To get the absolute most out of your theme park trip, you need to plan as much as you can. We’re pretty avid theme park fans and we know that unpredictable wait times and ridiculous weather can throw anyone off, especially if you’ve not planned ahead. So we’ve come up with some general, universal tips to take into account when theme park planning, wherever you’re going.
Measure your party’s height.
I cannot stress the importance of this one enough, if you’re planning to travel with kids or very short people. Grab a tape measure and make a note of the height of everyone in your party. Then check what rides that they can go on comfortably and make your plans around those. Tread carefully with rides that are just over or under the height of your party; you do not want to queue for an hour to only get there and have a very safety conscious staff member turf you off. Tears all around. No good.
Is a wristband really worth it?
For most people in a theme park, yes a wristband will definitely be worth it (and likely the only option) however some parks still operate a ticket system. If you have a member of your party who has elected themselves as the person who is looking after the bags, is it worth getting them a wristband to ride everything? No, probably not. If you have a party member that may only go on one or two small rides (if pushed), it’s likely more cost-effective to have them use tickets or skip it altogether if they’re okay with that.
Pre-book your tickets. Earlier the better.
Pretty much everywhere will offer you some sort of discount for booking your tickets early online. These discounts seem to get bigger and bigger the earlier you book, so if you know well in advance the date you’re going to go, then get them booked. Just beware of flaky friends who may bail out at the last minute – you don’t want to pay for a ticket that will not be used, as these tickets are almost always date exclusive and you can’t get a refund.
Get there at opening time and RUN to the most popular ride.
I’m not kidding. Check when your park opens and pick your absolute must-ride attraction. Get there maybe half an hour earlier than opening (or even earlier than that if you’re really keen). Bring snacks. Get through the gates and run like hell to your attraction to make sure you’re not queueing for hours just to get on it.
Start at the back of the theme park and work your way forwards.
On a similar note, when planning which rides you want to go on, start at the ride that is furthest away from the main entrance of the park. Most people when they get to the park, look for one of the nearest attractions and join the queue. Very British. It means that everything at the back is damn near deserted, so get to the back as quickly as you can and enjoy getting on everything with minimal wait times.
Check what you are allowed to bring in with you.
Final point, is check what you can bring with you before you get there. You do not want to get there early, have your plan in place for getting in there and beating the queues to be stopped before you get in there. The staff at parks will check your bags and will make you get rid of anything you’re not allowed. Stuff like glass, certain cutlery and such like is going to be an issue, so leave your fancy water and your cheese knife at home! Just check and make sure you’re not stopped before you’ve even started!
There will be specific things to bear in mind for each theme park too of course and we will have a series of posts for as many as we can. However, this should help your general theme park planning go as well as it possibly can. Theme parks can be a really expensive day out, but with a bit of forethought you can definitely get more than your money’s worth.
Do you have any other tips for theme park days out? Let us know in the comments – there is always room for a part two!