10 Ways to Prepare for a Family Trip to an Amusement Park

10 Ways to Prepare for a Family Trip to an Amusement Park

Before taking the family to the amusement park, check out these preparation tips!


By: Michelle S.

Trips to amusement parks can be overwhelming, especially with an entire family in tow. Before you hit the park, here are some ways to get the most out of your visit.

1. Get the App
Most amusement parks now have an app that comes in extremely handy while touring the park. The apps have maps that include ride locations, nearby restaurants and restrooms, wait times on each ride as well as the ability to set alerts for specific attraction wait times. When we visited Universal Studios in Orlando, we found our app to be essential to our experience. We were able to plan out our entire day based on wait times and find restaurants that suited our needs.

2. Consider an Express Pass
While purchasing tickets, consider purchasing an express pass add-on. You will be able skip many of the long lines and enter specific lines for express pass tickets only. The lines move more quickly, and you spend much less time waiting. Be sure to check which rides qualify for an express pass, some of the bigger and more popular rides may not be included in this option.

3. Check the Weather
In most instances, you will get to the park early and spend an entire day there. Be sure to check the weather and wear layers so you can remove them when it gets warm, and put them back on if it gets chilly in the evening.

4. Buy the Unlimited Drink Cup
Most amusement parks nowadays offer an unlimited drink cup option. It is usually the best deal to stay hydrated throughout the day(s) you will be in the park. They often have fill up stations around every corner, and you get to keep your souvenir cup. We generally buy two and our family of five shares sodas throughout the day. The kids love taking turns picking their favorites and everyone is happy.

5. What to Pack
Being prepared for the day is essential to a successful amusement park experience. Most places have gift shops and family centers where you can buy virtually anything you need; however, those items are often pricey and inconvenient to locate. We always pack one backpack with a refillable water bottle, plenty of sunscreen, bandages for accidents, a camera, medications and sunglasses. I always like to pack a few snacks and treats as well, for when the kids are hungry between meals. We take turns carrying it throughout the day. There are lockers at most rides so you can store your items safely while you ride.

6. Be an Early Bird
Getting to the park as it opens allows you to get to the rides before the lines get too long. This is the time to select the most coveted rides and be one of the first visitors. Hotels associated with certain amusement parks may offer an early bird entry as well, allowing you to enter an hour before the park opens. Consider this option to make your experience even more enjoyable.

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7. Buy Tickets Online
Buying tickets online can save you a lot of time when entering the park. The lines to get in are usually much shorter when you have already purchased the tickets. Advance purchases can often times give you a discount on entry fees, so check early and often. If you plan to visit multiple days, bundle your tickets with park hoppers and express passes, and you can save money over purchasing separately.

8. Family Plan
While we always hope that our amusement park visits will go smoothly as planned, it is important to have a plan in case something does go wrong. Talk to your kids and formulate what should happen if they were to get lost. Designate a place for you all to meet and who your children should seek out in this worst case scenario, such as a ride attendant or security guard. This will make everyone feel much more secure in such a scary moment.

9. Souvenir Allowance
Going to amusement parks can get very expensive. Just getting into the park and feeding your family can add up. Once your kids see all those flashy souvenirs, they immediately start begging to take one home. We like to give our kids an allowance before we even get to the park. They are free to spend it as they want, but once it is gone, it is gone. This takes some stress off of the parents to keep shelling out money, and it teaches kids how to budget for their day.

10. Be Flexible
Not everything will always go as planned. Kids and parents alike can get crabby and find the day to be stressful versus enjoyable. Being flexible enough to take a break when needed is important and will allow you to have a relaxing and enjoyable visit.

Amusement parks can be overwhelming if you go in unprepared. Following these tips will help you have the best visit as possible and create some awesome memories for your family.

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Michelle writes for Hilton Mom Voyage and resides with her in a small town outside of St. Paul, MN. They love the quiet their little city affords them, but enjoy being just minutes from mostly anything they may need, including both Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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