Theme Park Tips

Petree Forumite Posts: 139 Forumite
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



  • Free_time
    Free_time Forumite Posts: 10
    Part of the Furniture First Post Combo Breaker
    Thanks for your insight :).

    My tip would be that if you do not want to queue then avoid the peak days. On days when the kids are at school the parks are almost empty (as long as they don`t have school trips in). The first two weeks of the school holidays you will have to queue for hours. A quiet Sunday in October and the place could be all yours.
    something missing
  • ZoomZoom-man
    ZoomZoom-man Forumite Posts: 12 Forumite
    Petree nice to see someone helping out with great tips....good on ya !
    and yup my sympathies with you on the 'kicking off at the person behind the counter' syndrome, you're only doing your job at the end of the day.

    Cheers for the sensible tips !
  • Nile
    Nile Forumite, Ambassador Posts: 14,934
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Well done Petree. Thanks for taking the time to give your tips.
    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the 'I wanna' and 'In my home' and Health & Beauty'' boards.If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected] views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.10 Dec 2007 - Led Zeppelin - I was there. :j :cool2: I wear my 50 (gold/red/white) blood donations pin badge with pride. Give blood, save a life.
  • Petree
    Petree Forumite Posts: 139 Forumite
    ah petree blushes :-[

    Just trying to make up for the 47million tips i have stolen off here!
  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,030
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    Kids Go Free at Legoland! Save around £18!

    On Sunday, I got a voucher for free kid when you buy an adult ticket at Legoland, by buying a kids meal at Beefeater.

    Well worth a trip - went last year with a 4 year old and 8 year old!
  • riadom
    riadom Forumite Posts: 31
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Thanks for the tip

    How long are Beefeater running the promotion for?
    Treat everyday as your last one on earth! and one day you will be right. :rolleyes:
  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,030
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    Thanks for great tips.

    Does anyone have similar tips for visiting Disneyland Paris. I am taking family in July. Not sure if it's ;D or :-[
  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,030
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    Legoland tip - watch out for pre-Christmas factory sales. Last December I bought all my Christmas presents (for kids, I mean) at 50% discount from the factory shop and earned a free annual pass for this year for each £50 spent - so for £100 I got £200 worth of Christmas presents plus £100 worth of free annual passes. Annual passholders get other benefits too - so far, free tickets to a Blue gig to be held in September and £20 worth of free Lego for getting three stamps on a loyalty card. I take my 3-year old son most Wednesdays during termtime and we've never had to queue for anything yet! We take a picnic and bottles to fill up at the water fountains . . .
  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,030
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    Just a little note to say that sainsbu7rys full d=fat milk (not sure about the others) have got FREE child tickets to legoland on the cartons we are taking advantage this friday as the children have a teacher training day and hopefully the queues will not be too bad always best to take the children at the start or the end of the season
  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,030
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    Having just returned from a two week Florida holiday, can I recommend the excellent 'Brits Guide to Orlando' by Simon Veness. It will save you money and an enormous amount of time in organising your theme park visits. Also a good guide for preparing your trip in terms of tickets and car etc. It will become your bible for the holiday. You will still return exhausted and financially crippled but then you turn to Martin to help put the finances straight!!
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