Gold Coast: How to Enjoy a Day at the Theme Parks
The Gold Coast theme parks are iconic, and can provide both locals and tourists with endless fun. However, if you want to enjoy your day, there’s more to it than just turning up. Keep in mind you’ll be out and about for hours, with a bunch of other people trying to have as much fun as you. If not carefully planned, your day can quickly become a nightmare. Think endless walking, unhappy kids, interminable queues, and overpriced food. Keep reading to learn what to do to avoid this and have the best time possible.
1. Pick the day carefully
This is rule number one when it comes to planning your theme park trip, because if you go on a Saturday, on the first week on School Holidays, or any summer weekend, chances are you’ll barely have time to do anything. Instead, choose a regular weekend day, or if possible a weekday to visit the park. In addition, check their online calendar and see which rides and attractions won't be available when you’re thinking of going. Often times parks have at least one ride out of action for maintenance.
2. Make a plan
The parks can be quite big, and time is limited (especially with children), so make sure you have a plan for which attractions to visit well before entering the park. The first thing to do is to get a map of the theme park — you can probably find this online — then research what rides have the longest waits and decide when is the best time to check them out. A good idea is to go to the most popular ride of the park as soon as you go through the gates. Lastly, check for the park’s show schedule. Most of the parks have various performances throughout the day in different locations, so inform yourself about these before you start your circuit.
3. Arrive early
Always arrive early. Sometimes this even mean entering the park and parking well before the gates even open. This ensures you have more than enough time to park, get all your things and make your way to the front gates to be ready the minute they open.
Movie World and Sea World open their gates at 9:30 am, while Dreamworld, WhiteWater World, and Wet’n’Wild open their gates at 10 am.
4. Wear enclosed and comfy shoes
While tempting to wear thongs, especially on a sunny day, you need to remember you’re going to be doing a lot of walking. Wearing enclosed shoes will protect your feet from injuries and provide support. Lastly, if you’re wearing thongs or sandals and are planning to ride a rollercoaster, you’ll be asked to take them off so they don’t fall out mid-ride. The floor on rides can get filthy, so do your feet a favour and wear enclosed shoes.
5. Take the essential supplies
A properly-packed backpack can prevent many issues at theme parks. First off, food. While parks on the Gold Coast don’t allow most food to be brought in, you are allowed to bring fruit and water. Please do! A few healthy snacks and a reusable water bottle will go a long way when you’re walking around all day. It’ll be cheaper too. Snacks in theme parks can be pricey. Additionally, don’t forget to pack a lot of sunscreen.
6. Set a meeting spot
It’s remarkably easy to get lost in a theme park. There are so many people around, and the parks are so big and unfamiliar, that getting separated from your group can happen to any adult — and more importantly, any kid. To prepare for this situation, decide on a meeting spot. While having a mobile phone certainly helps, batteries do run out of power, so it’s always safer to agree upon a meeting place beforehand.
7. Set a gift shop budget
Theme parks can be a bit pricey — the tickets, the food… And the merchandise. kids just can’t help themselves when they see all these amazing items displayed beautifully in an enticing shop. But buying toys can get expensive. Agree on how much the kids can spend way before you arrive, that way you can avoid tantrums and frustration.
Last step - have fun
A day at any the Gold Coast theme parks is a day well spent. Whether you’re going with your whole family, your partner, or your children, make sure you take on all of the tips mentioned in this article to ensure you have a memorable experience. In between all the fun at the theme parks, make sure you visit The Strand Coolangatta for an array of shops that sells everything from clothes and shoes to pizza and ice cream.