Thank you to Kings Dominion for hosting my family on our recent visit!
My sisters and I grew up visiting Kings Dominion, easily going at least a dozen times over the years. Last weekend we headed back for another visit, this time with my nieces along for the ride. Kings Dominion is just a few hours away, making it the perfect distance from North Carolina for a full day of fun without the need for a hotel room. Are you planning a visit? Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your time at Kings Dominion.
Download the Kings Dominion App
The official app has several things that are going to be invaluable for your visit. The park hours, show and event schedule, ride wait times and an interactive map are all available right from your phone. You can also purchase tickets, parking passes, dining plans and drink passes on the app.
Pro Tip: Parking passes and drink passes are available for a discounted price online via the app. You can buy these the same day, from your phone, and still get the savings!
Get the Kings Dominion Drink and Dining Plan
The All Day Dining plan at Kings Dominion is $29.99. It allows you to get a meal (not including drink) at most restaurants in the park every 90 minutes. Participating restaurants are indicated by a meal plan icon and are easy to find. When the first restaurant scans your meal plan pass they will activate a wristband that you will wear for the rest of the day. Each subsequent restaurant will then scan your wristband at checkout. The logical question is, “Who wants to eat every 90 minutes?” Well, probably no one. But if you eat only two meals, the meal plan will save you money. Eat three or more meals? You’d be crazy not to get the meal plan. What the meal plan doesn’t include are the fun snacks like ice cream and funnel cakes. But hey, the meal plan will keep you well fed so that it’s easy to share those snacks.
The Kings Dominion Souvenir Bottle or Drink Pass is only $12.99 if you buy it online or via the app. It allows you to get a drink refill every 15 minutes, which is invaluable on a hot and sunny day. The big question: do you get a bottle or a pass? The advantage of the bottle is its larger size. All refills on your first day are free. If you plan to visit again in the same season, subsequent refills will be $1. The disadvantage? You’ll have to keep up with your bottle all day long. Opt for the drink pass and you’ll get a wristband, just like the one for the dining plan. The cups are smaller than the bottle, and there are no discounted refills on future visits. On the plus side, no bottle to keep up with during the day. We opted for the wristbands. By putting my meal plan on my left wrist and my drink pass on my right wrist, the two were easy to keep up with.
If you are a water drinker remember that water cups are free throughout the park. Just ask at any restaurant, snack bar or refreshment station.
Skip The Lines
Everyone expects lines when they visit theme parks. I say that doesn’t always have to be true! We got extremely lucky on our visit with a light crowd. We also kept a watch on the app to avoid rides with long lines. When we saw shorter waits we took advantage. Plenty of rides like the swing and carousels had no wait at all. Other rides, like Avalanche, had a 50 minute wait earlier in the day. By waiting until late in the afternoon, we were able to ride it three times in a row! Be flexible, jump on those rides with shorter lines when you see them, and use the app to make the best choices for how you’ll spend your time.
Use the Kings Dominion Map
Whether you pick up the paper version when you enter the park or you view it on the official app, a park map is the easiest way to make sure you don’t miss a thing. The map is also going to give you minimum rider heights and thrill ratings so you won’t be in for any surprises when you get to the ride queue.
Pro Tip: Pick up a color coded wristband for any kids in your party at their first height check. This will let the ride attendants know in a glance if your little one can safely ride the ride and will reduce the time you spend standing in line.
Look For Those Childhood Memories
So much has changed since my earliest visits to Kings Dominion, but that doesn’t mean that everything is different. I love spotting all of the things that are still the same, like those vintage singing mushrooms in Candy Apple Grove. The Eiffel Tower, Flying Eagles and Blue Ridge Tollway have been there since my very first visit. Some things are the same, although they’ve been rebranded. I’ll always call the Woodstock Express the Scooby Doo coaster. Old habits die hard…
I might be a little bummed I can’t still walk though Yogi Bear’s Cave, but I’m happy I can now visit Snoopy with this crew!
Planning a visit to Kings Dominion? Save these tips for your next trip by clicking on the photo below!