5 Tips for Theme Park Vacations
Last week the kids, grandma, and I spent a couple days at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
This was my 4th theme park visit, the other 3 at Disney World, and I feel like I've got a pretty good grasp about how to do theme parks efficiently, and with the least amount of stress.
If you've never been to a theme park I'm sure imagining that there could be any stress at all might be hard to do... these are the most magical places in the world, right?
Well, let me tell you, Florida is hot 90% of the year. I've even tried to "beat the system" and went to Disney in December between Christmas and New Years and we still had a few hot days.
Crowds. Ohmygawd if you're not into people, it can be really difficult to be surrounded by them. Sometimes shoulder to shoulder. And remember the heat? They're sweaty, and stinky, and on sugar highs. It's a lot.
And get ready for everything to cost a bazillion dollars. It costs a trijillion dollars to run these parks, so of course nothing is free. Including bandaids. Learned that last week.
I'm not complaining, I'm being a realist.
So if you're thinking about taking the fam to a theme park, here are 5 tips to help make your trip happier, more comfortable, and FUN!
1. Stay on property.
Yes, I know it's expensive, but generally the perks of being inside the park even out what you'd pay for a decent hotel anyway.
This trip we stayed at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort (see my review here), and it was fantastic. Amazing service, delicious food, comfy rooms, a quick ferry ride into the park, and free Express Passes, which are VERY important if you want to ride many rides throughout the day. More on that in #2.
2. Express Passes.
Ride times can be upwards of 45 minutes to 90 minutes +, but with an Express Pass we're talking 10-15 minutes instead.
They run about $99/per person and are an add on to your normal part ticket.
So we're talking 4 people x 2 Days x $100/pp, that's an extra $800 for all of us to have Express Passes.
In #1 I mentioned staying on site. Loews Royal Pacific is about $400/night. I stayed 2 nights. Instead of staying outside the park and having to buy Express Tickets, I stayed basically FREE at this fancy Royal Pacific because it covered the cost of my Express tickets.
See how I did that? :)
3. Get the Hogwarts Express train ticket to save your feet.
We walked 6-7 miles each day, which is over 15,000 steps.
Save your feet.
Even my kids were dying by the end of the day.
While the Universal Studios parks are super close, depending on where you want to arrive in either park, it might be worthwhile to grab the park-to-park hopper, which gives access to the train.
And especially if you're a Harry Potter Fan, the train is a must. It's air conditioned too!
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
You won't believe how much you'll sweat in Orlando on all that concrete.
And with rides spinning and swirling and going upside down, you don't need any additional help feeling out of it.
We took insulated water bottles and each time we ate asked for extra ice water, which we'd put in our water bottles to drink before, after, and while waiting in line for every ride.
Yes, you'll have to pee after every dang ride, but it's worth not getting a headache or passing out.
5. Dress as if you're going into battle
That is, as if your battle was against heat, and crowds, and asphalt, and standing all day.
You want to wear the most breathable, cool pieces of clothing you own.
Prepare for shoes, pants, and maybe even tank tops to rub and chafe because you're sweating and walking so much.
Body Glide is great to keep on hand, as are lots of bandaids of all sizes.
My oldest wore flip flops on the second day despite my advice to wear his sneakers again, and only a few hours in he was bleeding and in pain.
Wear your most comfy sneakers and socks that won't rub.
Well, there you have it.
If you have some additional tips, I'd love to hear them!
If you're looking for even more tips, this website was really helpful to me as I researched for our trip > https://orlandoinformer.com/universal/express-pass-access.