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Parenting in the Park
Tips and ideas for the traveling family
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Adrienne Krock, editor
Adrienne's eMailbox (& Update) for September 6, 2000

I have some information to share today in addition to some reader feedback...

Tips for the upcoming tour with Bob Baranick

I was fortunate to join a preview tour with Bob Baranick a few weeks ago. If you're considering signing up for one of these tours, I recommend it!

There are a few points for parents to keep in mind. This tour is four hours long with lots of walking and lots of listening. As an adult, I enjoyed it; however, I strongly recommend not bringing children. It would be unfair to expect a child to act as adult for such an extended period of time. It would be unfair to the other participants if the child became distracting. And it would be unfair for the parent to be distracted by needing to attend to a child's needs, denying the parent the opportunity to fully participate in the entire tour.

Because Bob will conduct two tours a day, parents, friends, and various family members can divide and conquer. For example, Mom can join the morning tour while Dad enjoys Disneyland with the kids. Then in the afternoon, Dad can participate in the second tour while Mom plays with the children.

Teenagers may appreciate this tour. It depends on how much they love Disney and appreciate listening to an expert share his stories. I know one thirteen year- old in particular who is anxious to attend.

Update to the Happiest Potties on Earth

I'm happy to let parents know about a new resource available at the Happiest Potties on Earth. We have now provided a list of Manual Flush Toilets in Disneyland.

Let's face it, few people outside of parents with young children will be able to appreciate how important this is! Many of the toilets at Disneyland, especially in the larger restrooms, operate with an automatic flushing system. These systems often operate using an "electronic eye" which is often too high to detect a short body sitting on the toilet. Consequently these toilets often flush while a child is seated. This can be a scary experience.

While I appreciate the role automatic flush systems play in keeping restrooms cleaner, I also understand how scary these systems can be, especially to children who are still potty training! As a family oriented theme park, I would love to see Disneyland install a number of manual flush toilets in each restroom which could be specially labeled to notify parents that they are available. (I know, it's probably too expensive, but a mom can dream, can't she?)

You will find the list of manual flush toilets at the following link.

Adrienne's eMailbox for 9/6/00:
Grocery Shopping in Orlando

Sean notified me via chat of a wonderful "unadvertised" service provided by Tiffany Town Cars.

After picking clients up at the airport, drivers will stop at the grocery store en route to Walt Disney World! So for those of you who wish to stock up on snacks and supplies, keep this option in mind!

Finally, regarding my "Lost At Disney" column from last week, Ron shared:

I really enjoy your column on many levels, as a parent, a Disney fan, and a staff member at the Oregon Zoo. (Hint - please come see us, but bring your stroller. You'd hate ours... I know I do)

Your suggestions regarding lost children are especially good. I always encourage parents to teach their children to identify staff members by their uniform and name badge. It is important that very young children (and their parents!) know that the staff is on their side in an emergency. Empowering the child to take care of himself is important. If they feel that they can actively do something on their own being "lost" becomes much less scary.

When my own daughter was young, whenever we went to an attraction or any place where a crowd was expected, she had a whistle that she wore around her neck. She know that if she found herself separated from us, she could blow the whistle to help us find her.

We started this on a trip to Disneyland when she was three, and I think that she was actually a little disappointed that she never had opportunity to blow her whistle that day. So the next day, at Sea World, we let her get ahead of us and around a corner, then we stopped. Sure enough, in about 30 seconds, the whistle sounded. We caught up to her, and there she was... not frightened, and with a big grin on her face. She had "lost" us, followed instructions, and resolved the situation herself. While this may not work with all children, she became very attached to that whistle. Even though she never had to use it again.

I've never seen anyone else use this method. In fact, I could see it being a problem if it were widespread. But if you have a responsible child it works, both in action and to give them a feeling of power over the situation.

Thanks for the kind comments and the tip, Ron.

I agree, this may not work for every child, but for some it will be a great idea! Now I'll have to find a way to fit that trip to Oregon into my MousePlanet Budget for next year...

Wanted: Your questions and feedback! They will help me plan future columns! Write me at:


Adrienne gathered experience taking kids to amusement parks when she worked as a day camp counselor and director. She was an elementary school teacher before she started her favorite job, being Matthew's Mom.

Adrienne and Matthew visit Disneyland several times a month, usually with Daddy, too.

Besides Matthew, Adrienne and her husband Kevin created and maintain The Happiest Potties on Earth website.

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