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Save Big on Amusement Park Vacations

Travelers Save Big on Amusement Park Vacations


No matter what you think the perfect vacation entails, you have to admit that amusement parks offer something for everyone. Whether it’s the Disney parks with costumed characters and rides suitable for kids or Cedar Point, which is home to more roller coasters than any other park in the world, these theme parks make millions of dollars every year. Between the high cost of food and the cost of the tickets and any souvenirs you want to take home, you might think a trip to an amusement park is out of your reach. Some smart travelers learned ways to save big.

Parks Offer More

When the recession hit the United States, people of all ages cut back on vacations and other expenses. Amusement parks found that offering travelers something more helped them keep ticket sales steady and keep the parks full. Holiday World, an amusement park divided into each of the major holidays, offers it guests a number of free amenities. Located in Santa Claus, Indiana, the park gives guests free sunscreen and free drinks. Other parks, including the Disney parks, now offer package deals. Guests can get a hotel room and tickets to one or more of the parks for much less than if they purchased each item separately.

Buying Tickets Online

Buying a single ticket to an amusement park can cost $50 or more, but many parks now offer tickets for sale online. You can buy and print the tickets from your home computer, or you can buy the tickets and hold the tickets at the park. This can bring the price down by 10 percent or more. Lindsey Stone suggests looking at other discounts through specific clubs and organizations. AAA offers discounted prices on tickets to Cedar Fair amusement parks, Disney parks and more. You can also find tickets available for sale through the newspaper and from certain stores located near those parks.

Saving on Food

Many amusement parks no longer let you bring in your own food. If security catches you with outside food, you’ll need to throw it away and you may face expulsion from the park. The best way to save on your meals is with a cooler. Fill the cooler with ice, fresh cut fruits and vegetables, cold drinks and other snacks. Take a break from the park to sit outside in the parking lot and have your own picnic lunch. You can also save on drinks as well. Instead of spending $5 or more on a single drink, ask for a cup of ice water. Federal law requires that all parks give guests access to free water.

Spending Less on Souvenirs

It’s often hard to resist the pull of souvenir stands, but those stands often charge outrageous prices on items available for less elsewhere. Give yourself a budget and limit yourself to that budget. If you have kids, give your kids a small amount of spending money and make sure that they understand they cannot have anymore money later. Make a list of the things you want in the park, and take pictures of those items on your phone. You can often find those souvenirs for half the price online when you get home. Using just a few tips can help you easily afford a trip to any amusement park.

About Paula

Paula Krueger considers herself a "baby "chef, not because she cooks for babies, but because she's still learning how to cook. She started this blog after taking Wilton method classes and at that point was more interested in baking. She's since become more interested in learning to cook as her family has grown. She also covers product reviews and travel as well.


  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    We go to Disney every year, so I like to think I am pretty good at saving as much as possible there.

  2. I really want to get back to a theme park this year. These are great tips!

  3. We were just at Dollywood not too long ago. The food can be super expensive so we bring our own snacks and drinks.

  4. These are great tips! It can be difficult to go to amusement park and not spend your life savings! I’m just joking, but I’m sort of not.

  5. Whoa, I had no idea that theme parks had to give people free water! I always bring my refillable water bottle and hope to find a water fountain and they’re always so hard to find!

  6. Thanks for these great tips. I’ve never been able to go to any amusement park without coming out with a MUCH lighter wallet.

  7. I love buying my tickets online too! It is just so much easier vs waiting in line longer!

  8. We love Dinseyland. I lose myself everytime we go.

  9. These are really great tips. Souvenirs are the great money suck of amusement parks. You’ve got to really be careful of those.

  10. Great tips! We do these ourselves because as a family of 7 it can get pricey. Plus who wants to spend more money than they have to!

  11. Thanks for these tips! The last time I went to an amusement park with the family, I practically had to get a second mortgage.

  12. The tip about the free water is a good one that I will remember. I think it’s a shame with all the allergies today that parks do not allow some food of your own.

  13. Great tips!! It really can add up fast when going to the amusement parks. I love when we are able to take in our own food and snacks that seems to cost the most!

  14. We are going to Disney in January. We pay for the tickets though a payment plan with Disney. We also let the kids get one souvenir on the last day. They have to look at everything before they decide.

  15. I didn’t realize they didn’t let you bring food in at some parks now. That is not cool! I have left a cooler in the car with lunch though many times. 🙂

  16. I always love finding ways to save money when it comes to buying tickets to theme parks that my daughter likes. Thanks for these wonderful tips!

  17. Ann Bacciaglia says:

    It is good to check online for tickets. There is usually some great deals to be had. I would love to go to Disney with my kids.

  18. I love visiting theme parks, but haven’t been to one in a while. There aren’t many theme parks near us here in Louisiana.