It’s no secret that a day at Disneyland, Six Flags or Universal can easily empty your pocket books. If you plan ahead and do your research there are lots of ways to save big money and add value to your tickets. Here are six money-saving tips to practice before jumping on Mr. Toads Wild Ride.
Do Your Research
Don’t show up to the park the day you want to go empty handed. Do your research and look for special deals with pre-purchased tickets. Often times, grocery stores, fast food chains and even soda manufactuers offer discounts on tickets. If you’re having trouble finding the local deals around town, you can always visit mousesavers.com, which will direct you to almost every discount available on pre-purchased tickets for a lot of the major amusement parks. The site can walk you through resident, non-resident, AAA members and even military discounts.
Like your favorite theme parks on Facebook and Twitter, your loyalty will pay off. Parks often advertise promotions and one-day sales for fans.
Pick the Right Days
The only way to get value out of your ticket is to go on the right day. If you spend the $92 dollars for a one-day adult pass at Disneyland and go on a Saturday in July, you may spend the majority of your day waiting in lines. Try to go on a off day during the week when you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying the rides rather than grimicing over the lines. At the park, download apps like Ride Hopper to help you understand wait times for the most popular rides and attractions.
Stay at an on Site Hotel
If you stay at one of the three on-site hotels at Universal Orlando, you’ll be allowed to skip the lines of most rides at the parks. According to its website, this value can save you $89 per person per day. Now add in the value of the free shuttle you will also have to and from the parks, the extra money you spent on that hotel initially may in the end turn out to save you money.
Most theme parks allow you to bring your own snacks and water. This is vital as a 20 oz water at a theme park usually doesn’t cost the .54 cents it would cost you to purchase it from and 24 pack at Costco. For instance, a bottle of water at Disneyland will run you $2.79. An exception here are the Six Flags theme parks which do not let you bring any food or water in. In this case, you may want to purchase the all day drink pass for $14.99 that allows you to refill a large plastic souvenior bottle as many times as you want on the day of your visit.
Want to feed the fam on a budget, no worries, pack your lunches and enjoy lunch outside the park. Most parks have designated picnic areas where you’ll be able to eat with the family. The savings alone here can be well over $100 depending on your family size.
Don’t Buy the Photos
Do you really need the $20 photo of you screaming with your hands raised in the air to prove that you went on a park ride… probably not. Save your money and take as many photos as you can with your smart phone or camera; you can even take a smart phone pic of that expensive souvenir shot. Maybe these won’t be as action packed but in the end you’ll be saving yourself a lot of money and leaving with the same memories.
For more tips on saving money on the road, check out:
- How to Save $100 or More at the Airport
- 10 Ways to Cut More than $100 from Your Hotel Budget
- Our entire Budget Travel channel, with everything from money-saving tips to affordable destinations
- Daily and weekly travel deals from around the globe
By Irene Moore for PeterGreenberg.com