image copyright Disney
Play area at Winnie the Pooh
For the lines that are not interactive (or bus waits, sit down dining, etc.) you'll have to keep junior off the rails and focused. Our family always plays Disney trivia while we wait. We ask questions about characters, movies, rides, etc. This strategy usually works better toward the start of the trip while the excitement is still new. Flipping through your autograph books and seeing which characters you've already gotten or still need takes up some minutes as well. Before we leave for our trip I stock up on inexpensive stickers and colors and when we have our autograph books out, we create sticker stories or color characters. With colors or pens you can play tic tac toe, hangman or draw silly pictures. For my smallest guys I make busy bags. I usually make about 10 and rotate them out during the trip. They need to be quiet, easy to pack, and non messy. I put each one in individual sandwich bags and throw one or two in my bag each day. Here are a few that I did for the last trip.
1. Make a cupcake- Take different colored felt and cut several cupcake bases, tops, and toppings. They have so much fun mixing and matching and "baking" their cupcakes! This link includes a free download to make this busy bag!
2. Make a house- It's the same concept as above, but with felt roofs, bushes, doors, windows, etc.
3. Felt road- Make several road pieces from black felt that can fit together several ways. Draw lines down the middle for the road divider and a few matchbox cars to drive.
5. Paint chip matching- Get pairs of paint chips from your hardware store. Cut one of the pair down and glue it on a clothes pin. Kids can match the colors together and pin each match to its mate.This blog has a great tutorial for it! I suggest getting the ones in the shape of Mickey of course. Home Depot carries the Disney paint line.
6. Stringing buttons- Take pipe cleaners and several large buttons. Have kids string them together.
These are just a few suggestions, the busy bag possibilities are literally endless. A quick search on Google or Pinterest will yield hundreds of ideas! Rotating the bags around keep the games fresh and the kids interested. We also take small play sets and keep them in our backpack. Since we have boys, they are tiny car sets. They set them up on the ground in line and are happy for quite a while driving their cars all around. Every time we pull out the cars and car sets, we end up surrounded by little kids and have parents shoot us thankful looks. Pin trading is a good line distraction as well. Every cast member at Disney carries several little pins to trade. They have to trade with guests, so there is no threat that your child will be told no when they ask a cast member. My two older boys each have lanyards with pins and look forward to waiting in line to rearrange and survey their pins, plot their next trade, or just admire their work thus far! I try to look at line waiting time as a chance to be together, play games, and just be silly with my kids in this age of electronics and over packed schedules. If all else fails, there is always the iPhone!