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Theme Park Discounts in California

Updated on March 20, 2013

Disneyland Adventure

Paradise Pier at Disney's California Adventure
Paradise Pier at Disney's California Adventure | Source

Theme Parks in California

Every state has its own unique list of attractions and destinations that make it desirable for people to want to live there, or visit. For California our list is probably pretty long because the state can appeal to so many different people. We have amazing ski resorts, beautiful beaches, highly respected wineries to go with typically good weather.

One very popular thing for thrill seekers are theme parks, on that front California doesn’t disappoint. The overall state has a few options but the highest concentration of them is located in the southern part of the state.

Obviously the biggest, and most popular one, is Disneyland in Anaheim. Disneyland has been a popular destination for families for many years; my family has been there twice but we know a few families that make the drive at least once a year.

For me the biggest drawback to visiting one of our theme parks is the cost. Take Disneyland for example; a family of four will cost over three hundred dollars for just a one day ticket. This ticket will only admit you to the main park, if you wanted to “hop” over to California Adventure that is another cost.

Paying for the tickets is just part of the cost of visiting a park; tack on parking, food and a souvenir or two and it becomes an expensive day out. Unfortunately visitors are at the mercy of the park when it comes to these secondary expenses.

On a more positive note there are things that we can do to help ease the sting of these costly tickets. Certain memberships to specific organizations will provide various discounts when purchasing tickets.

Member Discounts

One of the most recognizable discounts is having a AAA membership. The main reason for having this card is in case you blow a tire, run out of gas or lock your keys in your car a nice man or woman will come and help you out. An additional benefit of the membership is the discounts that you can get on theme park tickets and possibly the hotels surrounding them.

We have had our membership for a few years and luckily haven’t had to use it for it's primary purpose but we do take advantage of the discounts from other retailers. Whenever we are purchasing tickets or going away for a few days we always look to see if they offer a AAA discount.

Season Pass Discount

Most, if not all, of the parks will sell you a season pass. Getting a season pass is not for everyone but for some people it can be a good deal and save you some money.

If you live near a park, and visit it often over the year, a season pass might be a good idea. A great way to confirm this is to figure out how many times you visit the park over the year. Take that amount of trips and multiply it by whatever a ticket will cost you for each individual visit. Compare that amount to what a season pass will cost you and go with the cheaper option.

We know a family that goes to Disneyland three or four times a year at least and they get season passes, even though we live hours away in Northern California. They do this because they love the park and know that it is a cheaper way to visit it.

Southern California City Pass

A specific way to save at theme parks is to purchase a Southern California City Pass. The pass is your ticket to get into four different parks, California Adventure, Disneyland, SeaWorld and Universal Studios.

Obviously this deal will only be applicable to people who are planning on visiting all four parks but it might just work out for what you are planning.

Union Plus Card

This is a membership only discount that is only available to members or retirees of the AFL-CIO.

Combat Gear

Common military combat equipment
Common military combat equipment | Source

Discounts for Veterans

Out of respect and appreciation to the services that our brave military members have given to our great country many parks will also offer a military discount. The amounts aren’t always advertised on their main ticket price page but most of them will provide some kind of discount. If you do not see a military discount listed go ahead and ask, the worst thing that they will tell you is that they don’t currently have a discount.

The amount saved per ticket will vary per park; don’t forget your military identification because you will probably need it to get the savings.

Park Membership and Social Media Monitoring

An easy way to save on ticket costs is to become a member of their newsletter or adding your email to their list of people who want to be notified of any deals and park updates. This is usually a free thing to do and it might just let you know about a deal so go ahead and do it, you can always just delete the other emails you aren’t interested in.

I would also suggest that you go the parks' Facebook, Twitter, etc. pages and like or follow them. With the huge increase in social media becoming an advertising tool for companies they usually will offer deals through these accounts.


Do you take advantage of any discounts mentioned here?

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Amusement Parks California

Another great way to see what the best deals are for each park is to visit their respective websites. Sometimes they will offer limited reductions off of their usual prices and they might be only available for a few days or weeks. If you are planning a trip to one of the main parks in California visit their website every couple of days to see if you can secure a deal.

California Discount Tickets

Things to do in Southern California

show route and directions
A markerDisneyland and California Adventure -
1313 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92802, USA
get directions

Disneyland and California Adventure

B markerKnott’s Berry Farm -
8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620, USA
get directions

Knott’s Berry Farm

C markerLegoland -
1 Legoland Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008, USA
get directions


D markerSeaWorld -
SeaWorld, 500 Sea World Dr, San Diego, CA 92109, USA
get directions


E markerSix Flags California Magic Mountain -
26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Valencia, CA 91355, USA
get directions

Six Flags California Magic Mountain

F markerUniversal Studios California -
170 Universal City Plaza, NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA 91602, USA
get directions

Universal Studios California


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    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      kittyjj - Any deal will help with those high ticket prices, I hope they had fun.

    • kittyjj profile image

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      We got the city pass last year when we took our friend from China to theme parks and it was a great deal. Great hub!

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      Amy - Theme parks are a blast and there is no way I would have forgotten about our troops. Thanks for the vote.

    • Amy Gillie profile image

      Amy Gillie 5 years ago from Indiana

      I'm ready to go! I especially appreciate that you didn't forget about military discounts. voted up!

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      petertebin - That sounds like a really good deal. Parks can be so expensive, we should do whatever we can to save some money. It will help pay for the $5 bottles of water when we get in there anyway. Thanks for commenting and for the vote.

    • petertebin profile image

      petertebin 5 years ago from Maryland

      Great information. I found a great deal on Hershey Park on EBAY which cost me $1.75 for one link and you could buy up to 10 tickets. They cost you $29 a person which saved you over half off the ticket. The best coupon around you could find would save you $10 off each person. Great information for anyone looking to head out to the west coast for a vacation! Great HUB! Voted UP!

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      teaches12345 - Anyone who protects us like firemen or police definitely deserve a discount.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Good information to know. I have friends who are fireman and they get into theme parks around here for free. They do deserve the treat!