Let’s get this out of the way: theme parks are very safe. But accidents happen everyday at theme parks all over the world. While I don’t like to think about it, I have to. I have a kiddo, after all, and do everything possible to maintain her health and well-being. But there are important dos and don’ts to know on how for kids (and their caregivers and parents). Whether you’re planning a trip to a theme park or are standing in one right now, here’s how to keep kids safe at theme parks with these must-know tips.
We just came back from a whirlwind visit to Central Florida. And visiting three major theme parks while there made me realize there are easy ways to stay safe. While most of them are no-brainers, they do deserve to be mentioned. Other tips you may not have heard of, so I’m happy to provide the info. Here’s the scoop on staying safe while visiting theme parks with kids.
- Obey all Theme Park Rules
- Lost Parents
- Measuring Up
- It’s Not a Race Unless It’s runDisney
- Water, Water Everywhere
- (Sun) Damage Control
- Don’t Sneak a Smoke
- Hidden Treasure
1. Obey All Theme Park Rules
Look, I’m not writing this to put a damper in your vacation plans, but it goes without saying tat rules are put in place for a reason. They’re not to damper your fun, they’re to keep you and the kids safe. So, please make sure you know the theme park rules before you go. If you forget, ask an employee for a park guide.
This also goes for what you can (and cannot) take on rides and attractions. Some theme parks (Universal) have lockers for items. Others have under-the-seat storage areas. You’d be surprised how many cell phones/hats/glasses get lost and misplaced everyday.
Curious as to the the things that get lost most and how to get them back? Here’s a list of the things that get lost the most at Walt Disney World.
2. Lost Parents
At Walt Disney World, it’s the parents that are missing, not kids. Yep, it’s a cute way to spin it, but it doesn’t make it any less scary for all parties involved. If children are old enough, make sure they have your cell phone number memorized. If not, add a sticker inside his or her shirt with information on what to do if lost. I know, it’s something no parent ever wants to think of, but you’ll sleep easier knowing your child has the means to contact you if lost.
Also, teach your kiddos to look for someone in a uniform if they get lost. In general, if an adult has a name tag, it’s an employee.
3. Measuring Up
Let’s chat height restrictions for a sec. They’re not instilled to separate family embers from the rest of their party. They’re put in place to keep smaller kiddos safe. Reasons include slipping from seats, head injuries, or it simply might be a scare factor.
If a castmember is on the fence on whether or not a child measures up to minimum height requirements, your child will be asked to stand near a height guide located near the ride. If he or she doesn’t meet it, yes, it’s a bummer. But, keep in mind, kids grow (and fast) so it won’t be long until it’s met. If you’re child is too small to ride, take advantage of rider swap for the kiddos that are able.
An easy way to stay safe in a theme park is to not go where you shouldn’t. Those places include cast entrances and exits, closed off areas, and construction areas.
5. It’s Not a Race Unless it’s runDisney
I’m just as enthusiastic as the next theme park guest when it comes to rope drop (park opening) and hitting a popular ride first thing. But my enthusiasm ends when it comes to running for it. First, it’s against theme park policy to run in the parks (unless it’s runDisney!). Second, it’s not safe. Little ones can get trampled, pushed, stepped on – you name it. Walk fast, yes. Walk with a purpose, yes. Run? Nope.
6. Water, Water Everywhere
This one’s twofold. Let’s start with staying hydrated. In the summer, in the heat, it’s very easy for little ones to get dehydrated. I was told that if you’re thirsty, you’re on your way to dehydration. So, make sure the kiddos get plenty of water (skip the sugary drinks) to drink. It will also help with their energy.
Second, water parks are theme parks, so there’s no way not to mention them. Never take your eyes off your kiddos if they’re in the water. On busy days, life guards have a tough job of watching everyone. Also, invest in swimsuits/life vests, swim aids that help kids to stay afloat. But, again, never assume that those aids will do all of the work for you. They’ll help, but you’re the one with the watchful eyes.
7. (Sun) Damage Control
When I was a kid, getting out in the sun to score a healthy-looking tan was the thing. These days, we know better. Make sunscreen (the higher the SPF, the better) your family’s best friend, even on cloudy days. Apply and reapply. Then apply some more. Read the label for proper instructions.
8. Don’t Sneak a Smoke or Drink
Last week I was on a theme park bus with several young adults on Spring Break. And, on our ride to the park, they were partying, and I mean drinking beer and vaping. On the bus.
Yeah, I was really surprised. There are designated smoking/vaping areas in most theme parks (Disney parks are banning smoking from its parks on May 1, 2019), so do us non-smokers a favor and stick to those spots. Please.
9. Hidden Treasure
When I fist started traveling a ton, I’d bring all of my best jewelry with me to wear. no longer, my friends. it stays a home and the costume jewelry gets packs. For one, earrings and necklaces are pretty easy to lose of fall off. Second, stealing valuables does happen. If you do plan on taking them with you, use the room safe or in-house safe. Ask the front desk if they have one and if you can store your things there.
Also, and while it’s comical at the time, there are live animals in the theme parks that LOVE to raid strollers. They’re happy to dig into bags for food, too. So, make sure your snacks and drinks are safe. And never leave your purse or wallet in a stroller while you’re on a ride.
More Theme Park Planning Tips