I have visited many theme parks, thankfully without enduring massive queues or spending a fortune. Check out my top tips for visiting theme parks and maybe you can too.
1. Book your tickets in advance
This may sound obvious but booking tickets in advance is one of the top tips for visiting theme parks! Tickets are ALWAYS dearer at the entrance to a theme park and you don’t have to queue! Attraction Tickets Direct have the LOWEST theme park ticket rates on the web, with free delivery and no credit card fees.😎
Attraction Tickets Direct also offer many combination tickets that are not available to buy at the gate. You may get 2 days for the price of 1, or get discounted tickets to multiple theme parks, that are only available on their website. If you prefer to book by phone or are confused about what tickets to buy, why not call the expert staff in Attraction Tickets Direct’s Dublin office. They are open from 9am-9pm, 7 days a week, call free on 1800 936 640. All they sell is theme park tickets and hotels, so they know all the theme parks inside out!
2. Research, research research.
I can’t stress this enough. You WON’T be able to go on every ride, no matter how fit you are, or how small the theme park is. Check the height and or age restrictions before you go, so you can rule out rides that are not applicable for your children. Not only will this save you time, but by preparing your kids in advance you may avoid any upset, if they are too small to go on a top attraction. Mark the attractions that are ‘must see’ and go for them first. Check the times of shows or parades and decide what you want to see. Rides are usually quieter during parades, so bear that in mind if the parade is repeated and take advantage.
3. Parking tips:
Before you decide to drive, check the price of the parking. In some cases it can be exorbitant. It may be quicker and cheaper to take a shuttle bus to the park. If you do decide to drive, take note of where you parked. You will probably arrive at the park early, when the car park may be somewhat empty. Leaving however is a different story, so if you don’t know you where you parked your car, you could be in for a long night!
4. Bring supplies.
If there are water rides, bring swim suits and if you don’t want to get wet bring a poncho. A waterproof casing for your phone is also a good idea, as is a powerbank for your phone. You will probably take hundreds of pictures so you will want to re-charge it. Bring snacks, they will come in handy when you are waiting in line for a long time, and will be a lot cheaper than buying snacks in the park. A lightweight back pack is ideal as sunglasses and phones are not allowed on some of the fast rollercoasters. Most parks have lockers available, take advantage of this rather than carrying a bag around all day. If travelling during the summer time – don’t forget your sunscreen!
5. Arrange a meeting place if you get lost.
Hopefully this won’t happen, but having a meeting place pre-arranged will alleviate some of the stress, if you manage to get separated from your friends of family. Remember there will be rides that only some of the family will go on, and on some occasions the rides finish in a completely different place to where they started from. Having a meeting place is essential.
6. Plan your route.
Don’t follow the herd. Most people tend to turn right when they go into a theme park. Why not go anti-clockwise or go to the rear of the park and work your way towards the entrance. Another good option is to go straight for the rides that you really want to go on. The most popular rides will have the longest queues, so go on them first when you have more energy and don’t mind queueing. This is a much better than standing in line for an hour at 5pm with exhausted children!
7. Check out fast passes / fast track
Fast track passes vary from park to park. Disneyland Paris for instance has a great ‘free’ fast pass system. You simply go to a ride and get a time slot for later that day, then come back to a shorter queue. Other theme parks are not so good, or indeed free.
Fast pass tickets in some parks can be a Godsend if you are travelling during peak season, and if you want to go on the most popular rollercoasters. If however, you happen to be travelling off peak and/or you have small children who are unable to go on the big rides, they may be a waste of money. Fast passes in many parks are only valid on the top attractions, many of which are unsuitable for small children. Make sure you check each park for their individual offering.
8. Use the single rider lanes
There may be one or two people in your group who want to try the fast coasters. Make use of the single lanes where there is usually little or no queue. It may mean that you wont be able to sit next to your partner, but you may be seated in the row behind them, and if that means saving a half hour in the queue, it might be worth it!
9. Use the baby swap.
The baby swap facility is not available in all theme parks, but if you see it – take advantage. They are used primarily for people who are travelling with a small child. You all queue together, one person stays with the baby in a room at the top of the queue, while the other goes on the ride. When your partner is finished the ride, you simply swap places.
10. Go at night time
Not only are queues way shorter at night-time, but many parks offer discounted tickets for evening visits. You may also catch a parade or fireworks display.
11. Bring ID
This is one of the top tips for visiting theme parks in America. You have to have picture identification if you want to buy alcohol, regardless of what age you are in America. A nice cold beer after an exhilarating (or terrifying) ride might be needed, so make sure you bring ID with you.
12. Consider staying in one of the theme park hotels for a few nights.
Many theme parks including Universal Studios, Disney World and Port Aventura, have hotels on site. These can be handy if you are planning on spending a lot of time in these particular parks. You will usually have early access to the park before the general public, so you can go on top attractions without large queues. It can also be handy at night time for dining options, and for easy access to the park for firework displays, parades or shows.
13. Check the shows are in English
We got caught out in Disneyland Paris when we queued for 45 minutes for the French version of Frozen! Many shows in theme parks are shown in different languages. Make sure the show you are planning your day around, is the English version. Sometimes there is a small icon on the park guide showing which language the show is in, failing that, check in with the information centre beforehand.
14. Pre-purchase Disney’s Fast Pass+ and Memory Maker.
Disney’s Fast Pass+ allows you to pre-book your favourite rides and attractions online before you go. This is automatically included with Disney tickets purchased through Attraction Tickets Direct. Similarly Disney’s ‘memory maker’ which normally costs $199 is free if you buy your Disney tickets through Attraction Tickets Direct. This allows you to keep ALL photographs that are taken of you in the park.
15. Download the App
Many theme parks have their own free apps with tips for visiting theme parks, as well as wait times for rides, showtimes and availability in restaurants. Download the app before you go.
So they are my top tips for visiting theme parks. If you have any to add, just comment in the box below I would love to hear them. This post was sponsored by Attraction Tickets Direct but all views, as always, are my own.
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