If you’ve been promising the kids you’d take them to Disney World in Orlando, you probably already know it’s going to cost you close to $100 per ticket ($95 for adults; $89 for kids). California’s Disneyland comes in just slightly cheaper at $92 for adults and $86 for kids. Theme parks are definitely pricey, but if you know where to look, you can find some discounts. Here are some suggestions for saving money on theme park tickets.
Consider a vacation package. Vacation packages offer some of the biggest theme park discounts. The 2013 Disney World packages start at $1,500. The least expensive package includes hotel accommodations for three nights (for a family of four), and entry to one Disney theme park for each person each of four days. The per-day cost comes to $375, which is close to what you would pay for four days of theme park tickets for four people without the hotel accommodations. So it’s almost like getting your hotel room for free. Disneyland has a similar deal for $1,576.
Buy multi-day passes. Most major theme parks offer multi-day passes, which may be a good option if you already have a place to stay. If you’ve ever been to the Magic Kingdom, you’ll know it’s going to take you more than one day to see the entire park. And if you want to see any of Disney’s other parks, you’re definitely going to need a multi-day pass. A two-day Disney World ticket will save you $3 per ticket per day. For a family of four, that’s a total savings of $24. At Disneyland, you’ll save $5 per adult ticket (per day) and $4.50 per child ticket with its two-day ticket option. So your total savings will be $38. Both parks also sell three-, four-, and five-day passes. The more time you spend there, the lower your cost per day.
Buy your tickets in advance. Many theme parks offer a discount for advance ticket purchases. For example, Six Flags over Georgia offers a $20 discount per adult ticket for purchases made online at least seven days in advance. Many other Six Flags locations offer similar discounts.
Buy your tickets online. Even if you aren’t able to buy your tickets a week in advance, many theme parks offer discounts if you buy your tickets online. For example, you’ll save $10 per ticket at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, if you buy your tickets online.
Check with the local visitors bureau. Many visitors bureaus offer discounts to local attractions. For example, if you buy tickets to Silver Dollar City from the Branson Tourism Center, you’ll get a two-day pass for the price of one day.
Buy a season pass. If you’re going to visit a theme park more than a few times during the summer, a season pass may save you some money. For example, season passes to Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Mo., start at $87. Single-day passes are $48.99 at the gate ($38.99 in advance), so your pass will be paid off in two or three visits.