With a little advance planning and strategizing, you can make this summer's trip to an amusement park one of your most thrilling adventures yet!

We recently announced the winners of this year’s Travelers’ Choice Amusement Parks, and to celebrate we’re sharing the best strategies from our community, travelers like you, for how to make the most of your visit. With a little advance planning and strategizing, you can make this summer’s trip to an amusement park one of your most thrilling adventures yet!

  1. Plan ahead by going to the park’s website for event times, attraction maps, restaurants, special discounts, and more.
  2. If possible, buy your tickets online in advance. In many cases, you’ll save both money and time, since several amusement parks offer online-discounted prices and allow you to print your tickets beforehand.
  3. Avoid peak times. Midweek is best, but Mondays and Tuesdays are often the least crowded. Unsurprisingly, weekends produce the most crowds.
  4. If you want to go on the most popular rides first, arrive early. Aim to be one of the first groups in line.
  5. Take a cooler with snacks, fruits and drinks–especially water–as they can get pricey at the park. Be sure to check in advance whether the park allows outside food and beverage, and if not, whether they allow re-admittance for those who wish to keep snacks in their vehicles  or at their nearby accommodation.

    Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls at Universal’s Islands of Adventure , the #1 amusement park in the world
  6. Only buy hot foods at the park. Alternatively, you can make sandwiches and take a cheese platter with cold meats with you. Also, since many amusement parks have shuttles that take visitors off-site, you can find cheaper eats on the park’s outskirts.
  7. Set a budget for each person in your group for souvenirs and food, and be sure to stick to it.
  8. Don’t forget sunscreen, a first-aid kit and moist towelettes. They’ll all definitely come in handy!
  9. Get on rides when events such as parades are happening. This is when a lot of visitors stop to watch, which means you’ll spend much less time waiting in lines.
  10. Don’t start with attractions and rides close to the main entrance. Take your time within the first hour you arrive to walk around and plan what you want to do, or make your way around the park counter clockwise.

    Jurassic Park–The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood
  11. Take advantage of the lines for single riders if you don’t have children with you–they move faster.
  12. Consider buying an express pass that allows you to skip the lines–it will definitely be worth it.
  13. Consider purchasing a multi-day pass if you’ll be vacationing for a few days. This gives you more time to see and do everything that the park has to offer, and they’re often cheaper than multiple, one-day tickets.
  14. Take advantage of Walt Disney World’s FastPass+ service, which allows you to reserve time slots for select rides and entertainment up to 30 days in advance online once you’ve purchased your ticket. That way, you can avoid long lines at the attractions you most want to experience–and best of all, it’s free!