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Affordable Theme Park Excursions

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By Author: Steve Robinson
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Careful advance planning of a theme park trip through the purchase of cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, cheap auto rentals, or cheap vacation packages can end up quite costly if you don’t identify ways of making visits to theme park themselves more affordable.

Attendance at the 20 largest American theme and amusement parks was significantly over 100 million visitors last year. Major league baseball’s 30 teams in 2001 attracted 73 million fans in 2011.

In total there are about 400 theme parks in the U.S.
which combined draw about 300 million visitors a year and bring in $12 billion in revenue.
Walt Disney parks occupy the top six highest drawing parks. Disney’s Anaheim park recently increased its price by $7 to $87 for visitors over the age of 10.

More reasonably priced parks are usually regional amusement and water parks from companies like Six Flags and Cedar Fair. These parks are geared to appeal to day visitors and usually pull from a 75 to 100 mile radius.

The California and Florida Disney parks offer the broadest range of attractions but are also the costliest. A single day’s admission for a family of four to Disney World in Orland is almost $350 including tax. If that family wants to visit more than one park in a single day, the cost rises to $488.

The following are tips to make park visits more affordable:

• Discounts are readily available via such avenues as a park’s website to codes printed on soda cans to newspaper ads.

• Season passes are available to most regional parks. So long as you will visit the park at least twice in a season, substantial savings can be realized. For example, Illinois Six Flags’ Great America charges a family of four $200 for one time admission purchased at the gate vs. $260 for an all season family of four pass. Six Flags season passes allow admission to 13 of its parks.

• Other park saving strategies include car pooling to reduce the impact of high parking fees, refilling water bottles at fountains, and bringing your own food to parks. Some parks forbid guests from entering with food, but often do not enforce this rule.

If getting on more rides is more important than saving money, many parks sell upgraded tickets that allow visitors to skip lines. Often this privilege costs double the normal ticket price but allows visitors to more than double the number of rides they can get on in a day.

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