As we visited so many parks this summer, and as I couldn’t partake in the adrenaline fuelled side of things – I learned a few things. Not just on my own either, at each ride there would be a group of us all vying for room on the comfiest rock (or bench, depending where you’re lucky enough to be) and talking about the woes of ride times, the joys of pregnancy and the delights of theme park fast food. Thanks to the women I met, I learned a few things and I have a few tips of my own to throw in, too!
HAVE A SEAT
Peering through the fence waiting to see the tortured look on your loved ones faces is all well and good, but six queues in you’ll have feet that are throbbing – make sure you prioritise yourself. Drayton Manor is amazing, you’ll find a bench every 12 feet there almost – I’d go back in a heartbeat. Alton Towers is a little more challenging, although they do line the flower beds with rocks – some better than others. Thorpe Park is middling – sometimes you have a rock, sometimes its jagged, sometimes you have a bench – you win some, you lose some.
TRY LOCATE THE RIDE EXIT
This isn’t always easy. Sometimes, ride entrances are a bazillion (no exaggeration) miles away from the exit point, so you sit expectantly waiting your ‘pack’ and they.. Never arrive. Or they do, and look disgruntled by the fact they’ve had to come find you, secure on your bench at the beginning of the themed zone.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE £7 CUP WITH UNLIMITED REFILLS
You can take this cup (and a receipt if you’ve opted to visit Thorpe Park) to any Quencher kiosk in the park and have it refilled with an ice cold beverage of your choosing. They cost £7, and visiting the store to purchase one is the first thing I do. Sitting around, you need to stay hydrated – toilets are never far when it comes to theme parks, so don’t feel you have to limit yourself until an hour and a half before you’re due to set off back home again. I always opt for ‘regular’ coke, as the sugars keep me going as I trail helplessly after an excited family!
TAKE A GOOD BOOK
Your phone battery isn’t going to last that Smiler queue, honey. Some parks do offer a charge point service, but this does cost money – so if you want to really make the most of your visit I’d take a good paperback.
LOOK AROUND YOU
A lot of theme parks pay great attention when it comes to details. Thorpe Park and Alton especially have wonderful area full of plants, and I always try and get some shots of the more.. Forgotten elements of the day. Remember: Alton Towers has a whole host of hidden gems
, as well as formal gardens and a Sealife
No room and you’re struggling? Just ask if you could squeeze onto a bench, or if you could perch on someone else’s rock. Everyone I encountered were more than willing to make some space – even if it took me three park visits and a lot of walking to build up the courage to ask someone if I could! This step also goes for asking where the nearest toilets are, where a particular ride exits, or even where you can find something specific to eat. You’ll be surprised how many people can point you in the right direction!
MAKE SURE YOU STAND BACK…
Oh yes, the joys of water rides!
These are the tips I want to pass on, and they’ve kept me sane through many summer trips to various parks this summer. Our Merlin Annual Passes have proven invaluable this year, even if I couldn’t really make the most of mine due to the pregnancy – I’ve made the most of my days in other ways!