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Theme Park Tips to Beat the Heat this Summer

Updated on June 7, 2011

Visiting theme parks can be an incredible experience. The attractions, the shows, the delicious food; what could be better? Theme parks are made to give guests an entertaining and unforgettable time. However, the experience can be exhausting, irritating, and thoroughly unenjoyable. I do have some good news though. First, I saved 15% by switching my car insurance (okay, I’m sorry for the bad joke). On a serious note, the good news is that the outcome of the theme park experience is almost entirely based on preparedness. A little research, a few items for survival and guides can really make the difference between a great vacation and a miserable one.

Tip #1: If at all possible, avoid the parks in the summertime.

This likely sounds silly given the title of article, but this tip could be a lifesaver. The summer should be avoided for several reasons. The Central Florida heat could wear out even the toughest crowds. Long hours in the sun and the world famous humidity of Florida are not a very hygienic combination. Furthermore, families compose the vast majority of theme park attendees. Summertime means kids are out of school, meaning these are some of the peak times for visiting. This means traffic, crowds, long lines, etc. Please do not let this be a deterrent from visiting at all. Theme parks can be very fun in the summer. It just means extra preparedness is necessary.

Tip #2: Book in advance.

I can’t stress this enough. Booking in advance saves many hassles. First, buying ahead of time means holding onto less money on your vacation. Second, buying online typically gives more ticket offerings than available at the ticket windows. Third, the discounts offered online are often great compared to the prices at the ticket windows. Finally, and possibly best, buying online means bypassing the first line of the day, the ticket windows, altogether.

Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom | Source

Tip #3: Research.

Knowing what to see and what to skip during a theme park vacation can really save time that would have been spent staring at a park map. If traveling with younger children or people that frighten easily, research and see what attractions are particularly scary. If some members of the party do not enjoy getting wet, avoid the water rides and other attractions with water features. Or, if those members are able to be persuaded, consider purchasing some ponchos for the trip.

If traveling with family, ask family members what they would like to do. This helps with having an enjoyable time for everyone, because when one family member gets to decide everything, the happiness gets monopolized and only one person has a good time.

Tip #4: Make a Survival Kit

At a theme park, as fun as they are, the weather is just a fact of life. Pack some sunscreen with a high SPF to prevent getting burned in the Florida heat. Bring ponchos, both for the water rides and the brief-yet-torrential downpours that Florida has also made famous. Bring snacks and water if possible. A pack of crackers or other small snacks can save several dollars at snack stands. Water is preferred if feeling dehydrated; save the soda for lunch or dinnertime.

Of course, since this is a vacation, pack your camera and whatever else you might need. Try to pack lightly though; many parks charge for lockers and the larger the locker, the more expensive. But not all parks do this, so research before visiting.

Tip #5: If the trip is more than a few weeks away, guidebooks, guidebooks, guidebooks.

Guidebooks are the best way to research about a trip. Official websites from the park are greatly helpful, but guidebooks are more resourceful. Plus, guidebooks can be carried inside the park. There are many great guidebooks to choose from, and here, I have chosen some of my favorites. Buying a guidebook is not only helpful, but will make you even more excited about your visit. Read them on the plane or the car ride to the parks, and the anticipation will be almost unbearable. Stay safe and have a magical time at the parks!

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