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  • FIRST POST
    Petree
    147 WOW
    Theme Park Tips
    • #1
    • 7th Jun 04, 9:20 PM
    147 WOW
    Theme Park Tips 7th Jun 04 at 9:20 PM
    I work at a major themepark and thought i would pass on some tips for you all.

    Firstly.... Never Prebook, ever, ever. You book a nice day in june and save maybe £2 a ticket, yet you spend £50 extra on food since it chucks it down and you sit in the restaurant all day.

    Saying that, ring up the park and ask them to send you a map, say your thinking about a group visit and plan your day, military style if possible, it cuts down on screaming kids if you tell them in 20 minutes they will be in such and such. Remember to allow for queue time.

    Nobody should pay full price to get in, there are offers in every newspaper, with 1/2 the supermarket stock, nectar, clubcard all of them, most of these vouchers last all year so if you see one, cut it out.

    Another big thing is height restrictions, if the map says 1.3m then get out your meter stick (with shoes remember) if you've lined up for an hour only to be told someone is too short it's not fun.

    If your relativly nearby then ring the park about an hour after it opens and ask them how many people are in (last sun we only had 5000 (empty) no reason why), then go and you will get round easily.

    Check the operating calendar, arrive a half hour late, and you will breeze in the entrance, preferable spend this half hour in the car eating, which brings me to the next point.

    Go to lunch after two, we have a huge rush 12-2 when around 3000 people come through our restaurant, 2:15 we have maybe 8 customers seated and none ordering.

    Buy the special plastic cups, ours are £4, but contain ~£3 worth of drink, refils are £1.50 so just fill and then dish it out into cups, you can do this all year with the same cup (keep your reciept though)

    If you bring your own baby food, don't ask for hot water we really can't give it out, we've been sued already. Most places have a microwave, ask.

    If you can get the kids out a half hour early, its a money saving in the long run as you won't be in hours of traffic wasting petrol, and most of the kids are tired by closing time anyhow.

    If you have a specific ride you or they 'need' to go on, then run to it, even if you arrive a half hour late you will prob beat most there, get it over and done with and your day is free to wander.

    If your kid has certain restriction, such as no nuts/gluten/dairy you will really need to bring your own food, people expect us to have gluten free everything, i can't even find it in tesco, similarly with nuts, every product says "may contain traces", its unfortunate, but until they sort it out we can't either.

    Look at the map and find which restaurant does what you want, every person coming to our restaurant expects us to do chips, we don't in fact only two places in the whole park do, save the arguments with kids and fuss by looking first.

    If you trust them, split the age groups, let the 10+ go round on their own (with mobile pref), and mum and dad take the younger, you get to go on the tea cups, they get the super ride, these places really are safe, we haven't lost a kid ever, obviously up to maturity of your kids though...

    Annual passes make their money back by you buying food and toys which i'm sure most money savers can avoid, though we give food discount with passes, work out the cost of the pass and how many visits you need to make and most people can easily earn it back, also if your nearby, you can pop in for an hour or two when you have the grandkids or whatever, couple of rides then home again for lunch, only cost is the petrol.

    'Age' the park

    Chessington and Legoland are for those under 10, ideally under 5

    Thorpe and Alton for 14+ (heights change this somewhat)

    If you have 14 year olds don't take them to Legoland, they will get bored, and 5 year olds at Thorpe will be confined to the merry go round. If you have an range of kids, then do two visits, leaving the other at home.

    Above all else, remember when your server gets confused, don't think he's stupid as he is prob doing his Uni Course, or his A Levels and we can converse, and don't have a go at them for portion sizes, or price as this has nothing to do with us, and forms are usually available for compliments/complaints. We get bonuses when people fill in the comments cards saying we were good.

    Above all have a great day, and try not to do everything all in one go, you can come back again!

    Hope this helps

    Petree
    Last edited by Petree; 27-11-2007 at 8:55 PM. Reason: Updating for new season
Page 12
    • Sarah715
    • By Sarah715 31st Oct 12, 5:23 PM
    • 127 Posts
    • 1,071 Thanks
    Sarah715
    I find that the different parks are great depending on age group. Alton Towers and Thorpe park are better for teenagers and young adults whereas Chessington and Legoland, for example, are catered more towards younger children. All are a great day out though!
  • jetsetterjoe
    This is some really great information and a great discussion in general - people have raised some really interesting points. What does everyone thing about the future of the theme park in general?

    I remember when I was much, much younger, the allure of a theme-park was impossibly difficult to resist. Do kids today feel the same way about these things with such ready access to video games and other forms of quick-hit entertainment?
    • meer53
    • By meer53 4th Dec 12, 5:51 PM
    • 8,373 Posts
    • 11,943 Thanks
    meer53
    Once we'd been to Florida my kids weren't interested in UK theme parks. Some of the newer rides in the UK parks may compare with the ones in the US but the whole theme park experience here leaves much to be desired ! Food, cleanliness, staff attitude, facilities here are dreadful.

    I once (many years ago)took my daughter and my MIL to Flamingoland, we entered a cafe at 10.55 am, went to the counter to order a cup of tea for my MIL and was abruptly told "we don't open until 11" Customer service at it's best. The litter fairy had also paid the park a visit on the day we went, i've never seen so much rubbish.

    I think kids these days still like the experience of the theme parks. But i also think parents dread the thought of paying to get them there !

    It's not a cheap day out, with the prices they charge i think a bit more effort would make people feel that they're good value for money. A family ticket for 2 adults and 3 kids to Alton Towers in the school holidays is a massive £146 ! That's without travel there and back and food or drinks.
  • jetsetterjoe
    Thanks for that insight! - Not having kids myself, it's difficult to assess these things.

    Flamingoland looks interesting - I've never heard of it before. Tea and litter aside, was it a worthwhile experience?
    • meer53
    • By meer53 5th Dec 12, 8:49 PM
    • 8,373 Posts
    • 11,943 Thanks
    meer53
    Thanks for that insight! - Not having kids myself, it's difficult to assess these things.

    Flamingoland looks interesting - I've never heard of it before. Tea and litter aside, was it a worthwhile experience?
    Originally posted by jetsetterjoe
    We live near Leeds so Mingoland (as my daughter used to call it when she was small) isn't too far away. We've not been for years, i've never felt the urge to go again, we're off to Florida again next year for the 5th time. It's really popular though so i suppose it must be ok.

    I prefer Lightwater Valley, again, close to us, not as many big rides as Mingoland but a bit better looked after.

    If you've never been to Florida, and plan to go at some stage, i'd suggest visiting all the UK theme parks before you go. In my experience nothing can compare to the parks in the US, not just the rides, the whole experience. It's not just the weather either as a lot of the really good rides in Florida are indoors.
  • corvo12
    Thanks for the great advice! I love the theme park but hate the lengthy queues, one thing me and my fiancee do is go single riders to speed up the queuing time. Obviously I know not everyone can do that but it saves some major time on queuing too. Thanks again
    • louby40
    • By louby40 19th Jan 13, 8:58 AM
    • 556 Posts
    • 1,308 Thanks
    louby40
    Another tip to avoid queing for the popular rides is to go into the 'single rider' que.

    My 2 boys went on Oblivion (Alton Towers) 11 times one after another during October half term. Sometimes they didn't sit together, sometimes they did but they didn't mind either way!

    We also take a packed lunch, pay for a locker (cheaper than buying food) and then eat it in the park.

    Lou
    Dec 16 Barclaycard £73 0% First Direct £1179 0% Parents £2125=£3377
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    • mew
    • By mew 13th Jun 13, 12:08 AM
    • 998 Posts
    • 1,223 Thanks
    mew
    We live near Leeds so Mingoland (as my daughter used to call it when she was small) isn't too far away. We've not been for years, i've never felt the urge to go again, we're off to Florida again next year for the 5th time. It's really popular though so i suppose it must be ok.

    I prefer Lightwater Valley, again, close to us, not as many big rides as Mingoland but a bit better looked after.

    If you've never been to Florida, and plan to go at some stage, i'd suggest visiting all the UK theme parks before you go. In my experience nothing can compare to the parks in the US, not just the rides, the whole experience. It's not just the weather either as a lot of the really good rides in Florida are indoors.
    Originally posted by meer53
    While the customer service hasn't improved at Flamingo Land, it`s an amazing theme park that has been transformed into one of the best UK theme parks in recent years. There's amazing rides, a good zoo and OK shows. While it probably won't compare to parks abroad, it much nicer than similar parks such as Drayton Manor, Camelot, Blackpool and Lightwater Valley.
  • stavros42
    Legoland
    Just a warning to all the people buying the free SUN legoland tickets on eBay, if the barcode number is showing in any of the pictures Legoland are cancelling these tickets. You have been warned its in their T&Cs
  • Millysunflower
    Good evening all,
    I'm planning a special trip to legoland Windsor with the hubby and kids this August. We have saved hard and can afford the merlin annual pass (squeals with delight!). But I could do with some advice.
    We're looking for a cheap place to crash for three nights, prepared to drive 40 mins to legoland in the mornings/evenings. Any ideas??

    Also does anyone have any tips for attacking the park in the military style fashion!? (I like to be ridiculously prepared!)

    And finally.... Eating? Shall we have a late tea in the park? Or find a (whispers) McDonald's!?

    Many thanks in advance,
    All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost.
    • tulip12
    • By tulip12 10th Jul 13, 10:55 PM
    • 313 Posts
    • 582 Thanks
    tulip12
    Drayton Manor Park
    Hi

    does anyone know of any discounts around at the moment for Drayton Manor Park and Zoo? my daughter is hoping to go tomorrow with a friend. Thanks so much for any replies Tulip
  • converted-lurker
    MillySunflower

    Within a 40 min drive you will have loads of choice of accommodation. Have a look at premier inn and Travelodge etc for deals near Windsor, I think there is one in Slough which might be cheaper as Windsor is an expensive area. Sorry cant recommend anything specific as we live 1 hr away so drive in.

    We normally go to mcdonalds Windsor afterwards and you will see loads of people with LEGOLAND carrier bags in there! We pay for parking in a car park near by as it is in central Windsor, just across from the castle. Sorry cant remember how much but it works out cheaper going there than staying in LEGOLAND to eat for a family of 4.

    Have fun
  • Millysunflower
    Thankyou
    MillySunflower

    Within a 40 min drive you will have loads of choice of accommodation. Have a look at premier inn and Travelodge etc for deals near Windsor, I think there is one in Slough which might be cheaper as Windsor is an expensive area. Sorry cant recommend anything specific as we live 1 hr away so drive in.

    We normally go to mcdonalds Windsor afterwards and you will see loads of people with LEGOLAND carrier bags in there! We pay for parking in a car park near by as it is in central Windsor, just across from the castle. Sorry cant remember how much but it works out cheaper going there than staying in LEGOLAND to eat for a family of 4.

    Have fun
    Originally posted by converted-lurker
    Thankyou for your advice, I'm looking weybridge as that seems cheaper and is only 15 miles away. We will take your advice and eat at mcD's... The kids will be thrilled!!

    Milly
    All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost.
    • LadyCoupon
    • By LadyCoupon 31st Jul 13, 6:02 AM
    • 676 Posts
    • 5,164 Thanks
    LadyCoupon
    Me, hubby and our two kids both teenagers are off to Alton Towers for the day within the next few weeks. About a 3-4 hour drive for us, but we love it. Will be taking a packed lunch to save money, but a few years since we have been, Rita Queen of Speed was quite a new ride when we were last there, so a few new rides to try out, we love Alton Towers.
  • Little Saver
    You can get fast track tickets - worth the extra cost as you can jump the queues! Also take exciting food with you - cold pizza is my families fav. you save a lot of money bringing your own and avoid the kids complaining if it's their favorites,
    • hogshead
    • By hogshead 18th Aug 13, 10:13 AM
    • 2,199 Posts
    • 11,057 Thanks
    hogshead
    Can someone confirm the refil drinks deal at Alton Towers in that how much to buy & are the refils really free of is there additional charges for each refil?

    Thanks
    • sarah_id1
    • By sarah_id1 28th Aug 13, 11:20 AM
    • 318 Posts
    • 36 Thanks
    sarah_id1
    What's the best offer for chessington park? We are 2 adult , 1 child and 1 baby (18 month).

    Are babies (18 month old) go free?
    • priorslee
    • By priorslee 29th Sep 13, 5:34 PM
    • 1,594 Posts
    • 365,058 Thanks
    priorslee
    A couple of minor tips for Drayton Manor:

    1. if you are printing Tesco DM tickets at home, don't print it any smaller than A4. The setting on my printer was set at 2 pages per sheet (ie A5) and the bar code was so small the DM scanner couldn't read it. Had to go to their office. log into my email and reprint (wasting about 10 minutes).

    2. in theory DM charge £3 for parking; however, in practice there don't appear to be any checks that you've bought a parking ticket. That was the case as we left at about 4pm. I'm not suggesting that you don't buy one, but just mentioning it here in case anyone's interested!
  • Bailey12
    hey thanks for your great tips!.
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