How early is to early (newborns at parks)

Friday, February 29, 2008 11:34 PM
I am expecting my first child in a couple of weeks (It's a boy!)

For those of you who have children, how early did you take them to a park?

I know it depends on the child, but I wanred to know all of your thoughts.

My wife really wants to enjoy the upcoming season with me, but we just want to be cautious.

Just want to make the right decisions..

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Saturday, March 1, 2008 1:14 AM
I would say take this year off. There will always be next year. :)
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Saturday, March 1, 2008 8:55 AM
We had our son in February of '06 and went to CP's opening weekend for his first time at a park, he was 3 months old at the time. We basically just walked around with him in his stroller and each of us took turns riding rides. There's not much you can do with the child that early.

My advice: take a third adult, or maybe even a fourth adult, that way you can do the "parent swap" and you can somewhat enjoy the park. Have two people go ride, the other person (or two) can wait with the child, and switch off riding.

A few difficulties about taking an infant to a park is finding a place to change them and if mom is nursing that makes it tough too. Some parks are beginning to recognize this and are providing facilities for mothers to nurse and family restrooms where you can change the child in private. I know Kings Island has such a facility and CP is adding one this year.

My wife and I share the same opinion that we shouldn't completely change our lifestyle because of a baby. In fact, we think taking our son with us to CP in the summer of '06 every couple of weeks is the reason why we were able to take him on a few road trips with us in '07 driving as much as 10 hours at a time. We had a ball with him this past summer because he was able to start doing some of the kiddy rides and towards the end of the season was able to ride a few coasters. It made it easier for us to get him used to what we do instead of always having things go his way and not getting to do anything at all.

Congratulations! We're actually expecting baby #2 in August.

~Rob Willi *** Edited 3/1/2008 2:05:04 PM UTC by HeyIsntThatRob?***

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Saturday, March 1, 2008 9:19 AM
Congrats on the baby.

We had our daughter at SFGADV at 5 months. We went to get our season passes and she hung out. We walked around and she got to see the lights and stuff.

Since then she been to Knoebels and Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

She just turned 2 and we are taking her to Orlando this fall. She had a blast at Busch at the age of 20 months. Rode a bunch of stuff.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008 11:20 AM

HeyIsntThatRob? said:
My advice: take a third adult, or maybe even a fourth adult, that way you can do the "parent swap" and you can somewhat enjoy the park. Have two people go ride, the other person (or two) can wait with the child, and switch off riding.

Yes. This is exactly what we would do when our kids were small. It's great advice.

As far as it being too early. If you'd walk the baby in a stroller, then what's the difference in walking the baby in a stroller at a park?

We weren't quite 'park people' when my daughter was born - her first park was WDW at 19 months, but my son's first park visit was to Sea World Orlando when he was 32 days old and we had him at Hershey's X-mas event at two months old.

Which, now that I'm thinking of it, makes me wonder what it's like to grow up in a situation where going to the parks isn't quite a 'special' thing, but rather just what you do. I visited exactly 3 amusement parks from the time I was born until I was 24 (maybe a total of 15 visits or so). It was a pretty special thing to go to the park for me.

But my kids have visited 10, 15, 20 parks a year for as long as they can remember. They've have been to 80 or 90 amusement parks and they're ages 10 & 6. Hell, until I got into this whole coaster thing, I probably didn't even know 80 or 90 parks existed.

I wonder what all of our 'enthusiast' kids will think of parks when they become adults? Will they continue to visit or be glad to be free of their coaster dork parents? What's it like to live in world where a trip to the amusement park is just another summer (or spring or winter or fall) day?

(sorry, went a little off there :) )

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Saturday, March 1, 2008 1:08 PM
My son was at the Magic Kingdom at 3 months. Of course, there are a ton of rides there that he can "ride" that are not a problem for an infant. When you get into the traditional parks there are less attractions and you are then dealing with baby swaps and so forth.

Most parks are much more friendly to babies these days. Private changing areas, diaper sales, places to warm formula, places for moms to nurse, etc. That has made a day in the park much easier for familes with infants.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008 1:14 PM
My wife and I took our daughter to her first amusement park at ten months. We brought along a friend and her two children to put our daughter at ease. We went to Lakemont Park and DelGosso's and she had a blast as did we. At both park she was permitted to ride alot including the Leap The Dips at Lakemont. The only advice I have is do not force your child as this will only make things worse. The times I have worked in Kiddieland I witnessed too many parents forcing their children to ride.
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Saturday, March 1, 2008 2:36 PM
My first visit to Disneyland was before my first birthday...didn't seem to have any adverse affects on me.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008 3:00 PM
^You sure about that Moosh? ;)

I don't think it's ever too early to take a child to a park as long as you're comfortable with the changing/nursing facilities that parks provide. As others have said, taking an extra person or two along is helpful. I also think the earlier you take them to parks, they'll adapt easier to the environment. Start them on rides as early as possible so there is less anxiety issues as they grow and can ride bigger rides.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008 3:30 PM
We did some very limited visits when our little one was new. Sure, we couldn't do as much as we did without him, but we didn't care.

What you should be prepared for is ages 1-4, or maybe later. Always be ready to have to scratch the day and just head home if things turn really nasty. Sometimes a toddler just ruins everything and you have to be OK with it.

Fortunately there are enough friends and family who love to take him for a day or weekend so we can still go off on our own once in a while. We're lucky, it all balances out pretty nice.

What we won't do is spend a bazillion dollars on a dream theme park vacation like everyone does around here. They all live for Disney, even three-year-olds in NJ know all about it if they haven't been there already, and are conditioned to expect it because all their little friends have been there. I say they need to be at least 8 or it's a waste of $ and a big setup for disappointment. Unless you live there, or have family in the area and it's no big deal to pop in and out of the parks for half a day at a time, save it. Our guy will be 6 this year, we're waiting at least a few more years - as if we can afford it anyway. Until then, it's the boardwalk and anything within 200 miles. He's also been to the two Virginia parks - he loved KD and though Busch Gardens can be too much for a 5-year-old, he was very good there. Maybe we'll go to Kennywood this year, they have good coasters he can ride.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008 5:49 PM
I took my daughter to WDW when she was 3 months old. At the time My parents, sister, brother in law, their 6 year old son, my wife, my 11 yr old son, me, and of course my daughter.

As Rob said it's much easier when you go in a big group. It turned out to be a pretty good trip. When we visit other parks we usually travel alone, because my family aren't into parks like we are.

With my son being 16 years old now it's much easier to go as a family. My daughter is over 42 inches, and there are a lot of new rides that she'll be able to ride this year. Big Bad Wolf, The Phoenix, The Comet(Hershey,) Sooperdooperlooper, The Dark Knight Coaster(SFNE & SFGr8Adv)and a few others she'll be able to ride this year.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008 7:28 PM
That sounds way too young to go an amusement park. I mean they were just born.
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Saturday, March 1, 2008 8:08 PM
If you can take your kid outside you can take your kid to a park. Whether or not it would be any fun I guess would depend on the kid and the adults on hand. :)

Then again my family still advocates for letting kids play in mud and scrape their knees and eating boogers and not dousing them in anti-bacterial goop 24/7, so YMMV.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008 8:27 PM

Spinout said:
That sounds way too young to go an amusement park. I mean they were just born.

I understand the sentiment. We got some crazy looks from people when we went to a Walmart to get pictures printed right after we left the hospital. My son was just two days old and we were out running errands with him. But, as I said earlier, my wife and I believe that we shouldn't change our lifestyle because we have a kid. Sure there are some major responsibility changes, but if you dictate everything around the kid even at an early age you set yourself up for some tough times in the future. Plus you no longer have your interests, instead your life will dictate around the kid's interest.

For example, I will do my Saturday routine of food shopping, going to the bank, and going to the post office, all of this with my two year old son. I've been doing this since he was two months old. There's nothing special about it, no screaming, no having to bribe the kid to behave (yet), and he cooperates with me pretty much most of the time. If I had waited until he was a year old to do this when he learned that he has a personality and can be independant it could have been a different outcome. I didn't completely change things on account of having a kid, I just included him with it.

Same goes with amusement parks. Before we had the boy, my wife and I travelled and went to other parks. The same still holds true. We even took him tent camping, because that's something we've always done. As crazy as it sounds, we plan on taking upcoming baby #2 (due in August) and our two year old son to Fall Affair at Holiday World and camp. Keep in mind that baby #2 is only going to probably be 6 - 8 weeks old. But we're going to break in that kid as well ;)

~Rob Willi

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Saturday, March 1, 2008 10:15 PM
Thanks so much everyone for all the advice. This definately helps alot.

I am excited CP is building facilites for assisting parents, as this might be the first park of the year for us.

I also had forgotten about parent swap. I definately will have to look into that.

We have friends and family lining up to go with us , so I am sure we will find some help.

Now I guess I am going to have to become an expert on kiddie rides! (which I know nothing about)

All of this talk just made me go on to Cafe Press and order a CBuzz Onesie for him.

Thanks again everyone!

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Saturday, March 1, 2008 10:32 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
As far as it being too early. If you'd walk the baby in a stroller, then what's the difference in walking the baby in a stroller at a park?
The difference is some people keep their kid at an amusement park all day... in August. I can't stand seeing babies out on a crazy hot day.
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Saturday, March 1, 2008 10:47 PM
Lots of good avice here.

If you can't get other people to join you for park trips remember...

1) When a young one can no longer take it...don't try to squeeze in more bfeore he/she naps or before your leave or they will equate parks as bad / cranky places to go.

2) If your child typically needs naps and breaks during the day...allow him or her to take them.

3) Strongly consider travel time as part of the day.

4) Neuski mentioned hot August days. If you allow your child to get wet via spay fountain or an Epcot type splash fountain to cool off...remember that once wet, you don't want your child to catch a chill via indoor air conditioning.

5) Even though many people are rude nad inconsiderate, dont' add your name to that list. If your child is crying and or having a tantrum...remove them from situations where they will annoy others.

6) SUNSCREEN!!!!

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Saturday, March 1, 2008 11:16 PM

HeyIsntThatRob? said:

Spinout said:
That sounds way too young to go an amusement park. I mean they were just born.

Same goes with amusement parks. Before we had the boy, my wife and I travelled and went to other parks. The same still holds true. We even took him tent camping, because that's something we've always done. As crazy as it sounds, we plan on taking upcoming baby #2 (due in August) and our two year old son to Fall Affair at Holiday World and camp. Keep in mind that baby #2 is only going to probably be 6 - 8 weeks old. But we're going to break in that kid as well

~Rob Willi


When I said that, I was thinking that why would you take your baby to an amusement park if there is nothing that they can ride or should be riding? I guess there is no one to watch the baby maybe. I wasn't thinking just take your baby, and your baby just sits in the stroller all day. If the baby gets in free, take them than. Taking care of a baby at an amusement park is going to be like taking care of a baby at home.

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Sunday, March 2, 2008 12:20 AM
I second (or third) the idea of protecting the baby from the summer afternoon sun. Make sure to keep him well hydrated and find as much shade as you can.
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Sunday, March 2, 2008 12:36 AM
My Mom took me to Camden Park and we rode Big Dipper when I was about 1 year old...

I have a funny story on topic. I was working at Cedar Point in 2000 on Balloon Race in Camp snoopy. We were pretty busy that day. A lady got in line with her newborn son. He couldn't have been any older than 6 months old. I politely informed her that hand held infants were not allowed to ride, that children had to be able to walk in order to be allowed to ride. Her response was, "They let me ride with him on The Scrambler!!!"

She wouldn't leave the line, and when it was her turn to ride I still insisted that the baby could not ride, and she still insisted that "He's going to ride anyway so just shut up!!!"

She ran to get a seat, I refused to start the ride and called Security on the phone. About 10 minutes into the standoff, she eventually decided to leave when everyone in line and on the ride started yelling at her..."Get off the ride, lady. Your baby can't ride", for example.

As she left the ride, she told me, "You just wait until my husband gets off of Magnum Force. He's going to come over here and kick your ass!!!"

Noticing who was standing behind her, I laughed at her and said, "That would be a very difficult thing to do from outside the park." Just then Two Cedar Point Police Officers approached her and asked her why she was threatening me...She, and her family from what I was told, was escorted to her car and asked to leave.

True story!

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