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7 Tips for Saving Money at a Theme Park

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May 15, 2012

When it comes to fun and exciting destinations for the entire family, theme parks are definitely at the top of the list. If you’re planning a trip to the amusement park on a limited budget, there’s no need to worry. Here are some tips to saving money at the theme park:

1. Buy your tickets elsewhere.
Keep an eye open for deals and you’ll likely come across promotions and coupons on theme park rates. Pay close attention to advertisements, flyers, and even soda cans. You can also book your tickets online. Many parks actually give a better rate for tickets purchased on the Internet versus tickets bought at the gate. Just be wary of purchasing tickets on eBay or discount retailers. Do your research to make sure you’re not getting scammed.

2. Go later in the day.
Who says you can’t enjoy the theme park at night? Go later in the day and you may be able to get a discounted admission rate.

3. Consider getting passes.
Get multi-day passes if your family plans to spend more than one day at an amusement park. You can get increased discounts for the amount of days you intend to play.

If your family loves a particular theme park and you live nearby, you might want to also consider getting a season pass. Purchasing season passes for a theme park often also entails getting coupon books and free parking on future visits.

4. Eat lunch outside the park.
Why pay for an overpriced lunch inside the park? Take a breather and leave the park during lunchtime. Drive to a nearby restaurant or enjoy a packed lunch in the car. You’ll avoid the lunch crowd and save a little money in the process.

5. Bring your own snacks and drinks.
The amount you spend on bottled water and snacks throughout the day can definitely add up. Bring a backpack with bottled water for the family. Bring a frozen bottle or two so they stay cold longer, and refill at the drinking fountains as needed. Also consider bringing a large snack bag and individual baggies or containers to divide the food throughout the day.

6. Share your food.
If you do decide to splurge on fun snacks at the park, then at least share them with one another. Serving sizes are usually too big for one kid to eat. Funnel cakes, fries, and cotton candy are best shared.

7. Limit your souvenir spending.
Kids will often whine until they get what they want. Set a budget for souvenir purchases that each child must stick to. They’ll be more conscious of their purchases if they know they have a limit.

A little resourcefulness can make it possible to be frugal and have fun at the same time. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to stretch your budget—even at a theme park. For specific Disney-park ideas, check out our Save Bucks at the Happiest Place on Earth: Disney World on a Dime article.

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