Tips, Hacks and Tricks for visiting UK Theme Parks

Here on UK Theme Parks we are launching a campaign for better planning when visiting a theme park in the UK. The reason? We want everyone to maximise there day at the park and have fun, its a simple as that!

We have all fallen short to a poor visit to a Theme Park and from our point of view its usually from bad planning (sometimes seriously unlucky!) so we want to put out there the importance of planning your day, starting before you even choose what park you are visiting. Now then, as an enthusiast family when we do have a bad day at the park we don’t worry to much about it because of the amount of times we visit theme parks. However there are many people that only visit a couple of times of year maybe even once, and a bad experience can put you off for visiting for years. We want to take that away and we want you to help! In the video you will see how passionate i’am about this and below is the bullet points to help you make the most out of your day. We want you to contribute and this will be updated with any great ideas to help others as we want to make this the most definitive Tips and Tricks guide and a one stop place to plan your day out.

Head over to our Facebook Page and make sure you leave us any tips and tricks.

  1. Ensure you pick your park carefully – Don’t be lead by adverts and hearsay, be sure to check out the park in full detail. Either on the parks website, a third party website (most are on here!) and look at the ride selection with Height and Restrictions to ensure it fits the day for your party. There will be nothing worse than taking a pair of 2 and 4 year old children to Thorpe Park! Also check the height of your child ACCURATELY! The parks do care about that extra few millimeters and so you will to as well.
  2. Research the cheapest ticket, this could be directly on the parks website by booking in advance, or through a third party voucher site. The Merlin parks often do a 2 for 1 voucher on many grocery items. Booking in advance can give you on average the better price and easier entry to the park, often booking more than 7 days in advance can provide a better price still. 2 for 1 can sometimes work out cheaper, but at places like Alton Towers you would miss out on extra ride time and would set yourself in an extra queue in the morning.
  3. Check if you need to buy a car park ticket, some parks charge for parking much like booking in advance wither get the ticket online (if you can) or remember to buy it first thing.
  4. Download a map to your mobile device in advance. Plan where you’d want to eat if you’re eating at the park and where each ride is located. Quite simply make a list on your phone!
  5. Charge your phone! Or ensure you have a portable charger with you.
  6. Check the weather, it rains a lot in the UK but on the odd occasion it can be very hot. Coats or Sun cream we have seen people in shorts in a storm as well as people burning in the sun. Don’t get caught out!
  7. Remember, sensible clothes and a change of clothes if you are planning the water rides. Assume you will get wet on them is the easiest way to not only stay seated, but be prepared with a possible change of clothes. This includes shoes, we have seen high heels at theme parks remember there will be a lot of walking, standing and rides with no floor.
  8. Consider the worst case scenario of a missing child. The parks are excellent in dealing with this and although Guest Services this is somewhere else to go and queue. Something we did was write “Mum” or “Dad” and a contact telephone number on our child’s tag on clothing. Most parks should look here for a name as we are all in the habit of doing this for school and from a certain age the child can remember its written there.
  9. Pack a good lunch, eating at the park is available but will cost and take more time out of your day. Snacks and drinks are an excellent filler around sandwiches and should keep you going until park close, unless you are on a late night riding where you may wish to consider hot food. If this is the case some parks do food deals after 4pm so keep an eye for offers. In addition to lunch if you are packing, pack supplies. Pain Killers, Allergy tablets may be required in addition Tasha Majewski-Smith on our Facebook feed suggests taking plasters or certainly making sure you have change to purchase them from a machine at the park, not all parks are free!
  10. Now finally getting to the park! Get there early. We don’t mean 9.55am for 10am opening we mean early. Take into account:
    Parking
    Getting to the entrance
    Getting tickets if required
    Get through Security and bag search
    Get somewhere close to the front of the line
    These take time, at Alton Towers you already have to add 30 minutes to catch monorail.
  11. Take a photo of where your car is parked, put a bag or fluffy toy on the radio aerial, your memory isn’t that good! You have been warned!
  12. The 30-45 minutes spent extra in the morning to ensure you are in the park on time will save you much time queuing in the first hour, the quietest part of the day. Most parks who operate fastrack won’t kick it off until an hour after the park opens so queues are naturally shorter
  13. Make sure you have checked if the park do early rider, big thing at Alton Towers with an extra hour on some of the top rides. Chessington and Lightwater Valley tend to let you in early which starts the queues rolling long before opening.
  14. Try to take as little as you can into the park, if you’re a group you can skip bag searches oddly with no bags! Sensible clothing should allow for pockets. If you’re a family with young try not to overload the buggy or bag you take in. Go through common “days out bags” and remove what you don’t need (we have one and its always full of rubbish!)
  15. Try not to start at the most popular ride, Smiler, Saw, Vampire attract the queues instantly whilst other rides often remain quieter. You have to accept at some point you will be in a queue but you will get more done starting at the back of the park or on the less popular rides.
  16. Stick to your plan, unless you are forced to change it with ride closures at what point try and go back to the ride towards the end of the day. Most of the complaints we hear in park are about closed rides and being turned away, don’t let it ruin your day. If you feel the need to complain again don’t waste time whilst the park is open to do it, chances are there will be a long queue and you may get a fastrack ticket if you’re lucky which won’t have compensated your time. It happens we have found its best to power through.
  17. Fast Track is an option if you have the money, if you’re alone look out for single rider in the big parks. This information will be posted on the websites or at the ride entrances.
  18. Some parks operate parent swap, so if one parent is to queue the other can look after children. The card then allows the other parent to go to the exit and ride straight away, check on the parks website or at the park to see if they participate.
  19. You must be prepared to queue unless you’ve picked a quiet end of September weekday, at which point you’re unlikely to be reading this! This is really aimed at things for the children to do. Mine play Pokemon go, watch videos or fight among themselves, but either way make sure you’re prepared for the “I’m bored”
  20. Try to have lunch a little later, 1-2 rather than 12-1 with everyone else you will see the benefits in the queues for rides and food if you are buying at the park.
  21. Try to factor in shows for after lunch if the park has shows, it allows food to settle and of course get this part of your adventure complete.
  22. Most parks operate a “as long as you’re in the queue line you ride” towards the end of the day don’t don’t be afraid to rock up to stealth at 5 minutes to closing but do check with the park, some smaller parks like to be packed up and gone by closing.
  23. Purchase any merchandise at the end of the day, usually shops will stay open oddly after closing so if you wish to buy you can on the way out.

We hope some of these tips help you plan your day, however our campaign isn’t over, head over to our Facebook Page and share your tips and tricks, great ones will be added to the guide!

Remember ITS YOUR ADVENTURE make it count.