It feels like no matter where you go these days, there’s always a huge theme park waiting for you to dare to try their intense roller coasters and of course, beg you to spend big bucks on sugary snacks and souvenirs. Theme park travel and hopping from one attraction to the next is a ton of fun, but it can also be very stressful if you don’t follow these important tips.
1. Reserve Tickets Ahead of Time: The greatest insult of going to a theme park (especially a major one like Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens, or Universal Studios), is looking at the park skyline in awe only to find out you have to wait two hours just to get in. Print out your tickets and keep them in a folder. You are going to need this folder for later so hang on to it! It’ll be your best friend by the end of the day.
2. Establish Priorities: Think of five rides that you HAVE to do before exiting the park. This way, you can plan your day around these five rides, finding restaurants and shopping locations adjacent to the attractions you are dying to hit.
3. Expect the Unexpected: This category is pretty self-explanatory. Bring an umbrella, even if there’s only a slight chance of rain. You don’t want to get soaked and then have to pay thirty dollars (or more) for a theme park umbrella. Make sure you research indoor activities (arcades, indoor attractions like the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom, eateries, etc.)
4. Skip the Lines: Why wait two hours to ride the 30 second long Rockin’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Many major theme park chains have something called a Fast Pass. For you theme park newbies, a Fast Pass is a ticket that allows you to re-visit rides at a later time and skip the line all together. I recently got back from a trip to Orlando and Fast Passes were our best friends by the end of our five days. There’s nothing more satisfying than a white-knuckle ride on Test Track with a two minute wait.
5. Be Unconventional: It has been proven (and is evident through personal experience) that theme parks are the busiest from eleven in the morning to around three in the afternoon. This is why you need to re-structure your day if you want to make the most out of it. Hit the biggest rides bright and early. We rode Expedition Everest at eight in the morning and could get on it three times in fifteen minutes. Another great time to check out the park’s thrill rides is during popular shows and parades. If you are traveling with older kids who are uninterested in watching Disney or Nickelodeon characters prance around the park, that’s your cue to get in line and scream to your heart’s content. Another great and unique time to hit these rides is late at night. I was so glad that we rode Test Track at night since it actually felt like we were speeding down a highway at sixty miles per hour and the idea that we were in a theme park was erased from our minds.
Follow these tips, and you can make the most out of your day at any amusement park! If you have interesting stories or tips to share, please feel free to post them in the comments section below. We would love to hear your perspective on theme park travel!