okay, I’m going to be straight up honest with you here. We did THE Orlando theme park… you know the one I’m talking about… with the castle and the princesses and the mouse with the big ears. Sure, the kids had fun. Sure, it was a “classic” experience. However, the place was a mad house and we left feeling like… welp, don’t know that we will be spending our money on that “experience” again. (Die hard fans please no hate mail!)

We truly weren’t able to put our finger on what was missing from the experience until we went to Legoland the next day. It was a night and day difference.

It wasn’t totally over crowded.

The employees were cheery and helpful.

The atmosphere was awesome.

But the biggest thing that left us feeling like, “yes! we will be back!” was: #builtforkids.

I didn’t remember that was their hashtag until we returned home, but it fits 100%. Legoland was absolutely built with kids in mind.

We started off in Duplo Valley, which is especially geared towards the younger crowd. I think my 5 and 2 year old could have stayed there the whole day. Hands on play area (in the AC – hallelujah!), kid friendly rides, splash area – it was perfect.

But it wasn’t just Duplo Valley, the whole park was built with kids in mind. The ride lines had play areas for the kids while parents held the spot. There were free play, hands on exhibits scattered throughout the park. There were rides that were perfect for all ages. The whole experience was like a breath of fresh air compared to the day before.

A good way to describe the park is like the perfect baby of a hands on children’s museum and a theme park.

And, don’t forget the LEGO. If you have kids that enjoy Lego, they will seriously go crazy here. Awesome Lego shops around every corner, the most amazing life size Lego creations, and plenty of opportunities to build. It’s a Lego lovers dream.

After the day was over, we all agreed that Legoland was our favorite.

I hope these tips were helpful to you no matter what theme park you’re braving this summer. But seriously, if it’s an option, opt for Legoland Florida Resort.

Traveling With Kids – The ULTIMATE Round-Up of Ideas, Tips, and Tricks

Traveling With Kids The ULTIMATE

Coming up soon we are headed out on a two week trip to visit family. Between the drive from Mississippi to the midwest, the drives between locations in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, and the drive back home we will end up spending about FOURTY-FOUR hours in the car!

If we are going to survive the trip with a preschooler and a baby, I knew I needed to do some preparation! So, I wanted to share with you some of the great tips I’ve found as I’ve researched how to get through this trip with my sanity still intact.

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Travel Necessities

There are some things you just shouldn’t leave home without! Check out these four lists and you’ll have your bases covered for sure!

Eight Summer Travel Bag Necessities – Don’t forget a thing with these eight traveling necessities.

10 Things Moms Should Never Leave Behind… While Road-Tripping with Kids – I love the idea t0 bring flashlights in the car!

Ten Must Haves to Keep in Your Car if You Have Kids… especially #2 – Great ideas for road trips and every day car rides!

Road Trip Essentials – Great list of important things to keep on hand in the car. I love the idea to keep them in a bin.

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General Tips and Ideas

Get some advice from mama’s who are pros at the art of the long road trip. With this many tips, you’re bound to find something to give you a little peace and quiet!

20 best ideas, activities, and resources for road trips with kids – Great little round-up of ideas.

The ultimate guide: 50 tips, tricks & ideas for road trips with kids – A huge list of all kinds of tips. So many good ideas!

40+ Tips for Road Trips with Toddlers & Preschoolers – Lots of great ideas for the little ones.

10 Things to Do Before Your Next Road Trip – Lots of good reminders, plus a handy printable checklist!

Cookie Sheet Travel Fun – Awesome ideas on how to use a metal cookie sheet for hours of entertainment.

Car Hacks for Happy Kids – Three nifty ideas that could save a lot of stress. I especially like the second one!

Traveling with Children – Some great tips for keeping your sanity while traveling with kids. I especially like her ideas for during pit stops!

4 Tips that will Change Everything When Traveling with Kids – Some good advice on traveling, accommodations, and sight seeing.

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Keeping Kids Entertained

Sitting in one place for hours and hours is not most kids idea of a super fun time. So, the key to road trip success is to bring along some great road trip entertainment!

Traveling with Kids? Don’t Leave Home without this Idea! – Who would have thought a sticky note could achieve so much?!

DIY Kids Travel Activity Kits – How to pack the perfect kit for your kid!

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt Free Printable – I’m definitely going tho print this fun game out for our trip!

Traveling With Young Kids | Homemade Activity Book Idea – What a great idea for keeping the crayons organized!

Make Your Own Kid’s Travel Binder – A great idea to use dry erase markers and page protectors in a travel binder!

Traveling with Kids – Montessori-Inspired Activities – Portable Montessori activities? Yes, please!

Holiday Air Travel with Toddlers: Packing Entertainment Items – Super detailed post on what to pack to keep young kids entertained during travel.

Road Trip Binder for Kids – Really detailed road trip binders. With printables!

How to Prepare for a Road Trip with Kids: Keeping Them Entertained – Some great tips for keeping kids busy in the car. I love the organization ideas!

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Packing

From what to pack in the suitcase to how to fit it all in the car, these ideas have got you covered!

How to Pack for a Long Trip with a Baby and Toddler {Free Printable Packing List!} – When you are already lugging around your little ones, the last thing you need is a ton of luggage to carry too. Here’s how to get it all in one carryon!

Our Christmas + Tips for Packing & Traveling With Kids – Great ideas for keeping the kids things organized!

Traveling with kids – Packing the Car Tips and Tricks – Keep it all organized in the car!

How to Have a Successful Road Trip With Young Children: Pack an Emergency Box – I never would have thought of this!

How to Pack Your Car for a Road Trip – Once you’ve got it all packed up, you’ve got to figure out how go get it all in the car! Here’s some tips!

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Food

For our last big road trip I finally decided to pack food instead of stopping along the way – it was revolutionary! It saved us tons of time and our tummies thanked us greatly! Wondering how to make it work? Try one of these posts for some great ideas.

Eating on the Road: Meals and Snacks – A comprehensive post of ideas for eating on the go.

5 Things I Learned From Feeding My Family Real Food On The Road – Traveling while eating a restrictive, real food diet? Totally possible!

Real Food Road Trip – The why and the how for packing real food on the road.

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Flying with Kids

While we aren’t flying this time, I’ve been there before and it can be really hard! I’m definitely going to have to remember some of these tips for next time!

7 Tips for Traveling with Small Children {It Can Be Done!} – I especially love the first tip!

Toddler Airplane Activities and Tips – How to survive the airport with little ones.

17 Tips for Flying with Kids – Some great tips, plus a pre travel pep talk!

Traveling with Creative Kids: 10 Things to Pack in Your Child’s Carry-On (Preschool Age) – Some great ideas of what to bring along for the plane ride.

Tips for Traveling with Kids: From the Experts… Expat Moms! – Tips from someone with tons of experience.

50 Kid Friendly Airplane Snacks – Cause no one wants a hungry, cranky kid on the plane!

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International Travel

Now I’m really just dreaming! I’d love to travel abroad some day though. If you’re lucky enough to travel the world with your kiddos, here’s some great tips for getting it done!

Get the Passports Ready! 14 Things To Know About International Travel with Kids (& Why You Should Give It a Try!) – Great advice from a family that has done it!

You Can Travel the World with Kids and Enjoy It – Great advice for general travel too.

Travel Tips: Traveling Abroad with Kids – Very detailed information. Also, can I go to Italy now!?