Amusement park manager, student suggests 8 tips for theme park season

Summer is just around the corner, which means roller coaster season is quickly approaching. For Brandan Howell, a sophomore interior design major, this means going back to work. 

Howell has worked at Holiday World, a theme park in Santa Claus, Ind., since he was 14 years old and has been a manager for the past five years. Howell shares his inside knowledge with these theme park tips and tricks:

1. Make the most out of May

For shorter wait times and smaller crowds, visit theme parks during the month of May. Most high schoolers are still in school, so visit on weekdays. Weather may be temperamental during the early months of summer, so dress accordingly.

2. Pack lightly

Lockers can rack up a hefty fee at theme parks. To escape the high prices, wear layers. Howell incorporates his bathing suit into his outfit if he plans to ride water rides. If bringing a bag is a must, bring a cheap drawstring bag you wouldn’t mind losing.

3. Eat beforehand

Food prices can be extremely inflated at amusement parks. Eat a meal before entering the park and after leaving. Try to only eat one meal inside the park or pack a lunch to eat in the parking lot if the park permits re-entering.

4. Keep up with deals

Many theme parks post deals on their websites or social media accounts. Stay up to date with what is happening in nearby parks. If ticket sales are low for a day, the park may offer last minute deals.

5. Buy a season pass

If you plan on visiting a theme park multiple times throughout the season, look into buying a season pass. To get the most out of a season pass, purchase it in the winter when prices are cheaper. Season passes usually offer perks too.

6. Plan a route

Map out which rides and attractions to hit first. Have a plan to avoid continuously walking back and forth.

7. Make it a trip

When traveling to a theme park far away from home, make a trip out of it. Find cool attractions to visit along the way. Take a couple days and hit up more than one theme park.

8. Look for cheap lodging

Hotels in and around theme parks can be awfully pricey. Instead, look for local lodging, such as smaller mom-and-pop hotels. To avoid hotels altogether, turn the experience into a camping trip. Find a local campsite and pitch a tent.

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