• General tips for visiting amusement parks

    Have you ever been packing for a park and forget some essential items? It happens to all of us at one point or another. I have compiled a list of tips that you can use when planning a visit to a park close to home or across the country!

    -Sunblock.
    Wear it. Itís so important. Carry a small tube on you when visiting a park. Use it for your face and neck. This prevents red faced on-ride photos. Some parks offer you free sunscreen. Use it!

    -Wear comfortable clothes.
    Cotton shirts and shorts are best for absorbing the heat and easily breathable. They also dry faster if you plan on getting on water rides.

    -Wear comfortable shoes!
    I canít ever stress this enough. Donít wear flip flops or heels to a park. You will be regretting it later on in the day. Best bet is to wear well-worn tennis shoes or sandals that donít come off easily. Your feet will thank you later in the day. If you plan on getting on water rides, bring the flip flops for those rides and change back. Walking around in wet socks and shoes is gross.

    -Some parks allow you to bring in your own water bottles or food.
    If they do, it saves you so much money! Refillable water bottles will save you anywhere between 10 and 20 dollars a person during the day. Parks give out free water and there are water fountains everywhere! Packing sandwiches and lunches can also save you tons of money. If parks donít allow it, pack a cooler. Take a break and sit in your car to relax. Some parks even have picnic areas. Donít be afraid to use them. Some parks even offer free drinks!

    -Check out the park before you go.
    Parks are so internet friendly anymore. You can find prices, park maps, and webcams all over anymore. If this is your first time visiting a park, check it out online. Read the tips. Read reviews of the park. You can find out height requirements for rides and a layout of the park before you go. You will waste less time this way.

    -Check the weather before you leave.
    I canít ever stress this one enough. You can check weather status and radar maps with ease these days. Even if the weather might be yucky for a period of the day, donít cancel your trip. There are shows and shopping you can check out while the weather isnít that great. A light rain or threat of rain tends to keep the crowds away. This means shorter lines for you!

    -Start your day at the back of the park.
    Most people tend to run to the first ride they see in the morning. If you go towards the back of a park, you will not only see smaller crowds, you will get on more rides in a shorter period of time. Sometimes, even re-rides if the park allows them.

    -Wear cargo shorts/pants.
    This makes it so much easier to not have to carry around a bag with you during the day. If you can get away with this, do it. You can carry your keys, wallet and cell phone(s) in a secure pocket and it saves you from spending money on a locker!

    -You can always find discounts for park admission.
    Believe it or not 99% of the parks offer some sort of discount on gate admission. While the park itself might not offer it, local stores do. Check around before you buy tickets to find great deals. You can save a lot of money by doing a little bit of research! Here is a great article that our Editor in Chief has written to help you find more discounts for park admission: http://www.thrillnetwork.com/content...-tickets-3034/

    -Buy a pair of cheap sunglasses.
    This is another great idea. Go to the dollar store. Pick up a pair of cute sunglasses to take to the park with you. This saves you from squinting all day and if you happen to lose or break them, you arenít out an extreme amount of money. If that isnít an option for you, go out and buy a glasses strap. It will help keep your glasses or shades in place and you wonít lose them on rides.

    -Out of town visitors heavily rely on local reviews.
    If having to stay at hotels or campgrounds when on vacation make sure you find a good amount of reviews before choosing a place. Also, using websites like Priceline and Hotels.com can help you save money and headaches when on vacation.

    -Relax!
    The whole point of you visiting a park is to relax. Donít rush. If you only have so much time on your hands, use my suggestion early. Plan your day out the best you can. If you have more than one day, walk around a bit before riding. Scenery is a great way for you to forget about life when at a park.

    -Set a reasonable expectation of what you want to accomplish at the park.
    While not everything goes as smoothly as you want it to, expect small things to happen such as one train operations, bad weather conditions, etc. While you might give yourself 15 minutes to be on a ride, be realistic and realize sometimes that might not happen.

    -When travelling with kids, bring small toys or books to occupy them during down times.
    Small snacks and a book can make the world of difference on a hot day. Also pack a little extra clothing for the little ones. This can save you at the gift shop later

    -Avoid peak times.
    Weekends are where you are going encounter the most crowds. Also weeks during any holiday will have more people at the park than normal. Best bet is to visit on Tuesday-Fridays during the summer. There will be less people and shorter lines. If you email a park and ask them which day(s) you are visiting is normally less busy, they do respond and tell you!

    -Bring a sandwich sized baggie for your phone and/or wallet. If you get on a water ride, none of your important articles will get damaged!
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Alex Westerman -
      I find starting at the back of a park first and working towards the entrance sometimes lets you avoid long lines. Also ride the "big" rides first thing in the morning. When there are traditionally less crowds.
    1. Graham -
      I also find that riding the "big" rides late in the evening is better as well. A lot of people don't stay the entire day.
    1. Alex Westerman -
      Going mid-week is usually slower too unless it's a holiday week.
    1. Rick B -
      We find our best success with parks by:
      1) going first thing in the morning - watch where the crowds go, then go the opposite way and enjoy the other rides first.
      2) leave early afternoon when the crowds get the heaviest then come back late afternoon - you'll find large amounts of people leaving at that time. That also saves you money be allowing you to eat more of your meals outside the park
      3) Sundays are usually a great day, but we still follow the same pattern above because they still get busy in the mid afternoon
      4) Spring and Fall (outside of Haunts) are usually awesome times to visit a park regardless of day. Going in the Summer is when the peak crowds are.

      While those aren't golden rules, we usually get the most from our trips by doing that.