Theme Park Survival Tips

It's not all amusement at busy theme parks unless you have a game plan. Follow these simple tips to keep everyone sane and smiling

Follow these theme park survival tips to keep your kids smiling

Big crowds and long queues can take the fun out of even “the happiest place on earth.” Here’s how to manage the chaos

On average, families are spending $900 per person for a trip to the promised land of theme parks.

With that kind of outlay, you’d think that visitors would pretty much know what they want to see, what they want to do, and how to go about seeing and doing them. However, by and large they don’t.

Planning a Theme Park Vacation

Plan Your Visit: Buy a guidebook. Read reviews. Check out the park’s website. Then plan what you want to see and do.

Have a Plan B: It is not uncommon that an attraction or ride will be closed. In that case, just move on to the next one on your list.

Arrive Early: An extra 15 minutes waiting in line at the park entrance could cut an hour off your waiting time for the most popular attractions.

Stay in Touch: Go your separate ways, but arrange to meet back at a specific location at a designated time. Also, have a site selected that can become a place to reestablish contact should your party become accidentally separated. If you have walkie-talkies, take them.

Go Deep: Once you enter the park, proceed to the farthest attractions first. Theme park designers place stores near the park entrances — hoping to catch you coming and going. And it works — in this case to your advantage. By bypassing the shops on your way to the popular attractions, you will beat others who get caught by them.

Leave Mid-day: Generally, theme parks are most crowded in the middle of the day. This is a good time to rest for a few hours — before returning for a second round later in the day. But, be sure to get your hand stamped on your way out.

Keep Calm and Carry on: Finally, if you find yourself getting ticked off at slow lines, poor service or inconsiderate guests, stop and take a breather. A visit to a theme park is supposed to be fun, not stressful.

Claire Newell is the travel media expert for Global BC, host of the travel series Operation: Vacation, best-selling author, spokesperson, wife and mother of two.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.