Top Ten Theme Park Tips
Whether your travels take you to Disney World, Disneyland, or one of the Universal parks, a few basic tips will help you have more fun with less stress. These are my top ten theme park tips.
I share lots of advice for theme park touring on my Go Informed podcast too! Click here to check it out.
If you’re looking for tips specific to Disney World, read this post: 55 Things To Know Before You Visit Disney World
If you’re looking for tips specific to Universal Orlando, read this post: 33 Things to Know Before You Visit Universal Orlando
Be there before the park opens
The number one thing you can do to improve your theme park experience is to be there when the gates open. The first couple of hours are guaranteed to be the least crowded of the day. Take a nap later when it’s hot and the lines are long – you spent a lot of time and money to get here, don’t squander it by lingering in your hotel room.
Take note: the gates almost always open at least 15 minutes before the posted time. And serious theme park tourists start lining up much earlier than that. My advice is to arrive at the gate at least 30 minutes before opening, 45 if it’s a peak day. You will not regret it.
And if you’re visiting Disney World, a quick tip about FastPass+ : Don’t schedule your fast passes for the first two hours after park opening. In almost all cases, you can ride multiple attractions in these first two hours with no FastPasses. Ride standby early in the morning and reserve your FastPass+ for the busiest hours of the day – afternoon and evening.
Visiting Walt Disney World, and wondering if you should take advantage of early morning Extra Magic Hours? Find out about our experience with 7am Extra Magic Hours.
Have a plan
Even if you wish to stay super-flexible, do a little research to figure out your must-see attractions. Go to these attractions immediately after the gates open – you may even be able to ride twice in a row when you’re among the first in line. If you’re visiting Disney World, reserve a FastPass+ ahead of time for these rides so you know you won’t miss out.
Wear good shoes
You will walk miles and stand for hours every day of your theme park vacation. Consider yourself to be running a marathon in slow motion, fashion takes a distant second place to comfort in this circumstance. Bring your best running shoes, two pairs if you can.
Buy your park ticket in advance
The start of your day is all about being first in the park. Don’t waste time standing in line for park tickets. You can purchase in advance online, and often save money this way too.
Theme park touring is both exhilarating and exhausting. And that’s just for adults. Kids can easily feel overwhelmed by all the stimulation, sweets, and hustle. Luckily there’s a remedy – take a break. At the first sign of weariness, find a spot to sit and rest. Take in the moment, look around and notice the small details and the people around you. Even just a few minutes of relative stillness can provide the recharge you need to enjoy your next adventure.
Charge your phone and load any useful apps before you go
Many theme parks have apps to help you tour more efficiently. You can check attraction wait times, make dining reservations, find out park hours and more. Do your research before you go and get those apps loaded so you’ll have them ready before you even get into the park.
And don’t forget to charge your phone – you’ll be glad you started with a full battery.
Traveling to Universal Orlando? Read about my recommended Universal Orlando apps here: Eight Essential Apps For Your Universal Orlando Trip
Theme parks are all about excitement. But paradoxically, you will enjoy your day more if you relax and don’t sweat the small stuff. Think Zen.
Prepare for the Weather
Don’t forget to check the weather forecast. And yes, in Florida in August you absolutely should carry a rain poncho.
The weather is such a factor in theme park touring that I’ve written three posts about it:
Don’t forget to eat
Tempting as it might be to skip lunch to get on one more ride, you will go farther, longer if you stop to fuel up during your day. Be mindful of which attractions are next on your tour – best not to eat a chili dog right before the big roller coaster, but also not great to ride that coaster on an empty stomach.
Know your top couple of must-do’s before you get to the park, but beyond that stay flexible. You will never see everything in the park in a day and sometimes the crowds can overwhelm your to-do list. Stay flexible, be willing to think outside the box.
This may mean eating an extra-early lunch or jumping to a second park to avoid crowds. Have a few back-ups in mind in case the line at your top-choice attraction is just too long.
You might be surprised at what you discover when you pivot to an activity that wasn’t even on your radar to begin with.
Some of the best advice for a theme park vacation: start with a plan but stay flexible. Click To Tweet
Are you planning a trip to Universal Orlando? Click Here to Get All My Universal Orlando Tips!
Visiting Walt Disney World? Click Here to Get All My Walt Disney World Tips!
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