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guide to visiting theme parks in the summer

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DoMoreWithMission #CollectiveBias

Summertime is just around the corner and with it, family vacations at your favorite theme parks. While I prefer visiting mid-week during the off-season, theme parks during the summer can still be amazing. Aside from the larger crowds, you also have the heat to contend with, which we all know is no joke! Have the time of your life this summer at any theme park by keeping the below tips in mind!


tips for visiting theme parks in the summer

get the app

You need to be in-the-know when at a theme park, especially when it is crowded. Download the app before you get to the park and become familiar with the features. This will help you plan your day around attraction wait times and get you from Point A to Point B the quickest.

break in the afternoon

During the summer, mid-day is a rough time to be at a theme park. The ideal day looks like this: arrive just before the park opens, head back to the hotel for 1PM – 4PM (preferably for a nap/swim), head back to the park until closing. This way, you avoid the most brutal, sun-scorching, sweat-inducing hours. This plan only works if you have a hotel still booked or if you live locally. If you don’t have a hotel, I strongly suggest scheduling a late (long) lunch, somewhere inside in air conditioning.

stay (or come) late

Night time is my favorite time to be at the theme park for a multitude of reasons. For one, many people are worn out by sun down and leave the park, cutting down on crowds and attraction wait times. If you’re wanting to ride the most popular rides, night time is the right time especially if the park has night entertainment like a parade. I also love seeing any theme park lit up at night – so, so magical.

shade, shade, shade

Finding shade is crucial in the summer, so seek it out. Many theme parks have indoor attractions and shows. Plan to visit those midday. Avoid rides with sun-exposed long lines during this time and look for either shaded lines or less popular attractions you can get onto quickly. Quick breaks in the AC for food and shopping will also offer relief from the sun.

skip the lines

Waiting in long lines when it is really hot can be tough, especially on kids. I usually max out at 45 min waits because there is always something else you can do. Most theme parks have some type of pass that gets you to the front of the line quickly. I strongly suggest taking advantage of this pass during the summer when it is not only hot, but crowded.


I know this sounds obvious, but I can’t leave it out of my list. During the summer, you need to hydrate like its your JOB at the theme park. Depending on your park’s rules, I suggest bringing a refillable water bottle (many parks offer free water refills) or purchasing the park’s refillable souvenir cup.

pack light

The temptation, especially with kids, is to bring everything but the kitchen sink into a theme park. Moms want to be prepared for everything, but those heavy backpacks weigh you down and just make the summer heat harder to bear. It’s great to save $ at the park by bringing your own snacks, but don’t sacrifice your comfort for the sake of savings this time of year. Trust me! Fanny packs are even back in style – haha!

get wet!

The best place to be during summer is in the water, so make sure to check out the water rides during midday. A splash (or soak) of water does wonders to cool down the body. For this reason, I can’t wait for the water parks to open up!

pack summer-smart products

There are a few things you can bring with you to help keep you cool. One of our favorite things to bring is a portable misting fan. These can easily be refilled around the park, feel so great in the heat and are entertaining for kids. I always recommend bringing a hat to shade your face on sunny days, but what about your neck? You need a cooling towel – learn more below!

Cool More. Do More.

If you remember to bring anything on your trip, bring a Mission DuoMax Cooling Towel for each person in your family. Mission is a company that is known for their Instant Cooling Gear. This is their longest lasting cooling towel – lasting 8+ hours – and a new staple in my theme park bag. The terrycloth side is super soft on your skin and works great to keep you dry and wipe away sweat. The flat side has a unique, chemical free technology that actually cools you down. This towel is also great for protecting you from the sun with UPF 50 protection. For those who sunburn easily (like my Irish-Hungarian husband), this towel is a great way to avoid neck sunburns, one of the most common areas left exposed.

To activate the cooling, wet the towel thoroughly with water. Wring out the excess water and the snap it three times. Place it around your neck and feel the INSTANT cooling relief. My kids and I just tested these Mission DuoMax Cooling Towels out at one of our favorite theme parks and they are legit. Once activated, the towel gives an instant cooling effect without getting your shirt wet – how crazy awesome is that?! With cooling that lasts all day, it is perfect for a day at the theme park.

Soft to the touch, the Mission DuoMax Cooling Towel has a soft absorbent terry side and an ultra-absorbent cooling side. It is chemical free, antimicrobial for odor control and is easily washed and reused.

Where would you use your Mission DuoMax Cooling Towel? Besides the theme parks, we will be using ours at the gym, at the campground, on the trail and quite possibly, just walking around town. We live in Palm Springs, CA, which is one of the hottest places you can live. It’s nothing to see 120+ temps in the summer, which is kind of like standing in a frying pan with a hair dryer blowing at your face. Yeah, I can see us wearing our new cooling towels everywhere we go once July hits!

Get your Mission DuoMax Towel here and use code Sarah25 to save 25%!


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