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05/20/2014 01:47 pm ET Updated May 20, 2014
PRESENTED BY WALT DISNEY WORLD

11 Theme Park Hacks To Tackle Your Family Trip Like A Pro

With warmer weather upon us, it’s time for your family to take part in America's favorite family pastime -- and no, we’re not talking about baseball. It’s theme park season, y'all!

Parks are sure to be a blast for kids of all ages, but are often overwhelming for parents trying to manage an especially large brood. This year, do it right! With the help of our friends at Walt Disney World, we’ve come up with 11 tips and tricks to help you tackle the park like one big happy family.

  • Do Your Research
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    And that goes for everyone! Before you head out for your theme park adventure, get familiar with the park’s layout and major attractions. What time does the park open? When do the fireworks start? Use this info to begin crafting a plan of attack that satisfies everyone’s interests.
  • Order Tickets Online
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    Avoid lines at the park entrance and potentially save a little cash by purchasing your tickets online. Many parks, including Walt Disney World, offer discount codes and special offers for online purchases.
  • Pick A Strategic Day To Go
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    Choose a time that not only works for your family’s schedule but one that allows you to beat the crowd. Park websites often feature advice on the best time and days to visit.
  • Arrive Early
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    Try getting to your destination a few minutes before opening. This way, you can have the park to yourself for a couple of hours before the crowd pours in. Some parks even offer special perks that let guests take advantage of extended park hours, such as Walt Disney World's Extra Magic Hours program.
  • Go Straight To the Toilets
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    Avoid multiple potty breaks by making sure everyone takes a visit to the little boys or girls room before you head to your rides of choice.
  • Popular Rides First
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    Start with a few pre-decided, “non-negotiable” activities to do together as a group before tackling the rest of the park. Avoid long lines by hitting the more popular rides as soon as the park opens. Or, skip lines altogether, by seeking out special offers that let you reserve a spot on your favorite attractions before your trip such as Disney Park's FastPass.
  • Go Against The Herd
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    While it’s tempting to simply follow the crowd, make an effort to go against the grain. If you see a large group of park-goers headed in a specific direction, try the opposite route.
  • Label The Little Ones
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    Keep track of your little ones by writing your phone number on a piece of paper and slipping it into a sock or other secure pocket in case of emergency.
  • Stick Together
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    Lets face it – not all of us are tall enough to enjoy all that a theme park has to offer. But, that doesn't mean you have to split up the group to have a good time. Make the most of family time and keep everyone satisfied by seeking out activities you can all enjoy. Thrill-seeking families can hit up some of the park's more intense rides and roller coasters while less adventurous broods can plan a day full of parades, fireworks, and walking tours (Because who wouldn't love to see where the wild things roam at Disney's Animal Kingdom?!)
  • Prepare And Protect Your Electronics
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    Protect your cell phone and electronics against seemingly inevitable water damage by carrying them in Ziploc bags. Be sure to pack an extra battery or portable charger in case they conk out.
  • F.O.E.
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    Fun. Over. Everything. Chances are you won’t get the opportunity to get on every ride. Just remember to have fun and let the adventure take you where it may!

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