Theme parks with kids: Making the most of your trip

March 19, 2014 |

Many family vacations are planned around locales with excellent theme park offerings because they provide something for everyone. If you’re taking a break from business travel and heading out on a vacation with your family, here’s what to consider when taking the kids to an amusement park to make sure everyone has a wonderful time:

Stay onsite

One of the best things you can do with kids – especially younger ones – is to stay at a hotel onsite. While it will likely be more expensive than a hotel not affiliated with the theme park, there are some major perks. One is that most onsite hotels have transportation to the distant parks or are in very close walking distance. When your kids get tired after a busy day of fun, it’s easy to head home right away. Additionally, many onsite hotels are all-inclusive; while the base rate might be higher, they often include a full breakfast, opportunities to meet the characters and other fun additions included in the price.

Arrive bright and early

Theme parks are notoriously busy, so if you’re traveling with small children, try to arrive as soon as the park opens – even 15 minutes earlier if possible. Many parents do this because it will be less crowded, and they’re used to waking up early with small kids anyway. Additionally, during the summer, you can avoid coming during the hottest part of the day.

Consider your ticket options

Some theme parks, like Disneyland, offer a Hopper Pass that allows you to enter multiple parks in one day. This is good for families with older children who can spend long periods of time at a theme park, or even people who want to go home mid-day for a nap or lunch and then head out to another park.

Recognize limits

It’s important to recognize what you can’t control to make sure your trip is a happy and fun one for the entire family! Smaller kids might only be able to spend between three and four hours at the theme park. Plan your trip accordingly!

Pack snacks

The majority of theme parks are fine with families bringing in snacks and drinks in a backpack, or leaving them in a picnic area. Save money and eat healthily by bringing your own lunch and snacks, but let the kids pick out dessert.