The Latch has teamed up with Dreamworld and Amy Gerard to bring you this guide to smashing the best day at Australia’s biggest theme park with three little humans in tow.
Dreamworld and three small kids aren’t usually two things that you see paired together in a sentence. It is definitely not for the parenting light hearted, but I’m here to tell you that it is, in fact, possible.
What you need is a well thought out plan, enough food to last a week, drawn out maps and tracking devices inserted into bum cracks. Just kidding on the last one, if only…
Here’s my guide to thriving (not just surviving) a day with kids at a theme park:
Don’t Go Alone
Firstly — and this will be the most important one — do not attempt this alone! You will need help and/or reinforcements. Whether that’s your husband, partner, friend, or neighbour, the more adults the better really.
If you are taking grandparents, you need to take both of them, as two elderly equals one youthful adult at Dreamworld. No offence to your Pops, but they aren’t going to be able to handle the Giant Drop or most of the other big rides. However, they will hold bags, small children’s hands, and divvy up snacks marvelously.
Make a Plan
Plan now to avoid confusion later! Start with the basics of what rides you want to go on, what attractions you want to see, for example.
Make sure your kids meet the height requirements on the rides they want to go on to ensure they don’t have their little souls crushed when they get to the top and they are too small.
Plan for breaks, don’t over do it. Your kids will walk in and basically lose control with excitement. Their eyes will light up and their hearts will be beating so fast. You’ll want to get through it all but you never will. Focus on making memories, not crossing things off a list.
Plan for your plan to be destroyed. It might rain, an attraction might not be operating, one or all three of your kids might wake up on the wrong side of the bed. There are always going to be things that don’t go to plan. Leave expectations at the door and just roll with the punches.
Pinpoint a rescue spot so that in the event someone wanders off, everyone knows that they need to meet at the bumper cars. Point it out the minute you get there. For the older toddlers, make sure they can say the words “bumper cars”. For the smaller ones, it’s time to put on their backpack — the ones with the leash attachments.
Get yourself a ride express wrist band. They are about $60 but they ensure you wait three minutes in a line as opposed to 20 and when there are kids involved you need to throw money at the solutions. Three minutes with a child in tow can still feel like two hours so take the wristband and live on baked beans for the next few days.
Next prerequisite — get in shape. Train like you are training for a triathlon. You are no longer Mum. You are an athlete. You never know when you might be jumping in water, cycling or (most likely) running after a kid.
Snacks. Pack enough of them as if you were about to be stranded on a deserted island for a week. And then pack some more. Now, these snacks can be used for a plethora of things. Mainly to keep the snack-loving savages at bay, but they are also great for bribes.
You walk the family through Mad Jungle Jam, holding their most favourite snack hostage. Squidgy balls are flying at your face, foam mountains, rope bridges and lookout towers. It’s a kiddy paradise and your palms are sweaty at the thought of how crazy they might have gone had you not been holding a snack-bribe within their eye line.
“Thank you for not losing all inhibitions and running wild, son. Here, have a snack.”
Or, you take a stroll through the Brickman® ‘Wonders of the World’ exhibit, which is a large-scale walk-through exhibition where you can explore over 45 LEGO® brick masterpieces, such as the Taj Mahal and the Arc de Triomphe.
“I asked you not to touch anything, and now you’ve pushed over the Lego Leaning Tower of Pisa. No snacks for the next hour, son.” It is kid currency. Spend it wisely.
Make sure you take a stroller. A double, if possible. Even if your kid thinks they are too big for the stroller, chances are at some point they’ll probably need a five to ten min rest or they’ll self-combust in the souvenir shop and you will need somewhere to hide them.
Don’t take anything personally. Taking your kids to Woolies can be bloody stressful, let alone Dreamworld. Demands will be yelled. Tantrums will be had. You’ll have moments where you feel resentful because your children have morphed into Mariah Carey and are commanding things left right and centre then malfunctioning when they aren’t met.
Don’t let their behaviour get to you. They are in stimulation overload and will more than likely sleep for two days afterwards so it will all be worth it.