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A little planning can maximize fun.
A little planning can maximize fun. / Digital Vision / Getty Images

Amusement parks are an easy way to spend the day outdoors, have fun with the family and even get a pop of adrenaline. The only thing standing between you and your favorite ride is the long line. Never fear — a little planning can help you maximize your fun, says Pete Trabucco, author of America’s Top Roller Coasters and Amusement Parks:

Time it right. The golden rule of amusement parks is to avoid midday. Arrive just as the park opens or a few hours before closing time, and you’ll be less likely to battle crowds.

Form a strategy. Map out the activities you are most looking forward to before you arrive. “The best rides fill up the fastest, so start there and work your way down,” Trabucco says. But also make the most of your visit with special promotions, such as Disney’s free FASTPASS, which saves your place in line so you can show up at a certain time.

Stay in the moment. Put away your smartphone and forget about keeping your social networks updated minute by minute. Instead, concentrate on enjoying the thrill of the rides and the conversations you have with the people you’re with. And if you do have to wait awhile, Trabucco says, just remember: “It’s a great time to talk about things you usually don’t talk about.”

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