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Amusement Park Season is here

- Caroline

The calendar says mid June; schools are out for summer vacation; and amusement parks certainly are open for business! If you’re a northern, like myself, you truly appreciate the summer months because you only have MONTHS of summer, unlike the sunshine state that can explore Disney all YEAR long. Bitterness aside, there’s lots to talk about with summer. I’ll  start with amusement parks, a classic summer hangout.

So much Amusement, how do I enjoy the Park?  Have you ever gone to an amusement park for the first time, picked up the map and the schedule of showtimes and thought “Where do I begin?!” There is lots going on at most parks I’ve been to – it’s not a bad idea to do some research before. Not the boring research that teachers ask from you all year round, the fun kind where you check out pictures, videos, and other cool things the park might post online. If you do that first, you’ll walk into the park knowing exactly what you HAVE to do/see/ride before you leave.

Is there a 30 minute rule, like with swimming?  You’ve heard the saying “wait 30 minutes after eating before you get into the pool” well I would advise the same standards when it comes to lunch time and coasters. When it comes to food and the park I like to bring my own snacks and then eat my real meal afterwards. Not all parks will let you bring food and drinks into the park, so I pack a cooler filled with ice, water bottles and juice boxes. Then I also bring snacks that won’t melt all day sitting in the hot car – things like chips, pretzels, twizzlers, or dried fruit. At one point throughout the day we’ll get our hand stamped (so we can enter the park again) and go to our car for snacks/drinks. This also saves you from spending $3 on a water bottle inside the park! I’ve also noticed that most restaurants, including fast food, that are located within a couple miles outside of the park will stay open 1 hour after the park closes. This assures that you can stay until the end and still be able to find a bite to eat afterwards.

All day or Half a day – that is the question. There’s always 2 different crowds at an amusement park – the bright and early, before the park opens people, and then those who come a little later but make sure to shut the park down – not a ride will still be running when these people leave. So what’s the best plan for you and your family? Well the first thing to ask yourself; Are you a morning person or a night owl? I’ve always been more of a night owl and love closing the park down after riding a coaster in the dark! But I see the benefit of arriving at a park in the morning before the lines get too long. Whichever you pick, I would plan for that type of day.

  • Park wakers – try to get there as early as you can so you do in fact beat the rush, get the best parking spots and get the most value for your ticket price. But remember the sun will make you tired – so stock up on water and snacks and think about if you want to ride a wet ride or two.
  •  Park closers – check to see if there are any discounts offered after a certain time of day at the park. Grab lunch before you get to the park so you don’t have to spend money upon arrival and you can focus on riding the rides or seeing the shows. Pack for the weather – once the sun goes down it does get cool out. And when you’re traveling at high speeds the wind will make you chilly, grab a sweat shirt – or at least keep it in the car.

Whatever Amusement Park you visit this summer – hang on tight and enjoy the ride!

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