Theme parks are often on every family to-do list each year, but how do you get through the day without all the stress?
With huge ques, expensive gift shops and always the fear of losing a member of the group somewhere in the park. Here are my top tips, tricks, and hacks to make sure you have an easy day out, so you can focus on having fun.
section 1: Making the day easier
1. Book in advance, the last thing you need before a day of queuing for rides is queuing for entrance tickets. Most theme parks will offer a discount on advance tickets too.
2. Plan ahead, all parks will have a map and a rides list on their website or app. Try to plan a route through the park so you don’t miss any areas or rides. You definitely don’t want to get to the end of the day to realise you missed a whole section of the park.
If you are visiting for 1 day make sure you schedule in the big rides that you don’t want to miss.
3. If you are the type of person who loves to watch the entertainment make sure you check showtimes and places. We have stumbled across a show already halfway through or missed them completely.
You will often find ques are a lot shorter when the big shows or parades are going on. So take that as your chance to use the busiest rides too.
4. Bring your own food, theme park food is always extortionate. We always make a picnic, keep it in a cool bag. Sandwiches, fruit and crisps are always handy as a quick lunch.
5. Let everyone know their spending allowance in advance. Gift shops are a money trap, you name it the gift shop has it. I usually say to the children we will buy 1 family ride photograph then at the end of the day we will visit the big gift shop. This way it also stops you lugging around extra items all day.
6. Download the park app. Most parks now have their own app, this will keep you updated on queuing times, so you can head to the smaller ques.
section 2: Lost children
1: Take photos of the children and what they are wearing in case of an emergency. If your child gets lost it is much easier to find them if staff members have a photograph of their exact clothing.
2: Write your mobile phone number on their arm, spray over the top with hair spray to stop is smudging or rubbing off. If anyone finds your child they will be able to call you. Children may panic and forget memorised numbers in an emergency.
3. Show the children what the staff members are wearing. Make sure to tell your children if you lose mummy or daddy you find someone wearing this and ask for help.
4: For older children that want to venture off without parents make sure you set up a meeting place and time. This is in case of phone battery dying or gets lost.
section 3: Must-haves for long queues
In peak times ques can become long. So have a whole host of items up your sleeves to help pass the time.
My go-to bag always contains plenty of snacks, food that is easy to eat without too much fuss.
Playing cards and top trump cards, these pass the time and you can play standing up.
Books, few people think of this one, but books are perfect to read as you are queuing. Kindles are handy here as they are light to carry around.
Games like i-spy are always fun, but throw in some new games to keep the children engaged. We love a game of guess the character. One person thinks of a character, and everyone has to guess who it is by only using yes or no questions.
The next game we call ‘continue the letter’. You start with an item then the next person has to think of an item beginning with the last letter of that item. For example, if the theme is animals and I say Cat, the next person can say Tiger then Rabbit etc.
I know a day out with all the kids can seem a bit daunting sometimes. If you try these little tips your day may go a little easier.
Most of all have fun!