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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): A Day at the Theme Park - Prepare Yourself!

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Day at the Theme Park - Prepare Yourself!


Yesterday, we were off to Busch Gardens in Tampa. As I traipsed around on this sizzling hot day, I started thinking of things that were making my life easier that day, and also what I could've done differently to make it an even better stress-free and safe day.

Before you even go, start planning:

  • Go to the theme park's website and look for any special restrictions, discounts and notices - when we went to Kings Dominion earlier in the year, the kids could not go on some of the waterslides because their swimtrunks had metal rivets; we might have averted some sad faces had we checked on-line first; alternatively, google the theme park to find some customer reviews
  • Get some background information and safety record on the park - I always visit Theme Park Insider to get the scoop on what has happened there in the past safety-wise; also, lots of good information on the individual rides
  • Check on-line for discounts - I've gone to eBay and also googled the name of the park and "discounts"; About.com's Theme Park pages also have some good tips to check out on saving while on your trip
  • Always ask for a military discount - If I don't see it on the park's website, I get their 1-800 # and call asking for military discounts; all the Busch Entertainment theme parks have a special Here's to the Heroes program, which gives one free visit a year to servicemembers and their families (up to three dependents); if you need more tickets, buy a discounted one at your local ticket office on-post; you will also find tickets for other local attractions at your ITT office
  • Prepare your family the day before - I always make my kids drink lots of water the day before, especially in the summer; put plastic bottles of water in the freezer (everyone gets one bottle and as they drink at the the theme park, have them fill up at water fountains to keep the ice and cold water going); also pick some crush-free snacks to take along; when I really wanted to save, I also packed some sandwiches (most theme parks allow you to bring in outside food, that's why you need to check the website ahead of time)
  • Write up an easy packing list - I always write up a list before we go somewhere and glance over it before we head out the door; it's the only way to make sure you didn't forget anything; I suggest that mom carry a backpack to make herself hands-free and to put your money, ID and credit cards elsewhere (I have a little wallet I can carry around my neck or you can use a fanny pack if you are not too fashion conscious)
    • Sturdy backpack
    • Frozen water (I keep it in a different compartment to keep other things dry)
    • A small towel
    • Camera
    • Cell phone (my husband and I both carry ours so we can communicate if need be)
    • Snacks and/or lunch
    • Sunblock
    • Sunglasses and hats
    • Swimsuits (the kids wear swimtrunks because they dry faster)
    • Stack of babywipes in a ziploc bag (you don't want a hard case; you are traveling light)
    • antibacterial gel (we petted birds at the park, and they had already run out of their supplied gel)
    • Extra clothing (especially if I have younger ones; someone always seems to throw up or make a mess on themselves; that's why mom would have extra clothes too; for older kids, I'd bring one set that either could wear to cut down on bulk)
    • Small compact umbrella (I tend to bring one; if I have one, then it won't rain I usually say; but if your bag is already heavy, this would be the first thing to go)
    • Theme park related gifts (if you have young kids, buy things ahead of time and then give them to your kids at the park; you will save loads of money; for older kids, I have them save up their allowance and have them bring a pre-determined amount to spend; when that is gone, that's it)
  • Discuss stranger danger and the family meeting place - as you go into the park, remind your kids that if they get separated from you, to go find the nearest theme park worker (make sure they can recognize their shirts); make sure they know your name and phone # (some parents will write a cell phone # on their child's arm or put a piece of paper in their pocket); pick the highest structure in the park as the meeting place for older kids (something you can see from throughout the park)
  • Have fun, stay hydrated and covered (sunblock) - Follow the tips above and everyone should be happy as a clam; if you have any tips, please do share them
See this article and others at the Carnival of Family Life #1 at Sandier Pastures!

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2 Comments:

Anonymous grace said...

This is a very timely post. Thanks for sharing some great ideas. I will be including this post in next week's edition of the carnival of family life (I am hosting).

August 26, 2007 at 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Joe Tixler said...

If you go to the Six Flags I would suggest looking for discounts or Six Flags Coupons at Mandrekar.com or SixFlags.com.

August 27, 2008 at 5:29 PM  

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