Rollercoasters and other thrill rides provide reliable (if scary and slightly dizzifying) fun. While they go up pretty high, they always come down.
Theme park prices, on the other hand, just keep going up. Not so much fun. Even scarier.
So what's a family to do for fun this summer? Vacation air travel is practically out of sight, company's coming for the weekend, and your kids are practically possessed with visions of giant smiling rodents and carousels and water slides.
Theme Parks provide a day's escape from the routine. They're all over the USA. For those families who can't get enough heat, humidity, crowds, lines, and overpriced snacks at home, TEAM CHEAPIOSITY can suggest a way to spend less dough when you opt to go.
Of course, at this point, it should go without saying, but we'll say it anyway: DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, PAY FULL ADMISSION PRICE!
By now, this little nugget should be a part of your DNA, but just in case you missed it the first hundred times, we repeat. For you cheap-challenged, a gentle reminder. Discounts and information are everywhere. Just look.
There are websites for everything, and theme parks are no exception. We urge you to check out: http://www.themeparkinsider.com/ These guys know their stuff so give them a look. They'll tell you everything you want to know, providing ratings and detailed information about specific theme parks all over the country.
Discounts are everywhere. Check out some of these: Automobile Club of America membership perks, credit card membership perks, grocery store coupons (and don't forget to check the coupons on the back of your receipts), the theme or amusement park's website, the coupons you get in the mail, Costco, not to mention employers, organizations, banks.....you get the picture, they're everywhere.
Disney and Universal (and some other parks) offer discounts for instate guests; simply show your driver's license for proof. Theme parks are located in cities all over; check with the local Tourist Boards for more discount offers. FYI: Theme park admissions are frequently cheaper on weekdays and later in the day.
For those of you who can't get enough of these places, check out Season or Yearly or VIP Passes. If you plan on going multiple times, this may make sense for you. (Do the math, and be careful to consider any blackout dates in your calculations.) Also, depending on the area (Southern California and Orlando) you can buy entries to multiple parks and further discounts for larger groups.
WARNING: Even if you manage to save big on admissions, they'll soak you selling you overpriced refreshments and souvenirs. Set yourself a budget and stick to it. Pack a picnic lunch in a cooler and visit the parking lot at lunchtime. Give your child a certain amount of cash for the day, and let them make their own decisions as to how to spend their money. It'll cut down on the spending (not to mention the whining and the tantrums and the gimmes) and teach them some valuable lessons about instant gratification and financial independence.
So, you tried everything we've suggested and still no discounts.....give up! No. Never give up. We promise. If you search thoroughly, you'll save some money. Make sure you maximize your savings with the best discount for you and your family. At TEAM CHEAPIOSITY we do it everytime.
Oh, and one more thing. Wear sunblock. Seriously.