Taking the Family to a Theme Park is Expensive,
So Here's Some Tips to Save and Stretch Your Dollars.
- Theme Park Tickets: Check your loyalty cards and points, and check on-line for coupons and upgrades for the parks you want to visit. Many loyalty points can be used to purchase or reduce the cost of theme park tickets. CAA/AAA offers discounts on many attractions and theme parks. Park websites and tourism boards like Visit Orlando often have coupons, discounts and are great resources for theme park savings and information. Additional savings can often be found through hotel and theme park tickets packages.
- If the hotel or resort offers free shuttle services to the parks you can save on the parking fee by using this option.
- Make sure to make full use of Fast Passes or any extended park privileges you're entitled to.
- Use a single backpack to pack for the day at the theme park. One bag is easier to manage when going on rides, attractions, and to take turns carrying it.
- Some theme park guest services have kids emergency information tags, but a much faster way is to use free airline luggage tags completed with emergency contact and resort information as wrist bands or attached to belt loops.
- Save by purchasing dollar store rain ponchos for everyone in the family. You can often get them with the kids favourite characters on them as well. At the theme parks a cheap rain poncho will cost you $5 or more per poncho. Besides the regular afternoon showers in Florida, rain ponchos are great to keep dry or protect your backpack at sea animal shows or rides with splashing water.
- Buying beverages for a family at $4 a bottle really adds up quickly. Save by bringing Reusable Water Bottles or buying your first beverages with a screw top lids and refilling them throughout the day from a fountain rather than purchasing drinks. Pack single serve flavour crystals if plain water isn't your thing. Plus bonus less garbage and recycling.
- At Universal Parks you can purchase a full day meal plan which is good value, and CAA/AAA members can get a 10% discount on other food and beverage purchases.
- Consider a Character Meal at Disney, the cost isn't much higher than other meal options at the park, but the experience is worth the extra expense. Be sure to book this in advance.
- Speaking from experience finding a bandage at a theme park can be more challenging than you think. Do yourself a favour and pack a small First-Aid/Emergency Kit: including: hair elastic (it has many uses), shoe laces (can also be used as a belt), sewing kit, eyeglass repair kit (tiny screwdriver comes in handy), safety pin, ziptie, twist tie, bag clip, tweezers, wipes and first-aid items (bandages, Gravol, Tylenol, etc)
- Pack a few small ziploc bags to protect cell phone and wallet on water rides.
- Disney has free wi-fi which makes standing in long lines for rides or attractions so much easier. To keep your device charge for a long day at the theme park be sure to pack a portable battery charger.
- You can save on Disney Items buy purchasing pins, t-shirts, autograph books and pens at a dollar store or stores like Walmart or Target, and limit your on-site park splurges to a few really special memory making items.
- Many places offer a CAA/AAA discount. At Universal Parks you can get a 10% discount on merchandise by showing your membership card.
- For a feel of Disney without the expense visit Downtown Disney and spend the afternoon having a great meal, shopping and visiting the Lego store (and get a free LEGO VIP card).
Happy Travels and Enjoy Your Day at the Theme Park!
Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about a day at the theme park.