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