How to pass the time while waiting in theme park lines

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It’s inevitable that a trip to Disney World or Universal Studios will involve spending time waiting in lines. With a little preparation for the younger travelers in your group, you can avoid the incessant complaining and subsequent meltdowns.

It’s really tough for kids to wait in line for 45 minutes or an hour, even if the reward is the thing they want most, such as meeting a favorite princess or riding the most-anticipated ride.

To help pass the time, try these tips:

— Use the FASTPASS system to significantly slash wait times. See details in related story at left.

— For attractions that do not offer FASTPASS, bring electronics. I know, I know: It seems crazy to allow your child to spend more screen time when you’re at the theme parks of all places. Believe me when I say Mom or Dad’s ipod Touch, a Ninetendo DS or another handheld video game is worth its weight in the family backpack when it comes to the lines.

— Younger kids might be interested in new coloring books or small trinkets from a gift shop. Surprise them.

— Use the time to refuel. Bring snacks and drinks for the whole family to consume in line. You’ll need to be done before boarding the ride, but balanced sugar levels generally make for happier times.

— Forgot to bring any of the above? Give kids the digital camera to view what you have photographed so far. Let them take pictures in line — you might be pleasantly surprised by the candids. Look for hidden objects around you or study maps to plan the next several rides or attractions you want to take in. If all else fails, make friends with the families i n line around you.

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