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Posted by Joshua Gillem on Jun 9, 2014 in Entertainment, Travel | 13 comments

Theme Parks: The Most Efficient Ways to Save Money

If you seek thrill and adventure, you may want to check out one of America’s many theme parks. The only problem is that a day at the park is not exactly cheap. Not unless you know what you’re doing, anyway. Here are a few tips to help you save as much as possible when you plan your trip to an amusement park. Keep in mind that not all the tips will apply at all parks, so make sure you do some research beforehand.


Go during the week.
This can save you money on entry compared to the busy weekend. Most people work during the week, so parks are keen to get some business in this relatively quiet time. Additionally, some parks discount tickets if you go closer to the time when they close for the day. You may not have as much time to have fun, but it saves you some money.

There are ways to save if you live close.
Many theme parks will offer discount deals through coupons. Plus, getting a season pass may be beneficial if you live close enough to take advantage of it. Not only does the pass pay for itself in a couple of visits, but there are often other perks as well, including free parking or accommodation discounts at sister sites.

Be sure to check for online discounts.
Some parks offer discounts when the tickets are purchased online. It can’t hurt to check even if your park doesn’t participate in this type of discount, because it could save you time in line. This is especially true if you go with a group. Furthermore, many parks even offer group discount rates because they know they are guaranteed a certain amount of people.

Avoid park concessions.
After your admission fee, food will be the most expensive item at the park. Some parks let you bring your own food from home, but many won’t. Take advantage of a park’s exit rules to return to your car at lunch time. You’ll get a stamp on your hand when you leave, allowing you to come back in on the same day. You can either drive to a nearby store for a cheaper lunch or keep a cooler in the car with packed lunches. After you finish, you can head back into the park for more fun.

Saving money at a theme park is easy when you know how to do it. There is a certain amount of planning that may be involved, but when saving money is a top priority, it is well worth the effort.



  1. Another way to save on food is to get a meal pass. Some parks, such as Busch Gardens, have all day, unlimited meal passes. Those mean HUGE savings on food. Other parks, like Universal Studios, offer meal packages that include one entree, one drink, and one snack. You don’t have to get each of these at the same time, they can be spread through the day. The savings are minimal, but they are still savings. Get the souvenir drink cup. You get unlimited drinks and don’t have to spend much at all compared to buying individual drinks. It is easy to dehydrate at a theme park, so these cups are invaluable.

  2. I live in Florida. My husband and I would like to go to Walt Disney World either in September or for the Christmas break. What special are there at those times. Also, what specials are there for the Disney Cruise Line?

    Thank you

    • Hi! Check here for our Disney Coupon Codes.

    • Don’t go during Christmas break if at all possible. The week after January 1, 2016 is a great time. September should also be a great time to go. School is back in session and there will be shorter lines. We went many years ago during the 2nd week in January and almost had the parks to ourselves. The weather is a little cooler, but still very comfortable.

      • I agree with Joy, Christmas week is one of the busiest times to visit Walt Disney Resorts. Did this many years ago with 4 kids, needless to say it was not the Happiest Place on Earth. Very long lines for everything, even the bathroom. I would go mid September through mid November then skip December and try for January, if those other dates won’t work for you. You are investing a great amount of money and time, it should be your “BEST TRIP EVER” with careful planning. Have a wonderful time and make lots of memories :)

    • My anniversary is in September. Our tradition is to go to Disney World every four or five years. It was by accident that we discovered years ago to make plans last minute. Last September we made our reservations an hour outside of Orlando and got a hotel room across the street from Downtown Disney, free shuttles to all the attractions, shopping destinations, and free breakfasts for $70 a night. We where also able to find online discount coupons for many of the places we ate at. September is the perfect time to visit. I don’t take cruises but my friends tell me that it is also better to make reservations last minute for those too. They want to fill up the ship.

    • My sister lives in Tampa, FL and is a travel agent and goes to Disney and on Disney cruises on a regular basis. She is a wealth of knowledge and loves Disney. Her website is: You can find her contact information there.

    • Disney Destinations (thru disneys website) is currently offering dates from now thru Dec 15 including either 15% to 30% off hotels, OR free dining plan with 6 night 7 day purchase of tickets with park Hopper and hotel. Just call disney destinations for the best deals, most offers are better if you call, they will often offer upgrades too for us we got free memory maker worth about $300 just for asking. During the holiday season, there is the very merry Christmas party which is more magic than even i who goes there once a year can barely handle. It’s Awesome. The ticket to the party which is open after hours until midnight is separate from your park pass and worth every dime.. free cookies and hot chocolate stations everywhere. If wanting to bring food into the park be sure to mention it’s “your special diet”. Wishing you a Magical Vacation!

    • Go in September unless you are going the the first 2 weeks in December. You can enjoy cool weather and holiday decorations and shows at that time without the holiday crowds. Avoid holidays like the plague.

  3. Florida residents get GREAT deals but have blackout dates. If you are a AAA member they can help too.

  4. When is the next Water Park scheduled for in Fountain Hills Arizona? Please comment and let’s know.

  5. We got a little boardwalk called Keansburg Amusement Park and Runaway Water Park. On the Jersey Shore. We got hit by Sandy big time and by the summer after we are up and going great. Everybody come and enjoy the day. My daughter works at the hot dog stand there. We live 4 blocks away from the boardwalk and bay beach and 3 blocks away from Runaway Rapids Water Park. Keansburg Boardwalk is the best boardwalk on the Jersey Shore.

  6. If you are going to any of the Disneyworld parks during January or February, (sometimes even the first half of March), to ride specific rides check and make sure those rides will be open. These months are favorites for the parks to complete yearly maintenance on a lot of their rides/attractions.

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