How To Be A Theme Park Superhero

Don’t be the Vacation Villain! Follow our Theme Park tips to be an instant real life Super Hero!


It’s All About The Planning:

– Avoid weekends. Locals often frequent the parks at weekends along with those on weekend breaks. Monday-Thursday are the least busy days to visit the parks with the exception of public holidays. These are also extremely busy times to visit any of the parks.

– Always buy your tickets in advance. Both Disney & Universal will give you savings by pre-booking online alongside offering multi park/day tickets.

– As fun as it is to stay on site, some great deals can be found at hotels within walking distance of a park shuttle. Whilst in California we stayed at the cheap and cheerful Best Western which was minutes from the shuttle to Disney. I always find the best deals on Booking.com for hotels in the USA. Check them out!

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– Research, research, research! Look at what rides are top of the bucket list & where they are located. The internet is awash with tips for when certain rides have the shortest wait time. Plan which areas of the parks are a must see and which you won’t be too fussed to see. Look into restaurants on site and see where tickles your fancy! Familiarise yourself with the park as much as you can to save any wrong turns!

– Download the apps relevant to your park. These are a must, especially for ride wait times and character meet & greets. You don’t want to be in Jurassic Park when Bumblebee & Optimus Prime are making an appearance at Transformers!

– Take extra camera batteries/phone charger. I personally love this power bank which lasts all day long recharging all of our gadgets on the go. You don’t wanna miss any photo ops…

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– Leave the selfie stick at home! Disney has banned these and rightly so! People walk around paying no attention to their surroundings and injure themselves and others. And trust me…no one wants to see you knock Mickey out with your selfie stick. No one.

– If you’re travelling with kids (or like me, a big kid at heart) look into merchandise options before you visit the park. I got stung $30 for  a pair of Minnie Mouse ears at the park but could’ve had some custom designed ones from Amazon for half the prize! Although clearly it was the best $30 I’ve ever spent, look how happy I am…

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– Find out where your favourite characters are most likely to pop up. At Universal they tend to show up next to their rides but for Disney it is much more random. Prepare to have your mind blown when you’ve met Mickey Mouse in his House then 5 minutes later you see him dancing with Donald downtown in a completely different outfit! Now that’s what I call magic!

– If you suffer from motion sickness be sure to take some anti-sickness medication. I would also strongly advise avoiding The Simpsons Ride at Universal…I have never felt so ill on a simulator before in my life!

Organisation Is The Key To Success:

– Set your alarm nice and early. You did get those Magic Hour tickets right? Disneyland California offers access to it’s park 1 hr before regular entry for anyone who purchases it. A great time to hit those rides on top of your bucket list. For Universal, why not buy their Priority Pass Ticket which lets you skip the queues?

– Bring your own water bottle. With prices as high as $6.50 for a 500ml bottle of water this is the best way to save money. All of the parks have water fountains sprinkled throughout the grounds for you to top up on aqua free of charge. And with all the walking you’ll be doing trust me, you’ll need it!

– Wear your most comfortable shoes. This is no time to try out that fancy new pair of flip-flops. You need old reliable. With some of the fashion disasters at the theme parks trust me, no one will be looking at your shoes! Personally, I wear my gym (L-O-L) trainers or my wee blue tennis trainers. Plenty of support, comfort and then don’t rub!

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– If you don’t heed my advise then at least pack from blister plasters. Personally I love Compeed patches. Stick one of these bad boys on and your feet will feel good as new.

– Pack some snacks with you. (Not all theme parks allow this so check first!) Some parks even allow you to bring a picnic lunch with you so why not add in some snacks? Cereal bars, fruit and crisps don’t spoil easily and can be eaten on the hoof.

– Pack a poncho. You can pick these up on Amazon or the likes of Wal-Mart before you arrive. Once there, expect to pay through the nose for that giant human condom.

– If you don’t have a waterproof phone then take a zip-lock bag with you. Perfect for keeping your valuables in whilst on those water rides. (Unfortunately, the zip lock bag can’t stop your underwear getting wet…wear your bikini/trunks underneath to dry quicker!)

Let The Adventure Begin:

– R=First things first, rent a locker. Now I know I always harp on about saving money but I really do think they are an investment! Who wants to walk about the park with their backpack/handbag getting all caught up on the rides. All you need is some secure pockets (or a husband with some!) to keep some cash and your phone. I then keep everything like sun cream, sweater in case it gets chilly later and some other bits and pieces in the locker until I need them.

– Head to your favourite ride first…even if it means walking to the opposite side of the park. It means you almost guarantee no queues. Once you’re done, why not start walking round the park from that location? Most people start in the same place which means everything clogs up at the same time. By being ahead of the pack you should avoid those hoards of people.

– If you don’t have a ride preference, then why not start walking round the park the opposite way to everyone else? Don’t be a sheep & follow the crowds!

–  Since you were up at the crack of dawn, chances are its 11am and you’re hungry. Why not sprint for an early lunch. Not only will you have happy tummies all round but you’ll also avoid the crazy crowds.

Who says you can’t eat ice cream for lunch?!

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– Go on rides during fireworks/parades. As soon as these happen the rides clear. Get on them! You might even get a better view from up above!

– Make sure you utilise Fast Track at Disney! If there’s a ride you really want to go on but the queue is 2hrs long, Fast Pass it. You’ll be given a ticket with a time to return where you will only have a few minutes to jump onto the ride giving you time to explore the rest of the park instead of counting the hairs on the head of the person standing in front of you. At Universal you can pre-purchase a Priority Pass with your Park Tickets to jump the queues.

– Single rider lines are always quicker. If you don’t mind being split up from your party then why not jump into here. You’ll still experience the same ride as queuing as a group! (If you’re a wimp like me this obviously isn’t an option!)

– Your feet will be falling off by the end of the day so make sure you plan some refreshment breaks throughout the day. I can personally vouch for the Tiki stop at Disneyland (Have you tried their amazing Dole Whip?!). At Universal, why not sip some Harry Potter Style Butterbeer. Delicious sugary energy!

And Finally:

– Don’t forget to explore Downtown Disney & Universal City Walk. After a day & a half in the parks I needed some retail therapy, and that is exactly what I got! Sit outside in one of the many cafes & restaurants, grab a nice cold cocktail and watch the world go by before slipping back into the madness…

city walk

What are your top tips for experience Theme Parks like a Superhero? Let me know in the comments below!

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38 Comment

  1. You totally have to be organised, especially with big groups/kids otherwise you spend all time standing in line! In the UK theme parks used to open for limited hours in the evenings which was cheaper and less busy so we always made that choice. Theme parks are awesome but as you’ve said, not something to visit spontaneously!

    1. I dread to think how much organisation is needed by groups & families…i struggled and there was just the two of us!

  2. We love theme parks and I drag along hubby whenever I see a Disney or Universal park! Great tips, I do agree that organization is the secret key to success!
    Travellingdany recently posted…The Grand Canyon’s most beautiful sightsMy Profile

  3. I havent been to a theme park for years as I always found them a big rip off in the end despite the fact I love thrills and feels. 🙂 Still got many to go too, especially in Flordia. 🙂 Great post and tips
    Danik recently posted…How to spend 8 hours in Kiev, UkraineMy Profile

    1. We’ve not ventured down to the Florida theme parks yet…they’re next on our list!

  4. Some really great tips for making the best of a visit. The best theme parks are expensive (and justifiably so), and preparing ahead of time helps really make your day go better. Agree totally on the hotels, we’ve often found nearby chain hotels really good value, some of them offer their own free shuttles to the parks, and others are near public shuttle routes. Good advice on the water bottle and poncho, we’ve been caught out without both before and wasted money buying inside a park rather than bringing our own. Such a comprehensive list of tips!
    Kavey at Kavey Eats recently posted…Daawat on The Strand | Great Indian CookingMy Profile

    1. Thanks for your feedback! 🙂 I just think that a lot of people underestimate just how much planning you need to make for days out like this.

  5. Great tips particularly buying tickets in advance which I missed. We reached early to Paris Disneyland yet we were way behind. Lost some time choosing the rides too. I agree we need to more organized before we visit a park like Disneyland!

    1. Ouch…big mistake! I couldn’t actually believe how many people i saw queuing for tickets at Disneyland California…the queues were huge! Whereas we skipped along straight through the entrance. It saves so much time.

  6. OMG I love this! Great read. Theme parks are my jam!!! My husband and I just got back from Islands of Adventures in FL. We are totally kids stuck in adult bodies. Great tips!!!

    1. My husband and I are exactly the same!! As soon as i walk into a theme park I’m 5 years old haha

  7. There are some great tips here. I never would have thought to go on the rides during the fireworks but that makes sense. I haven’t been to an amusement park in forever. I need to go again!

    1. Plus you get some awesome views of the fireworks from on top of some of the less energetic rides.

  8. Some great tips there! I’d imagine it must have been a great, if tiring, day out 🙂

    1. Theme parks are always a great day out 🙂

  9. I love this. My girls would love it as well. I agree that pre-planning and research is the absolute key, especially for Disney.
    Corinne recently posted…Baking The Perfect New York Bagel (with Recipe)My Profile

  10. Great tips, I do love a theme park but then again who doesn’t. Plannimg is certainly key to avoid all those ques. Thanks for sharing

    1. No problem!

  11. These are some real useful and practical tips for visiting Theme parks. If you do not plan, you tend to get this feeling of being lost in the crowd. We were in Disneyland Hong Kong around Christmas a couple of years ago and the crowds were surging like nobody’s business. In such a situation getting organized and planning your itinerary is really imperative. I love the part about taking a break and watching the world go by 🙂
    Sandy N Vyjay recently posted…Review of Hotel Ibis Bangkok NanaMy Profile

  12. I love Disneyland and I think I’m long overdue for a visit. Good tip about bringing your own water. $6.50 for a bottle is outrageous! I don’t think I’ve ever come across anywhere more expensive.

    1. I know right? It’s crazy how much they charge for it, especially when they have so many drinking fountains across the park.

  13. These are awesome tips! We love to visit theme parks but have recently not had the chance to go to one, although we do plan to visit the Universal in Singapore soon as we are travelling through SE Asia. Thanks for sharing!
    Paul recently posted…Spending Christmas on the beach: A day of adventure to find paradise on a Cambodian Island for a different type of celebration!My Profile

  14. Super cool and informative guide for all those who want to go to these crazy parks! Hey, no regrets for having spent some extra dollars on your Minnie ears, you look gorgeous 😉

    1. Thanks! 🙂 I did completely fall in love with them but then found some even better ones online afterwords! I’ll remember for next time.

  15. Superb handy tips! I love going to theme parks too. Few years ago, i went to visit Disneyland Paris! Omg! Makes me feel im a child again. In the UK, you can find some 2 for 1 vouchers on some food packaging.

    1. That’s right! I used to hate seeing boxes of Corn flakes with 2 4 1 Alton Towers tickets…i lived in Aberdeen so there was no way my parents were taking me all the way down there for a weekend. I swear they stick them on there for kids to annoy their parents 🙂

  16. Gosh it’s been light years since I’ve been to a theme park anywhere so I think I would be a total novice now. Lots of great tips here. Being organised is something I’m good at, so with these tips I could totally nail it. Not surprising that the whole theme park world is now reliant on apps too.

    1. I was really impressed with Disneyland California’s App. It had everything you needed to know right down to a map & times of where all the characters would be that day.

  17. The apps are so helpful and I only realized they existed a couple years ago! Oops! Booking in advance is helpful as well and avoiding the weekends is a must… if you’re flexible 🙂 Great post, thanks for sharing! I’d love to take my family to a theme park soon. I live in Florida so it won’t be too hard to plan 🙂
    Carmen’s Luxury Travel recently posted…Culinary Highlights of a River CruiseMy Profile

    1. I;ve not ventured to any of the Florida theme parks….yet 🙂

  18. Melody Pittman says: Reply

    I love this post! And that you stress how important it is to plan. We try to map everything out ahead of time so we can spend more time at the parks enjoying our day. And I agree with buying things in advance. Prices at the parks can be super expensive.

    1. I’m very much a planner so hate feeling unprepared…i just think you could miss out on so much if you don’t plan ahead.

  19. These are all great tips! I didn’t realize you could get custom ears made on Amazon, so I will definitely be checking that out before my next trip to Disney. I also liked your tip to get the apps for the theme park. I think that will help a lot!
    Vicky and Buddy recently posted…Street Art In Reykjavik, IcelandMy Profile

    1. I didn’t know either…until i got back to my hotel night to check out some Disney merch i’d saw in the store and came across all the ears! I’ll know for next time 🙂

  20. Nice post and good tips to follow although I haven’t considering visiting this place 🙂
    Bilyana | OwlOverTheWorld recently posted…Sofia Travel Guide – Everything You Need to KnowMy Profile

  21. Great post! It is very useful for anyone who plan to or is always a fan of theme parks, just like me! Your tips is very excellent and can make visitors of theme parks have fun in the whole journey! I am plan to visit the Parks nearby this weekend! Hope I can have fun!
    Merry recently posted…What to Consider When Investing in Building an Amusement Park?My Profile

    1. I’m sure you’ll have an awesome time 🙂

  22. Thanks, LAUREN!
    You are so nice!
    MERRY recently posted…What to Consider When Investing in Building an Amusement Park?My Profile

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