Rest in the afternoon. Spend the morning at one park, then head back to the hotel for a nap and a swim. After that, depending on your group's stamina, you can go back to the same or a different park for less-crowded late afternoon rides, dinner, or evening parades and shows.(Park Hopper passes and conveniently located hotels are a boon.)
Go with the flow. While many people advocate getting to the parks early to beat the crowds, you have to go with your own family's rhythms: "We let the kids sleep late to recover from the night before, so they wouldn't be tired and cranky," says one parent. Some young kids can rally for the fireworks and parades; others simply can't last that long, and it's not worth pushing them. "I regularly reminded myself that this trip was for my son," another mom says. "If he was afraid of a ride, we didn't go on it. When he'd had enough, we left."
Give kids a choice. If children are old enough to have preferences, let each family member pick two or three priorities in each park and try to accommodate those. Keep in mind that you can't do everything in one trip.
Pack diversions. Hand-held electronic games, audio books, and mini tape recorders help stave off boredom. Give each child a free map of the parks and a marker to circle the rides and attractions you've visited.