Taking a trip to a theme park with your family or a group of friends can be an incredibly fun and memorable experience. Unfortunately, if you are not prepared, then you will quickly find yourself waiting in hour-plus lines, purchasing expensive food, taking grueling walks, and getting sunburned. However, with just a little planning, you can save yourself discomfort, time, and money.
Part 1 :Purchasing Tickets and Planning Your Trip
- 1 Pick a theme park destination. To determine this, consult your group and your budget. If you are traveling with your family or friends, get their opinions as well. Everyone may have different expectations or budgets allocated for the trip. X Research source
- Do not forget to include travel expenses into your budget. If you have to travel to get the theme park, the travel expenses could take up a substantial portion of your budget. This may or may not be a deciding factor for which theme park you and your group choose to go to. X Research source
- 2 Find out the peak seasons and holiday specials for the theme park. If you purchase tickets during the off-season, then you are likely to pay a lot less for them. However, going during certain times of the year, particularly around holidays, means that the theme park will be offering seasonal attractions and events. So decide which time of the year works best for you, your group, and your budget. X Research source
- This is also a good time to take note of the operating hours for the theme park as they can change considerably throughout the year. X Research source
- 3 Search online for discounted tickets. Take note of what the advertised ticket pricing is on the theme park website, but do not be so quick to purchase the tickets there. Oftentimes, websites like “Tickets At Work” and “Groupon” will offer competing discounted prices for the tickets. So do some thorough researching before settling on a ticket price. X Research source
- If you have subscribed memberships, then check if those memberships offer any vacation or ticket discounts. Memberships through Costco and AAA are known for doing this. X Research source
- Sometimes the theme park will advertise promo codes via newsletters and social media. So make sure to sign up to receive the newsletters, and to follow the theme park on social media. X Research source
- 4 Look at multi-day passes, seasonal passes, and a FastPass for rides. Theme parks offer different kinds of passes that will allow you to enter the park across multiple days, or to even skip the long lines for rides and attractions. Even though this is an investment, it might wind up saving you money and time in the long run. X Research source
- 5 Research the rides and attractions at the theme park in advance. It will be hard to experience every ride and attraction offered at the theme park, especially if there are other activities and events you want to participate in. So while planning your trip, decide which rides and attractions you are most excited about. X Research source
- To fully optimize your time, locate where each ride and attraction is within the theme park. X Research source
- If you are traveling with children, then make sure to check the height requirements for the rides and attractions they are interested in. This way, you do not waste your time standing in line for a ride that they cannot go on. X Research source
- Some rides, attractions, and tours require reservations in advance. Make sure to check this ahead of time, so you are not disappointed when you arrive to the theme park and cannot participate in something. X Research source
- 6 Plan your meals and make reservations. While most theme parks do have food carts lining the walkways, there are also special dining locations that require reservations in advance. So if there is a particular venue that you want to dine at, then make sure to book reservations for those restaurants when you purchase your theme park tickets. X Research source
- If you are looking to save money on food, and the theme park allows you to bring in outside food, then bring a lunch bag packed with snacks. X Research source
- The theme park will most likely have apps available to download that will help keep you organized, and keep you up to date about special events, waiting times for rides and attractions, and what areas are closed. So make sure to download these apps ahead of time. X Research source 7 Download or print a map of the theme park, and make a plan. If you are attending multiple events, going on multiple rides and attractions, and have plans to stop and shop, then map out a route that effectively covers each location you want to visit. This will maximize your experiences, and save yourself some walking energy.
Part 2 :Packing Your Day-Bag
- 1 Find out what the personal bag policies are. Not every theme park will allow you to bring a cooler or food with you into the park. So it is important to know ahead of time what you can and cannot bring. X Research source
- 2 Bring sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Theme parks entail a lot of walking around in the sun, so it is essential to have proper sun protection. To save yourself some money, pack things like hats and sunscreen ahead of time. While these things can be purchased at the theme park, the items tend to be pricey. X Research source
- Keep checking the weather forecast as your trip draws nearer. If rain is projected, then you might want to pack an umbrella or poncho as well. X Research source
- 3 Have a reusable water bottle. It is important to stay hydrated throughout the day, especially if it is hot outside. Water can be bought at the park, but the price of buying water bottles during your trip can add up quickly. Instead, think about bringing a reusable water bottle. Some parks will even have stations for you to fill it up with water for free. X Research source
- 4 Bring a camera with a full battery. It is an awful feeling to go and take a picture, only to realize the battery on your camera isn’t charged. So make sure to not only bring a quality camera, but to also bring extra rechargeable batteries to ensure you capture desired moments. X Research source
- If you don’t want to bring a camera or want a higher quality photo than your cell phone can take, then purchase pictures of certain captured moments on rides or with characters. Just know that these pictures can be pricey depending on the location. X Research source
- 5 Pack your cell phone charger. If you are using your cell phone to take pictures, navigate the park, and make calls to meet up with people, the battery will drain quickly. So make sure to pack your charger. X Research source
- Some rides and attractions, like Splash Mountain at Disney World, will splash you with water. Bring a plastic bag to put electronics in to prevent them from getting wet.
- 6 Have cash with you. Not all places in the park will accept credit cards, this is especially true if you have to pay for parking. So it is good to have some cash on you. X Research source
- 7 Try not to burden yourself with an overly heavy bag. While it is important to bring the essentials with you, it is also important that you are able to walk around and enjoy yourself during the trip. Carrying a bulky bag will tire you out quickly. X Research source
- 8 Wear comfortable shoes and layered clothing. You don’t want to wear shoes that will give you blisters, or be caught off guard by changing weather. So wear comfortable shoes, and wear layers in case the temperature drops as the sun goes down.
Part 3 :Going to the Theme Park
- 1 Eat breakfast before you go. Having a solid meal before you head to the theme park will help you stay energized throughout the day. This is especially important for any children who are going to the theme park. X Research source
- 2 Get to the theme park early. There will be less people and shorter lines at the popular rides during the first few hours when the theme park opens. Going to the park early will grant you more productive time to spend at the park. X Research source
- You are also going to want to remember where you parked your vehicle. The parking lot might seem empty when you arrive early, but it will be packed by the end of the day. X Research source
- 3 Walk the park backwards or go on rides during parades for shorter lines. Lines are always considerably shorter during scheduled events at a theme park. People also often go on the first ride they see when entering the park, so the lines are also usually shorter if you start at the far end of the park and work your way back to the entrance. X Research source
- 4 Utilize the “Single Rider” line. Even if you are attending the park with a group, the “Single Rider” line always has less people in it. So if there is a particular ride or attraction you want to see, and you don’t mind getting split up from your group, then this will be an easy way to reduce your wait time. X Research source
- 5 Invest your time in food, drinks, and events if you don’t like rides. You do not have to enjoy going on amusement park rides to go to a theme park. There are plenty of other experiences to have. Go attend a show or parade, gaze at fireworks, take a tour, or sample the park’s themed food and drinks. X Research source
- 6 Don’t be afraid to diverge from your plans to experience something new. Theme parks will often have hidden gems and surprises that aren’t prominently advertised. So if you stumble upon one of these, don’t feel like you have to stick to your plans to have fun. X Research source
- 7 Purchase souvenirs outside the park at the end of the day. Shops inside and outside of the theme park will price the same items differently. The shops outside of the park are usually cheaper to draw people inside. You also don’t want to carry shopping bags with you all day, so save your shopping until the end of the day. X Research source
- 8 Take a break and enjoy the view. You are not expected to have the stamina to run around the theme park all day. This is especially true if you have small children with you. So take some time to sit, snack, and enjoy the view with your loved ones.