Please consider today's My Two Cents as a public service announcement for parents considering taking their young children to theme or amusement parks: Don't do it. Take it from someone who spent an entire day observing harried parents and out-of-control kids last week doing anything but enjoying themselves.
The day usually starts with incredibly cranky toddlers who were awakened before their usual time to make sure the family could be at the park when it opens. Of course, that means standing in your first line of the day--when the child would much rather be running around. Then you have the parents trying to drum up "excitement" for the kids by saying things like "Look, you can see the castle!" or "You are going to meet princesses today!"--which in one case I witnessed the response was "I don't want too!"
And nothing speeds along a security checkpoint line like diaper bags that need to be hand-checked, along with all of the pockets in a stroller, while also having to empty out all of your pockets. And speaking of strollers, enjoy pushing that thing around with the 20,000 other parents pushing around their strollers--none of which are allowed inside any of the buildings or the lines to get on rides. Oh, and good luck getting the kids to get in the stroller when you want them to--or to get out when they need to get out.
My personal favorite from our day at the park was the family with a boy of three or four that used a FastPass to jump the line at the tamest of the rollercoasters--and then having the child throw a fit and refuse to sit down when they got into their car. That prevented the ride from starting--and kept people in the trains behind from getting off for several minutes while efforts to assure the child failed--and the family had to get back off the ride--while negotiating the re-use of their fast pass.
I also saw a park employee trying his best to reassure another very scared young boy that he could get him help in finding his family again. I bet that made for a very relaxing day for the child and the parents. And you've got adults in full sprint mode trying to keep their kids from wandering too far away as well.
And then at dinner time, expect your little one to not want any of the foods on the menus--and when you do order them something, they will refuse to eat it because they want to watch something happening in the building next door. That will be followed by a fit demanding cotton candy or sno-cones--which will go half-eaten at best.
Welcome relief will eventually come when the kids fall asleep early in the afternoon--in a nap site that is probably more expensive than the hotel room you rented for them to sleep in. Which will be followed by demands to go home, shrieking in terror after spending a half-hour in line to meet a character they are now deathly afraid of and refusing to look at the camera for any pictures.
Here's my advice: wait until your kids are older to take them to the theme park--like around 25--when they can help you pay for it too.