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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 July 7, 2000

I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July. My eMailbox is filling with questions and comments. As I take a little break for our family vacation, here are a few...

Adrienne's eMailbox for 7/7/00:

Reader Rebecca wrote:

I just read your column and it almost makes me wish my children were toddlers again, almost. I do have one piece of advice that I give to my friends when they go to Disneyland, and that is bring a Polaroid camera and take pictures of them everyday so that if they get lost you have a picture of not only them but what they are wearing that day.

My friend actually used our camera last year and she thanks me all the time for the idea because her son got lost in the crowd during the Mulan parade last year and she could not remember what he even looked like she was in such a panic.

Her son on the other hand not only (k)new what she was wearing, but what everyone else in their party was wearing. Thankfully he went up to a CM at the candy shop and told them he was lost. Not only was he fine but he got one of those huge lollipops too. Mom on the other hand was a wreck.

Thanks for this tip, Rebecca! What a clever idea. For parents who are wondering, lost children who are not quickly reunited with their parents are taken to a room next door to Central First Aid which is furnished with a television playing Disney videos.

Diane sent an email after reading my Baby Care Center column:

Great article! And Matthew is a good model : ) So is Kevin -- and changing Matthew's diaper too!

That looks like a really nice nursing area at Disneyland. That is really smart of Disney! Do you have to tip each Cast Member who helps you?

Thanks, Diane. Yes, Kevin's a humble guy, so I'll have to be the one to tell you that he's not only a great scientist but he's also a wonderful Daddy...

The cast members at Disneyland are not allowed to accept tips. There is another way you can show your appreciation when you receive exceptional service and care at the Baby Care Center, or anywhere at Disneyland or Walt Disney World: Stop by City Hall (or Guest Relations) and leave a guest compliment.

First you will explain your compliment to the Host or Hostess at the desk. They will usually offer to write the compliment for you or you can fill out the form yourself. They will ask for your name, address and phone number. (Based on my experience, you will most likely not be contacted.)

These compliments will be forwarded to the cast member's supervisors and will be put into his / her personnel file. The cast member is not told who the comment came from, but they appreciate them greatly. And the hosts and hostesses are always happy to take the time to record a guest compliment.

From Angela:

I came up with a question to ask you - Are there garbage / diaper pails for disposal of used disposable diapers or do we need to bring plastic bags to take ours home. (Here in Washington state it is illegal to throw diapers in public trash cans - we have to take them home.)

I have never heard of this, Angela! I doubt that law would be popular here. I'd rather have people leaving their diapers in trash cans than in parking lots as they frequently do here, unfortunately.

You can use the trash cans in the restrooms to dispose of diapers. The custodial cast members clean these restrooms about every 45 minutes so they are changed frequently.

In the Baby Care Center, there is a diaper pail for poopy diapers and "just wet" diapers can be tossed into the trash cans.

Stew asked:

Let me start out by thanking you for your Web Site. The information about the Child Center was invaluable when our family went to DL last year, and our son, then 2 was still in diapers. I have one question for you.... now that he is (mostly) potty trained i was wondering, can he use the small toilets that are in the Child Center? 

He's used to the smaller toilets (they have them at his pre-school), so this would be great (plus, I could write up another complimentary sheet about the folks at the center).

And Fab expressed this concern for another reason:

When Dante or Daddy takes Alice to the park and she has to go, what does one do? I don't feel comfortable with the "stand outside and wait" bit, and am not sure that the men's room is the right place either. Will they let a six year old use the baby center potty under these circumstances?

To Stew: you're welcome. I'm glad that The Happiest Potties on Earth site has been helpful!

To Fab: I think this is a very good point, thank you for bringing it up.

Your answer is: Maybe. The determining factors will be the size of the child and the discretion of the cast member. When a taller child's grown-up takes him / her to use the Baby Care Center toilets, they may be directed to the restrooms at Central First Aid, next door.

For grown-ups faced with the same dilemma as Dante and Alice's Daddy, one option may also be visiting a smaller, lesser-used restroom such as the Plaza Pavilion or Tiki Room. They can first check the men's room, to make sure it's empty, then let the child use the restroom (or vice versa for lady grown-ups and boys.)

Laura solicited my opinion:

My husband and I are taking our 3 year-old daughter and her grandmother to DL this October. Since it's Megan's first big trip, we're very excited.

I was wondering if you had some advice about whether we should rent a car or use shuttle buses. We're going to be flying into LAX and staying at the new Homewood Suites on Harbor (about a mile away from the Park). (The hotel is still under construction.)

My big thing about renting a car is dealing with the car seat issue. Megan is in a booster seat now and I'd hate to haul that thing around with us. To my knowledge, the rental car companies do not rent booster seats, only standard child seats, which she has grown out of.

On the other hand, I don't know if we want to be stuck with relying on the shuttle buses to get us back and forth and only being able to eat in the Park or within walking distance.

Any advice? Thanks!!

Well, Laura, my friends will tell you that I'm never at a loss for an opinion. I am aware that in various states, legislation is being introduced and / or approved which requires parents to use booster seats in cars for children under 80 pounds (although this is not the law in California...yet.)

As a mother and having survived a serious roll-over accident a few years ago (thank goodness for airbags!) I have to believe that my child would be safer in a booster seat when in a vehicle.

I know that airlines do not allow passengers to use booster seats. I know that my dear Travel Lite friend Lani and others may cringe at the thought of dragging along a booster seat that you will need to baggage check. But yep, that's what I would do! Hopefully, as this law becomes more widespread, rental car companies will expand their services to include booster seats.

As for renting a car, well, I'm a Los Angeles native. There are very few places I've ever visited where I didn't rent a car or drive my own, but I'm going to try to think objectively:

Depending on how long you're staying, a rental car would give you some flexibility to take a side trip (for example to Knott's for Mrs. Knott's chicken dinner) or to a grocery store to pick up bottled water, juice, snacks, etc. Your particular hotel, however, is located just across the street from a Target store, so if you are only planning to visit Disneyland, you would probably be fine without the rental car.

Adrienne's eMailbox

Quicky Tip:

Aladdin and Jasmine's Storytale Adventures at Aladdin's Oasis

If you haven't seen this show in Adventureland, you're missing a special treat! Aladdin and Jasmine, with help from Kazoo and Barker Bob, tell the story of "Aladdin." There's audience participation and, like the movie, quite a few laughs. (Watch out for the Magic Carpet Ride scene-- it always gets the biggest laugh of the show...)

Aladdin's Oasis is right next door to the Jungle Cruise. Summertime and Winter Vacation shows run daily at 11:00, 11:55, 12:55, 1:55, 3:45, 4:40, 5:35, and 6:30. (During the "off season," the show runs weekends only.) Plan to arrive about 15 minutes before the show. The show lasts 15 minutes with photo and autograph opportunities following.

When you go to the show, be sure to tell Kazoo that Adrienne sent you-- but you might not want to mention my name to Barker Bob. He's still bitter that I wouldn't agree to be wife #87...

Send your Adrienne's eMailbox / Parenting in the Parks questions or comments to:

Keep in mind all questions submitted to the Adrienne's eMailbox column become property of this site. They may be edited for length or style and in consideration of a family readership. Questions may also be quoted on other parts of the site too.

Not all questions may be responded to, but all will be read so I can have an idea of what you all think out there.

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