Water is your best friend on a theme park visit

June 23, 2010, 2:14 PM · Spending a few days in Central Florida last week reminded me how crucial water is to enjoying a theme park vacation.

WaterWater not only helps keep you cool, it protects your skin from damage in the sun. Best of all, it's cheap - even free. Every family visiting a theme park this summer should make water a part of its vacation strategy.

Here are some tips for how you can use water to help you have a more enjoyable theme park vacation.

Start drinking extra water two days before your trip
If you wait until you are thirsty to start drinking, you're already too late. Your body needs to be well-hydrated before you start your theme park day. Drinking extra water a couple days before your visit with help your body to "store up" and get in balance with its water needs.

Select a water bottle to bring to the park
All parks will allow you to bring a water bottle inside the gates. Having your own, resealable water bottle not only saves waste, it allow you to have water whenever and wherever to need it in the park. I use a Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle, because it doesn't affect the taste of water as reusable plastic bottles sometimes can. (See our previous article on packing a backpack or sack for a theme park trip for more tips.)

Fill your bottle with ice on the morning of your trip
The ice melts, giving you a supply of fresh, cold water in the morning before you get to a soda cell or fountain to refill later in the day.

Take advantage of free refills
I've not yet found anyone in a theme park who denied me a chance to refill my water bottle. Some parks, such as Dollywood, take the initiative in pushing free water at their guests on hot days. But any park will allow you to refill at a public soda cell, or a water fountain. If a park's soda fountains are located behind the counter, many park employees still will refill your bottle, if you ask nicely. (Not all, though, so don't get upset if someone says no. Just try elsewhere.)

Drink water with every meal
This is great cost-saving advice for anyone past their teen years. (If you're younger than that, drink milk.) You don't need the calories, caffeine, sweetener (real or fake), or expense of soft drinks, juices, slushies or other sweet drinks. Water will do fine.

You especially don't need the extra expense, dehydrating effect, or brain-numbing of alcohol. If you drink, save it for home or hotel, after your day in the park.

Drink water at least once in between each meal
That means at least once between breakfast and lunch, at least once (ideally two or three times, if it's a hot or sunny day) between lunch and dinner, and at least once more after dinner. Keeping your water intake up throughout the day will not only prevent dehydration, it also helps you to prevent heat exhaustion and even sunburn. But getting all those free refills won't help you if you don't drink it.

Again, don't wait until you are thirsty. Schedule water into your day, and don't forget. By carrying your own bottles, you won't need to take time away from anything else on your schedule to enjoy your water breaks.

Drinking water throughout the day also helps keep tummies full, cutting down on requests for expensive mid-day snacks.

Something that keeps you healthy, happy and saves you money, too? What's not to like? So make water an essential part of your theme park vacation plans this summer.

Replies (19)

June 23, 2010 at 3:04 PM · Good tips. We usually buy a 20 or 24 pack of bottled waters at a nearby supermarket the day we arrive to So Cal or Orlando for our vacation. Freeze them overnight in the hotel fridge and they are good to go the next morning. Just came back from Orlando two days ago, had a blast, but boy is that water nasty. Water in Mexico tastes better than whatever they have overthere. Don't expect to visit Orlando and use the drinking fountains in the parks, it's especially important there to stop by a Publix,CVS,etc. and buy bottled water to take to the parks.
June 23, 2010 at 5:17 PM · I find unfiltered tap water in Orlando to have an off, sulphur flavor. A filter takes care of that (bottles with filters are easy to find in places such as REI), or you can get water from a soda fountain/cell, or bottled water.
June 23, 2010 at 6:29 PM · IT is important to stay hydrated. Soem parks do in fact do that. Lake compounce does the same but free sodas all day to
June 23, 2010 at 6:59 PM · drinking Orlando ground water will make you a "sexual Tyranosaurous"


June 23, 2010 at 7:08 PM · So before you get the "I don't like to carry stuff argument".

I like to know how do you carry your water on your hands mostly?
On a backpack or some other special garment?
When you go on the ride where does the water stays?
Also how many oz. did your water bottle has?
Did you find that your personal bottle lasts, all day (Meaning cold)?

So just a few to have a better idea, cause i generally buy them there, but yes it does add up at the end, when you're counting. Plus asking yourself where did all the money went?

June 23, 2010 at 7:14 PM · By the way it was me (Francisco) with the questions, and yes that Orlando water does seem to have a particular taste about it.
June 23, 2010 at 8:30 PM · Luis, is that a fancy way of saying Orlando water sucks? Cause it does. Can't stand it. Stock up on plenty of filtered water before you leave, and make sure your resort room has a fridge to keep things nice and cold!
June 23, 2010 at 8:52 PM · I was disappointed in my recent trip to Wonderland when we asked for a cup of tap water at the food stands. While we've had success at Disney, Universal, and Busch with this technique, the employees at this stand refused to give us free tap water.

I love water. It's tied for first place with beer on my favorite drinks list.

June 23, 2010 at 9:14 PM · Predator....1987.....Jesse "The Body" Ventura....Helicopter scene featuring Little Richards "Long Tall Sally" playing in the background.

WORD to the Governor of Minnesota!!!! :)

June 24, 2010 at 12:12 AM · Robert's is excellent advise. I have to admit to not making sure that my body is well hydrated in advance of my trip so that's something I'm going to make sure I do in future.
Do I remember seeing at least one water fountain at EPCOT ?( a talking one ? )
I really can't remember any in the other Parks but that doesn't mean that there aren't any.
Have I just overlooked them ? Was my memory of the one at EPCOT merely a mirage ? Has my memory failed me due to dehydration ?
If there are any then can we identify where they are and whether they are they safe to use if they do exist.
Water fountains used to be almost everywhere when I was a kid but health & safety put paid to most of them. Nowadays it may be wiser to do as Robert suggests and remember to carry water bottles.
Although it would be a good initiative from Disney etc to either provide free water or at least sell it at supermarket prices.
June 24, 2010 at 2:49 AM · We go to Renaissance Festivals often, and every one has several pickle stands where you can buy big, ice-cold dill pickles. They're packed with water, and the minerals in the pickling juice help to replace those you lose in sweat. It's believed that the sweeter the pickle tastes, the more dehydrated you are and the more you need it. I wonder why theme parks haven't caught on to that?
June 24, 2010 at 9:24 AM · Beer is made with Water!!
June 24, 2010 at 10:24 AM · Just got back from seven days at the WDW parks. I'll tell you, there is no way I could survive DAK or DHS without a couple of beers in the early afternoon.
June 24, 2010 at 12:04 PM · Good advice. I gave up soda about 4 months ago for health reasons. As a result, I save a ton of money at restaurants. All restaurants will give you a glass of water for no charge.

As to where to find water fountains at theme parks, they are usually located some where near the restrooms. Disney has tons of water fountains at these locations.

June 24, 2010 at 1:57 PM · Francisco, I usually bring a small back pack with me. It's just a really light backpack that I can fit a bottle in and maybe a couple other things, phone, wallet, etc. One of those back packs that are just a cloth bag with strings you pull to close it and wear it. I like to wear light shorts when I'm out in the heat at a theme park, like basketball/tennis shorts or something like that with little to no pockets, so I don't usually have space to keep a lot of stuff in my pockets. Some water bottles come with carabiners that you can attach to your backpack strap if you're worried about your phone getting wet from the water bottle. If I'm getting on a ride I'll throw my pack in a locker to keep my things safe. It's usually like $1 or so. At Disney you don't really have to worry about lockers too much as you can bring a small back pack on just about every ride. Might want a locker for a water ride though.

Wow, I kind of went on a tangent there, huh?

June 24, 2010 at 4:20 PM · I love water! I always bring a frozen water bottle with me whenever I go out to the parks.

I don't get why people hate Orlando/Florida water so much. I guess I'm used to the water since I was born here and have lived here all my life. Tastes normal to me!

June 24, 2010 at 10:05 PM · Francisco says:
At Mark, thanks for caring to reply! I know and do a lot of the things you said, only not with a water bottle on me. I do the back pack, and let it in the locker also the Fanny pack on me, only that you can't carry a bottle in your Fanny pack. So since Robert was so prophetic about water goodness, I'm just trying to get(like) a :
Easier way to travel through a theme park with your own water- guide.

So I asked for sized cause I wanted to know how difficult it would be to carry it around or how much cold water could it held on it's own (without the refill)or did by any chance did he got on any ride with the bottle. Cause me personally, don't go to the locker to get my stuff for a couple of hours. So I guess what I wanted, where some pointers.

June 25, 2010 at 5:11 AM · We buy packs of bottled water and freeze them overnight. Works great. I agree that Florida water tastes bad though. Even the fountain pop tastes like it. I am sure you get used to it after a while though.
June 28, 2010 at 4:36 AM · Thanks for the tips. However, as a medical professional, I disagree with the first tip. Drinking extra water does not serve a purpose. It will only make your kidneys excrete more fluid once the additional water gets into your circulation. It is only useful if you like to visit your home bathroom more...
I would love to drink more water from taps in theme parks, but, being from Europe, I am not used to the chlorinated water. Every time I drink from a tap in the US, the chlorine taste hits me badly.

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