Bring food. We love hotel rooms with a mini fridge. Take everything out of the mini fridge that your kids would eat or drink and would total more than your hotel stay.We spent 1 hour driving around looking for a grocery store because our son ate a $5 Snickers bar and we wanted to replace it with a cheaper one. Looking back, that was silly. Now I bring a bag of mini donuts and a small orange juice for the kids for breakfast. I make myself hotel room coffee, and chew on a granola bar. I would love to eat at the buffet breakfast and have an omelet made for me, but I know my kids will only eat a bowl of cereal that costs $10 for the children’s buffet and they will be hungry by 10:30. Instead I will have a small breakfast in the room and maybe lunch at the pool.
Bring alcohol. After sitting in the sun watching my family go down the water slide 4 million times, I might need a little drink. I have found that drinks at the pool are $8-$10 each and they are watered down. I have a bottle that looks like sunscreen that I bring with rum or vodka and I add it to my orange juice or coke zero. I’m not driving anywhere and I’m on vacation.
Sneak snacks into the pool. I know most water parks will check your bags and insist you throw out your snacks. If you pack apples, cuties, grapes or bananas and mention food allergies they will leave you alone. If fruit is the only option and your children are starving from swimming, they will eat it.
Bring water bottles and Propel packs. It is hard to find a waiter at the water park and most of the time they will bring you a little cup of water. If you have a water bottle you can refill it at a water fountain and add a Propel water pack. My children love the flavors and it will make them drink more water. This is a life saver in the Arizona sun.
Bring extra sunscreen. Bring more sunscreen then you think you could ever use. If you only bring one bottle, it will get lost, dumped or run out in 10 minutes. Bring at least one bottle per person. We have our favorites. I like the spray sunscreen because I can cover myself without any help, and I can usually cover my children while they are running away. I buy the Neutrogena Wet Skin SPF 75 for the children.
Bring extra goggles, water wings, or pool toys. The day will end if your son needs goggles and he lost his, trust me. The resort store will sell them for $20, but that will make you cry. I usually buy cheap pool toys at the dollar store and leave them in the swim bag, you never know when they will need a toy to play with friends they made at the pool. Some resorts will not allow water wings so check with them before you bring them. Sometimes they have life vests they will rent or give you for the day.
Wear a big hat and sunglasses. You will need the hat for shade, most water parks have little shade and the chairs in the shade are taken by 9am. The hat will help keep your face shaded and ward off wrinkles. Sunglasses are a must. The last thing you want to do is go to the resort store and buy sunglasses and a hat, $150 later you will wish you brought them from home.
Wear flip flops that you don’t care about. If you plan on riding with water slides or chilling in the lazy river you don’t want to go without shoes, you could get 3rd degree burns from the 10 foot walk. If you bring your $50 Michael Kors flip flops and someone walks off with them, you will have 3rd degree burns and spend the rest of the day searching high and low for that shoe thief!
Pack Aloe. After a day in the sun someone may have forgotten to reapply sunscreen, even though you told him 10 times after lunch to reapply. He will need aloe to cool his burn. You don’t want to pay $20 in the hotel store for aloe.
Order pizza delivered to your room. After a long day at the water park your children will be hungry, tired and hangry (angry-hungry). This is not a good combination at a Resort restaurant. Do yourself a favor and order a pizza, find a movie on the Tv and relax in the room. It will save you from spending $100 on a dinner that you couldn’t eat because your 4 year old threw a temper tantrum when his hamburger was covered in ketchup and your 2 year old wouldn’t sit at the table because he wanted to run around the line dancers on the dance floor.