Ups and downs should be reserved for roller coasters – not your wallet! If you are looking to take a family trip to an amusement park but don’t want to break your bank on tickets, food, and goodies within the park, look no further! From doing some research ahead of time to simply packing your own lunch, here are some effective ways to save money at amusement parks.
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Planning ahead – Paying at the gate usually results in paying top dollar for admission tickets. Do some research and look for group discounts and special promotions. A lot of parks offer huge off-season discounts as well as resident discounts.
Membership discounts – If you plan on visiting a local theme or amusement park several times throughout the year, consider purchasing a year-long pass. These often pay for themselves after a few visits. There are also discounts to be had by having a membership with other organizations such as AAA, AARP, or even wholesale stores such as Costco.
Pack your own meal – There’s no denying the insane upcharge of food inside amusement parks. Not only is food pricey, but it is often unhealthy and will not do a good job sustaining you throughout the day. If you are allowed to bring coolers and bags into the park, go ahead and pack sandwiches and snacks for lunch or dinner!
Oftentimes, having a picnic in the park is much more relaxing than waiting in long food lines. If you are not allowed to bring food into the parks, take your picnic to the parking lot! Most parks allow re-entrance, so take a break from the coasters for an old-fashioned tailgate!
Stay hydrated – For a long day of rides and shows and running around, it is important to remember to stay hydrated and drink lots of water. Much like food, bottled water can cost as much as six dollars inside amusement parks! Luckily, a lot of parks allow you to bring one unopened bottle of water or, alternatively, an empty refillable water bottle into the park. Be sure to take advantage of water fountains typically located outside of restrooms, and don’t be shy to ask vendors for glasses of water.
Pass on pictures – A picture with Bugs Bunny is not worth the wait or money. Try to steer your children away from photos with characters. However, photos offered by professional park photographers are fairly easily recreated with your own camera! And if you MUST have a photo of you screaming your head off on your favorite ride, look online before you go for photo package deals.
Skip souvenirs – Gift shops are money drains, plain and simple. If your little one is itching for a pair of mouse ears or a commemorative t-shirt, steer them towards the bargain bins or give them a spending limit.
Amusement and theme parks are fun for families and people of all ages! Be sure to remind your children that the best souvenirs are the memories you make!