Taking my kids to Disney, or Universal, or Six Flags was one of those things I looked forward to pre-parenting. But when it came to actually take my kids to these places, I realized it was a lot more work than I had anticipated! Also pre-parenting, I thought my kids would sleep and that they’d eat their veggies because I was going to be a good mom and teach them about veggies and yeahhhh, they didn’t sleep and all my amazing parenting has yet to produce veggie-lovers, so…I clearly had some things to learn! But after many years of traveling and taking the kids to different amusement parks, I do have some real life advice. Here are 10 tips for visiting an amusement park with kids.
10 Tips for Visiting an Amusement Park with Kids.
Plan your route. You will get a map when you arrive (at least, that has been my experience at every amusement park I’ve visited). If you’re traveling with young kids, however, I recommend you look over a map before you visit the park. You can save time and see more attractions by routing out your course for the day before arriving at the park.
Hit the kid rides first. Or if the kids are older, hit the most popular rides first. Get there when the park opens and make a beeline for the ride(s) of your choice to avoid lines.
Wear sunscreen. Even if it’s not hot, take your sunscreen. Just trust me on this one.
Bring drinks and snacks. Check out the park’s policy in advance. Some will allow you to bring food and drink (and if you pack a lunch, most parks will have lockers you can rent so you’re not carrying your food around). Amusement park food is expensive…if you can bring your own snacks and drinks, I highly recommend it! This is especially helpful with little kids, who always seem to need a snack in their hands.
Invest in a misting fan. You can usually buy them at the park…but we saved a bunch of money by picking one up at CVS the night before. Word to the wise, though…get it all set up and working the night before. Ours didn’t work, and we had to take it back for a replacement. That would have been really unpleasant to discover at the park! Also, in case you’re reluctant…have you ever been to Six Flags in August or Universal Orlando in July? While you can definitely attribute my misery to poor life choices (yep, we chose to visit those parks during those months and lived to tell the tale), if you find yourself in a place like Texas or Florida in the summer, you’re gonna want one of these.
Make everyone wear a hat. I was wishing for one as I was trekking back and forth across the park under the intense Texas sun.
Bring a stroller if your kids are young. I was undecided on this one. I actually thought (hahahaHAHAHAHAHA) that we would walk around the park stroller-free. Baby carriers are also great for babies, but it sure is nice to have a stroller to push a bigger kid or sleeping baby around in.
Don’t buy any souvenirs until you’re ready to leave. Unless, of course, you want to be one of those parents cramming a balloon between their legs on the roller coasters or dragging a giant stuffed animal around with them from ride to ride that their kid swore they’d hold but got tired of carrying ten minutes later. I let Jack look at all the fun stuff throughout the day and we bought something on our way out of the park. It’s also a great place to stow snacks and souvenirs!
Bring a waterproof case like this one for valuables that you want to keep on you, but don’t want to get wet – like your phone.
Check out the park’s “Fast Pass” options before you go. Most parks give you the chance to check in early for a ride…basically, you get a ticket that tells you when to return. You come back during the allotted time and wait in a much shorter line for your ride. I recommend this especially for the big, popular rides!
Download the park’s app. This will have a map and tell you height requirements for all the rides. It can also tell you which rides have longest lines, depending on the park and app!
Write your name and number somewhere on your child so that if they get lost, an employee will be able to find you. At Six Flags, we received a wrist bracelet when we entered the park. I wrote my name and number on this and explained what Jack was to do should we get separated. Then, I showed him what employee uniforms looked like so he’d know who to approach if we were split up. I also told him he could go up to any person working behind the counter of a store or restaurant, or operating a ride. He was too little to find the “Missing Parents” station on his own, so I wanted him to have lots of options and to know exactly what to do!
Here are some related posts that I think you might find helpful for specific parks:
- Six Flags with Toddlers
- Things to know before you go to Universal Studios Orlando
- How to do BOTH Universal Studios Orlando Parks in ONE Day
- Plan Your Trip to Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO (one of the cleanest parks we’ve been to!)
What tips would you add to this list?