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How do you save money at a park?


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Don't

 

-Get fast passes. There's a reason why they're so expensive. You don't have to spend all your time on the newest Intamin, or B&M. Show the older Schwarzkopfs, Vekomas, and Arrows some love too.

 

As others have said, Q-bots can be a steal. If you're visiting a larger out-of-town Six Flags park with limited time, then Q-bots make a lot of sense.

 

I did every coaster at Great Adventure on a Saturday last July, including several El Toro and Nitro rides. I only had a day and I wanted to do EVERYTHING. And it was an amazing day, the best park day I had last year.

 

I go to parks for good rides. If I wanted to ride crappy Arrows & Vekomas, I'd save myself the trip and visit Kings Island.

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Great Ideas Guys - but most of you seem to be saying the same, or very similar stuff. So here is my take on it!

 

If you kinda have to watch your diet (like me and my family does - most of us are hypo-glycemic... We have to eat regular meals, and keep our blood sugar up...), here is a good way to keep hunger off, and money in your pocket....

 

Denny's is your breakfast friend. No joke. It may seem a little pricey at between $8 to $10 a plate, but there is enough food to nosh on, and (unfortunately) thier menu is a little high on fat. It will keep you full well in time for lunch.

 

As you Denny's wears off, look at two things. First, especially during summer, you need to stay hydrated and have plenty of salty snacks. GIANT PICKLE.... They are cheap (relatively), and they are extremely hydrating (and to boot, only about 70 calories for you diet junkies .

 

Second, if the park allows (sells) them, g et some good old fasioned David Sunflower seeds. They are packed with protien, but are a little high on sodium (if you are drinking plenty of water you should be ok). It is a great snack for in park because it keeps your mouth busy, and they can be surprisingly filling. At MM a pack will run you 2.50 - far less than the $10 for a lunch meal.

 

If you really must eat in park, go for the kids meal. Face it, amusement parks offer bad food. A kids meal will have less overall calories, but the fat content will keep you fuller longer.

 

For dinner, I really try not to eat in park. I usually have enough snacks to get by. But, if you must have dinner, try just getting some fries with Ranch dressing. Again, less calories than a full meal, but still plenty of food (and fat) to keep you full longer.

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At Cedar Point, I do several things.

 

1. Pack a cooler and have a shady lunch in the picnic area on either side of the gate.

 

2. Go to East of Chicago Pizza on the causeway, 6.99 for a metric ton of food.

 

3. Eat one meal at Midway Market, Kids prices for this buffet are the same as a hot dog basket at a walk up and unlimited beverages, the AC and unlimited desserts make this a good place to stop on a hot day. Food quality is still cedar fair, but better than most other places in the park. For my daughter and me to eat there it is about 21.00, which is actually less than if we go to say Chik Fil A and each get a chicken sandwich, fries and a drink. And did I mention unlimited ice cream and pie????

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At Cedar Point, I do several things.

2. Go to East of Chicago Pizza on the causeway, 6.99 for a metric ton of food.

 

OMG YES!!!!

Awful Pizza but if you don't have the cheese Pizza you don't even know it's supposed to be Pizza. I love that place. And for CHILLERLC1 there is a Dunkin Donuts outside the park now so you can just go ahead and order a large hot caramel latte with whipped cream and no sugar. If you look at it as a 3.25 cup of Coffee then it's not a great way to save money, but if you look at it as "3.25 for the greatest thing ever" it becomes a bargain. Oh, and for anyone else that's from new York and goes to GADV, FILL YOUR GAS TANK BEFORE YOU LEAVE NJ!!!

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Something that helps us save a good amount of money for parks and park trips is taking advantage of my husband's company's employee discount partner programs. Granted this option may only help those who work for large companies like my H's, but it saves us a lot of money whenever we go to parks or on trips. Check with your employer's HR department to see if they offer such a program for employees.

 

For instance, we did an Orlando trip in July 2006 and only had to pay about $100 total for a three night stay at a Kissimmee area hotel and $70 total for a two night St. Augustine FL side trip. Our tickets to any Six Flags park only cost about $17 per person through the discount program ($5 for parking passes as well). At that low price, we don't bother with season passes since we don't get to head out to SF very often (1-2 times a year usually). But if you do want to get an annual pass, the upgrade to the yearly pass option of $39 added to the discounted admission would also save you a few bucks over the normal annual pass rate.

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I'm going to take a different perspective here.

 

It's important to consider the cost of your admission when making decisions that will consume a lot of time in the name of saving money. If your entry is on a comp or a season pass it's not so much of an issue, but if you paid cash for your admission, let's look at this example:

 

Say it costs $50 for your ticket to the park, and you arrive at 10 a.m., planning to leave at 6. This works out to $6.25 per hour of "park time."

 

Now if lunch inside the park costs you $12, and if lunch outside the park at a fast food outlet is $6, it's worthwhile to also consider the time involved in walking to the front gate, reaching your car, driving to the off-site restaurant, eating, driving back, finding a parking spot, and walking back through the front gate and finally to your next ride.

 

If that whole process takes an hour, then your $6 lunch effectively costs you $12.25 because you just threw away $6.25 worth of "park time" that you already paid for.

 

Yes, I made up the situation above for illustrative purposes. Clearly every situation is going to be different because of varying ticket prices, time spent in the park, etc.

 

And obviously by going off-site to eat, in the example above you do still have $6 more in your pocket at the end of the day. So if that makes the difference in making your visit affordable, it's the way to go. But I think it's worthwhile to consider what you're getting back in terms of time in the park, more rides and more convenience when you buy a meal inside the park. Often staying and eating inside the park can be seen as the better deal when put in this light.

 

 

So you can probably guess what I do when it's time to eat.

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That part I agree...Park time is crucial to me. My best bet is to eat a bunch beforehand, and do some light snackage in the park, or take soemthing and eat out at your car provided you parked up close enough. (Fortunately, CGA has some pretty close spots to the gates. SFDK on the other hand...it's a long walk, or a long line for a tram.

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Hi TPR Members

 

There's a book dedicated to saving money (and time) in amusement parks. Here's a short writeup:

 

[bOOK 195] STEVEN J. URBANOWICZ: THE CHEAPSKATE'S GUIDE TO THEME PARKS. [2004] (14x21cm – 212 Pages – Few B&W photos and maps). Featuring 25 of the most popular theme parks in the United States. Do you love to ride but hate to stand in line? Live for thrills but don’t want to pay outrageous prices? Want to know more about how to save big bucks on everything from admission prices to parking, food and even souvenirs? Then you need this ultimate insider guide chock-full of great tips for saving time and money so you can make the most of your theme park adventure. What rides to hit first. How the ‘fast lane’ operates, and how to work it to your advantage. Where to find food and accommodation that won’t break the bank. How to avoid lines and when and where to look for serious discounts (They’re easier to find than you think!)

 

Simon B

Book117CCheapskate.jpg.dc3b79da84d34b9fe921b67abe2485ae.jpg

Book Scan

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^ I didn't know that he ever wrote a book.

 

As far as leaving the park for food, one other thing to keep in mind is that fast food around the park might be more expensive as well, so you might not be getting that great of a deal. I know for a fact that the worlds most overpriced Wendy's is located across the street from SFMM.

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Hi TPR Members

 

There's a book dedicated to saving money (and time) in amusement parks. Here's a short writeup:

 

[bOOK 195] STEVEN J. URBANOWICZ: THE CHEAPSKATE'S GUIDE TO THEME PARKS. [2004] (14x21cm – 212 Pages – Few B&W photos and maps). Featuring 25 of the most popular theme parks in the United States. Do you love to ride but hate to stand in line? Live for thrills but don’t want to pay outrageous prices? Want to know more about how to save big bucks on everything from admission prices to parking, food and even souvenirs? Then you need this ultimate insider guide chock-full of great tips for saving time and money so you can make the most of your theme park adventure. What rides to hit first. How the ‘fast lane’ operates, and how to work it to your advantage. Where to find food and accommodation that won’t break the bank. How to avoid lines and when and where to look for serious discounts (They’re easier to find than you think!)

 

Simon B

 

I'm interested in reading that book. Did anyone read it ? Is it really interesting ? Which parks are described in the book ?

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Hi TPR Members

 

There's a book dedicated to saving money (and time) in amusement parks. Here's a short writeup:

 

[bOOK 195] STEVEN J. URBANOWICZ: THE CHEAPSKATE'S GUIDE TO THEME PARKS. [2004] (14x21cm – 212 Pages – Few B&W photos and maps). Featuring 25 of the most popular theme parks in the United States. Do you love to ride but hate to stand in line? Live for thrills but don’t want to pay outrageous prices? Want to know more about how to save big bucks on everything from admission prices to parking, food and even souvenirs? Then you need this ultimate insider guide chock-full of great tips for saving time and money so you can make the most of your theme park adventure. What rides to hit first. How the ‘fast lane’ operates, and how to work it to your advantage. Where to find food and accommodation that won’t break the bank. How to avoid lines and when and where to look for serious discounts (They’re easier to find than you think!)

 

Simon B

 

I'm interested in reading that book. Did anyone read it ? Is it really interesting ? Which parks are described in the book ?

 

 

CONTENTS:

Getting Started

Various Park Policies You Need To Know

The "Best's" List

 

THE PARK GUIDE: (Northeast)

Coney Island

Dorney Park

Hersheypark

Kennywood

Knoebels

SF Great Adventure

SF New England

 

(The Midwest)

Cedar Point

Holiday World

Paramount's Kings Island

SF Great America

SF St. Louis

SF Worlds of Adventure

Worlds of Fun

 

(The South)

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Paramount's Kings Dominion

SF Over Georgia

SF Over Texas

Universal Studios Orlando

 

(The West Coast)

Knott's Berry Farm

Paramount's Great America

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

SF Magic Mountain

SF Marine World

 

Looks like an interesting read, though obviously some information/offers will be out-of-date since the 2004 release.

 

Simon Baynham

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^ I didn't know that he ever wrote a book.

 

As far as leaving the park for food, one other thing to keep in mind is that fast food around the park might be more expensive as well, so you might not be getting that great of a deal. I know for a fact that the worlds most overpriced Wendy's is located across the street from SFMM.

 

The McDonald's near Great Adventure is like that as well, close to $6.00 for a medium value meal.

 

Thankfully the McDonald's near Dorney and Hershey are cheap and have the dollar menu including a soda free refills for $1.00

 

I'm guessing most of the stuff in that book is probably common knowledge or stuff you could learn easily by going to a deal website.

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Hi TPR Members

 

There's a book dedicated to saving money (and time) in amusement parks. Here's a short writeup:

 

[bOOK 195] STEVEN J. URBANOWICZ: THE CHEAPSKATE'S GUIDE TO THEME PARKS. [2004] (14x21cm – 212 Pages – Few B&W photos and maps). Featuring 25 of the most popular theme parks in the United States. Do you love to ride but hate to stand in line? Live for thrills but don’t want to pay outrageous prices? Want to know more about how to save big bucks on everything from admission prices to parking, food and even souvenirs? Then you need this ultimate insider guide chock-full of great tips for saving time and money so you can make the most of your theme park adventure. What rides to hit first. How the ‘fast lane’ operates, and how to work it to your advantage. Where to find food and accommodation that won’t break the bank. How to avoid lines and when and where to look for serious discounts (They’re easier to find than you think!)

 

Simon B

 

I'm interested in reading that book. Did anyone read it ? Is it really interesting ? Which parks are described in the book ?

 

 

CONTENTS:

Getting Started

Various Park Policies You Need To Know

The "Best's" List

 

THE PARK GUIDE: (Northeast)

Coney Island

Dorney Park

Hersheypark

Kennywood

Knoebels

SF Great Adventure

SF New England

 

(The Midwest)

Cedar Point

Holiday World

Paramount's Kings Island

SF Great America

SF St. Louis

SF Worlds of Adventure

Worlds of Fun

 

(The South)

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Paramount's Kings Dominion

SF Over Georgia

SF Over Texas

Universal Studios Orlando

 

(The West Coast)

Knott's Berry Farm

Paramount's Great America

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

SF Magic Mountain

SF Marine World

 

Looks like an interesting read, though obviously some information/offers will be out-of-date since the 2004 release.

 

Simon Baynham

 

 

Thanks.

A lot of these parks I will visit this year for the first time so I just bought the book on ebay for 0,01 usd. This was excluding postal charge of usd 9.99, so usd 10 in total. Still not a bad deal imo.

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Thankfully the McDonald's near Dorney and Hershey are cheap and have the dollar menu including a soda free refills for $1.00

 

Free refills for $1? Sounds like a good deal...

Nah, I understand what you mean. And I agree with the people above who say that it depends on what you want out of your experience. Personally, I eat in the park because I can't get myself to justify leaving and going to eat (and thus spending a chunk of time not riding) when I could just grab a corn dog (or funnel cake...) and eat it on my way to a queue or even in the queue. Personally, the time it saves to get food in the park is worth the extra price for me. Though I am one of those people who goes almost solely for rides (not shows or parades or anything) and tries to shoehorn as much adrenaline into one day as humanly possible. If I leave the park a little dizzy, tremoring slightly, completely drained of energy, and the road on the drive back seems to become a coaster itself, then it was a good day.

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Well these aren't really incredible ways to save money but here they are. At Six Flags New England when my old girlfriend and I would go we would share a basket of fries or fries and chicken tenders. That was usually the only thing we would eat for the day. Then, half way through the season I bought the 9$ souvenir bottle which extremely helps when refills are only 1$. Well, thats all I got.

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It's been nearly ten days since I began this new topic on saving money and the responses I received were outstanding.

 

(What I'm Doing Now)

 

I want to thank each and everyone of you who posted and gave other riders many ideas on how to save money at an amusement park, some of those ideas I may adopted for my own on my next trip.

 

Before I continue, some clarification:

 

On my ice water tip, I prefer to use the sinks instead of water fountain for two reasons: I can fill the cup up faster and easier and to avoid the looks and wraths of the thirsty others waiting for this SOB to finish filling up his cup so when it comes to their turn at the fountain the water is lukewarm, thinking that I stoled their cold water. Besides, GHOST TOWN IN THE SKY didn't have any water fountains, so after I finished my soda I had no choice but to use the sink. DOLLYWOOD did have a few restaurant that offered free ice water, so I took advantage of it (not to mention refilling the cup at the sink so I could use all the ice).

 

With that now out of the way, I am asking, "Any more money-saving tips out there?"

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