1) Stay in a Resort hotel. Resort guests can often participate in unique privileges such as early entrance or extra park hours, transportation to and from the park, upgrades in park such as front of line passes, food/drink discounts and one of my favorite for Disney and Universal is when you purchase something you can have it sent straight to your room rather then carrying t around all day!
2) Do your homework. Whatever theme park you are going to visit check out a map of the park ahead of time. If there is anything you for sure do not want to miss this will help you as you time yourself through the day. Also great for planning out fast passes while at the park. Another thing that is homework worthy is reservations for Character Breakfasts etc. These often fill quick! Start by getting a map of the park and setting up an action plan with your family before you even enter the gates. Figure out the areas of the park you want to visit, meeting places at certain times, and an emergency plan such as a pre-select a central meeting place incase you get separated.
3) Have everyone in your family where the same color shirt. I know it seems a little silly but when you are tired and your brain is over stimulated from everything when you are glancing around for your kiddos or husband you always remember what color they were wearing because you are wearing it too.
4) Ditch the purse, bring a back pack! Back pack necessities… Ziplock bags to protect your cell phone/camera from water rides as well as pictures and items you may purchase while in the park, Permanent marker (because you just never know), sunscreens, ponchos incase it rains or you just don’t like to get wet on water rides, small hand towel to use after water rides, Band-Aids and simple first air, small bug spray, hand sanitizers/wipes, water bottles (you can refill in the park at the restaurants, there is always a water tap on soda machines).
5) First of all, get to the park of your choice at least a half an hour before it opens. An hour if you’re really ambitious. Yeah, that’s right. You’re gonna be “that mom”. Because that guy mom to fly into the park when it’s nearly empty and ride, at the very least, one or two of favorites with no lines at all. You paid good money for that ticket, you should get your money’s worth out of it.
6) Take a picture of your parking spot on your digital camera or cell phone. Sometimes you look at the lot number and think you’ve got it all figured out, until you’re lost trying to locate your car eight hours later. This is an easy way to find your vehicle quickly!
7) Practice with your children some safety measures prior to the park. For instance, if for some reason my children were to get lost they know to only speak to someone working in the park. If anyone speaks to them that does not work with the park or security they are to immediately yell “this is not my mom (or dad)” at the top of their lungs to bring attention to those that do work the park and get them in the best hands possible. We have also set up a family password system.
8) Use a permanent marker to write your phone number on your child’s wrist. Do this before you do sunscreen, it goes on much easier and will stay on for the day.
9) Have a plan to recharge your phone. It could be a backup recharge case, a back up battery pack charger or just bringing your phone charger and knowing you will recharge during lunch etc.
10) If you have an option to take a left or a right at any point during your wait, go left. This sounds wacky, but I’ve used this trick for years at many parks and it works. This isn’t just for rides, this works for lining up to get food also! Most people are right-handed and just choose the right side of anything over the left automatically. It’s a reflex. Left directional lines are often shorter and quicker.
11) Every time your family does bathroom breaks this is usually a good time to reapply sunscreen as well.
12) Bring some glow stick necklaces and bracelets in your backpack to put on your kiddos at night to make it easier to see them.