Easy Discounts at Amusement Parks This Summer
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I told you my tricks for getting to Disney World without spending a fortune. But you can save money at other popular theme parks around the US too!
Typically you can save at amusement parks by purchasing tickets online instead of at the gate, organizing a large group, and checking employer and student discounts.
You also may be able to save money by purchasing package tickets or annual passes.
Here’s a look at other easy ways to avoid paying full price at Six Flags (35% off using 1 credit card), Universal, Cedar Point (free tickets), and more!
1. Busch Gardens
Link: Busch Gardens – Tampa, Florida
Link: Busch Gardens – Williamsburg, Virginia
Tickets for a single day at Busch Gardens parks can cost ~$75 per adult and ~$65 per child when you purchase them online. But you don’t have to pay full price!
- Save $15 (Busch Gardens Williamsburg) – Just enter promotional code “BGWValPak” to save $15 on up to 6 single-day tickets through September 7, 2015
- 1 Free Children’s Ticket With 1 Paid Adult Ticket (Busch Gardens Williamsburg) – Use promotional code “BGWPampers” to get 1 kid’s (ages 3 to 9) ticket free with the purchase of 1 adult single-day ticket through September 7, 2015.
- Publix supermarkets (Busch Gardens Tampa Bay) – Buy tickets at stores in Florida, Georgia, and other southeastern states. You can save money by paying with a card that earns bonus points or cash back at US grocery stores like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
- Adopt a Furry Friend – You can get 2 free tickets to Busch Gardens when you adopt a dog or cat at a participating animal shelter. Please do NOT adopt a pet just to get free tickets to Busch Gardens! Pets are a big responsibility. This is a nice bonus if you already have plans to adopt.
- AAA South (Busch Gardens Tampa) – Save $3 at the gate with your card and 10% at the Crown Colony House Restaurant
- Florida Residents – Free admission for kids 5 and under when you register for the Preschool Pass through December 31, 2015.
- Military – Active duty, active reservists, Coast Guard, and National Guard members can get free tickets for themselves and up to 3 dependents through November 1, 2015, in Williamsburg and through December 31, 2015, in Tampa.
- Preschool Kids (3 to 5 years old) – Preschool aged children can get into Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country for free through May 31, 2015. Birth certificate or passport required.
2. Cedar Point
Link: Cedar Point – Sandusky, Ohio
Tickets to Cedar Point currently cost ~$50 online per person for a day. Buying your tickets online is usually cheaper than the price you’ll pay at the gate. Here’s some other ways you can get your tickets for less!
- 1 Free Ticket – Get a free ticket to Cedar Point by giving blood this summer in Central Ohio. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS for more details.
- Local Meijer grocery stores – Check Meijer stores for tickets. You can earn bonus points or cash back at US grocery stores with cards like the AMEX Everyday Preferred.
- Military – Active, retired, and honorably discharged military with a military ID can save $21 regular admission at the gate for themselves, family, and others in their group (up to 6 discounted tickets per service member)
Link: Hersheypark – Hershey, Pennsylvania
Regular admission tickets to Hersheypark cost up to ~$62 online for summer admission. Buying online is almost always cheaper and faster than buying tickets at the park!
- Coca-Cola cans – Look in a local convenience store because sometimes cans have discounts printed on them
- Local businesses – Nearby fast food restaurants, ice cream shops, etc. sometimes have discounted tickets
- Make friends – Hersheypark often gives away free tickets to locals. Some might even be willing to share!
4. Kings Island
Link: Kings Island – Mason, Ohio
A single day ticket to Kings Island costs ~$45 on their website.
- Meijer – You can buy a 2-park ticket bundle to Kings Island and Cedar Point at certain locations in Columbus, Ohio. Remember to use a card that earns bonus points at supermarkets like the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express.
- Military – Get into Kings Island for free on Military Days, Memorial Day weekend and 4th of July Weekend. And you can purchase tickets for up to 6 immediate family members for ~$30.
5. Legoland Theme Parks
Link: Legoland – Carlsbad, California
Link: Legoland – Winter Haven, Florida
Online tickets can cost $87 for adults and ~$80 for children (3 to 12) and senior (60+) tickets to Legoland theme park (not the smaller Discover Center) locations.
- Save up to $15 – Purchase your ticket online at least 2 days in advance.
- Get 20% off tickets – Use promotional code “159902” through December 31, 2015
- Costco – Members can save up to ~$34 on single day tickets. Tickets should be delivered to your email address within an hour and are good through December 31, 2015.
- Sams Club – Members who book by April 30, 2015, can save up to $21 on 1-day tickets through December 31, 2015.
- Airline Employees – 20% off tickets on up to 6 tickets per visit
- Military – Save 23% and get the 2nd day free. The 2nd day free must occur with in 90 days or by December 31, 2015.
6. Six Flags
Link: Six Flags
Six Flags has many locations around the US including:
- Six Flags Discovery Kingdom – San Francisco, California
- Six Flags Magic Mountain – Los Angeles, California
- Six Flags Hurricane Harbor -Los Angeles, California
- Six Flags Over Georgia – Atlanta, Georgia
- Six Flags White Water – Atlanta, Georgia
- Six Flags Great America – Chicago, Illinois
- Six Flags America – Baltimore, Maryland
- Six Flags New England – Agawam, Massachusetts
- Six Flags – St. Louis, Missouri
- New Jersey
- Six Flags Great Adventure – Jackson, New Jersey
- Six Flags Hurricane Harbor – Jackson, New Jersey
- New York
- 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 ~$50 online depending on which location you visit.
- Save 5% – Register your Discover It or Discover More card and you’ll earn 5% cash back on all purchases at Six Flags through December 31, 2015. Purchases using technology such as virtual wallets and mobile payments may NOT qualify.
- This SHOULD also work with the Discover it Miles card 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.
- Discover35 – This Discover link says you’ll save 35% off the online ticket price from July 12, 2015, to July 31, 2015. There’s a limit of 10 tickets per order.
- Save ~$25 off the gate price or ~$1 off the online ticket price – Use the Coca Cola link
- Coca-Cola cans – In the past, these have had discounts for $15 to $20 off admission to Six Flags. So it doesn’t hurt to check local convenience stores and supermarkets!
- Kroger – These supermarkets sometimes have discounted tickets to Six Flags parks. Use a card, such as the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, that earns bonus points or cash back at US supermarkets.
- Encourage your kids to read – The Six Flags “Read to Succeed” program is open to teachers and schools for free and gives free tickets to kids for 6 hours of reading. The deadline was March 25, 2015, but check back next year!
- Military – Save 20% on General Admission tickets with a military ID at Guest Services
- AAA – Save $5 when presenting your card at the ticket booth and save 10% on merchandise when you spend $15 or more
Link: Universal Orlando Resort
Link: Universal Studios Hollywood
Tickets to Universal Orlando can cost a whopping ~$109 for adults and ~$103 for children (ages 3 to 9) at the gate!
And you’ll pay $95 for adults and $87 for children (ages 3 to 9) at the gate at Universal Studios Hollywood.
And unfortunately, Universal parks don’t often give discounts on tickets to the general public.
- Buy tickets online (Universal Orlando) – Save $7 on adult tickets and $20 on children’s tickets (ages 3 to 9)
- Buy tickets online (Universal Hollywood) – Save $3 on adult tickets and $3 on children’s tickets (ages 3 to 9)
- Check MouseSavers – They usually have all the latest deals on tickets to Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood
In the past, Sam’s Club offered discounts to members. Maybe they’ll run the promotion again!
You can save on tickets if you belong to certain groups:
- AAA South (Universal Hollywood) – $3 off admission at the gate, adult admission at kids pricing, and save 10% on City Walk dining and merchandise
- American Express Cardholders (Universal Orlando) – Access to AMEX lounge (free snacks, drinks, and concierge) when you purchase a Multi-Park ticket or Annual pass with your AMEX card. Show receipt and card at lounge for entry, up to 6 people per card.
- American Express Cardholders (Universal Hollywood) – Buy VIP Experience or Front of Line ticket with your AMEX card and get access to the AMEX Lounge for up to 6 people card.
- California Colleges (Universal Hollywood) – Get discounted tickets
- Florida Residents (Universal Orlando) – Save up to $64 on gate prices
- Military – Check with your local base to see if discounted tickets are available
General Tips for Paying Less at Amusement Parks
Here are some 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 a supermarkets like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
- Check local Subway restaurants. For example, you can get a coupon for $10 off tickets to WaterWorld in Denver, Colorado, in June 2015. If you make a purchase at Subway, remember to pay with a card that earns bonus points at restaurants like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Freedom when dining is a 5X bonus category.
- Check with your local AAA office
- You can 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!
The Citi Prestige Card and Citi ThankYou Premier Card earn 2X Citi ThankYou points on entertainment expenses including amusement parks.
Or use other cards such as:
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard – ~2.1% back when you redeem for $100+ travel expenses
- Citi Double Cash Card – 1% cash back on purchases and 1% back on payments
- Discover it Miles – Effective 3% cash back on all purchases during the 1st year, because you get 1.5% back on purchases, then your bonus is doubled at the end of your 1st card year
The information for the Discover it Miles has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
If you’re planning a trip to an amusement park summer, there are lots of easy ways to save on tickets.
There are discounts for using certain credit cards, coupons on soda cans, and ways to save at local supermarkets.
You can even get into some parks for free by doing good deeds like donating blood or adopting a pet! Groups like AAA and the US Military also offer discounted tickets to theme parks.
And check out my separate post for saving money at Disney World!
Add your tips for easy discounts at amusement parks this summer in the comments!
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