the water, ferris wheel and roller coaster of Disneyland's California Adventures Theme Park

Planning a Theme Park Vacation

Planning a Theme Park Vacation Pin
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Every type of trip has its own set of requirements that need to be thought through in advance. Theme Parks offer many adventures, so there’s definitely some planning and research that needs to be done beforehand. Unlike a tropical beach vacation or roaming in a European city, theme parks serve a unique, particular interest. So, what are some of these things you need to consider before you go?


Attractions

The first and most important thing to check with any theme park is the number of attractions that your family can participate in.  Rides and attractions come in all sorts of different shapes, sizes, and types — which makes their height restrictions as unique as they are.  It’s important to confirm that your chosen park has enough attractions for your family. This information is typically on the theme parks website. And checking it in advance can ensure your kids are tall enough to ride the attractions they are most excited about.

Height is not the only consideration. It’s also important to take a preview of the rides and discover the ones that your family will enjoy the most. Some people love intense roller coasters and spinning attractions. But, if you have family members who are afraid of specific ride types or get motion sickness in 3D theaters, it’s important to check in advance.

[Photo Credit: Liz via Shared Adventures Travel]

Special Dates

The next thing to check is if there are any special events or holiday functions during your preferred travel dates.  Many parks now feature special events year-round. You can celebrate the seasons, holidays, and special park events with them, and enjoy the added excitement. Or choose a quieter time to visit.  

Whether you visit Disney World in the fall for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival or Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, these events change the theme park experience. Some events, especially the holiday ones, tend to close the parks early unless you have pre-booked a special ticket. This makes the exciting experience more exclusive but requires a little more advanced planning.

[Photo Credit: Brian Mcgowan via Unsplash]

Whether or not you plan to participate in these special events, it’s very important to know when they will impact the park schedules.  If you aren’t familiar with a specific event, make sure to check the park website. Or ask your travel advisor who can explain the potential changes in the park and experience.

Location

Once you have a feel for the park’s attractions, entertainment, and special events, the next step is to consider the park’s geographic location.  Some parks are open year-round while others are only open during the summer season.  In addition to those general opening dates, the time of year can also affect the availability of specific experiences and attractions. 

For example, many people do not want to ride a river rapids attraction in early May at Hershey Park due to the colder temperatures. However, most people will gladly ride the same attraction at Disney World since it’s much warmer in Florida. Take a look at the geography and general weather averages. Consider how this may affect the parks and attractions, and how you can best enjoy your downtime together.

[Photo Credit: Liz via Shared Adventures Travel]

Don’t forget to consider how you might fill the extra time other than the resort/hotel pool, particularly if it’s cold.  Not everyone is comfortable swimming in a heated outdoor pool when it’s only 60 degrees outside.

Talk to an Advisor

Given the large amount of planning and research that goes into a theme park vacation, we are here to help you navigate through it all. If you like, you can do some basic research on your own prior to planning with your advisor.  Or you can call us right at the starting point, and let us guide you through it.

Remember, theme parks are an exhilarating, unique type of vacation. And they require much more planning before, leading up to, and even during travel.  The good news is we will be by your side every step during the booking process.  We will review the various amenities, offerings, and perks at each theme park destination, and will always make sure you are well-prepared for the trip.  Are you ready to plan your next theme park vacation?

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You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)