We were lucky enough to visit Orlando last March with our 2 children. It was the trip of a lifetime and simple planning ahead made all the difference to our visit. Before you head off for your theme park visit be it Disney Land or Alton Towers, read one Mum’s handy guide on surviving theme park visits with kids. Full of tips and advice to make the day(s) go great!
Before You Go
Public Transport, Cab or driving. Larger Theme Parks are often well serviced by public transport and you get dropped off close to the entrance. If you are driving check if there is a charge for the car park, how close is it to the entrance, can you save money by booking it in advance?
#2. Consider booking tickets in advance
Ticket prices vary depending on the time of year but you can often make savings by booking them online in advance. It can also mean less time in the queue.
#3. Booking combined tickets may be cheaper
If your Theme Park visit is part of a longer holiday look at what savings can be made by booking combined tickets for different theme parks and attractions. For our Orlando trip we bought passes that gave us access to 5 parks over 2 weeks even though we were there for just 10 days, they cost much less than paying park by park.
#4. Be realistic about how many parks you can visit on one trip!
You may think that you will go to a new park every day but Theme Park visits are tiring and it is good to plan other activities for your holiday to break up the trip. Remember you may come back again so don’t try to cram in every park on the list first time around.
Pick age appropriate parks so that the whole family can enjoy the visit. Large roller coasters may be good for you but the rest of the family may not feel the same way.
#6. Research food & drink options
Check the website to see if the Theme Park you are visiting allows you to bring food and drink in. Some do and others don’t and will check your bags as you enter. Many in the USA offer a locker facility situated outside the park where you can store bags and picnics and take a break from the action to enjoy them rather than queuing for food inside.
#7. If possible visit outside of school holidays
If at all possible try and visit outside of school holiday times. I know this is easier said than done but check before you book. European and USA school breaks may not always fall at the same time.
Look at what the theme park offers in terms of time saving options. Larger theme parks often offer you the choice to purchase line jump passes. If you are going at a busy time these may be worth considering.
#9. Create an itinerary
Check out the online map of the Theme Park before you visit. Get everyone to tell you their ‘must do’ activities and try to plan the best route around the park in advance to take them all in. Everything else you get to will be a bonus.
#10. Don’t forget sunscreen
Pack sunscreen in your bag and reapply every 2 hours if the day is very warm.
If the Theme Park has water rides buy disposable ponchos before you go, they are much more expensive onsite. They are also handy for sudden thundery showers.
#12. Give each child an allowance
Give each child an allowance and stick to it. That way you won’t have to have a stand off in the gift shop!
#13. Check the weather forecast
Check out the weather forecast for the day of your visit in advance and dress appropriately. It may sound odd, but it rained on one day of our trip and we choose to visit a water park instead of a theme park. There were no queues and we were going to get wet anyway!
The Big Day Has Finally Arrived
#14. Get up early
Get everyone up early and have a large breakfast before you set off.
#15. Don’t be tempted to bring too much with you
For some rides you will need to store your belongings in a locker or else someone will need to sit out with the bags. If queues are long this is not ideal. So pack light if you can.
Even on the hottest day the evening can get colder and some rides will be indoors with air conditioning.
You will be walking around all day, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes that also won’t fall off on rides.
#17. Get there as close to the park opening time as you can
Sometimes you can get a cheaper ticket price by arriving a few hours before the park is due to close and the crowds may have subsided by then too.
If you are wanting to spend the day at the park, arrive as close to opening time as you can.
#18. Pick a place to meet if separated
When you arrive at the Theme Park pick a place that everyone can meet if you get separated. For younger children it is good to put your mobile number in a pocket in case they get separated from you. You might also consider buying IDME wristbands in advance for your kids to wear.
#19. 1st stop the toilets!
There is nothing worse than being in a line and having to leave it for a toilet break.
As soon as you arrive get a map of the Theme Park which will show times for different events happening throughout the day. Add these to your planned rides list.
#21. Go furthest to start
If is often better to go to the rides furthest from the entrance first as these will become busier later on.
#22. Most importantly relax and enjoy the visit!
Any Theme Park visit will be remembered for a long time. Take lots of photos on your phone and be sure to get them printed to keep the memories alive.
Have I missed any or do you have other suggests or tips on surviving a Theme Park Visit with Kids? Please share them in the comments box below.