Theme parks draw crowds throughout the summer months. Walk in on a busy day and find red-faced, screaming children dragged along by irritable parents. Such an ominous sight might tempt you to avoid the big attractions. No one wants a miserable day for their family. But, you needn’t skip the fun of major hot spots altogether. With a few tips, you can enjoy your day at a theme park and make lasting memories of summer fun. Today’s video offers a few hacks to help you master the major attractions.
- Look for discounts everywhere (memberships, human resources at your workplace, resident pricing, hotel deals), but beware of fraud.
- Check the sites ahead of time for daily crowd levels, maps, and food/drink rules.
- If permissible, bring your own water and snacks. You’ll save a ton of money. At the very least, store a small cooler in your vehicle for the ride home.
- If the park forbids personal drinks, consider bringing an empty, collapsible bottle. You can purchase them online in multi-packs for less than two bottles of water inside the park. I have opted to buy refillable souvenir cups at the park in the past, but not until after we finished riding the coasters. They necessitate a locker rental, otherwise.
- Protect your cell phone with a zip lock bag. Even if you’re not visiting a water park, a summer storm can douse you.
- Dress appropriately (comfy shoes, lots of pockets, e.g.).
- Should go without saying, but avoid eating heavy foods directly prior to a fast-moving ride.
- Secure loose articles when riding a coaster (e.g. don’t leave sunglasses on your head). Flip flops can fall off, which would demand a pricey replacement.
- Water slides and certain swim suits make an embarrassing combination. Plan ahead and avoid oversharing with other park visitors.
- Water parks have a strong chlorine odor, so be aware of those in your group who might be sensitive.
- Bring a dollar-store poncho. These work best in a downpour and are easier to carry than umbrellas. Most gift shops carry them, but with the usual upcharge.
- Apply sunscreen before you arrive and reapply during the day. Consider bringing wipes in your pocket.
- Keep young children within reach. Have a plan for supervising those too small to ride the coasters or slides.
- Bring germicidal wipes. Illness makes a ghastly souvenir.
- Beware of rotavirus at water parks. Warn children not to gulp in the pools. If you’re not feeling well, please refrain from sharing.
- Bring your patience. Determine in advance to make joy, grace, and kind-hearted humor a priority. And refuse to allow others to steal the happy ball from your party.
- Discuss each person’s priorities for the visit in advance. Be sure to balance your time and make sure all those in your group have a chance to enjoy a favorite activity.
- Even if you don’t plan to buy the roller coaster photos, pausing to see your expressions can add to the fun.
- Don’t overstay your well-come. Major theme parks are engineered to offer more activities than a visitor can cover in one day. By design, you can’t enjoy everything there. When the fun fades and fatigue creeps in, agree to leave some of your activities for another visit. If one last ride seems really worthwhile, broker a compromise agreeable to everyone in your party. But make sure all are at peace with the deal and you don’t stretch it too far. Better to miss out than grow irritable and ruin the end of the day.
- The ride home always proves longer than the trip to the gate. If possible, opt for a hotel with a complimentary shuttle. If you need to stay further away, leave while you still have energy for the drive.
- As with any vacation, balance active hours with adequate rest time.
If you have any additonal tips for enjoying a day at the parks, feel free to share them with us. I look forward to hearing your comments, and wish you an epic summer.