As any mother of an introvert child knows, there are many types of introverts and extroverts out there. I happen to have a high-energy introvert son, as well as a mellow extrovert son. I’m a high-energy extrovert, although sometimes a social introvert. We would all be considered ambiverts. Honestly, most people are.
As his mother, it was all very confusing. Needless to say, introvert travel can be a real stress. Navigating the difference between introvert and extrovert kids at Universal Orlando Resort put us to the test.
Difference between introvert and extrovert kids
Why do I say my youngest is a high-energy introvert? He runs around with his friends like a crazy person. The level of noise in my house is insane. Get that kid in a crowd, and he shuts down. Throw in an early childhood fear of rides, and it can get exacerbated even more. Having a big brother who is a mellow extrovert and loves big roller coasters and 4D rides doesn’t help either. This is when the differences in social situations pop up.
Introvert Kids Look at Theme Parks Differently
Before our trip to Universal Orlando Resort, I thought about how we would do this theme park differently from others we had tackles in the past.
We had been to four theme parks with my youngest in his short six years of life. Two he had tolerated, but not done much at. The other two he waited until the end of the day to actually ride any rides. It took him six hours to gather the courage.
I didn’t want to be at Universal Orlando Resort for five days and have him want to ride everything our last morning in the park. That would be a miserable four days sitting on a bench with him. After all, I wanted to have fun too, but I knew introverts process things differently than I do.
Guide to visiting Universal Orlando Resort with kids
Watch Universal Orlando Youtube Videos
Before you depart on your trip, watch Youtube videos of Universal Orlando Resort. There are hundreds of Universal Florida videos out there. Universal has their own channels, but we found loads hosted by other kids, moms and dads that walked us through what we could expect.
Most importantly, these videos showed my son the level of people that would be in the park. The videos also showed him some of the rides, lines and shows we would get to experience.
Being prepared ahead of time, one of his many personality traits, allowed him to mentally get in the frame of mind he needed for a theme park.
Walk both parks at Universal Orlando Resort
After you arrive at Universal Orlando Resort with your kids, walk the parks. The difference between an introvert and an extrovert is how they dive into a situation. My oldest wanted to jump on every ride he saw. My youngest shrunk back.
Let your introvert child get the lay of the land. Point out rides he or she might like, and where the performances will take place. Do not force your child onto any rides right now.
My son needed to ease his way in. He was completely overwhelmed, even though we were at the park during a quieter week. There were so many new sights and sounds, not to mention a dragon breathing fire every 10 minutes in Diagon Alley at the World of Harry Potter.
If you have older children, let them hop on rides nearby while you slow down with your more timid child(ren). My older son was nine years old. He could hop in the single rider line to have fun while we walked around a bit, always having a meeting point that he knew we would be at. This way, the son who gained energy from crowds and loud rides was not left bored and bitter, while the other introvert who prefers to go slow, got all of the attention.
Do Not Mock, Tease or Push
As my younger, introvert son pulled into himself, it was so tempting to tease him and push him out of his comfort zone to get on a ride and try something new. Having done this in the past, I knew it would backfire.
I’ve broken my son on the first day in a theme park. One ride and that boy was out for the rest of the trip. It was too much too soon. This was not meant to be mean, I simply didn’t know his personality well enough at the time.
Yes, it is disappointing as a parent who has spent money and may want to experience the rides too, but this is your kid, you need to be patient. It will pay off.
Of course, it goes without saying that you should never, ever mock your child or let other siblings mock your child for being scared to try a ride. That’s just good parenting sense. No one likes a bully, and you shouldn’t be raising kids that bully their brother or sister.
I’m still terrified of roller coasters and zip lining. My husband mocked me once and got me on Barnstormer at Walt Disney World. Never again. I went into panic mode and almost crushed our oldest son’s hand.
And yes, that is the baby roller coaster that three year olds love. Don’t judge me people.
Go at Your Child’s Pace
Let your child set the pace. This isn’t to say you are going to hide out in the hotel. Lay out the plan for your day the night before.
My son likes to know what we are doing ahead of time. Change the plan on him and he needs time to process. Will we be standing in a large crowd to get early entry? Is there a part of the park we will go to that is quieter? Are we going to a performance where there might be a lot of people?
Anything you can tell your introvert child ahead of time will help them feel a bit more confident and in control of their day. It will also help them vocalize when they are feeling uncomfortable. When you have a very young introvert who isn’t quite in control of their feelings yet, helping them vocalize will keep you, as the parent, sane.
Trust me. We work on this every single day. It’s exhausting.
Tackling the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort
Give your IntroverT Easy Options
Handing a little control to your introvert child while you travel can make a big difference. You aren’t giving them the option to do nothing, but helping them chose a preplanned direction you want them to take.
Ask questions like, “would you like to try the Caro-Seuss-el in Universal’s Islands of Adventure or ride the Hogwarts Express to hop from park to park right now? Saying neither isn’t an option.” Reward decision making with quiet time on a bench and a tasty treat. We love a good Butterbeer.
Challenge Your INtrovert
Once my son got comfortable in the park and with the level of people around him, I tackled his fear of rides. He had to try something new, and every day I increased that number. One day it was three new rides, shows or character encounters. He could not sit on a bench and cry about it.
I knew he loved meeting characters, unlike his brother who had been terrified of people in costumes at that age. He could meet a character, knocking one thing off his list. Easy! The next could be just sitting on the curb to watch a parade or performance. Nothing scary about that. Then we would try a ride; something mellow in Seuss Landing perhaps.
With every challenge, his confidence increased. The next day, I challenged him to try five new things. At first, this was daunting, but there is so much to do at Universal Orlando Resorts with Kids, that he quickly knocked out those five things and more. Our Express Pass definitely helped, because we didn’t have to stand in crowded lines.
Downtime for INtroverts
As every introvert knows (my mellow introvert husband keeps me informed), introvert kids need downtime. I used to get frustrated that my youngest son only wanted to be at the pool. His big brother was perfectly happy at the theme park all day, or wandering European cities with me. Sure, he liked the pool too, but his little brother whined all day until we would hit the pool.
Now, most kids do love a hotel swimming pool. This is pretty much the norm. However, what my introvert son was really trying to tell me was that he needed some downtime. He needed to break from our nonstop routine and just be with one or two people.
He needed to literally chill out for a bit.
Water has always been his happy, soothing place. When he would get worked up as a toddler, I’d throw him in the bathtub for a “swim” to chill out for a bit (supervised of course). Water is where he finds his center again, and can dive back into himself to recharge. He’s found his Zen, and to this day, water still recharges him. It’s quiet under there after all.
Not sure what he will do when he goes to a pool with underwater speakers one day. One challenge at a time mama. As a wise philosopher once said, “don’t borrow trouble.”
Looking for an Orlando hotel? Check out the following in Universal Orlando Resort!
- Loews Portofino Bay Hotel– Nothing but the best at this resort property
- Hard Rock Hotel– Walk to Islands of Adventure
- Loews Royal Pacific Resort – Walk to Universal Studios Florida
- Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort– Instagram-worth accommodations
- Universal’s Aventura Hotel– budget accommodations for the tech-savvy traveler
Looking for more? Search for a great deal on Booking.com!