Some kids will never let you forget when your next Disneyland trip is (ask my sister - her daughter won't stop talking about it and she's only been twice) while others you have to explain who Mickey is occasionally. With all the talk about characters, food, and rides there are a few important things to educate them on so you can not only get them ready for the magic but keep them safe at the same time.
- INTERACTION - Make sure you talk with your kids about proper interaction with the characters. Most kids are fine without being told, but extra active children may require a few reminders about what behaviour is too excessive for the parks, like knowing not to climb on them or chase after them.
- DON'T BE SCARED - There are other kids that are frightened by some characters. Take the time to talk with them before you leave so they know what to expect and understand there is nothing to be scared of. It may not make much of a difference, but at least you can say you tried everything.
Food & Merchandise
- WHERE YOU'RE EATING - I always felt it was helpful when my parents would let me know when they were not planning on eating any food inside the parks. That way I knew that, even if I begged for a churro, it wasn't going to happen. Let your children know ahead of time whether or not to expect to be eating a lot of food or snacks inside the parks. That way, when they ask, you can simply answer "I already told you".
- SOUVENIRS - If you're only planning on getting a couple of souvenirs on your trip, let your kids know before you leave that they only get to pick out one or two things at the parks. Most kids are smart and will take it to heart (after a few reminders) and weigh their options carefully so as not to "waste" their choices.
- THE BASICS - Review basic safety with your kids like "stranger danger" and the importance of staying close and not wandering off. Remind them that all the "Trick-or-Treating" rules apply at Disneyland.
- LISTEN TO CMS - Make sure your kids know to follow all instructions given by CMs inside the parks and particularly to follow all the safety information for the rides. When it says to stay seated then you must stay seated!
- IDENTIFY CMS - Many people don't think about this one, but educate your kids what a Cast Member looks like. Help them know that anyone with that oval name badge on is an employee of the park and can help them out. Should your kids get separated or wander off, they'll know who they can ask for help if they know the difference between a CM and a regular guest. That way, should the instance arise, you can feel confident that a certified Disney employee is helping your child to a "Lost Parent" location safely so you can find them.
These are just a few simple suggestions so you can start your kids on the right foot before you get to the parks. What else do you talk to them about before a vacation? Feel free to share!