Yep, if you read my blog frequently, you’ll know this isn’t a typical blog post. I often share mental health or wellness posts as well as life, beauty and blogging tips. However, this post was inspired after a trip to Thorpe Park and I thought it would allow anyone wanting to visit Thorpe or any other theme park to save some money and time with 18 easy and free tips. Please comment your own tips and feel free to screenshot this if you’re looking in preparation for a day out. Enjoy!
#1: Bring snacks or a whole meal to get you through the day! Theme parks may be expensive so spending extra money on food could be a no-no; instead, bring a picnic and store it in a locker or take some snacks. This could save around £20 for a family and at least £5 per person.
#2: Book tickets for weekdays, if possible; however, if you can’t go during the week because of school or work, Sundays are better than Saturdays. Inset days are often much quieter, especially those on Mondays. If you can go mid-week, Tuesday and Thursday are the quietest days; pair this with a day with a slightly worse weather forecast for a very quiet day, especially in the earliest or latest months of the year. More on the best months to go later!
#3: Get there early to minimise queuing time for rides and tickets and also to get the most out of your day. Some theme parks (Thorpe Park and Alton Towers in particular if we’re in the UK) can get very busy, especially during peak times and at weekends, so arriving early means you can get a few extra rides in before the crowds reach the highest point. If you are collecting tickets or passes you should aim to be at the park around half an hour early to avoid long queues and hold up. You might be lucky and get let in early, too!
#4: Prepare to only squeeze a few rides in within the space of around 3 hours on busy days. I first went to Thorpe Park last October and as it was a Fright Night, it was packed; we got around seven rides in eight hours, some of these being smaller rides rather than the most popular coasters. If you prepare for the worst, you can then plan ahead and decide which rides you want to do first. It’s always good to not become obsessed with one ride and give up 3 hours to queue 3 times when other long queues might prevent you from riding all the coasters. Remember to revisit rides at the end when the queues are shorter.
#5: Do the most popular attractions as soon as you arrive or right before you leave. These are the quietest times and will ensure shorter queuing times. I personally think the morning is slightly better as many people might arrive later and stay until closing time, plus it means you won’t have to miss out due to long queue times. Saw – The Ride and Colossus have longest queuing times later in the day, and it’s best to do Saw and Swarm earlier as people tend to either rush to Colossus and Saw making it very busy or go straight to Stealth.
#6: Do your research and work out how busy it will get. For example, Thorpe Park has hundreds of blogs and websites devoted to giving you information on opening times, ride queues, peak times and any other theme park hacks you might need. If you know how busy it will be you can then plan out fast tracks. Fast tracks usually cost around £5 per person per ride depending on the theme park and they allow you to skip the queue. You can essentially save around 6 hours for only £15 in Thorpe Park, as queues for coasters can be around 2 hours in the summer holidays extending onto the Fright Nights, hosted in October. However, March, May and the end of September are good times to go, and the queues may be as much as a quarter of those in peak times. Personally, I think fast tracks are a great idea, but I’d always get a few one shots rather than splash out on a £85 day ticket to skip unlimited queues. Stealth, Colossus and Saw are good rides to purchase fast tracks for as their queues are often the longest; Colossus, in particular, is often slower.
#7: Bring refillable water bottles to save you an extra few pounds on drinks. Many people say fizzy drinks make them feel ill on rides so this is beneficial in many ways!
#8: Take entertainment for ride queues. No, a few half-hour queues aren’t too bad but stay standing for an hour and you’ll be bored. If you’re going by yourself pack earphones or download some games onto your phone. If you’re going with others, games such as Heads Up are great; you might also want to eat in especially long queues to avoid wasting time otherwise – just ensure you have time to rest down!
#9: Download the Thorpe Park app to your phone. It gives you directions to events and attractions throughout the park, shows accurate queue times for rides and is a useful source for places to eat or drink. I love the ride times feature as it gives you a good idea of how long you’d have to wait for each ride without trekking around the park.
#10: Bring a portable charger for your phone. Standing in lines is often a way to use up battery quickly, and it’s always useful to have an extra charger on you. Yes, Thorpe Park does offer charging stations, but taking your own is more cost effective and you don’t need to leave your mobile in a designated area.
#11: Go on smaller rides too! There’s nothing bad about hitting the less popular rides at around 3pm, where the maximum amount of people will be in the park. You can then get the most out of your day whilst having some fun and avoiding long queues. Work on the basis that you do 2 or 3 big rides early, then try smaller rides whilst the big queues form, then eat and complete the last big rides later.
#12: If you’re eating at the park, do it later. I recommend eating between 2-4pm so you miss the longest queues and have a quiet break whilst everyone is out on the rides. Also, eating picnics should either be done in a queue or later in the day for the same reasons. I’d also avoid eating a large lunch and stick to lighter foods!
#13: Get an annual pass. I bought mine a few days ago as it was only £49 and as I have used it once and plan to go at least twice more, it more than makes up for the cost and bags you quicker admission and discounts on food at the park.
#14: Planning on visiting in summer? Take caps that shelter your faces from the sun as well as suncream and sunglasses. Standing in long queues may increase your risk of being burnt so be aware you’ll be exposed to the heat of the sun for the majority of the day. However, the queue for Colossus is more shaded so head there if you’re feeling a little red. Equally, prepare for rain with an emergency change of clothes and raincoat that you can store in a locker. I’d advise taking a change of clothes all year round, not only to avoid sudden showers ruining the day but in case you go on Tidal Wave, which will certainly soak you.
#15: Thorpe Park has many water rides, ranging from rapids to waterslides to a full-on log flume. If water rides are your thing, bring a small plastic wallet/ziplock bag to keep your phone and money safe from the water. Tidal Wave at Thorpe Park is not only a great ride, it’s also good for the end of the day, when you can change and then leave without spending any time cold or damp.
#16: Bring some extra money that can go towards things such as photos or fast tracks. Although there may be guides giving you an idea of the business of the park on certain days, you may need to cut your visit short or it could just be very busy. You can avoid spending too much time queuing with fast tracks, and there are also bundles you can purchase online that allow you to skip the queues for around five rides, ranging in price. Souvenirs are another great way to remember the day, although it could be overpriced, so I would suggest taking a little spare change for anything that is needed.
#17: Always book in advance. This is good as it reduces your ticket price by around £20 and also gives you more flexibility with dates and the ability to book car parking tickets and more. You can also see a range of fast track options.
#18: For those planning on spending a half day there or even just a few hours, shorten the queues even faster by going on a day that may be a little overcast or cold. Although I’m not suggesting waiting hours in the rain as rides may close and it won’t be much fun, you can save lots of time and get on twice as many rides by choosing a day that is predicted to be slightly colder with possible showers than going on a hot day where the crowds will be very busy.
I hope this guide is useful to you! I thought it would be fun to write about something different, and this is not only fun but also informative. If you enjoyed this and would like to see other posts similar to this one, please let me know via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in the comments!