10 Money-Saving Amusement Park Tips

You don’t have to break the bank at a theme park. Follow these tips to score great deals and keep your budget in check while in the parks.

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Photo By: Kent Phillips

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Photo By: iStock

Photo By: Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Photo By: Deanne Revel

Photo By: Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Water is Free

Don’t fall victim to the $5 bottle of water. Most restaurants and quick-service spots will give you a cup of ice water if you ask for it.

Bring Your Own Lunch

Park restaurants are expensive. Pack a cooler with an ice pack and store your lunch in a locker. Locker rentals are usually only a couple of bucks, and that’s well worth the cost of not spending $75 on hamburgers for a family of five.

Split Orders

Portions at park restaurants can be big, and sharing orders can help your wallet. Research park foods in advance online to see if some things can be shared. My sister and I used to always share fries at Disney parks because the baskets are huge.

Sign Up for Deals

Make sure you sign up for theme park newsletters, follow park social media accounts and download park apps for updates and promo codes you could use when booking.

Scout Deal Sites

Before booking through a theme park website, make sure you’re getting the best deal. Always compare rates with other travel deal sites like TicketsAtWork.com or Groupon.

Go Through Your Wallet

Make sure you don’t already have a ticket discount through a club membership like Costco or AAA. These groups usually run seasonal promotions with top Florida and California theme parks. And always check your credit cards for possible rewards points to redeem.

Don’t Buy Souvenirs in the Parks

Theme parks like Walt Disney World have stores just outside the parks with the same merchandise for less. Plan a shopping day at the end of your vacation to hit up those stores, like Disney Springs’ Once Upon a Toy, so you don’t waste money and time in the parks.

Take Advantage of Partner Hotels

Staying inside a theme park resort is really expensive and hard for larger families that require multiple rooms. Many Orlando theme parks, like Walt Disney World, have partner hotels outside the resort that offer many of the official resort hotel benefits like shuttle transportation to the parks and extra park hours. And some even have official Mickey waffles for breakfast.

Do Lunch, Not Dinner

Dinner at even casual eateries inside the parks can be pricey. But you’ll find lunch menus are typically a lot cheaper than dinner menus. And many venues offer the same entries, just smaller portions. If there’s a restaurant you really want to try, make a lunch reservation instead. Walt Disney World’s Be Our Guest restaurant is popular and expensive. Opting for the quick-service lunch instead of sit down table service for dinner helps your wallet but still gives your family a chance to take a peek inside Beast’s castle.

Follow Blogs and Podcasts

Read theme park blogs or listen to popular podcasts ahead of your trip for tips on cheap eats and budget ideas for the whole family. Not to brag, but, Roam, the Travel Channel blog, has some great ideas.

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