A Visit to a Theme Park

Load the kids in the car. You're off to a theme park and a day of fun!

By FamilyTime


Whether you plan a day at a local theme or amusement park, or a major vacation to Disney World, the trips should be fun and relaxing. A few tips will help the experience run smoothly. Spending a day enjoying the thrills and chills of a well run park is a great way to end the summer!

Plan Ahead
Many parks offer discounts for families or groups over a certain number. Some pre-sell tickets, which eliminates time in line. Call ahead or check out Web sites for prices, discounts, and other special offers.

Talk to the children about the rides and other attractions they don't want to miss. These may vary greatly depending on the age of the child. Young children can be frightened by some of the rides -- despite what they tell you. Use your best judgement.

Pace Yourself
Some parks have maps and guide books to help you plan your time sensibly. Hit major attractions early in the day, before energy flags.

If you are staying for several days, think about returning to the motel or campsite after lunch for a rest or time by the pool. Go back to the park in the late afternoon or evening.

This strategy works particularly well at Disney World, Disneyland and other large parks such as Busch Gardens where there are evening activities. Make sure to get an all-day pass before you do this. Not all parks offer them.

Pack Essentials
Pack a backpack with essentials, including water, juice boxes, and snacks. This is especially important with young children, who might be frustrated by waiting in long lines at refreshment stands.

Bringing along snacks is also a lot less expensive than buying them.

Bring other necessary items such as diapers, wipes, adhesive bandages, prescription medication, sunscreen, hats, and sweaters. If it's a water park, bring towels and cover-ups (such as t-shirts).

Encourage the children to wear comfortable shoes with socks. They will be doing a lot of walking at most theme parks.

Bring your cell phones. Clip them to your belts or keep it secure in a backpack or other bag. Your kids should have their cells, too, if they are old enough. Remind everyone to charge the phones the night before.

Make certain to have insurance cards and your doctor's telephone number, in case of an emergency.

A Meeting Place
As soon as you get to the park, select a central meeting place in the event you get separated. If the older children are going off on their own, determine a time and place to rendezvous. Phone contact may be enough but a central meeting place is still important in case someone loses their phone.

Insist everyone agrees to the "buddy system." Never let the children wander around alone. This is a good rule for teenagers, too. Plus, they will have more fun in a group. And that's the idea!