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10 Tips for Visiting an Amusement Park with Kids

10 Tips for Visiting an Amusement Park with Kids
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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.

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  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 alos great for babies, but it sure 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 alotted 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:

 What tips would you add to this list?

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Love your ideas! Here’s a few extra!

Sunglasses!

Comfortable shoes!!!!

Those cooling neck bands that you soak or those cooling towels can really make a difference!

Label ALL of your valuables with your cell phone number and email address! You might not get something back, but it gives honest folks a way to try! (I use an ordinary label stickers that easily peel off with a little nail polish remover, but I actually keep the stickers on all of the time)

Put something eye-catching and unique on your stroller so you can spot it in a sea of strollers! (A colorful ribbon or piece of material up high on it works)

Freeze water bottles to keep them cool! Know where the water fountains are so you can refill bottles!

Bring at least a small hand towel (packed in a baggie) to dry off after wet rides, wipe sweat, or anything else!

If going to a park with characters and you want signatures, bring notecards for them to sign and a CLICKABLE Sharpie pen (much easier when characters have covered hands) plus put those notecards on a small clipboard so it’s a firm surface to sign!

If afternoon showers are possible (especially possible at Florida parks), pack rain ponchos in a bag! (Very inexpensive at discount stores and flexible in sizing so they last a long time even with growing kids)

With older kids, designate a “meet up” place if you get separated!

Not a bad idea to bring something for kids to do when waiting in long lines! (something non-tech so it’s not another valuable to keep track of)

Set priorities! You might not get to do it all and will probably enjoy the day better if you aren’t racing to try!

If your child has special needs, be sure to find out what services are available! (going to the front of the line, special seating, etc.)

Just my two cents!

These are great tips! I second the idea to bring a stroller, even if your kids are a little bit older. Not only does it help when little legs are tired, but I have no idea what to do with all my stuff if I don’t have a stroller.

I will be honest. Going to amusement parks and crowded events (like the State Fair) with my kids gives me a lot of anxiety.

Putting your phone number on your child is huge. We like to go and find the place where lost children can go and who our kids these are the people who can help you. We have put our business cards in our kids shoes, written our phone numbers on them, etc.

Love the misting fan idea. Those are great for sporting events too.

I did a phone number bracelet for my son when we went to Disneyland. It broke the first day, scattering beads everywhere. 😛 Now I keep a mini sharpie in my purse. You can loose a bracelet, but someone is going to notice if you lose an ARM. My kids get my cell # written on their arm until they can say it without help.

I need to get misting fans for each one of my boys! thanks for the tips!!

We have that exact same fan! Nick loves to play with it. LOL Those are some great tips. I can’t think of any others right now.

I want a misting fan for myself when we go to an amusement park. 🙂 Great tips! I think most amusement parks, unfortunately, do now allow outside food and drinks…. I do try to get in water, if I can, though.

I always tried to switch my diaper bag over to a large backpack before long trips, including fairs and amusement parks. Backpacks are much easier on your shoulders and usually hold more. I stored the “extra” stuff I wanted to bring but thought I wouldn’t need in the bottom, and the stuff I use frequently in the top and outside pockets.

Even the parks and fairs that allow food in require that water bottles be SEALED. They don’t want alcohol slipped in. I was even forced to dump out baby formula one time. That sucked. So always check the park policies before you go, and don’t hand the child their water bottle until you get through the gates!

My youngest is almost 6 and weighs 55 pounds, but I took the umbrella stroller (special one with higher pound weight capacity) to the fair a few weeks ago! He’s really too big for it, and totally could have handled the walking, but with him buckled safely in the stroller, that was 1 less kid to risk losing! (AND it was storage for all the crap we buy!!)

I always had more formula with me, thank goodness! But it sure made me mad!
PS – The fair hasn’t changed. At all.

I’m going to create an app to remember where you park your car. I spent 30 minutes at Disney trying to remember where in the world we put our rental at Animal Kingdom. So note to self – text yourself those directions. Also, think about wet rides and cell phones in advance!

My tip is don’t drag your child around when they are clearly exhausted and ready for a nap. Yes you paid a lot for the ticket, but you will both enjoy it more if your little one gets a chance to recharge.

Great tips, a day out can be fun but a bit chaotic too unless your well prepared. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!!

I’m saving this list for when the day comes that I can take the Grandkids to Disney Land! Thanks for sharing it on The Pintastic Pinterest Party.

Great information! I’ll share with my friends that have children.

So many great tips for visiting amusement parks with kids. Really useful for my family, we love to visiting amusement park. Thanks.

[…] for both thrill-seekers and visitors who prefer to keep their feet on the ground. Get some great tips for visiting amusement parks with kids from Carrie […]

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