How to Avoid a Disneyland Meltdown

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How to avoid a Disneyland meltdown. They happen to the best of us. One minute everything is magical and dreams are coming true. The next minute it’s screaming, tears and full-out tantrums. And I am not just talking about the kids here.

How to avoid a Disneyland meltdown
Disneyland | Disneyland Tips | Disneyland Resort

 On more than one occasion I have heard parents yelling things at their children, “This is the Happiest Place on Earth, so you better be happy!” Have you been there? Or hope to avoid that moment? Keep reading!

Our Own Disneyland Meltdown

My family is certainly not without our moments. Once my son, who was 3 at the time, was not happy about something during our Disneyland visit. He took his anger out on a random lady, by smacking her butt as she walked by (I guess it was just a his level?).

I wasn’t around and my poor husband just acted like he didn’t notice as the lady turned around to see my little son walking away.

For some reason, my son just chose that interesting outlet to express his frustration. And that is the point of this post, sometimes Disneyland brings out meltdowns in all of us. Here’s how to avoid Disneyland meltdowns on your next vacation.

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How to Avoid a Disneyland Meltdown

Avoid a Disneyland meltdown, three essential Disneyland tips you need for a magical vacation. Plus ways to combat common meltdown triggers. Daniel Hughes / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

1. Stick to a schedule

Does your child nap at a certain time every day in their crib? If you normally follow a rigid schedule, try to stick to it as much as possible. That might mean leaving the park for a few hours each afternoon for a nap at the hotel. My husband usually needs a nap himself on a day at Disneyland, so he doesn’t mind taking a tired kid back to the hotel for a bit.
Even when visiting during busy summer months, it’s possible to get in all the rides on your must-ride list and end the day around 8 or 9. Read how we do 10 rides in 2 hours here.
If you know your child (or you) needs a certain amount of rest, give it to them and your trip will be so much better.
On one trip, we decided to do “stroller naps.” My daughter has no trouble napping in her car seat or stroller so on day 1 when she started getting cranky and approaching a meltdown; I put her in the stroller and she was asleep in 5 minutes. The rest of the family ate lunch while she snoozed in the stroller and went on a ride while I watched from the sidelines.
I really wore out my kids this time but rather than going back to the hotel, we took advantage of many different places for naps or resting.

Favorite Spots to Nap at Disneyland:

  • In the stroller
  • Snuggling in Mom or Dad’s arms
  • Slow rides like Pirates or small world
  • Park benches throughout the park
  • Outside the Enchanted Tiki Room (while everyone else gets a Dole Whip)
  • Restaurants
  • Shows like Frozen—Live at the Hyperion or Disney Junior Dance Party
  • Baby Center on Main Street for itty-bitty ones

2. Be prepared

Meltdowns often occur when lines are too long, it’s too hot outside, you’re hungry or when kids find a toy they simply cannot live without.

Here’s our solution to each of those Disneyland meltdown triggers:

  • Use our What to Ride First Guide to avoid long lines and enjoy shows when it seems like every line is never-ending.
  • Bring a spray bottle to keep cool, enjoy a refreshing treat, drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen. See what’s in my Disneyland bag here.
  • Disneyland allows you to bring food and snacks into the park. Have a stash of easy snacks on hand like trail mix, granola bars, crackers, candy… whatever your kids like to tide them over until the next meal time. See other in-park essentials here.
  • We do a lot of window shopping in our free time. The practice has come in handy and my kids know that they can look, but we’re not buying. If you don’t want to buy a toy at every stand in the park, be on the look out for quick distractions like running to the next ride or finding alternate exits from rides (to avoid walking right into the trap!).
  • For more reading, check out How to Train your Kids for Disneyland.

3. Don’t freak out

Your attitude plays a key role in avoiding meltdowns. Simply decide that no matter what happens, YOU will not have a meltdown. You can handle whatever your kids throw at you during your trip. If things don’t go as planned, remember to smile and laugh it off. Keep things in perspective and enjoy all the good in your trip.

There have been moments at Disneyland when I’ve felt my stress levels rising. I just remind myself to take a deep breath and roll with it. If you’re calm, your kids will follow your lead. Rehearse in your mind what you will do in certain situations before hand and you’ll be much better prepared when your Disneyland trip arrives.Want more meltdown tips? Here’s a great article for avoiding meltdowns which focuses on kids with ADHD.

Tell us! How do you avoid meltdowns at Disneyland? What to you do to keep cranky kids happy? To change directions when things didn’t go just right?

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