**This is our first post in our newest series all about theme parks! Stay tuned for more in depth looks at individual parks, but enjoy this article that can be applied to any theme park!**
Visiting theme parks can be exhausting. It exhausts you physically, mentally, and financially. The crowds, the lines, all the walking, the $15 hamburgers…. Yet theme park attendance is higher now than it has ever been and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down. So the question we ask ourselves is: do we forego the theme park madness or do we grit our teeth and try to make the best of it so that we can say we went and never have to go again?
I’m not a big fan of either of those options and maybe that’s because I am a huge fan of theme parks. I share that love with my husband and our toddler, so luckily we are fortunate enough to visit our local theme parks often. Being a regular visitor to many theme parks throughout the various seasons, I have been able to come up with a few universal tips that can help you not only save you time, money, and precious sanity, but also make your entire experience better!
Tip 1: Check the Theme Park’s Website First.
Before you book anything or try to nail down the dates of your visit, check the website for the theme park you are visiting. Seriously, this sounds like it’s a no brainer right? But with the wonderful invention of the void that is Pinterest, many people never make it to the official website of the actual place they are visiting due to the overwhelming information that is available to them on all the unofficial sites. Especially when it comes to theme parks, information changes all the time and a post from a year ago can be made completely irrelevant by minor changes to theme park policy.
Also, and I cannot stress this enough, check the hours for the dates you are planning on visiting. During off season, theme parks do not stay open nearly as long as they do during popular times of year. Arriving to your destination assuming that you will have fireworks nightly and the theme parks will be open until midnight, only to find out that the theme parks have no fireworks and that they close a 6pm is hugely disappointing, but incredibly avoidable.
Tip 2: Booking Convenient Accommodations.
For many theme park travelers, this step is overlooked because they are unfamiliar with the area surrounding the theme park they are visiting. Whether you are booking a hotel room or a short term rental (like an Air BnB or timeshare) finding the most convenient place to stay is (in my opinion) more important than finding the cheapest place to stay.
Yes finding a hotel that is 2-3 miles away from the theme park seems like a good idea because of the price, but do you really want to pay for parking at your hotel and the theme parks daily (plus gas)? Or even if you could do the walk, are you going to want to walk back to your hotel after a day of walking and standing in line? So paying for an uber, lyft, or taxi is going to be happening at least once.
Staying at a theme park hotel may seem out of your price range, but I do highly recommend at least taking it into consideration depending on the length of your stay.
Tip 3: Measure How Tall Your Children Are (in Inches).
Measure your kids, and create a plan for the theme park rides that they can enjoy during your visit. This is important because height requirements may hinder your child’s ability to enjoy certain theme park rides. Avoiding rides that your child will not be able to enjoy is much easier than the child having to be sent away for not meeting the height requirement. So instead of worrying about an impending meltdown, you are actively trying to avoid them from happening in the first place.
I would like to also add that even if your child is tall enough to enter the ride, that doesn’t mean that you SHOULD take your child on the ride. If you know that your son or daughter is prone to car sickness, motion rides probably won’t be for them. Or if you know that they are afraid of heights, that roller coaster that you are just dying to ride probably isn’t a good idea for your little ones. Rides that are on the smaller side are a good place to start, and then work your way up to the thrill rides.
Tip 4: Bring Actual Money.
I mean this in the most literal terms, bring actual money with you to theme parks, bills and coins. Many people don’t feel as if they need to carry cash with them since debit and credit cards make our lives so much easier, but in theme parks you may want to buy things that you are unable to pay for with plastic. Balloon venders, penny press machines, lockers, that fancy glow stick that your kid just has to have, cash only. I’m not saying to walk around with tons of money on you, but just enough to not feel like you are missing out on anything that you may want.
I hope that these four tips can help you plan a better theme park experience, no matter what theme park you are planning to visit. Have any better ideas? Any tips that you can share? Feel like a child could have written a better article? Leave it all in the comments!
As always remember folks, anyone can travel.
©Bree and Arielle Travel 2017