This theme park travel hack will show you how to avoid using the theme park lockers. The lockers are what can really slow your day down and ruin a great vacation. If the park is crowded you have find the bank of lockers (before each ride) wait in line to get a locker, then wait in line (again) to get your stuff out.
Plus, I’ve had lockers fail and it’s taken me over an hour to get security to override the electronic lock. Worst of all, the only things I’m putting in the locker is my drink cup, a hat and some sunscreen. Total waste of time and money.
This travel hack is perfect for any theme park that has lockers. It uses an item we’ve used at Disney, Six Flags, Universal Studios, and more. But, at first it wasn’t a hack – it was simply a necessity.
What’s the magic bullet for hassle-free theme park outings? It’s the simplest thing – a stroller. And no, you don’t need babies or toddlers (or any kids) to use this hack. We kept using a stroller long after our kids were grown. Here’s why…
Strollers Are Essential for Little Ones at Theme Parks
When doing Disney with our sons, we quickly found out bringing along a large stroller served two purposes. Of course we used it to the kids from getting so exhausted. But, it was also handy to store non baby items like drink cups, snacks, hats, and ponchos for water rides.
Strollers are great for their intended purpose. Even if your kids are old enough to walk, put them in the stroller when going ride to ride. You’ll get their faster with fewer distractions. Second, you’ll get a longer, more enjoyable day at the park because they won’t be worn out fast.
And of course a stroller makes the best nap spot without leaving the park. In a stroller your kids can sleep while we enjoyed a stress-free lunch at a quiet restaurant.
Theme Park Hack: Take a Stroller into the Park (even if you don’t need one)
We found that even when our sons got too big to ride in the stroller, we still had a mountain of stuff to take to the theme park. Sunscreen, light jackets for cool evenings, swimsuits for parks with water play areas, and snacks. So we came up with a travel hack to solve it.
Sure, you can rent a theme park locker – but then you’re tethered to that location when you need stuff. Or, you can alternate with one grown-up riding and the other holding all the stuff – but that’s no fun. Or… keep the stroller and use it to store all your stuff – even if your kids are too big for it. Confession – we take one even without kids.
The first time we went to a theme park without a stroller, we realized how much we missed it. We had never rented a locker before, there was never a need to.
Travel Hack: Strollers Are Like Moveable Theme Park Lockers
We perfected stroller use for theme parks, even when our kids were in middle school. Mind you, they didn’t want to push it or stand too near it. But, they sure loved all the stuff we got to take. We found a perfect low flat cooler to fit in the bottom to pack a picnic lunch and cold drinks.
The seat we used for jacket storage. And we picked a model that had four cup-holders on the contraption. The cup-holders were perfect for the reusable theme parks cups that come with low-cost (or free) refills. We have stashed wet parkas, dry clothes, and even our camera in a stroller.
But is it safe? We’ve never had one thing taken from our stroller. Stroller parking at theme parks are watched with security cameras. And, people don’t spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to go to Universal Studios to steal a $10 hoodie. We also never anything in the stroller we couldn’t afford to lose.
We’ve stashed souvenir bags deeper in the basket. People don’t seem to mess with strollers. Especially at higher-end parks like Disney and Universal. But, in case you’re worried… we have a stroller security hack…
Travel Hack for Stroller Security
Leaving your stroller in a designated area is very safe.
But, just in case you worry someone might go poking around your stuff… we came up with a mega-deterrent that served us well. We bring along a diaper and rub a little bit of chocolate on it. Then we leave it on the top of the stroller.
No one will (or wants to) mess with someone else’s “poopy diaper”. That is our coup de grace for stroller hacks. A stroller holds lots more stuff than a backpack, and you don’t have to carry it around.
Quick Tips for Going into a Theme Park with a Stroller But no Baby….
These days, most theme parks have security screenings – Sea World, Universal, Disney, etc. So, one of us takes the stroller and the other enters separately with the big kids. No one thinks twice about a single adult with a stroller – they assume the tots are with someone else. At most parks it’s not against the rules to take a stroller without kids, but why draw attention to yourself.
Just make sure nothing you’re carrying is against the rules. Some parks let you bring in food and drinks – some just food – some neither. However, if you explain any health issues (allergies, diabetes, kosher needs, etc.) they’re usually quite flexible.
Then, we choose a section of the park for rides, park the stroller in a central location and leave it. We only go back to it when we need something or when we’re ready to move to another area of the park.
But, it’s also easy to take with you from ride-to-ride as the stroller parking areas are right next to entrance of most rides. In fact, many times it’s closer than the theme park lockers.
Don’t Have a Stroller Anymore – Tips for Buying One
We still use our stroller travel hack – even with our boys in high school. They tease us about it – refuse to push it – but always use it for a movable locker. We used the same stroller forever.
If you long-since tossed yours out, you can get a really nice one at a second-hand baby store or thrift store for less than $30. When shopping for one, look for a large storage bin underneath, cup holders, and easy-open and close.
Another pro-tip – if you’re flying to the park, you can hit a nearby thrift store and pick up a used one for about the same price as renting one for a day. This is a hack for when packing more is your preference. Next time, we’ll share a hack for a bare-bones alternative.
For now – get hopping and get strolling…
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