We have all been there. Anxiously waiting in line with our toddler for the ride they have been begging to go on all day and then suddenly, disaster hits! Your sweet little Mouseketeer has an epic meltdown right in the Toy Story Mania line that you are certain was heard all the way over in Animal Kingdom.
Here are my 9 tips that may help your wait in line go smoother when dealing with a toddler.
1. Choose the time wisely. If your child typically naps around 12:30 in the afternoon, then 12:29 may not be the best time to jump in a 120 minute line for the Navii’ River Journey. Strategize your day so that your mouseketeer is at his or her freshest during the longer waits.
2. Set clear wait time expectations with your kids in terms that are easy to understand. For my mouseketeer, this meant telling him exactly how long the line would be based on a favorite show. For example, “This line is the wait time of two ‘Ryan’s Toy Review’ YouTube videos.”
3. My best secret, is to keep an assortment of easter eggs filled with cheap dollar store items to reward your little one for good behavior. Positive reinforcement will go a LONG way. Plus, if you put stickers, a little action figure, play doh in the surprise eggs, you will have something new and exciting to occupy them in their next line. Which brings me to my next tip.
4. Bring toys and entertainment. While Disney has really improved on making the newer queues more entertaining, the older rides still don’t have these features. For my mouseketeer, I found that a Lightning McQueen car toy was the perfect thing to occupy him. He often made racetracks along the banisters and floors.
5. Bring snacks and drinks in closed containers that you can whip out if your little one seems famished. It is amazing what a pack of fruit snacks can do to perk up your musketeer’s attitude.
6. Build a repertoire of “line games”. Some of our favorites are I-spy, Rock-paper-scissors-shoot, and If you’re on a desert island. I-spy is especially fun in the themed lines like Toy Story Mania.
7. Use long lines as an opportunity to teach your kiddos that “all good things are worth waiting for!” It takes practice, but my little mousketeer finally got this principle and now he sweetly reminds me when I forget this important rule. Which brings me to my next point.
8. Don’t complain about the lines yourself or to your partner. My husband and I noticed that our little mouseketeer was much better at waiting in lines when he and I displayed good attitudes and refrained from rolling our eyes or complaining about the wait.
9. Don’t forget to go potty or change your little one’s diaper before hand. It seems like common sense, but it is amazing how many people forget this step and have to be “that parent” to weave your way back through a cantankerous crowd while sheepishly apologizing.
If you make it a point set your mouseketeer up for success, you have a much better chance of enjoying the long lines. Who knows, perhaps they will like the lines better than the ride itself!