Headed to an amusement theme park this summer? Say goodbye to the roller coaster of emotions that can sometimes accompany the unprepared when they encounter long lines, tired kids, and woozy stomachs. Use these tips to make the most of your day and avoid all the hassle.
- Purchase tickets online. You’ll walk right past the long lines at the ticketing booth, plus the online rates are usually cheaper. Be sure to look for coupon codes too.
- If you have a large group, consider wearing the same bright color. This will make it easy to spot members of your group as you scan a crowd.
- Take your own water bottles. Most parks will let you bring in your own water, which will save you big money. Freeze your water bottles the night before and you’ll have ice cold water to drink all throughout the day.
- Take a picture of your parking area. As soon as you park, take a quick cellphone snapshot of your location and avoid the frazzled confusion at the end of the day.
- Start at the back. As soon as you walk in the entrance, head straight to the back of the park and work your way forward. Most of the park goers will do the exact opposite, which means you’ll have shorter lines the whole day through.
- Wear swimsuits and cover ups. Most parks have water rides, which are a welcome relief on a hot day. Wearing your swimsuit and/or cover up means you’re ready for wet rides and your clothes will dry quickly afterward.
- Utilize fast passes and baby passes. If the park has a system for fast passes (making an appointment for a ride), take advantage. If you’ve got a baby in tow, head straight to the exit of the ride and ask if they have baby passes, allowing the person who waits with the baby to avoid waiting in line again.
- Bring in your own food. Park food is usually overpriced and not that great. Find out if you can bring your own picnic into the park and store it in a locker.
- Play games in long lines. If you get stuck in the inevitable long line, play word games like Twenty Question to pass the time.
- Use lockers to store sweatshirts or other items. Most parks have lockers near the entrance of the park. Spend a few dollars and avoid lugging around sweatshirts, food, or other bulky items. Your shoulders will thank you.
- Eat at off-peak times. If you eat in the park, try to eat at off-peak times to avoid long lines. An hour before or after noon and six o’clock will save you time in line and frustration looking for an empty table.
- Measure your kids ahead of time. Find out height restrictions on rides ahead of time and measure your kids to avoid getting kicked out of line and shattering little dreams. If your child is on the borderline, try on different shoes to see if one will put him/her over the edge.
- Don’t forget sunscreen. Liberally apply sunscreen throughout the day. Shoulders, faces, bald heads and thin-haired heads are especially susceptible to burns.
- Designate a meeting place in case people get lost. It’s bound to happen, especially if you have a large group, so plan ahead and choose a spot together at the beginning of the day to avoid panic.
- Divide and conquer. Depending on the ages and preferences of your group, you might be better off splitting up into smaller groups to go on rides that only some are interested in riding.
- Ride popular rides during parades and shows. Watch lines shrink to near nothing when big shows and parades are going on.
- Take motion sickness pills. If the big roller coaster makes you woozy, take a motion sickness pill about a half hour before. Works like a charm!
- Store your phone in a ziplock bag. You’ll thank yourself again and again after the unexpected splash of water on that ride doesn’t destroy your $600 smart phone.
- Buy souvenirs at the end of the day. Unless you want to carry around toys and oversized stuffed monkeys all day, save souvenir shopping and midway games for the end of the day.
Have any other tips for a great day at the amusement park? Share them!