Making the Most Out of Your Theme Park Visit!

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Aracely, creator of the fabulous blog, and mother to two little ones ages 4 and 2, sent me some great tips on making the most out of your theme park visit!  She writes…

“With summer upon us and kids out of school- one thing is certain – It’s theme park time. Our family usually pays a visit to one of our local theme parks at least once a week. Through trial and error , I have learned what it takes to have a fun and stress free day at any theme park. I wanted to share with you the two most popular questions that I’m asked about theme park visits.

I’m usually asked- What do I bring with me? followed by – How can I make my visit go as smooth as possible?

What do I bring with me??

1.   You need a good backpack – I’m usually prepared with a great backpack- I never leave home without one .
2.   Bring a stroller if you have small children. If you can, make sure to bring a light or umbrella stroller. They are easier to fold up and store- and this is always a plus if you have to take some sort of tram to the theme park entrance. Make sure to have some kind of labeling on your stroller to help yours stand out in the sea of strollers.
3.   Make sure to pack a jacket /sweater/blanket. – I’ve left home without one thinking that there was no possible way that I would be cold on a summer day. Boy was I wrong!! The nights cool off and there is nothing worse than shelling out $50.00 for a cheesy sweatshirt because your three year old is cold. Trust me on this one!!
4.   Pack a swimsuit. Many theme parks have water fountains or water play areas. Your kids will want to dive in and there is nothing worse than having to say no because you are not prepared. I always pack an extra set of clothes and a swimsuit.
5.   Make sure to bring cash. While most theme park restaurants accept credit cards- some of their vending carts do not. I hate paying for ATM Fees – I always bring cash in hand.
6.   If you have little ones make sure to pack a couple of snacks. I usually bring a baggie or two of
goldfish and fruit snacks. Just keep it simple.
7.   If you can bring a bottle or two of water. I usually freeze mine the night before and throw them in a Ziploc bag- I pack them in at the bottom of my bag and they have been a lifesaver!!
8.   Bring baby wipes. I always carry them even if I don’t have my youngest with me. They are great for sticky hands and clean ups. I think they are a necessity !!
8.   Last but not least – Bring your camera. You want to make sure to capture your fun filled day.

Now on to the other question- How can I make my visit stress free and as smooth as possible?

1.   I think the most important thing to do is to be prepared and do a little research– Make sure to visit the theme park’s website or blog. They usually have useful tips and some blogs can tell you about the the crowds the day before your visit. This is usually a good indicator of the crowds on the day of your visit.
2.  Get there as early as possible. You’ve heard the saying “the early bird catches the worm” and this holds quite true with theme parks. You will be able to make the most out of your day this way.  In my opinion it’s the best time of day to ride your favorite attraction-you usually won’t have to wait in line and if you do- you won’t usually mind because it will be nice and cool.
3.   Pick up a map/event guide at the front entrance– The first thing I do is try to plan out my day as soon as I have the map in my hands. Head to the most popular attractions first and plan out your day with the help of your map/event guide.
4.   Avoid the lunch time rush. I would try to stay away from eating between 11am to 2pm. Usually the lines to attractions are shorter at this time because everyone is heading out to lunch. If you can , try to eat before 11 am and after 2pm.
5.   Avoid attractions between 2 to 4 pm. This is usually peak time at a theme park. We usually use this time to grab a bite to eat and catch a couple of shows. Most restaurants and shows are air conditioned and it’s a great time to take a break. If you have little ones- it’s the perfect time to catch a snooze in the stroller.
6.  If you can, splurge on a VIP or front of the line pass – They are usually more expensive but well worth every penny. If you are at any of the Disney Theme Parks take advantage of their Fastpass system.
7.   Keep hydrated. Most theme parks have a souvenir cup deal- where you can buy a souvenir cup and either get free refills or very inexpensive refills throughout the day.
8.  Make sure your family is well rested the night before and also well fed before you arrive at the your park of choice. There is nothing worse than dealing with cranky and hungry kids.
9.   Last but not least- Enjoy yourself- Don’t feel rushed. If you’re visiting on a super busy day- odds are you probably won’t be able to take everything in one day and that’s fine. It will give you the perfect reason to come back- or even better- upgrade your pass to an annual pass and come back as often as you like.”


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  1. 1

    Thank you Jen 🙂 I wish I would have remembered my own tip of bringing a sweater on Sat night. Headed down to Sea World and wouldn’t you know it- it cooled down at night into the high 60’s and the kids were "freezing"!! Luckily I found a little throw but my daughter wanted me to buy her a sweatshirt!

  2. 2
    Katie says:

    Love this list! Thanks! It’s always hard to remember everything, but it’s a great post to keep handy so you don’t forget something. 🙂 One thing I would add that is always a staple for taking to the parks with us is hand sanitzer. We spent one winter season catching every bug out there until I started diligently using hand sanitzer after each ride or attraction. Made such a difference!

    Also, if you have an iPhone, check out to see if there is an "App for that"… we’ve found a great one that reflects real time wait times for the rides at Disneyland. I’ll never go without using it again! (It’s called the DLP iGuide Walkee App)

  3. 3
    Michele says:

    I love your ideas, Aracely. I also bring sunscreen, hats, and BAND-AIDS! I agree, the baby wipes are key!

    And Katie – awesome tip on the Disney wait time app. Wow!

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