It is pretty much upon us. That dreaded time of the year where ‘off peak’ weekdays for a couple of months no longer exists. Welcome to ‘School Trip Season’.
If possible, I try to avoid School Trip Season where I can because, in all honesty, it is hell. For a 20-something like myself, I relish in the opportunity to visit a theme park in the quieter season when I can. I don’t want the massive queues – who even does? – and I don’t want a bunch of screaming excitable kids around me. Of course, sometimes this cannot be avoided so I have written a small list of tips and tricks to help you survive the school trips on your visit.
Get to the park for opening
If you are keen to get on the big rides for the day, I would advise getting to the park for opening and planning which rides you really want to get done. From experience, only a handful of school trips arrive for opening as the majority tend to arrive after 10.30am. You will likely achieve at least 1 hour of short queues before the school kids roam free. I am no psychic therefore cannot predict how busy the days will turn out and how many rides you can achieve. School trip season is unpredictable even at the best of times.
Plan which rides are a must
There’s nothing worse than being disappointed that you didn’t get on a certain ride or attraction because you didn’t plan the day well! The key to a successful theme park trip is planning. Unless you enjoy doing things on a whim or being spontaneous, you do you guys! But I find having a little plan will help you massively when it comes to visiting the parks during ‘School Trip Season’. Even if it is a case of picking a handful of rides you really want to ride that day will help you to work out which rides to go for first and which ones to save for later in the day or during the lunchtime period – which takes me to my next tip.
Plan your lunchtime meal before 12pm or after 2pm
Most school trips will have a schedule. As we all know, the teachers will do a head count at different times of the day including before heading into the park, lunchtime and before they head off back home. Always aim to plan your lunch time meal before 12pm or after 2pm – if you are feeling peckish, pick up a snack from the shops like a chocolate bar or crisps. Or if you have forward planning, bring some snacks with you! The food outlets will be exceptionally busy during this period with school groups finding lunch spots for their packed lunches.
Walk in the opposite direction to the crowd of kids
If you end up arriving at a theme park and you can see a large group of schoolkids heading towards a certain ride/attraction, always go in the opposite – even if you really want to head to the same ride. Chances are it will become busy in a flash once the school kids head there. Besides, who wants to spend their time queuing with a bunch of school kids? This gives you a chance to explore a part of the park that is largely quieter and will be more enjoyable for yourself.
Save the big coasters/rides till after 3pm
Like with any school trip, all good things must come to an end. For us thrillseekers, this means that towards the latter part of the day – normally from 3pm onwards, the theme park becomes marginally quieter. This makes it perfect for getting those popular rides and attractions done in the last part of the day without the horrendous 2 hour + queues – this might be a slight exaggeration but there will be days that this queue time becomes the norm during School Trip season. Make the most of this time of day before the park closes.
Embrace the smaller, quieter attractions
So you’ve arrived at the park and done some of the ‘big kid’ rides before the queue times really increase. Now, you might be thinking, what do I do? School Trip season gives you the opportunity to explore those smaller, lesser known attractions that might not be high on your to-do list. Any ride or attraction with a 5 minute queue, do it. Not only does it add to your ride count for the day but it also keep yourself busy. No one wants to wander around the park aimlessly, wandering what to do with themselves. Sometimes, you might find an absolute gem of a ride – yes, I’m talking about those young kiddie style rides/attractions – and have some real fun on them.
Watch the shows!
If you are at a theme park and shows are available throughout the day, why not take a moment to enjoy these? Half the time, most of the kids will want to be riding the rides, not wasting time watching the shows. Chessington World of Adventures has some wonderful animal shows and talks on during the day plus there is also the ‘Gruffalo Groove’ show down in the Africa area. Avoid the queues and take some downtime to sit-down, build up your energy and watch a fun performance. If only the UK parks had shows similar to Phantasialand or Europa Park…
Keep refreshed, even on a hot day!
This is important despite the weather. Obviously, School Trip season is during the Summer months (June/July time) so the weather can be warm or sometimes hot and humid – especially with the way May has greeted us with the weather here in the UK – although no idea where the sunny, hot weather has gone now. It is important to keep hydrated. You’re doing a lot of exercise and will become very tired and achy if you don’t keep yourself refreshed. Buy yourself a bottle of water or why not ask for a cup of tap water for free at any food outlet? If you’re an adult however, maybe your style of refreshing beverage is an alcoholic one… can’t say no to a nice Cider or Beer in the sun ey?
Use the opportunity to take photos during the day
This tip is for anybody, but I know a lot of geeks/enthusiasts will use this as an ideal opportunity. When the massive queues during School Trip season aren’t worth the wait, why not spend time walking around the parks and taking photos? I do personally enjoy visiting a theme park just for taking photos. You can be creative with a camera, finding different angles and taking the perfect shot. I love exploring different areas and finding unique shots via my phone. Plus, as a blogger, need to be updating my Instagram – follow me at @inspiredthrillseeker – #shamelessplug.
Did I really just use a hashtag in my blog post? Damn right I did!
I hope these tips will allow you to enjoy your day without the need to stress or worry about the long queues and school kids running around! You can still have a great day, just don’t expect to have a large ride count – even us geeks know on an extremely busy day, this never happens.
That’s all for now!