Theme park do’s and dont’s

29 07 2009

Summertime is one of the peak seasons for theme parks around the world, especially those ones that only open seasonally. From Alton Towers in the United Kingdom to Tokyo DisneySea in Japan every park is packed with guests looking to enjoy a fun day out at some of the best (and worst) parks in the world. That’s why I thought it would be best to give readers some useful advice on theme park do’s and dont’s.

My first theme park don’t isn’t based around the park at all. No, it’s based around wherever you happen to be before your theme park trip. You  might be tucked up in bed at home or staying at a hotel, wherever you are don’t stay there for too long on the morning of your trip. I find it criminal that people still sleep in before they go to a park, especially during the busy summer season. Getting to the park in mid-morning/early afternoon can be hell- with queue lines spiralling out of control and waits of well over an hour on major attractions.

So, based on that don’t my first theme park do is get to the park early, preferably for opening. This way you can get round the major attractions before most guests have even got out of bed. For example I managed to do the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in less than four hours by getting to the park bright and early. This also gives you the opportunity to re-ride attractions later in the day that you enjoyed and means you’re not going to have to wait hous for attractions your not a big fan of. On top of this it gives you the chance to ride things that you wouldn’t normally do. For example, I went to see Mickey’s PhillarMagic in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom as there was no line. It’s not usually my kind of thing but I really enjoyed it and wouldn’t have got to witness it if I hadn’t have got to the park so early as to avoid the big lines.

My second don’t is don’t save the best til last, it just doesn’t work well. I used to do this with my parents when I was younger, go to all the smaller attractions at the start of the day then build up to the bigger, more popular ones, later on. It simply isn’t a good way to go about things and means that you’re going to end up waiting in line for a lot longer than you have to.

This leads on to my next theme park do, have a plan. It may seem a little bit of a strange idea having a plan, I mean who wants to stick to a strict plan on a day at a theme park when you’re out to have fun? Trust me, it may not seem like the most fun option but it will make your day much more enjoyable. The aim of a plan is to ensure you are waiting in line as little as possible. Set out your plan so that you’re going to the bigger attractions at the start of the day so the lines aren’t as long, that way you’ll fit more in with a lesser wait time. This rule isn’t set in stone of course, some parks have lower wait times on attractions when certain shows are on, for example Light’s Motors Action! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios draws a huge crowd which has a visible impact on wait times. Try and get rides in when you know lines will be low, this will mean you can do more in your day hence making it much more enjoyable.

Plans for a large number of parks can be found at http://www.themeparkinsider.com

My next theme park don’t is don’t fall prey to prices in the park, most can be avoided. For example the price of bottled water at theme parks is normally stupidly high, sometimes three times the price it would be outside of the park. Most parks will let you take your own bottles in with you, this can save you both time and money. Taking your own bottles of water allows you to keep hydrated for cheaper and you can always refill the bottles at water fountains when they are empty, meaning you don’t have to worry about carrying lots of bottles around.

No matter how hard you try at a park you will always end up in line for something, during the summer season it’s rare that all attractions in a park will be a walk-on so you will find yourself in-line, at least for the bigger attractions. For this reason you don’t want to have to queue when you really don’t have to, especially when waiting for a seat at a table service restaurant. A table service restaurant is any restaurant in which you are seated and served by a waiter. A restaurant where you go and get your food yourself is known as a counter service restaurant. To avoid waiting for tables at a restaurant ensure you reserve a place either before your visit by calling or booking online or go as soon as you get to the park. This may also fit into your plan for the day. For example, if your first stop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is Tower of Terror to avoid lines later in the day then some of your party may not want to go on this high thrills attraction meaning they can go and reserve a table over at the Brown Derby.

That’s all for now, but I’ll leave you with a list of great sites for theme park information.

http://www.themeparkinsider.com

http://www.studioscentral.com

http://www.themeparkreview.com

M. Owen

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