When I book my theme park trips I am all but jumping up and down for weeks. Yep. I have never resisted the fact that I’m a kid at heart and get just as excited seeing the Disney sign as many children do. I can’t help it. Not only does it bring back great memories, but I love roller coasters and even the cheesy rides like The Jungle Cruise. I can easily lose myself in the world of a theme park. Unfortunately, in all the excitement, it can be hard to be practical. I’ve learned the hard way, which is never cool when you are out four 10+ hours. There are ways not to do a theme park, which we will talk about here. If you missed the previous installments, make sure to check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Don’t wear brand new shoes
Did you buy some fun shoes that go with all your travel outfits, but forgot to break them in? You might be sorry. In fact, 99% of the time I have found that bring new shoes that I haven’t worn before have been the biggest mistake ever. How do you break them in? Wear them all over before you leave and make sure you wear them all day when you have quite a bit of walking to do, on all sorts of terrain. Nothing will ruin your day faster than your feet hurting or getting a hideous blister two hours after you’ve left the hotel.
Remember your sunscreen
The summer sun (and even other seasons) can be brutal. Sunscreen doesn't last forever, and even less when water is involved. After applying your SPF, toss it in your day bag (or carry an extra tube) and reapply during the day. Don't forget your ears, the back of your neck, your shoulders, your nose and the part in your hair. Those rides won't seem as fun when you are sunburned and look like a lobster and it's totally uncomfortable to be in a confined space.
When you're spending hours and hours in the sun and doing more activity than normal, you can easily run low on fluids. Make sure to drink plenty of water. In fact, buy a case of water when you get to your destination and take a couple bottles with you each morning. This will save you money and ensure that you have something to drink anytime you need it and don't have to wait in line for an $8 water.
Bring spare batteries
If you plan to take a ton of pictures, then you don't want to run out of juice right in the middle of the day. I always carry a spare battery for my camera (I bought it on ebay for a fraction of the retail cost) so I don't have to pace myself taking photos and so my camera doesn't conk out at an inopportune moment.
Rent a car
Traveling in the summer to theme parks, it's easy to use the shuttles to go back and forth all day to your accommodation, but if you choose to go during the slow season (which we normally do) the shuttles may not run all that often and could be quite inconvenient, as we learned when we went to Orlando. Do your research before you travel and plan accordingly. If the shuttles only run once a day to and from the parks, then having a rental car might save you a ton of grief, especially if you're traveling with kids or hope to return to your room at any point during the day.
Take the map
You may think you know where everything is in Disneyland, but maybe you don't. Stop wasting time wandering around and running into dead ends by taking that map they offer at the front of the park and using it to get yourself to where you want to go. We make sure we both have one so we can navigate our way when we we find that we have no idea where we are or can't find where to get on the train.
Take a packable rain jacket
The fun doesn't stop just because of a little downpour, so don't lose precious minutes ducking into a shop until it stops raining. In your day bag, shove a packable jacket in the bottom. It won't take up much room, but it will be a lifesaver if a little shower turns into a deluge. It is also another layer to throw on when you head inside to watch a show and they have the air up full blast and you need something to keep you from freezing.
Despite how many things that haven't worked out in the past, I take it in stride and use it for my future trips. How about you? What are your tips for avoiding theme park pitfalls?
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