Skip to the head of the line at theme parks with these tips and tricks.
Step 1: Buy entry tickets online Buy entry tickets online. That’s one long line you’ll avoid right there. Plus, many parks reward you with a discount for buying tickets through their website.
Step 2: Ask about fast passes Ask if the park has any special deals that allow you to reserve a time on a ride so you don’t have to stand around waiting. When it’s your turn, you just go to the head of the line. Some parks charge for this privilege; others don’t.
Step 3: Go midweek If you can, visit on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, when theme parks are least crowded. Father’s Day is a good day, as is Super Bowl Sunday, if your park is open year round.
Step 4: Arrive early or late Either arrive at the park early, before the crowds, or in the late afternoon, when the early birds start leaving. You can line up for a ride right up until closing time.
TIP: See if the park has discounted rates for arriving after 5 p.m., when crowds begin to thin out.
Step 5: Head for the back If you arrive at opening time, skip the attractions near the entrance and walk directly to the farthest part of the park, which still will be relatively empty. Then go on the most popular rides in that area before they get busy.
TIP: If there is more than one line at a concession stand, choose the one farthest to the left, as most people tend to go right.
Step 6: Skip the special events Skip the parades and fireworks shows going on at the park. Everyone will be off watching them—and that’s when the ride lines will be shortest.
Step 7: Don’t fear the coaster Don’t fear the roller coaster line. It’s often deceptively long, as people tend to get tired of waiting and leave.
FACT: Amusement park fans rated long lines as their biggest pet peeve, followed by line jumping and rude employees.