Edgerton didn’t have kids at the time, but he was surprised to see unhappy children and stressed-out parents all around him. Since then, he’s become a parent (his stepdaughters are now grown) and has been to Disneyland 14 times. As a result, over the years, friends and family have turned to him for tips about visiting the world’s most beloved theme park. “I became a kind of Disneyland consultant,” he said.
So it was only natural that Edgerton, an eight-year Edmonds resident and advertising copywriter, decided it was time to put all that advice into a book. “Tear-Free in Disneyland: A Parent’s Guide to Less Stress and More Fun For the Whole Family,” was born.
The 111-page soft-cover book is packed with information aimed at ensuring that the entire family enjoys the Disneyland experience. Every ride is reviewed from beginning to end, with detailed descriptions of every twist, turn and splash, and special warnings such as “high speeds,” “steep drops,” “darkness”and “simulated fire, gunfire”.
It all goes back to that “Tear-Free” philosophy, he said. If parents know what to expect, they can better prepare their child. “For example, on the Haunted Mansion ride, the scariest part is the elevator ride in complete darkness,” Edgerton said. “Preparing your child means you can say, ‘You know what, the lights are going to go out and everybody’s going to scream.’ You make the child part of the fun instead of becoming a victim of it.”
There’s also a chapter on “How Young is Too Young.” When it comes to visiting Disneyland, “every child is different,” Edgerton said. “There is no one right age. It depends on their development and what they are afraid of.
“If they are scared of sitting on Santa’s lap, meeting an 8-foot-tall Goofy may not be for them,” he added.
Another important point to remember: Disney staff “are real sticklers” about height limits on all rides. “If you are not tall enough, you can’t ride,” Edgerton said. “I had a friend who went, and her child was an eighth of an inch too short and couldn’t get on.”
And if you are traveling with a child who has special needs, Edgerton said that Disney prides itself on accommodating a wide range of guests, from those in wheelchairs to those with special diets.
In the chapter, “Planning a Great Day,” Edgerton offers a bevy of tips for prospective park goers. Among them: Get a hotel as close to Disneyland as possible and don’t drive to the park if you can avoid it. Take advantage of mobile phone apps that will show you accurate wait times at each attraction. And if you are truly trying to maintain a “Tear-Free” experience, don’t stay at the park all day, from early morning to evening fireworks.
“Break the day into two parts, taking a break in midday,” Edgerton said. “Swim in the pool, take a nap and then return in the evening when you have more energy to do things.”