AMUSEMENT PARK HINTS
Tips to Make
This article will help you prepare for a single
day at the park or a two-week coaster tour.
Being ready for the unexpected, and having
everything with you that you might need, will
decrease your frustration when a situation
arises where you say "If I'd only brought
this" or "I wish I'd thought of that
Well, after reading this, you will
have brought `this' and you will
have thought of `that'!
THE FOLLOWING MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED
WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR ©
Order park brochures and information about the surrounding area
from the park or tourist services -- or go to the appropriate websites and
bookmark or print out the information. Know your route numbers and turns, or
plane/train stops and times. Write them on one or more sticky notes and
attach them right to the relevant part of the map you will bring with you.
If using a computer pad or cell phone, see if there is software
(applications) that allow such notes to be overlaid on to a map. Planning
ahead will reduce wasted time, and thus frustration, while getting to,
and being at, your destinations.
Check park promotions. Call to see if bringing a
certain product with you will qualify you for a discount or a ride pass.
If you belong to a roller coaster enthusiast group, see if the park offers
discounts to its members. If so, be sure to bring your membership card
Investigate packages which include a hotel and park
admissions. Try for off-site hotels or motels. They often offer park tickets
as an incentive because they are farther away from the park. Be wary though,
and contact the park to be sure that any such tickets will be honoured on
the day you plan to attend. Some offers may be limited or disallowed at
Ask if the hotel offers transport to & from the
park. If not, be sure to check the availability of transportation. If
possible, avoid long taxi trips due to the cost.
If you are not taking your vehicle for some, or part of
the trip, be sure you know your public transportation routes and numbers,
along with any transfers required. Try to get tickets or passes ahead of
Make use of travel services. Although few seem to be
geared for amusement parks, they still may be able to arrange packages for
a given area. Ask them to investigate adding your chosen amusement park to
a package of your liking. These services cost you nothing, but will be
geared toward the businesses associated with the travel service. After
hearing what they have to recommend, compare that with your own
investigations and then select the method which is best for you.
Since most of the time spent in parks is during
warm weather, light weight, comfortable clothes are suggested. They will
get wet, somewhat dirty, and possibly torn, so select clothes that are
drip dry and ones you don't mind getting damaged. Although shorts are
comfortable, pants will protect your legs from scratches and insect bites,
as well as from sun exposure.
Do not wear extremely loose clothing as it may get
hung up on some rides. As well, loose shoes or sandals may be lost on
rides where one's legs hang down. Ride safety is of great concern in the
amusement park industry so loose clothing is not likely to be lethal, but
there may still be the odd sharp edge and pinch point that can tear or
catch looser clothes.
Bring a rain poncho or K-Way jacket if you don't want
to get wet on water rides. See the K-Way Jacket section,
Do not use new shoes!! You will be doing more walking than you
can imagine, so only comfortable, ventilated, well broken-in footwear
should be worn. They should also be able to handle getting wet. Canvas
deck shoes are ideal for this. Be sure shoes are not so loose that they
rub up and down on your feet, which will cause blisters the first day.
Also if they are too loose you'll lose them on rides where your feet
dangle. Sandals are not recommended as they are too loose and don't
protect the feet from dirt and sun exposure.
To prevent sweaty feet, which will eventually cause
chafing and blisters, wear socks with your shoes
and put baby powder in both your socks and your shoes.
It will absorb moisture and its anti-caking agent
assures that it will remain a powder all day. This
will keep your feet dry while allowing almost
frictionless movement within your shoes.
Wear no or minimal jewelry, especially loose items. On rides
you may lose them. Some things such as pins or earrings may cause injury,
especially on rides with over-the-shoulder restraints. There is always the
possibility of theft as well. Leave these items back at the hotel, and if
especially valuable, have them placed in the hotel safe -- or simply do
not travel with them.
Before entering the park, fill your gas tank, as there may not be
stations open when you leave at day's end; and if there are, they will
likely be swamped with park traffic.
Don't get your tank topped off! The sun's heat in an
open parking lot will expand the gasoline, spilling
it out the filler tube and wasting it.
- Face your vehicle east, and if possible lower the
seat backs on to the seats. Open all windows a centimeter for ventilation.
This way, heat problems will be reduced, and if the sun does shine inside,
only the seatbacks will be warmed. An alternative is to use one of those
large paper reflectors that fit in the windshield and rear window cavities.
Lock all valuables in the trunk, or stash them
under the seats if you have no trunk or own a pickup truck/cargo van. Put
heat sensitive items, especially audio/video tapes/discs, in the coolest
spot. Thieves are not likely to break in if there are no visible valuables
to tempt them.
If you have an expensive sound system, don't
advertise it. Place magazines, pillows, etc. over speakers with expensive
brand names showing, and hang something in front of the player if it can't
be removed for safe keeping. An open road or park map, strategically
placed, can serve this purpose. Make any coverings look as innocent as
Do not leave pets in your vehicle as they may die
from heat exhaustion. Leave them at a pet check if the park has one, or
better yet, do not bring them.
Bring two sets of vehicle keys and give the spare set
to someone else in your party. This means two people have vehicle access in
case one group wants to get in when the other is not to be found. It's also
an obvious asset should one set get lost. Put the keys in the least opened
pocket of your waist wallet. (See farther on for information regarding
Be sure to remember where you parked! Memo to your
phone or tablet, or write down the row name or number if the lots are
designated. Otherwise, remember or write down landmarks close to or in
line with your vehicle.
When accessing keys or other items, never stand over a storm
drain or near any openings or gulleys. You may lose those
items to an inaccessible place.
- KEEPING COOL:
Keeping cool will conserve your energy and keep you comfortable.
This allows you to do more at the park, and so get more out of your day.
Most of your park visits are likely to be during warm weather, so here
are some suggestions:
Drink Plenty of Water
Don't worry about frequent washroom trips - you'll
sweat most of it out. Note that water is preferred over carbonated
beverages. Since you'll be drinking a lot, soft drinks will cause
you to feel bloated (and also drain your wallet). As well, some
pop contains caffeine which dehydrates and leads to hyperactivity -
just what you want to avoid on a hot day. Alcohol is to be avoided
too. It does not really quench thirst, tends to increase the
sensation of body heat, and also causes dehydration.
Wear a Hat
Heat exhaustion is a possibility, so a light-coloured
hat is recommended to shade the head.
Seek shade or an air-conditioned theater when overheated.
Drink water with a mild amount of salt.
Use Moist Towelettes
They come in foil packages. Open one and wipe your face
and hands with it. This will cool you and clean some of the park
dirt off at the same time. Be sure to reapply sunblock after
Leanne DiLorenzo of
Ocean View, New Jersey
has the following "Keeping Cool" tips:
Carry a couple of locking style kitchen bags. Before you
leave for the park, put some ice cubes in one and a small
wash cloth in the other. By mid morning the ice will be
partly melted and the water from it very cold.
Dip the wash cloth in the water and
wet the back of the neck, the forehead, insides of the
wrists and elbows, and backs of the knees. Return the wash
cloth to the empty bag and re-seal both bags to avoid
Any time you are near a water source,
rinse out the cloth. If you buy a beverage and have ice left,
go to the nearest restroom, rinse the beverage ice under
clean water and replenish the ice in your bag. All of this
fits comfortably in my belt pack
Above All, Be Aware of
- Flushed Appearance
- Hot Dry Skin
- Extreme Thirst
- Reduced Sweating
- Increase in Body Temperature
In the extreme, these symptoms reflect
heat/sun stroke, and body temperature may exceed 40 degrees C (37
degrees is normal). Cool the victim and seek medical help immediately.
ITEMS to TAKE ALONG
Bring These With
You To the Park
- Picture Identification
- Money and Credit/Debit Cards
- Health Card (Within Canada)
- Insurance Card (Outside of Canada)
- Tight-Fitting Hat or Cap
- Eye Glasses with Strap
- Sun Glasses with Strap
- Sunblock Lotion
You may find some
of these might belong
under "Necessary Items"
- Hotel, Locker, or Vehicle Keys
- Spare Keys for the Above
- Contact Lenses and Support
- Spare Pairs of Glasses
- Medications Card or Bracelet
- Necessary Daily Medication
- Insect Repellant
- Chap Stick
- Moist Towelettes
- Comb or Brush
- Road Maps
- Anti Motion-Sickness Medication or Device
- Personal Items (Shampoo, Toothpaste, Tampons...)
- Camera (No Selfie Sticks!)
- Extra Film or Memory Cards
- Spare Batteries for Electronic Devices
- Charger for Above
- Voltage/Connectors Adaptor
- Waist Wallet (See Below)
- K-Way Jacket (See Farther On)
- Attractions Log (See Farther On)
Do not put these items in your pockets!
Pants pockets are a particular no-no.
Items will get bent, broken, or cause
you pain should you happen to land on
your keys the wrong way. Instead,
consider a Waist Wallet.
Park food is usually expensive, so think about bringing a
picnic lunch. Some parks even allow one to bring in such lunches
to the park. If not, get a re-entry pass, and then lunch in the
If you do decide to have a meal at the park,
compare the food stands with the restaurants. Food stands have a
pretty high markup and so a restaurant may be a better deal. Think
about buying a few large size orders and sharing, as opposed to each
having his own small meal.
It is a fact of modern, large amusement parks that one will have
to stand in line at some point. Here are some suggestions to avoid the
lines and what to do when you must wait in one:
Plan to Attend the Park on its Off Days
Call ahead to find when those days are most likely to be. Ask
about holidays. Contrary to what one might think, holidays are not
always as bad as might be expected because people stay away thinking
it will be crowded.
Check Promotions for Ride Discounts or Passes
Some parks will have product tie-ins. Ask the park
which product you can bring which will garner a ride pass or
reduced admission for an add-on attraction. Some may also
include line passes.
Be at the park before opening. Plan to ride the newest
attraction first before it becomes too long of a wait. Be sure to
enter the park at the gate closest to this attraction and call ahead
to be sure that particular gate will be open at that time. When the
park opens, head immediately to the newest attraction before the
line become excessive. Later in the day, that attraction will likely
have much longer wait times.
Attend the Park right after a Rainstorm
If the forecast calls for better weather later in the day,
go to the park. Many will not attend because of the rain. Attend
indoor attractions until the weather clears. This also applies when
already in a park and a rain squall occurs. After a short wait while
a ride dries, it will reopen with little or no line. You might also
consider riding flume or other wet rides during the rain unless it's
too cool to walk around wet.
Ride near Typical Meal Times
Many people are regimented and will eat around noon and at
about 5 PM. Attraction lines tend to be shorter then.
Try Queues just before Evening Admission Discount Time
Some parks have reduced admission prices for evening hours.
People will arrive just before the time this pricing starts and
will wait at the gate. If you can get rides in just before this
time, chances are the lines will be shorter. This is because some
of the day crowd will have gone home, but the evening crowd has not
yet been admitted to the park. After this time, numbers will
swell once again due to those evening patrons.
Use a Time-Dependent Pass
Some parks offer a time (line) pass whereby one may arrive
at a certain time later in the day for a given ride or attraction
and wait a shorter period for admission. These systems are still
controversial, with some reporting they work well and others not
having good experiences. You may want to try asking some of the
locals for their recommendations before trying a given park's
Use the Single-Rider Lines
Some attractions have a queue for single riders. This is
because some parties contain an odd number of people and one person
ends up alone in a car. It is good if that empty seat beside this
lone person could be filled. When these seats become available, a
person from the single-rider line is used to fill that position.
You won't have a choice of seats with this method, and will
be riding with a stranger, but it often means a shorter wait. This
works doubly well for attractions which have four or more seats
abreast. In some cases, two empty seats will be side by side. As
for the stranger, one can often meet fellow enthusiasts this way -
sometimes resulting in lasting friendships.
Start Conversations with Those around You
If you do end up in a line, you may often meet persons from
some far-away places, and learning about someone else's homeland or
area is always good as a time passer while waiting.
Bring a Video Game or Book
If conversation is not your forte, a small pocket
book/e-reader or portable video game can help pass the time. The
book should be something which would not be spoiled by an
interruption. The best titles for that are non-fiction or guide
books. The park brochures are a possible choice because you can
further plan your day.
Bring a Personal Organiser
Perhaps you'd like to be more productive in line. If so,
bring a personal organiser, palm-top computer or small tablet.
It's great for note taking, or if you keep a park diary, it's
a perfect time to type in your review of that last attraction.
Be sure that this item, or the video game mentioned above, has
a hard-shell case to protect it while you ride. Many cell phones
have some or all the features just mentioned; the hardshell case
recommendation still stands, though.
- WAIST WALLETS:
You may keep your stuff in a purse, or windbreaker pouch with a
zipper or velcro closure, but we suggest a waist wallet. It's like a purse
but has a locking strap that goes around your waist and is curved so it
hugs your body. This makes for hands-free usage and great security. A
purse or windbreaker is prone to being left somewhere, and has to be
carried at some point, which becomes a nuisance especially when walking,
eating an ice cream, and taking pictures at the same time.
Waist wallets are available in a number of styles
and materials but we recommend a waterproof nylon in a lighter color.
Nylon to repel water on the flume rides, and a lighter color to
prevent sun-baked contents. (This is especially important for those
still using film and video tape.) Not too light a color though, as
dirt will show - even on nylon.
Get one that has at least three zippered (not velcro)
compartments with internal dividers made of nylon. Stay away from vinyl
dividers; they tear easily. One compartment should be able to fit paper
money without folding and be the pocket at the back (against your body).
This way if you happen to leave it unzipped, the pressure of it against
you will likely keep your money and credit cards in place even on Drop
Rides! Also, it would be harder for pick-pockets to steal from this
compartment. It's important that your paper money be unfolded. With folded
money, you must remove the entire wad to make a purchase which can
contribute to loss, and it's an advertisement to thieves. Unfolded bills
can be riffled through and only the bill you require need be removed.
Regarding velcro enclosures: Steer clear of them.
They don't hold as well as a zipper and when they get dirty, they won't
stay closed at all. Even snap closures are as good as zippers.
One of the remaining two pockets can be used for a
small camera or cell phone, the other to hold the balance of items
suggested earlier. No Selfie Sticks, please! Many parks will not allow
them. Keep hotel, locker, and vehicle keys in the pocket opened least to
minimize the risk of loss. I actually use a waist wallet with five pockets.
In addition to the typical three, there are two smaller pockets, one at
each end of the main compartments. I use them to hold a chap stick and
Get the type with double zipper pulls. These can be
adjusted to zip/unzip from either direction which is handy if you wear the
waist wallet on your hip. With the option to zip/unzip from either
direction, there is no disadvantage to wearing it on one hip or the
Check the quality before you buy. Some have
poor materials and badly sewn seams that are prone to opening up with the
stress of the rides. The strap must be tightly attached to the purse and
should have a quality locking buckle that can be opened without fiddling.
This facilitates easy access to the money pocket.
Wear your wallet tightly enough to always be able
to feel it around your waist (but not so that it's uncomfortable), and
loose enough to access the rear pocket. When opening it, move away from
crowds to reduce the risk of theft. Do not stand near, or on, storm drains
and bridges, nor near gulleys. This will lessen the risk of loss should an
item be dropped.
- K-WAY JACKETS:
For those of you who don't like to get wet I
suggest a K-Way style of jacket. It is similar to a windbreaker in that
it's made from nylon and it has a pouch, but the nylon has been lightly
rubberized so it's waterproof. It has a hood with a drawstring around the
face and the bottom also has a drawstring at your waist so you are
pretty-well protected in a downpour or on a flume ride. I like it because
I can also use it to keep my camera dry.
The best part of it is that the hood rolls up into
a zippered compartment and by reversing the pouch, the jacket and hood can
be stuffed into it. There is a zippered closure, and on what is now the
outside of the pouch, two elasticized straps with a quick-closure
fastener. Therefore, it can be worn about the waist out of the way, but be
at the ready to protect you from moisture at a moment's notice. Plus, when
it is being worn around the waist the pouch becomes another handy storage
compartment. (Note that "K-Way" is a Canadian brand that may not be
imported to your country, therefore if your local store doesn't recognise
that brand name, try describing the above and they may have a similar
- ATTRACTIONS LOG:
This is something some members like to take on tour with them. It
consists of a folding pamphlet with spaces to write in the park name,
attraction name, and blocks to check off each time ridden. At the end of
a long tour you will be able to look back and see what attractions and
rides were done.
Below is a CEC Attractions Log
Designed by Rob Puchyr of Ottawa.
Interior of the Log
showing one of the
three unfolded panels.
END OF THE SEASON
Once you have stopped visiting parks for the year,
you should tie up loose ends and wind down your
park accessories. Then for the next season, you'll
be steps closer to being ready, and actually may
eliminate some work. Here are some tips which
should help towards that end.
- REMOVE MEDICINES:
From your trip cases or waist wallet, take out medicines and any
items which have a shelf life of less than a year. For any which you will
not be using throughout the off-season, they will have to be thrown out, or
in the case of medicines, return them to your local pharmacy for safe
disposal. Throwing these out, puts them into the environment, which is not
I suggest that even for those which can survive over
the off-season, that they be replaced, anyway. This gives fresh medicines
for your next park season. Don't forget to keep a list of those items which
must be replaced. Then be sure to arrange a calendar or computer reminder
for a date a few weeks before the start of the next season so that these
will get replaced.
- UNPACK CLOTHING:
This may seem logical, but some who have specific park
clothes sometimes forget about them once the last park has been
visited for the season. These, and any other personal items, should
be removed from their cases, laundered, and then returned to be ready
for the next season.
Before returning them, be sure to clean and air
out the cases/bags used to hold them. This is a chance to remove that
sticky candy about which you kept forgetting; it could only get worse
if left for the off season. Repairs may be made to all items at this
time. Lubricate locks, hinges and wheels. Don't leave all this to the
day before the start of next season!
Peruse all receipts. Some people throw them out, but I suggest
keeping them, not only for possible merchandise return purposes, but as
a record of what was bought and how much was spent. As well, they are a
record of which shops/booths were visited and in which park a specific
item was purchased. You may be happy to see these when looking back from
some far distant time. This leads to the next item...
For the true park-goer, all items are meaningful. Make them a
pleasure to look through in future times by putting them into a scrap
book. At the very least, get a file box and folders in which to place
each park's items. Again, at some distant time, you'll be happy to have
even the smallest reminder of a great (or even no-so-great) trip.
Doing this work now may seem tedious when all you would
rather do is to be basking in the afterglow of the season
just passed. However, a short bit of time spent here will
bring great rewards at the start of the next season when
most of your to-do items will have already been checked off!
Now See Park Etiquette
For Suggestions on How to Act
While in an Amusement Park