orlando spring breakThe spring break travel season starts this weekend, and for the next six weeks, a progression of families from around the country will fill hotels, restaurants and theme parks in the Orlando area. If you’re planning to join the masses, here are some tips to get the most out of a crowded theme park day.

1. Do a family attitude adjustment.
Kids fantasize about days at theme parks and look to them to be “the best day ever.” And they can be. But if your kids are going in thinking they can ride every ride and see every show, there will be meltdowns. Have a family talk about how the parks will likely be crowded during your time in Orlando and, while you will have a great time, you probably won’t be able to see everything. Which leads me to my next point…

2. Prioritize your day.
Let every family member pick one or two things that are a priority to see on a certain day at the park and do those things first. Then anything else you get to during your day is icing on the cake.

3. Get there early.
Yes, yes, I know. It’s not a vacation if you have to get up early. But the first 90 minutes or so of the morning at any theme park is the golden hour. You can often see more in those opening minutes before the crowds come than you will the whole rest of the day. Better to hit the parks early and retreat back to your hotel in the afternoon for a nap than to sleep in.

4. Don’t forget water and sunscreen.
The temperatures promise to stay fairly cool for Central Florida for the next week, but that doesn’t mean the sun isn’t shining. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen before heading out to the parks and reapply frequently while inside. (I recommend using the time standing in line to do this.) And remember to stay hydrated. Mild dehydration is often the culprit in late afternoon theme park meltdowns.

5. Adjust meal times.
Eat a big breakfast and try to hold off to eat lunch until after 2 p.m., or eat a light snack in the morning and plan to eat lunch at 10:30 a.m. Either way, you’ll avoid the bulk of the crowds at theme park eateries.