Tips on How to Save Money at Amusement Parks
Amusement Park Tickets
Amusement park tickets can be quite expensive. To give an example, a one day admission ticket just to get into Disneyland is $92 for ages 10 and up and $86 for ages 3-9.
A Hopper ticket which includes both Disneyland and California Adventure is $137 for guests 10 and up, while the cost for 3-9 year olds is $131. That's very expensive to me, especially if you have a large family.
What to do? Check if there are any online legitimate tickets. If you happen to be a member of AAA, see if they have any discount coupons. In addition, look to see if there are any discount tickets being sold at your local grocery store.
In this particular case of Disneyland tickets, if traveling on vacation, you might consider the Southern California City Pass which gives you three days in Disneyland, along with one day at Universal Studios and one day at Sea World in San Diego.
Universal Studios Orlando
Theme Park Tickets
Planning to visit Universal Studios? The park currently has a deal whereas you can pay the price of park admission for one day and be able to return for the rest of the year. Do note that after the initial visit, black out days will occur.
Love Six Flags? If you plan to visit the same park throughout the year or want to travel to various Six Flags locations, I would suggest buying a season pass. Season passes are not only valid at the 6 Flags park you purchase them for, but for many additional 6 Flags parks as well.
Currently, a one day adult admission is $66.99. Starting at $77.99, you can buy an adult season pass which also includes in park savings and special days when you can bring a friend for free.
Often ticket prices go down depending on your length of stay. Disney World is a great example this. A one day ticket is $99 for adults and $93 for ages 3-9. Of course, it's impossible to see all of Disney World in just a day.
The longer you stay, the cheaper the daily admission becomes. For example, should you opt for a five day pass, the daily costs drops down to $60.80 for adults and $56.80 for ages 3-9. That's a significant difference.
Disney World Location
Theme Park Parking
As if theme park admission isn't pricey enough, more money is needed to park your car. This generally runs $10-$15 dollars a day. In some cases, you have no choice but to pay.
However, in some cases you can get around this. If booking a hotel, check to see if it has complimentary shuttle service. Also, check to see if there are any hotels within walking distance of the park. Not only does this save money, it also eliminates the crowds going in and out of the parks.
Should you be purchasing a season pass, check to see if free parking is included. If not, for an additional fee you might be able to include parking in your pass. If you plan to frequent the park, this can save money overall.
Aunt Granny's Dollywood
Theme Park Food
As tempting as some good old southern cooking may be or how fun it would be to watch the reactions on the kids' faces when they meet their favorites at a character meal, these do come with a price tag on them.
However, it's hard not to splurge for a special meal out especially if you are on vacation.
The good news is, there are ways to budget your food and still allow yourself a special splurge. Let's start with breakfast. Always eat a good breakfast before entering the park. If staying at a hotel, try to book one that has a free continental breakfast. You may even get lucky and find one that serves a complimentary hot breakfast.
Lunch and dinner can really start to hit the wallet. I remember being shocked at seeing a simple pizza selling at an amusement park for $40 and it wasn't even large enough to feed my family. So how to save money at mealtime?
Often there are restaurants within walking distance of the parks. If you don't mind leaving the park for a bit, dine at one of these instead.
Even less expensive is to bring your own picnic lunch. No, most likely you won't be allowed to bring it into the park, but you can keep it in a cooler in the car. Be sure to have some beverages on hand as well.
In addition, if you are staying at a hotel in walking distance, you can always stock up at the grocery store and eat in your room. Most have refrigerators and microwaves, so you could easily make up some sandwiches or pop some hot dogs into the microwave.
If attending a character meal is a must, choose breakfast dining. It's the least expensive meal of the day. Should there be a special restaurant you've been dying to try, remember that lunch costs less money than dinner. If you've been budgeting all of your other meals, then go ahead and treat yourself. Sometimes one just has to splurge!
Orlando Theme Park Guide
Theme Park Drinks
I don't know about you. but walking around amusement parks always makes me thirsty. It's even worse during the warm and hot weather months. Continuously buying beverages can add up, so I've found a couple of ways to help keep down the cost.
Even though most parks have a no outside food or beverage policy, I have yet to attend one that wouldn't allow bottled water to be brought in. Should you opt to do this, freeze the water the night before. As it melts, you'll have some nice cold water. In addition, as long as you still have some ice in it, you can keep refilling it with water from water fountains.
Enjoy soda? Buying individual sodas over and over again runs up the cost of your day. Many parks offer refillable souvenir cups. You pay once for the cup, then refills are either free or at a discounted rate for the rest of the day. Some parks will even let you use your cup again on another day, so you only have to buy refills.
Theme Park Poll
How often do you go to amusement parks?
Theme Park Tips
Although the ticket prices don't change depending on the time of year it is, others things do. Normally, airline tickets are less expensive if purchased ahead and during off season. Gas prices are also lower during the off season. You can also get better rates on hotel rooms.
To get the best savings, try not to visit on the weekends, over the summer or during peak seasons such as spring or winter break.
Traveling with little ones? Don't forget to bring a stroller, even if they rarely use one. This way you won't have to pay to rent one.
Of course it's tempting to pick up a few souvenirs. Often, you'll get better deals if you shop at some of the stores and restaurants near the park, rather than in the park itself.
Many theme parks have photographers who will take pictures of your family or group for you with the option to purchase them later. Being a mom I love to get pictures of the whole family. I can tell you from personal experience that I have never had any problems asking a stranger to take a photo of my family. You can save money just by asking a fellow visitor to take one for you.
I hope these tips have been helpful and good luck planning out your amusement park adventure.
California Theme Parks
More Theme Park Fun
- Fun Disney Polls
Fun Disney trivia question games, polls, quizzes and facts. How well do you know Disney? Some great Disney pictures and videos as well. Come have some Disney fun!