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Five tips for how families can save money on theme parks

By DealPro(view all posts by Ryan.Preston)
at 6:00AM Friday June 7, 2013
under Money Saving Tips

Tis the season for theme park hopping! If you're like most families, you're probably looking forward to all of the thrills theme parks have to offer this summer.

Theme parks are the perfect one day getaway if you're looking for a place to unwind with the kids while still enjoying great rides, food, and entertainment. They're an inexpensive alternative to a lengthy vacation, and since there are so many theme park options, chances are you won't have to travel far to find one.

For these reasons, theme parks are a great option for a family on a budget. If you're looking to save even more, there are plenty of ways you can save money on theme parks. Below, you'll find five ways to save money on theme parks this summer. It's a lot easier than you may think to keep a little extra money in your pocket while still having a fantastic time. Take a look!

1. Visit during the weekday/off-hours

Weekends of course are going to be busier and draw larger crowds. Try to plan your visit during the week, and go a step further for visiting the off hours. For example, statistics show that Disney World is less busy on Tuesdays-Thursdays, from the hours between 3-6 when most families leave for dinner. Because of these off days/hours, parks may add additional incentives for visitors. You'll also be able to enjoy more and ride more rides in the time you're there, which gives you more value for your money.

2. Find discount coupons
For years, Six Flags/Great America has offered discount coupons on Pepsi cans. Kings Island, Sea World, and many other theme parks have internet coupons as well as coupons in local tourist coupon books. These coupons are worth seeking out since they're typically high value and can take a good chunk of change off your entrance fee. You can also find coupons and codes for your favorite parks at Savings.com!

Online auction sites, like eBay, also sometimes have theme park tickets available at a discount. However, always be cautious when buying theme park entrance passes from eBay. Always be sure you read all the fine print and buy from a reputable seller with plenty of positive feedback.

3. Pack incidentals
Take a backpack and fill it with incidentals such as sunscreen, pain reliever, chap sticks, water bottles, sunscreen, and other items you may need. You can find many of these items as your local dollar store. Should you need any of these items in the park, you'll find they cost nearly five times as much. Instead, be prepared and pack ahead. You don't want to end up spending $10 on a tiny pack of Tylenol, do you?

4. Bring your own snacks
Disney and many parks do not have rules against bringing food into the parks. By not spending money on just one park meal (substituted of course with food items you brought from home) you can easily save $10 per person. Bring a refillable water bottle and high protein snacks to keep you full and energized.

5. Look for membership discounts
If you belong to AAA, AARP, or even wholesale stores such as Sam's Club or Costco, you can sometimes find discounts on park tickets. Some Visa card members are also entitled to discount park tickets when they use their cards to make the purchase. Call the club/service you're associated with and ask if there are any theme park discounts you can take advantage of.

Remember if you are visiting with a large family, a season pass may be a great option. This way you can attend as much as you want over the course of the year for one low cost. Add these costs up and see if this is something your family can benefit from!

If you plan on hitting up theme parks for a day or two this summer, be sure to give these tips a try and see how easy it is to save. You can still enjoy the park you want while paying less than the person in line next to you!

Ryan Preston is the founder of Ultimate Coupon Club, a frugal living blog helping others learn how to live well and save more – all while having fun! He is also a Savings.com DealPro and teaches Savings Nation workshops in New Jersey that help people learn how to save up to 50% off their grocery bills.

(Source: Savings.com)