Visiting theme parks can be a lot of fun. Personally, I had some fun memories as a kid and younger person visiting various parks, and even enjoyed a visit a few years ago with my own kid. That being said, the cost of visiting amusement parks can be quite high, especially when paying full price.
Along those lines, I checked out a quick read in Smart Money on reducing theme park prices. It shared tips on how to get an improved deal on a visit to a theme park. Here they are (paraphrased), along with my comments:
- Buy online. I think this is good advice, not just for visiting amusement parks but for other purchases as well. For travel and entertainment, this can be a great way to save a significant percentage off the regular rates.
- Utilize social media. Following on Twitter or liking on Facebook can sometimes provide access to deals. I don’t see how it could hurt to take such actions in advance of when you know that you’ll be visiting, just in case there are deals to be had.
- Look into season passes. I have personally seen these offered at really low prices, all things considered. As in, for barely more than the regular price of a one-day admission. If one visits just 2 times during a season, the price could be made up. Of course, if parking, concessions, and the rest are taken into account, the total percentage savings looks a bit different. That’s where it can get surprisingly expensive.
- Buy ahead of price increases. This makes sense, as one simply needs to find out when tickets tend to go up, and then buy at another time.
- Visit during off-peak times. To me, the biggest benefit of this is the idea of less waiting. If you can take more rides for the same cost, you’re getting more for your money! If you add price discounts on top of that, it makes it compelling to visit during off-peak times.
- Explore group discounts. I can see how one could possibly score a nice deal this way, though this hasn’t been an approach I’ve personally utilized.
In addition to these approaches to saving money, I think that one other way to save money on a day at the theme park is to watch food costs. It can be very expensive to eat at such places, and it’s almost worth taking the same approach one would when trying to save money at airports. In other words, they have you there, and if you want to eat you have to pay inflated prices!
I would suggest eating a big breakfast before going, and taking a refillable water bottle. My last trip to a park was a few years ago, and I recall spending over $10 for a very basic sandwich, side, and drink. Not to mention that bottled water was expensive through the day, and I bought it given the heat and humidity that day.
If you want a special money-saving approach, you can check out this super frugal amusement park savings tip. Though keep in mind I don’t recommend it 🙂
On a separate note, I think I’m going to go back to a theme park this year with my oldest kid. The nearby Six Flags park is probably where we will head off to. I’ve been to a few others through my life, including Disney, Kings Island, Busch Gardens, and Canada’s Wonderland. Have to say that Disney might be a rite of passage, my most vivid memories were at that Six Flags I mentioned.
My Questions for You
- Have you used any of these money-saving tips for visiting amusement parks?
- Do you have any other tips to add in order to get the best overall deal?
- What parks have you visited, and which one was your favorite?