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Hacking Disneyland with a Pint-Sized Cartographer

You want to have some real fun at Disneyland?

Hand the map over to your 6-year-old.

Seriously. Give up all control. It will be the best day of your vacation, promise.

Sure, you may not wind up at Space Mountain or any of the super cool, scary rides, but by the 11th time going around It’s a Small World or 13th time spinning with Dumbo, you’ll be laughing like it’s the best day of your life.

My wife and I took our daughter recently and we downloaded a great map application that also shows wait times for rides and menus of restaurants. At first, my wife and I got a little overzealous, to be perfectly honest. It was not pretty.

“No, this way! There’s no line at Peter Pan!”

“No, the line is even shorter at Pirates!”

When we were kids, you just meandered until you found something you liked and dove in. Thanks to the magic of phone applications, we got a little giddy with power and information, trying to squeeze in every last ounce of fun.

Our fun, at least. Fortunately, our daughter put her foot down early, glaring at us with one hand on her trip.

“Hello? Isn’t this my trip?”

That did it. My wife and I had both visited before, and we were fortunate to have a couple days at the park to mill around, so we gave our daughter the phone for one day, spent a minute showing her how to use and then spent the rest of the day following her lead.

It was the best time at Disneyland I have ever had in my life.

The really cool thing is that everything is magic to a 6-year-old at Disneyland. I may have wanted to ride Big Thunder Mountain one more time or take advantage of the Fast Pass at the Indiana Jones ride, but she was practically speaking at tongues at the prospect of getting her face painted. She used the phone map to guide us to Fantasyland and bam, instant joy.

Later, after she went to bed, my wife or I would slip out of the hotel room and use the map to gauge waiting times as closing hour approached. I high-tailed it to the California Adventure park and rode the Tower of Terror something like 50 times in a row, because the map showed that everyone else would be at some water lights magic show. My wife rode Space Mountain until she became ill.

The map was probably our best purchase for the trip. During the day, the kid was in charge. At night, my wife and I became one.

A big thanks to Verizon for sponsoring this campaign. Data rates may apply for app download/use. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out!

More from him on Babble

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