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5 Amusement Park Mistakes to Avoid When Taking the Kiddos

Want your next trip with the kids to be a success? Avoid making these amusement park mistakes!

Going on a family adventure to a theme park is a joyous occasion filled with excitement, laughter, and unforgettable memories.

But, amid the whirlwind of fun, it’s easy to fall prey to common amusement park mistakes that can turn your fun day into a rollercoaster of challenges.

So, to help you out, Must See Places is here to navigate the exhilarating world of theme parks and reveal some amusement park mistakes to avoid the next time you take your kids or grandkids on a new adventure.

From strategic planning missteps to overlooked essentials, we’ll ensure your family outing remains a smooth and joy-filled experience.

Whether you’re a theme park enthusiast or a first-time visitor, our insights will help you dodge the pitfalls and make your family trip an absolute delight. Get ready to maximize the fun and minimize the stress. Don’t succumb to these 5 amusement park mistakes!

Amusement Park Mistake
Photo by Serhii Yevdokymov at Shutterstock

Amusement Park Mistake: Not knowing the park

The first time you look at a theme park map shouldn’t be when you enter the park. Familiarize yourself with what the park has to offer, and create a general idea of the route you want to take and the things you want to do.

Downloading the park app can be a massive help for avoiding this amusement park mistake. Here are some things to think about:

-Park hours and events: There might be a concert or special parade that day, or the park may close early for a special event. Park hours change daily.
-Ride heights and restrictions: Knowing this can help you avoid tantrums along the way.
-Lines: If you have to be there on a hectic day, consider getting special passes to skip the lines. Some theme parks allow three free passes per ticket daily, but they should be reserved as soon as you know when you’re going. Some have a general skip-the-line ticket for all rides, which will cost extra.
-First Aid stations: Note where they are if you need nausea or pain medicine.
-Restaurants: Look at menus to see what food your kids will eat, and go to that area around lunchtime.
-Nursing stations: These will be noted on the maps, normally next to the First Aid stations. They’re air-conditioned little havens and come with changing stations, chairs, and maybe even a microwave.
-A separation plan: Have a plan for older kids in case they get separated. Help them memorize your information ahead of time.

Amusement Park Mistake: Not scheduling ahead

Before you even step foot in an amusement park, the success of your day has already been determined mainly by your preparation… or should we say lack thereof. For those who aren’t big on planning ahead, don’t let this amusement park mistake cause you despair.

It’s simpler than you might think! You need to focus on three main things ahead of time to get the most out of your days in the park and the most bang for your buck.

If your kids aren’t yet in school, you’re in an elite group who aren’t at the mercy of spring and summer break schedules. We recommend using that to your advantage. If you want to visit theme parks when the weather is best and attendance is low, your best options are:

-Early November
-The first week of December
-January and February

And remember, if you want to avoid crowds, you’ll want to avoid July and the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s.

Amusement Park Mistake
Photo by DuxX at Shutterstock

Amusement Park Mistake: Having too many expectations

Whatever expectations you might have…lower them. You know that long grocery shopping trip on the weekends with all the crowds? This is going to make that look like a walk in the park. First, don’t forget that you’re there to have FUN!

Rushing everything will just make everyone cranky. Kids don’t always remember everything they did. But they WILL remember how they felt in these moments. Here’s what you SHOULD plan for:

-Don’t be afraid to chuck plans out the window: Children have a different idea of fun. They might like hanging out in one area longer rather than trying to go on every single ride.
-Pace yourself: There’s little chance you’ll be able to see everything. Between lines and the slow pace of younger kids, try to pick a few big things you want to see and go with the flow the rest of the time.
-Plan for recovery time.: A full day at the park will wear you out. Give yourself a day to hang out in the hotel. Many around theme parks are fun and have some fantastic pools.
-Don’t expect the weather to cooperate: It may be hot or rainy, but if you do it right, you can still have fun. Pro Tip: Rainy days are generally when all the local pass holders flock to the parks. Why? Cooler weather, low wait times, and smaller crowds. Get some ponchos, then take a snack break or see an inside show while waiting for the rain to simmer down.

Amusement Park Mistake: Not Packing Like a Genius

Once you walk through those gates, it’s go time. You won’t want to pause to look for water shoes while your child cries because she wants to splash in the water.

While you can likely buy almost anything you need at the park, packing right will help you avoid this amusement park mistake. Here are some helpful items you’ll be glad you brought to the park with you:

-Water/Sandals/Shoes: Splash areas often require shoes.
-Hand-held misting fan: And some extra batteries.
-Basic medical kit: It should include Band-Aids, Neosporin, and Tylenol.
-Insulated water bottles: Cold water helps. You can buy them in the park…but it might cost an arm and a leg!
-Clip-on reusable wet wipes: Wipes may be the biggest thing you use most in the park. So keep it handy.
-Sunscreen: Even if it’s going to be overcast or you think you might only be there for a couple of hours, prevention for your family will save you days of suffering.
-Mommy Hook: Keeps all your extras handy, including your water bottles.
LILLEbaby Carrier: While you might have the stroller with you most of the time, you can’t take it in lines or at some shows.
-Backpack Diaper Bag: It’s easy to access while being strapped to the stroller. It doesn’t hang down so far, it’s water resistant, durable, and has pockets for everything!

Amusement Park Mistake
Photo by Ground Picture at Shutterstock

Amusement Park Mistake: Not having a plan for that inevitable meltdown

The combination of sugar, exhaustion, and excitement is a volatile blend for any family. Expect meltdowns…and not just from the kiddos. How will you deal with the grouchiness, meltdowns, and unreasonable demands? Don’t just deal with the outburst.

Focus on the root cause. And consider realistic discipline options ahead of time, recognizing that they’ll need extra chances as their little brains will be on overdrive.

Whatever your plan, have grace with them AND with yourself. Here are some possible scenarios you can plan for:

-Are they tired? Plan on some breaks or a nap if possible.
-Are they hungry? Stop and give them a snack.
-Do you need a time-out? Work with your spouse to give each other some alone time to get a breather.-
-Do the kids freak out when you say no to a ride for the 15th time? Take a time-out in an air-conditioned place.

Be sure to share your own amusement park mistakes with our readers if you’ve ever had any. And if you liked this article, Must See Places also recommends reading: These Are America’s 4 Best Places for a Quick Vacation

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