Travel Tuesday, 5 theme park essentials for a better visit


During summer, theme parks are a popular destination. These 5 theme park essentials can make your day of thrills a more enjoyable one.

Once the final school bell rings, families are ready for their summer vacation. For many families, theme parks are a must visit. With the cost of a theme park ticket, everyone wants the entire day to be a memorable one. While the parks, themselves, focus on the ideal that every experience matters, 5 theme park essentials can help make the visit an even better one.

These 5 theme park essentials should be on anyone’s must bring list.

5 theme park essentials, photo by Cristine Struble

Plastic bag

Many people will probably have a plastic bag in their pantry. The same bag that you use for lunch or snacks can save your phone from a theme park disaster. Water rides, even walking near a splash zone, could spell disaster for your phone.

A small plastic bag can keep your phone dry throughout the day at the theme park. Most plastic bags even allow you to use the phone through the bag. Plus, since the bag isn’t bulky, you can still keep it on your pocket during the day.

Don’t leave a theme park with another expensive purchase. Keep your phone dry with a plastic bag.

5 theme park essentials, photo by Cristine Struble

Water bottle

Today, most people have a reusable water bottle. A day at the theme parks is often long and hot. Staying hydrated is important. But, buying bottled water can be expensive.

Bringing a reusable water bottle can ensure that everyone stays hydrated throughout the day. Many parks have water fountains throughout the park. Also, parks will provide tap water to guests free of charge at kiosks and/or restaurants.

One caveat, choose your water bottle wisely. Many theme parks do not allow glass containers into the park. Plastic water bottles or even collapsible water bottles work best. Also, a water bottle with a clip can be convenient.

Remember there is no excuse to become dehydrated.

5 theme park essentials, photo by Cristine Struble

Small Backpack

From sunscreen to keys to souvenirs, someone will have to carry it all. But, many theme parks required rider to carry nothing on the rides with them. All bags, phones, hats, etc. must be placed in a locker before joining a queue. A small backpack is key to a better theme park experience.

For theme parks with mandatory no items in the queue, the lockers near the rides are small. A small, almost collapsible bag can be easier to fit in the lockers. No one wants to be the rider left standing outside the ride as the designated bag holder.

Personally, I carry a High Sierra Pack-N-Go Sport Backpack. It offers a few zippered pockets. The bag is collapsible. And, if it gets wet, the bag dries quickly. I have been able to stuff this bag easily into lockers at Universal with even room to spare. Not only is this bag great for theme parks, it is a great travel bag too.

5 theme park essentials, photo by Cristine Struble


Summer sun can be draining. Don’t ruin your day at a theme park because you got sunburned. Sunscreen, applied often, is a must for any theme park visit.

Many queues are outside. Even with an express pass, you could spend many minutes waiting in line. No one wants the fun to end because her skin has turned the color of Spider-Man.

Personally, I like sunblock sticks for theme park visits. The stick is easily to put sunblock on arms, legs and even faces. Unlike a spray, you know can easily feel if you missed a spot. Plus, your hands don’t becomes a sticky mess with the lotion. I give everyone in our group their own personal stick, too. It can avoid fighting between siblings.

On your return home, make sure that your friends ask about the best rides not the burnt, painful look of your skin.

Star Wars Disney Hollywood Studios, photo by Cristine Struble


Long lines, tired children and hungry teenagers can turn into a cacophony of whining. By the end of the day, even the happiest place on earth can lose its luster. Patience isn’t a virtue at a theme park, it is a necessity.

An easy way to avoid meltdowns is to plan breaks. While leaving the theme park may not be an option, scheduled breaks during the day can help. A good idea is to take a 10 minute break after every third or fourth ride.

The break doesn’t have to be a 1 hour sitting and eating sugary drinks. Simply sitting in the shade or talking about a favorite part of a ride can be helpful. The breaks avoid the day becoming a list check-off experience and more a memorable experience. A few minutes between the sensory overload can help everyone maintain the patience with each other.

Next: Harry Potter Christmas coming to Universal

Theme parks want a guest’s day in the park to be a memorable one. From new immersive experiences to being more responsive to guests, theme parks know that experience matters. With these 5 theme park essentials, your next theme park experience will be better than ever.