Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

My first time to a Theme Park...... any tips?

Leann Allred
Submitted by Leann Allred
Published: April 27, 2014 at 9:33 PM

Hi all!

I am 25 years old and never been to a theme park. I know that sounds weird but do me a favor and don't laugh too loudly. Sounds can travel through your phone & I'm slightly embarrassed....... ;)

Growing up we never really had the money to spend to do special things. However I am a major Harry Potter fan and after saving up money that I would've spent on milestone birthday parties I finally saved up enough to take myself and my aunt (who is also a huge Harry Potter fan) to Universal Studios for five days and Walt Disney World for two days.

I did a lot of research prior to booking anything which is when I came across themeparkinsider.com & I must say the information that I received here was far more in-depth and helpful to me then anything else out there!

I purchased the theme park insider: Orlando 2014 (amazing book!!!!) and the stories from a theme park insider (seriously could not stop laughing!) and they have helped in more than ways than one!!

However I was wondering if there were any other tips that I might need to know being a newbie to this magical new world of theme parks.

Right now our plans are to stay at the Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal and I purchased the Orlando flex ticket so that we can also go see Seaworld, aquatica, and wet and wild. After universal we will be staying at the Port Orleans resort - French quarter near EPCOT. I also chose the park hopper for Walt Disney world because I want to be free to explore different areas.

We will be traveling by train. I really don't think that people on the East Coast realize how helpful it can be at times to take the train instead of a plane or car. I have weighted all the pros and cons and everything seems to work out much better on the train. My aunt easily gets sick on the plane and we live in North Carolina so that's almost a 10 hr drive depending on traffic. So from where we live the train will leave in the evening and we will have a sleeper car which comes with free meals (and the food on trains is wonderful!) and it is a 12 hour trip so we will get there at the same time next morning. Our bags get put in our room and we don't have to pay extra for them. The Mears transportation service also does pick up from the train station and will take you where you need to go. If you're staying on site this might be one of your best bets.

I've always said I prefer a train over a plane any day! Think of it this way the train is on tracks close to the ground, if something happens you can jump off! In a plane......... You ain't going to see me jumpin' !!!!!!

Really any tips or tricks you might have will be greatly appreciated and helpful as I am flying blind here :)

Thank you so much and I hope for this to be a great start on wonderful new adventures with the theme park insider family!!!

Please take a moment to share this post, and encourage others to reply!

From cynthia henisey on April 27, 2014 at 11:25 PM

#1 Bring a good pair of walking shoes and a good attitude! Take lots of pictures. Ask cast members questions. Have fun!

From Jay R. on April 28, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Relax & enjoy yourself!!

There is alot to do, so try not to become overwhelmed & frustrated. Take your time, take small breaks if you find yourself getting worn out.

From luca ferracuti on April 28, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Enjoy a lot it will be great to be to your first theme park specially in Orlando!!

Im also staying at port orleans (but riverside)

Ok I recomend to stay about 1 1/2 in animal kingdom and 2 days in EPCOT and DHS, stay 2-3 days in magic kingdom

seaworld is really fun but its not all of animals you can ride my some of my personal best (Manta and Kraken) 1 day in there

USF has lots of great movie rides (but I still like more DHS) and the rip ride rocket 2 days is OK.

IOA is my 2nd favorite theme park there you can stay 3 days and you still have more to do.

Sleep well. I know that this might sound "mom like" but its true, if you sleep well the next day you can go to better roller coasters.

I think you shouldn't start your trip with a intense ride (since its your first time). Start with Shrek 4D, the simpsons ride, and then you start to go to water rides and than roller coasters (since in USF resort there are mostly intense roller coasters)

finally have a great time, find rides that you like, and have a great first time theme park trip!!!!!

Good Trip!!!

From Tim Hillman on April 29, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Sounds like you're doing it right, Leann.

Since you're staying on site at Universal and have the front of the line access, five days at the Universal Orlando Resort may be a bit much. Depending on the time of year that you are going, and even with the summer crowds due to the opening of Diagon Alley, three days should give you enough time to fully enjoy USF and IOA at a leisurely pace with all of the re-rides that you desire.

Since you have the Orlando flex ticket, I'm going to assume that you plan on spending the other 2 days of the Portofino stay at SeaWorld and one of the water parks. That should be fun, but unless you're a big roller coaster fan or a big fan of animal parks, SeaWorld may be a bit of a disappointment. It is a really nice park, but once you get to Disney World you may wish that you had allotted more time to the Disney parks.

A first time visit to the Magic Kingdom is a 2-day affair, with Epcot also requiring 2 days to fully enjoy. Animal Kingdom and Disney Hollywood Studios can both be enjoyed on a day each. Trying to cover the highlights of all 4 parks on a 2-day Park Hopper pass may be exhilarating, but you will definitely be left with a sense of wanting more.

The best advice I can give you for the Disney parks is, if you haven't already done it, to get set up on "My Disney Experience," and get your FastPasses.

From Brian Emery on April 30, 2014 at 6:55 AM

Well Hello Leeann, How are Ya’ll doing….?

You sound very positive and excited. I am excited for you. I did not go to a major theme park until I was 38. Sure we hit local parks but not a Theme Park. And I have been going every year since. We use to go to Vegas, but now we go to Orlando.

Universal is the best. Disney is great but for me, Universal is awesome. IOA is my favorite park followed by Busch Gardens in Tampa. We just came back from Universal where we hit IOA twice and USF once.

We had several Butter Beers, chocolate frogs and Every Flavour Beans… Since there are some water rides in IOA we like to put our mobile phone and money in a plastic bag to ensure they stay dry. Yes you can get soaked on a few rides.

HogsMead at Wizarding World of HP is the Best themed area anywhere. You will want to take some time to just sit and enjoy what they have built. Simply fantastic. The ride Queue for Forbidden journey is almost indescribable, you have to experience it.

I would also say look at Orlando Informer web site. It is all about Universal. And follow him on Twitter.

Have a great Trip and make sure you come back here and post a trip report.

From Shirlry Davis on May 26, 2014 at 6:35 PM

Not sure of your aunt's age, but you might concidered renting a ECV (Electric chair vehicle). When purchased off-site is reasonable and same your feet. I only sent $30/day to rent and it waste best money I spent.

From Tim Hillman on May 27, 2014 at 4:47 AM

I'm shaking my head in considerable disagreement at that last post. Leann, unless your aunt has a disability and cannot stand and walk for extended periods of time, do NOT get one of those infernal ECVs. Age is never an excuse for parking your butt in a seat and looking like an extra from Wall-E.

If you are planning a trip to a theme park, and you aren't in the best of shape, you should start with short walks around the neighborhood until you can handle the standing and walking required of a trip to a theme park. You'll save money, it'll be good for your health, and you won't crowd up the park.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Planning a trip to Orlando?

Walt Disney World

Insider's Pick: Get all the best advice from ThemeParkInsider.com in one convenient book! Theme Park Insider Orlando 2014 offers you the insight, background, and how-to skills that will help you enjoy Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando like, well, a theme park insider. Save yourself time and money by learning how to visit the Orlando-area theme parks the insiders' way.

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks