12 ways to survive theme parks with kids

January 03, 2017
  • 1. Big is not always better with kids
    1 / 12 1. Big is not always better with kids

    Some of the world’s biggest theme parks cover several hundreds of square metres, with rows upon rows of neon-lit attractions and rollercoasters all jostling for attention. 

    But when it comes to choosing a park, bigger is not always better. 

    The sheer magnitude of these mega parks can be overwhelming for children, not to mention exhausting as you attempt to navigate your way around them on foot. So remember to consider the smaller, more offbeat theme parks when doing your research on where to go.

    When narrowing down your search, go online to learn about the attractions and rides that the theme park offers. 

    Many rides have height and age requirements, and if you have little ones in tow it would be a shame to arrive only to realise half of the park is out-of-bounds. 

    You may also want to find a park that has rides or shows that specifically match your kids’ current interests, whether it is Lego or safari animals or Disney’s Frozen movie.

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  • 2. When to go
    2 / 12 2. When to go

    Avoid the school holidays if possible, when crowding is at its worst. Also make sure you arrive early; around half an hour before the park opens is ideal. 

    That way, you are at the front of the queue when the doors open (the jostling-for-space elbowing from impatient parents can be startling) and you can walk straight onto the popular rides before the lines build up.

    Look at the park’s online calendar to see which rides will not be available on certain dates (i.e. for maintenance reasons); the look of disappointment on your little one’s face when they spot the giant “CLOSED” sign on their favourite ride will be more than you can bear.

    Related: Travelling safely for families

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  • 3. ‘P’ is for planning
    3 / 12 3. ‘P’ is for planning

    Download the park’s map from its website and plot your route. 

    For example, if you are visiting with young children, you may want to start on the merry-go-round and Ferris wheel, and gradually work you way up to the haunted house and heart-in-your-throat rollercoasters. 

    Related: 11 best travel apps for parents

    Plan to go on the big rides before lunch – tummies full of pizza and g-forces do not mix well. 

    As for the water rides, it is best to save those until the end of the day, when it’s no big deal if you are sodden through. It is also worth noting a few possible lunch stops en route, whether cafes or picnic areas.

    Take time to research the special events taking place at the park during your visit, noting when the shows and parades start. 

    Set a reminder on your cell phone half an hour before the event you want to see begins, so you don’t miss it amid all the excitement.

    Buy your admission tickets in advance to save money and avoid queues on the day. 

    If you’re making a weekend out of it, invest in a multi-day ticket, which will usually be cheaper than buying separate day passes.

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  • 4. Beat the queue for rides
    4 / 12 4. Beat the queue for rides

    If you’re visiting during peak season, make use of the line-jumping passes available at some parks. Some are complimentary. 

    At various Disneyland Parks, for example, you simply insert your admission ticket into the Fastpass machine at the attraction you wish to ride, return at your allotted time and jump straight into a separate shorter line. 

    Other parks offer an express pass for an extra fee; sometimes, these passes sell out at the front gate ticket booths, so consider buying the pass online before your visit.

    Related: Review: Laser Quest at HomeTeamNS Tampines

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  • 5. Last minute deals
    5 / 12 5. Last minute deals

    Many parks use social media to advertise last-minute deals, so make sure you follow your favourite theme parks on the likes of Facebook and Twitter

    It is also a good way to hear about special events taking place at the park, which you may not have otherwise known about.

    Related: 3 reasons why you should plan a holiday in Canada

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  • 6. Finding your car
    6 / 12 6. Finding your car

    Take a photo of your parking place on your camera or cell phone to save your having to hunt for it at the end of a tiring day.

    Related: Road trip: Driving to Malaysia with baby

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  • 7. Don’t lose your kids
    7 / 12 7. Don’t lose your kids

    As soon as you enter the park, set a meeting place in case someone gets lost. 

    It is also worth pinning your cell phone number on the inside of your children’s clothes.

    Related: When your child goes missing at the mall: What to do

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  • 8. Save money on food and drink
    8 / 12 8. Save money on food and drink

    Food and drink bought on-site can be eye-wateringly pricey. 

    Instead, bring a picnic (there are often picnic benches dotted throughout the park), and a bottle of water to fill up at water fountains throughout the day.

    Related: Europe for families: 7 ways to spend less and save more on your holiday

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  • 9. Keeping equipment dry
    9 / 12 9. Keeping equipment dry

    Bring waterproof ziplock bags to protect your camera and other valuables from getting wet on the water rides.

    Related: Family vacation: Maldives on a budget

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  • 10. What to wear
    10 / 12 10. What to wear

    Wear comfortable clothing and covered shoes. You don’t want your flip-flops flying off in the middle of a rollercoaster ride.

    Related: 3 cool character-themed hotels for kids in the US

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  • 11. Rent a locker
    11 / 12 11. Rent a locker

    You’ll feel like a packhorse carting everything around in a backpack. So rent a locker instead.

    Related: 5 ways to avoid bringing home bed bugs after your holiday 

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  • 12. The theme park checklist
    12 / 12 12. The theme park checklist

    Don’t leave home without…

    – Water bottle
    – Waterproof camera
    – Sunscreen
    – Money
    – Small first-aid kit
    – Ponchos (they cost twice as much if you buy them in the park)
    – Waterproof ziplock bags
    – Your children (if you have any)

    Related: 10 most family-friendly hotels in Asia

    This story first appeared in SilverKris

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