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INSIDER SECRET: If you are a Sam’s Club member, you can purchase annual passes to Disney World online at discounted prices.
Prices seem to be shooting up at amusement parks the past few years. But despite increasing prices, many amusement and theme parks team up with local membership clubs and companies to make tickets cheaper if you know where to go. With the right guidance, it is easy to save money at lots of popular theme parks around the US.
Save Money With Discount Amusement Park Tickets
A key to saving money is to prepare ahead of time, and that’s especially true for saving money at amusement parks. Remember that the price is always highest when you wait to purchase tickets at the gate. Even just purchasing tickets online as you head to the car can save you hundreds of dollars for a family. Other popular ways to get discounts are to organize a large group or check for employer and student discounts. You also may be able to save money by purchasing package tickets or annual passes.
Credit Cards for Amusement Parks
Start out by using the right credit card.
The best credit cards for amusement parks:
- Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 4% cash back on entertainment (including amusement park purchases)
- Citi Premier℠ Card earns 2 Citi ThankYou points per $1 you spend on entertainment (including at amusement parks)
The information for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card and the Citi Premier has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
These cards can be used on top of discounts listed below if you are purchasing the tickets at amusement parks directly, or their own websites.
Here are some other easy ways to avoid paying full price at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Six Flags, Universal Studios and more:
1. Disney World
Link: Disney World
As the largest theme park in the world, Disney World is a family’s dream vacation. It offers enough fun for kids and parents alike with four different theme parks, two waterparks and countless other themed experiences.
Tickets for Disney World are always on the rise. Prices just went up at the start of 2019 and now, with the introduction of Galaxy’s End – Star Wars Land, there are rumors that prices might see another increase.
Luckily there are a few ways to get discount tickets to Disney World, and the savings can really add up when you are taking the whole family:
- Disney World Special Offers – Disney World offers various discounts throughout the year. These run for a limited time and rotate frequently, so be sure to check the Disney World Special Offers page to see what offers are available during your travel dates.
- Florida Residents – If you live in Florida you can get significant deals on resident Disney World ticket passes. There are a variety of passes available and Disney adjusts the deals based on the time of year. To give you an idea of what to expect, in Summer 2019, a three-day Disney World ticket pass is available to residents for $175 (just $58.34 per day).
- Sam’s Club – If you are a Sam’s Club member, you can purchase annual passes to Disney World online at discounted prices.
- AAA Membership – Purchase an annual pass to Disney World and save up to $40 by doing it through your local AAA office. Exact discounts may vary by office.
- Military – Active or retired US military personnel can get special pricing on 4 or 5 day passes to Disney World. These passes are $241 and $257 (plus tax) respectively and include the Park Hopper option so you can move about between the parks freely. Add $50 to either pass if you want the Park Hopper Plus option. Pricing valid through December 19, 2019.
Disneyland offers a very different experience from Walt Disney World. It is always fun to check them both out. Discount tickets are getting harder to come by for Disneyland, especially since attendance has been on the rise in recent years.
But don’t worry, we have still rounded up a handful of places that you can find discount Disneyland tickets for you and the whole family:
- Disneyland Special Offers – Disneyland does run occasional special offers. These deals will change throughout the year and are best during slower times of the year at the park. Check Disneyland’s Special Offers page to see which are available right now.
- Southern California Residents – If you live in southern California (and can provide proof of residence) there are some significant discounts available for you. For 2019, residents with zip codes between 90000 – 93599 or 21000-22999 can qualify. Disneyland adjusts these discounts throughout the year, but to give you an idea, they were offering three-day passes for residents earlier in the year starting at $179.
- AAA Membership – AAA Members can save a small amount on Disneyland tickets by pre-purchasing tickets at their local AAA office. The discount is $2 – $5 per day depending on the exact pass type or time of year.
- Military – Active or retired US military personnel can get special pricing on 3 and 4-day ticket passes to Disneyland. A 3-day pass costs $178 and a 4-day pass runs $198. Pricing valid through December 19, 2019.
3. Busch Gardens
Tickets for 1 general admission ticket at Busch Gardens parks can cost ~$85 per adult and ~$75 per child when you purchase them online. But you don’t have to pay full price.
- Save $20 (Busch Gardens Williamsburg) – Just enter promotional code “bgwoffer” to save $20 on up to six single-day tickets
- CityPass Tampa Bay (Busch Gardens Tampa Bay) – If you are going to be in Tampa area for a while, there is actually a pretty good deal available by purchasing the CityPASS Tampa. The pass is $109 ($99 for a child 3-9 years old) and gets you access to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, The Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Cleanwater Marine Aquarium, and either the Museum of Science & Industry or the Chihuly Collection. This pass is $24 more than a standard Busch Gardens ticket (which is normally $85), but gets you access to four additional attractions in the area — so it might be a savings overall.
- AAA Membership – Show your AAA card at the gate to save $5 on a single-day ticket. Good for up to six people (subject to change without notice).
- Florida Resident Children 5 and Under (Busch Gardens Tampa Bay) – Preschool age children who live in Florida can get into Busch Gardens Tampa for free if they register online.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards – If you have Southwest miles to spare, you can use 10,568 Southwest miles to purchase a single one-day ticket on the Rapid Rewards website. This isn’t the best value for your miles, but it could be worth it for people who have a lot of Southwest miles.
- American Express Membership Rewards – You can use Membership Rewards points from American Express to purchase tickets to Busch Gardens. Visit the Membership Rewards site for more details.
- Military – Active duty military, activated or drilling reservists, National Guard members and veterans can receive free tickets for themselves and up to three dependents. Registration online is required before showing up at the park.
4. Cedar Point
Tickets to Cedar Point currently cost ~$72 at the gate. Here are other ways you can get your tickets for less:
- Cedar Point’s Website – While tickets cost $72 at the door, you can buy tickets in advance on Cedar Point’s website for just $49 each for a single-day pass — $23 in savings per ticket.
- Donate Blood – You can get “free entry passes, discounts, and coupons on entry” to Cedar Point by giving blood at Select Red Cross donation centers. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS for more details.
- Michigan Residents – Cedar Point runs special deals for Michigan residents from time to time. On April 1, 2019, they ran an unlimited park pass for 2019 for just $39.99 per person. These deals are available on Cedar Point’s site and have limited availability. So check back often.
- Meijer grocery stores – Most Meijer stores sell tickets to Cedar Point at various discounts. You can also now find the active deals online and then purchase tickets either in the store or online. The prices are similar to Cedar Point’s own website, but there are some special add-ons that are unique to Meijer, like unlimited drinks in the dark all day long for only $4 more.
Regular admission tickets to Hersheypark cost up to ~$68 online for summer admission. Buying online is almost always cheaper and faster than buying tickets at the park.
- Up to $17 Off Your Ticket– Use promo code 79561 to get regular tickets for $51.95 ($17 off). This code works for other ticket types at lower discount amounts.
- Local businesses – Nearby fast food restaurants, ice cream shops, etc. often have discounted tickets
- Giant Food Stores – Save on one-day admission when you purchase tickets at participating stores (discounts may vary). Use one of our favorite credit cards for grocery stores to earn extra miles and points from this purchase.
- Sunset Tickets – Save over 50% when you visit later in the day. Arrive after 4pm when the park closes at 8pm, or after 5pm when the park closes at 10pm or 11pm.
- Military – Show your military ID to receive $20 off regular admission or $4 off junior and senior admission. One discount coupon may be used to purchase up to eight tickets.
6. Kings Island
As with other amusement parks, don’t wait to buy tickets at the gate. While tickets cost $72 at the gate, the same ticket online costs ~$48 depending on the date. But there might be even better deals available to you:
- Discount Codes – There are many discount codes available for 2019. Try code KIACE to get tickets for $33. Another code KIAMAZON seems to have a long history of working; its exact offer changes from time to time.
- AAA Membership – You can purchase a single day ticket plus unlimited drinks package at AAA offices for $39.50.
- Kroger – Kings Island sells tickets at steep discounts inside nearby Kroger grocery stores. Stack it with a top credit card at grocery stores for even more value.
- Meijer – You can buy a two-park ticket bundle to Kings Island and Cedar Point at certain locations around Columbus, Ohio.
- Military – Active members of the military will receive a discount (the amount may vary seasonally, around 50% off) off regular Front Gate admission prices. The discount offer is not available online and is valid for up to six family members.
7. Legoland Theme Parks
- Costco – Members can purchase a 2-day GO San Diego eCard online for $119 ($94 for child) which includes access to over 35 area attractions including LEGOLAND California plus SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Natural History Museum, and many more. If you need more time to do everything, there are discounted four-day passes also available. Purchase online and a code will be emailed to you which can be redeemed in a smartphone app to manage your pass.
- Free on Kid’s Birthdays – For kids, there could be nothing better than visiting LEGOLAND on their birthday. Kids under 12 are FREE on their birthdays (through December 31, 2019).
- Free Admission for California Classroom Teachers – On Tuesdays and Wednesdays in July and August 2019, California teachers K-12 will get in free while bringing family and friends for $52 each.
- Go Los Angeles Pass – This is an all-inclusive pass that gives you access to over 35 attractions in southern California. In addition to LEGOLAND California, you can also enjoy Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, San Diego Zoo, aquariums, whale watching tours, and more. Passes are available for different lengths of time depending on how long you will be in the area. Passes of three days or longer also include access to Universal Studios Hollywood. If you already plan to visit more than one park, this would offer HUGE savings over buying individual tickets.
- TravelZoo – Purchase a two-day pass to LEGOLAND California for $99 (the normal price of one day). LEGOLAND Florida tickets are also available: a one-day pass is $64.
- Military – Members of the military can buy discounted tickets at Military ITT offices on bases. Rates can vary with location. Military members can also save 10% on one and two-day tickets at the gate with valid military ID.
8. Six Flags
Link: Six Flags
Six Flags has LOTS of locations in the US, including:
- Six Flags Discovery Kingdom – San Francisco, California
- Six Flags Magic Mountain – Los Angeles, California
- Six Flags Hurricane Harbor -Los Angeles, California
- The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom – Lake George, New York
- Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark – Lake George, New York
- Six Flags Fiesta Texas – San Antonio, Texas
- Six Flags Over Texas – Arlington, Texas
- Six Flags Hurricane Harbor – Arlington, Texas
Tickets into the park can cost ~$65 online depending on which location you visit. Here are some ways to save:
- Discover Cardholders – If you have a Discover branded credit card you automatically save 5% off park admission PLUS get to “skip the line.” In the past pre-registration was required, but it is no longer needed. You also save 5% off any purchases made inside the park like concessions or the gift shop. We recommend the Discover it® Miles, which earns you 1.5 miles per $1 that you spend on all purchases.
- Coca-Cola cans – Many people remember that Coke used to print discount coupons onto cans in the past. Coca-Cola has stopped doing that except in select markets, but the discount is still valid in 2019. Bring any Coke, Diet Coke, or Sprite can with you to get $15 – $30 off depending on the park location and date.
- Online Coupon Code – You can also use the coupon code COKE at checkout at sixflags.com to again save $15 – $30 per ticket depending on dates and location.
- Kroger – These supermarkets sometimes have discounted tickets to Six Flags parks. Be sure to use one of the best credit cards for grocery stores to earn extra points and miles.
- Military – Save 15% on General Admission tickets with a military ID at Guest Services. Discount extends to immediate family.
- AAA – Save $5 when presenting your card at the ticket booth, up to six tickets. Members will also save 10% on merchandise when they spend $15 or more.
The information for the Discover it Miles card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Link: Universal Orlando Resort
A one-day pass to Universal Orlando can cost ~$119 for adults and ~$114 for children (ages 3 to 9) at the gate, and you’ll pay $115 for adults and $109 for children (ages 3 to 9) at the gate at Universal Studios Hollywood. Unfortunately, Universal parks don’t often give discounts on tickets to the general public, but here are some strategies:
- Buy tickets online (Universal Orlando) – Save $5 on adult and children’s tickets (ages 3 to 9) when you buy your tickets online.
- Buy tickets online (Universal Hollywood) – Save between $5 and $20 on both adult’s and children’s tickets (ages 3 to 9), depending on the day, using the flexible calendar.
- Check MouseSavers – They usually have all the latest deals on tickets to Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.
- Go Los Angeles Pass (Universal Hollywood) – This pass can be purchased online for varying lengths of time and gives access to over 35 area attractions including Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Six Flags, Knott’s Berry Farm, LEGOLAND, and more. You must purchase a three-day or longer pass to get access to Universal Studios.
In the past, Sam’s Club & Costco offered discounts to members. Neither of them is offering ticket deals right now, but always check with them to see if they have any deals
You also can save on tickets if you belong to certain groups:
- AAA Membership – For Universal Studios Hollywood, save $3 off admission at the gate or save over $10 per day when purchased on AAA’s website. There are also discounts available for Universal Orlando Resort.
- American Express Cardholders – Get access to the American Express lounge (free snacks, drinks, and concierge) when you buy a Multi-Park ticket or Annual pass with your American Express card. Just show your receipt and card at the front door for lounge entry. You can bring up to six people per card. Use any American Express card to automatically save 10% when you spend $75 or more on qualifying merchandise and 10% off any concessions when you spend $10 or more. These deals work at both Universal Hollywood and Universal Orlando.
- California Colleges (Universal Hollywood) – Get discounted tickets if you are currently attending any of these 78 colleges or universities.
- Florida Residents (Universal Orlando) – Save up to $64 on gate prices with special pricing for Florida residents.
- Military – Check with your local base to see if discounted tickets are available.
General Tips for Paying Less at Amusement Parks
Here are other ways you may be able to save:
- Ordering tickets online is usually cheaper than waiting until you get to the park.
- Check with your employer, school, and local churches for discounts.
- Sometimes local grocery stores offer discounted tickets.
- Coca-Cola or Pepsi cans and cereal boxes in stores near theme parks sometimes have discounts. Remember to use a card that earns bonus points at US supermarkets like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
- Check with your local AAA office or AARP.
- Save on tickets by organizing a large group trip.
- Multi-park packages, annual passes, and dining packages could also save you some money.
Remember to Use the Right Card
Want to save even more money? Using certain credit cards can save you money on amusement park purchases. These don’t require coupon codes and can even stack on top of other discounts if you use the card directly with the park.
Our favorite cards for amusement park tickets:
- Capital One Savor – 4% cash back on entertainment purchases including amusement parks. This even includes concessions.
- Citi Premier – Earn 2 Citi ThankYou points per $1 you spend at amusement parks.
If you’re planning a trip to an amusement park summer, there are plenty of ways to save on tickets. There are discounts for using certain credit cards and purchasing tickets at local supermarkets, and in some cases, your profession (US military, California teacher) might even get you a deal.
If nothing else, be sure to buy the tickets online from the park’s website instead of waiting to pay at the gate. Use the Capital One Savor card or Citi Premier to earn extra cash back or points from these amusement park purchases.
Do you have more tips for scoring discounts at amusement parks this summer? Share them with us in the comments!
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