How To Save At An Amusement Park

For those of us thinking about hitting an amusement park this year, Smart Money has some suggestions for how to save some money including:

* Visit on weekdays
* Buy online
* Stick to one park
* Arrive late in the day
* Clip coupons
* Get a season pass
* Check your wallet (Employers, banks, professional organizations and clubs may offer discounts or specially-priced tickets.)

Better yet, if you’re looking to save some really big money, you can follow three simple tips: go at an off-peak time, be flexible (in time, travel arrangements, etc.), and shop around.

Sure, hitting an amusement park is great fun. But hitting an amusement park while saving money is an absolute blast!

Oh, and be sure to put it all your vacation charges on your cash back credit card (as long as you can pay it off right away.) Doing so will earn you a good 2% back on your spending. For a $2,000 vacation, that’s $40. Not bad at all.

7 Ways to Save at an Amusement Park [Smart Money]

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(Photo: chickee510)

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  1. Psychosocial says:

    What about, “just don’t go”? I didn’t see that option. Oh.

  2. Mooshie says:

    I arrived late in the day once for a Disney World park. All the fast passes were distributed already for Soaring at Epcot. So instead, I waited 90 minutes for that ride. That ride wasn’t even that great.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @Mooshie: if you’re going to EPCOT late in the day, skip the front of the park and just head straight to the world showcase for dinner and the entertainment to be found there. [former guest services cast member]

  3. MyTQuinn says:

    Once validated at the park of purchase, Six Flags season passes are valid at any Six Flags park. What a lot of people don’t know is that season pass pricing varies from park to park. I live near Great Adventure, a Six Flags park in New Jersey, where season passes go for $90 early in the season. Just 3-1/2 hours away is Six Flags America in Maryland, where season passes go for $50. This year, for our family of 5, we saved $200 by going to Six Flags America for a day and buying our passes there.

    The difference now is even greater, since season passes here in New Jersey are now $100.

    • LuzioFantazmic says:

      @MyTQuinn:
      Great tip my brother!!

    • Murph1908 says:

      @MyTQuinn:
      That is a great tip. I am going to pass it on to my park-loving siblings and their numerous children.

    • DashTheHand says:

      @MyTQuinn: You fail to mention though that while they both are techinically Six Flags parks, the reason the price difference is so great is because Six Flags America (Maryland), is absolutely disgusting. Its evolution from Wild World to Adventure World to finally SFA, did nothing to improve the quality of the park staff, its patrons, or the cleanliness of the park itself. Many of the rides are extremely dated and poorly maintained.

      Honestly, just make a solo trip down and buy the season passes and don’t submit your family to the torture of that park.

      • MyTQuinn says:

        @DashTheHand: While my experience may have been unusual, or the result of drastic changes to the park and staff, we had a very pleasant time at Six Flags America in mid April. In fact, we commented to each other about how the staff was friendlier than at the park near us. The park was also fairly clean, which I didn’t think was that unusual.

        The park is noticeably smaller than the one near us, which was our explanation for the lower season pass price.

        One odd thing I do remember now, that I forgot when making my earlier post, is that at the end of the day, during our last bathroom visit before leaving the park, I observed a partially used (based on the shape of the tube) tube of KY on the bathroom floor. If I needed a reminder of why I don’t let my kids go into public bathrooms alone, this served the purpose.

    • painfullyblunt says:

      @MyTQuinn:

      that’s true, I went to the one in New England once. the drawback is the coupons you get are valid for your home park only. So if I want to use the free pass on father’s day… I have to go to new England.

      This may/maynot be an issue for everyone, but if you use those coupon books they give you, then it’s penny wise pound foolish to do this.

  4. ageekymom says:

    A Cedar Pointe employee once told me that the best days to visit the park were holidays (Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day) because people tend to stay home and BBQ on those days. I’ve never tested that theory though.

    • EBounding says:

      @ageekymom: Labor Day is a pretty good day to go (if all the rides are working).

    • lockdog says:

      @ageekymom: I used to work at SeaWorld Ohio and while I’d say this is true for Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Fourth of July had extremely high attendance, mostly because of the big fireworks and laser show at the end of the day.

    • ApathyGirl says:

      @ageekymom:
      This may be true for Six Flags parks but as a former Disneyland CM I can tell you holidays are the busiest days, with July 4th almost always a capacity day.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        @ApathyGirl: agreement there! skip all holidays at disney. it’s not worth the pain. go in september and february.

        • YardanCabaret says:

          @catastrophegirl – house closing june 12th: No you go early December before the kids get out. Its a slow time but right before a holiday slam so all the rides will still be up and going but no lines at all. Feb and Sept they will close rides for yearly maintenance. As an example we went to Disneyland the year the Indiana Jones ride opened. We went spring break and waited in line for 3 hours to ride it once. We went that first/second week of december(later that year) and we could ride it 3 times in an hour.

          • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

            @YardanCabaret: early december in orlando has always been a peak time for the brits and japanese. apparently two weeks in orlando is cheaper than a weekend in paris.

    • Underpants Gnome says:

      @ageekymom: I’ve seen this true for Ski resorts, My family went on Christmas day and pretty much had the mountain to ourselves.

    • pb5000 says:

      @ageekymom: I live an hour from Cedar Point and have been there just this past labor day and it was great, longest line was about 40 minutes. I also found the same with Sundays, in general a Sunday was much slower than a Saturday. The park is still crowed and the atmosphere is definitely there, but the lines were short.

    • SJActress says:

      @ageekymom:

      I would marry Cedar Point if I could. People who haven’t been there think Disney World has good roller coasters, which makes me want to cry for them. I was BORED OUT OF MY MIND at Disney World (and Land, and Euro, and every other theme park I’ve been to) because their best roller coaster is crappier than Cedar Point’s wimpiest roller coaster.

      GO TO CEDAR POINT.

      Anyway, the best days for Cedar Point are Tuesdays. Always Tuesdays. Keep in mind, it’s Ohio, so the park is only open May through September.

      BUT GO. GGGGGOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

  5. Scuba Steve says:

    I’m sure there are days that exist which you can find the park pretty empty. Those days suck anyway.

    If you can’t go on one of those days, get a fast/flash pass.

    If you want to ride 1 or 2 rides for the day, dont.

    If you don’t want to ride any rides, why did you go to an amusement park?

  6. ngoandy says:

    The best day at an amusement park for me was when it was supposed to storm. The storm never came, but no one went to the park.

    • lilyHaze says:

      @ngoandy: That happened a long time ago when my family and I visited Dorney Park. But some of the rides closed and that was a bummer. But no waiting!

    • econobiker says:

      @ngoandy: Yup, or a predicted decent rain in the morning of a weekday. I was at 6Flags Great Adventure as a youth when this happened and we had fun running as fast as we through the line corrals to each ride.

    • MyTQuinn says:

      @ngoandy: This is an advatage of having season passes – you can go on iffy-weather days, and not have to fight the crowds of one-day-ticket buyers because they don’t show up.

    • rbb says:

      @ngoandy: That especially works for waterparks, as long as it is just rain, not lightning. Even though people go to a water park to get wet, they do not want to get wet by the rain…

  7. chersolly says:

    Bring your own food in by telling them you (or your children) are allergic to dairy, wheat and soy.

    • lilyHaze says:

      @chersolly: We brought our lunch everyday when we visited Disney World and Universal Studios sometime in the 90s. No employee yelled at us for ourpacked lunches.

    • shepd says:

      @chersolly:

      The whole “No outside food” thing is stupid for parks that will re-admit you for the rest of the day.

      At the one near me you find nothing but litter strewn everywhere as people leave the park to eat a packed lunch they have in the cooler in their car.

      I mean, the cost of cleaning that mess up, and the cost of people who think your park is gross must be more than the cost of just letting people bring the cooler with them.

      Sure, they could stop re-admitting people, but then they’d only sell half-day (or whatever is cheap) passes since nobody would come until AFTER lunch.

  8. davere says:

    Arriving late in the day at a Disney park is the worst thing you can do. Arrive as close to opening as possible, hit most of the major rides and take advantage of Fast Pass for some of the other major rides, you’ll have little to no lines.

    Most people start arriving in high numbers after 10:30-11. So leave no later than noon. Go to your hotel, nap, swim in the pool. Basically, get away from the afternoon heat. Then return to the parks later like 7 pm. You’ll be re-entering the park refreshed while the sweaty masses with crying children leave.

    • calquist says:

      @davere: Agreed! I just went to Disney last month and we hit Magic Kingdom as it opened. Not only is there a little show at the park’s opening, but we flew through the park from opening until about 12. If we arrived later, we would have been stuck waiting 45-60 minutes for Winnie the Pooh and Small World, but between 8 and 10 those sort of rides are practically walk on. We then left around 3pm, ate dinner somewhere cheap, swam for free in the hotel pool and then came back at 9pm for the fireworks. We never waited more than 15 minutes for a ride.

    • ajlei says:

      @davere: When I was last there (about three years ago), we stayed in the Disney Hotel. A bonus to that was that we got to ride the monorail into the park and be the first ones in. Let me tell you, we made sure we hit the first monorail and ran to the ride we wanted, because once we rode that ride (and we were first in line!) the lines for the other rides were already incredibly long. I enjoyed it when I was younger but it’s just so packed now it takes some of the fun out.

  9. Jester6641 says:

    Used to work at King’s Island in Ohio, here’s my tip…

    Most places that make you pay for parking also will give you a parking re-entry pass. You just have to go to their guest relations window to get it.

    Get the pass, get the hand stamp or whatever lets you individually come back into the park and then skip out and find a McDonalds or something up the street (at KI, take the north parking lot exit and you’re pretty much in their parking lot). It’s not as cheap as munching sandwiches out of a cooler in the parking lot, but you do get to sit down in an air conditioned, quieter place and eat more reasonably priced food.

    • Murph1908 says:

      @Jester6641:
      Depending on the number of people in your party, this might be more trouble than it’s worth. Seems like a lot of hassle to save $20.

      For a large family, I can see the benefit. Especially if you play it smart, like having someone who doesn’t want to ride a certain ride go get the car while the rest of the family waits in line.

  10. fuzzymuffins says:

    i have to also disagree with “arriving late” to an amusement park… they should have changed that bullet point to “arrive at opening or evening”

    “visit on weekdays”…. i think this rule should be applied to EVERYTHING you do… movies, shopping, vacations, driving….

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @fuzzymuffins: Summer = I quit shopping. Because you can’t be guaranteed no teenagers or schoolchildren in the stores.

      (Not that I dislike other people’s kids; just that I dislike crowded stores.)

      • econobiker says:

        @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): My family found that one of the better times to visit the free Smithsonian museums in DC was about 2 weeks before Christmas. That avoids the legions of giggling and hickey marked teens from across the USA who visit DC on field trips/political sponsored trips from around Spring Break time through the end of the school year May/June…

      • alternatestory says:

        @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): You are so right. (Although I do dislike some children, i.e., loud and bratty ones.) I have a retail job and it is much more trying now that school has let out.

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @alternatestory: And teenagers wander stores recreationally. Which I certainly did as a teenager. But now that I have STUFF TO DO, I don’t want to have to try to get around the recreational teen shoppers in no hurry. I want to get in and get out!

    • nakedscience says:

      @fuzzymuffins: ” i think this rule should be applied to EVERYTHING you do”

      LOL, most people can’t do that for EVERYTHING they do. Ridiculous.

    • econobiker says:

      @fuzzymuffins: Actually the best time to vacation (in the Western Hemisphere) is around June 21 for the long days…

    • italianscallion33 says:

      @fuzzymuffins: Cedar Point does have a starlight admission, but it’s still almost 30 bucks and it’s for like 6 hours or less. Might as well go all day.

  11. rbb says:

    For those who are retired or active duty military, the deals are out there.

    Disneyworld offers a free 5 day park-hopper pass to active and retired military. Dependents can get a 5 day pass for $99 (extra for the waterparks and park hopping).

    Kings Dominion offers the Military VIP season pass for $66 each.

    From [www.herosalute.com] “Anheuser-Busch is honored to salute the men and women of our armed forces and their families. Throughout 2009, members of the military and as many as three direct dependents may enter any one of Anheuser-Busch’s SeaWorld, Busch Gardens or Sesame Place parks with a single-day complimentary admission.”

    Check with your local Morale, Welfare, and Recreation office.

    • rbb says:

      @rbb: Forgot to mention – National Guard members and Reservists are eligible for many of the deals but need to check the details to make sure.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        @rbb: disney offers military deals but only active duty, as i recall from when i worked there up until 2004. active duty reservists just need to bring proof of active duty status.

  12. Brain.wav says:

    If you’re in central Pennsylvania, Knoebel’s Grove is a great park. Free admission, you just pay for the rides. The food isn’t too terribly over-priced either, plus there’s plenty of shade, a huge pool, and a decent arcade to hit if it’s hot outside.
    For coaster enthusiasts, this is the park where the Phoenix is located.

    • theblackdog says:

      @Brain.wav: Now I’m craving one of their waffle ice cream sandwiches. I am so going to make a trip this summer.

    • gertymac says:

      @Brain.wav: Knoebel’s is my favorite park.

      Also, make sure you hit the Haunted House One of the few traditional “dark” huanted houses in the country. :)

    • Nate128 says:

      @Brain.wav: Fantastic park, easily my favorite. I used to go there every year when I was a kid and I still try to make it a point to get up there.

    • wheresmymind says:

      @Brain.wav: I love Knoebel’s! Teaberry ice cream!!! They also have the best bumper cars ever – not for the faint of heart. Other highlights are the sweet-ass old-school haunted house, and the Flyer.

  13. sicknick says:

    Never buy anything there. Buy discount tickets, pack a cooler for food and never set foot in a souvenir shop.

    Best days to go are super early in the season, while kids are still in school. My high school used to do Physics Days around then, and literally there was almost nobody in the park besides whatever schools were there. It wasn’t shut down, either, just almost nobody there. No waits for any rides.

  14. theblackdog says:

    Go to a Cedar Fair owned park instead of a Six Flags park. Six Flags loves to nickel and dime you with extra costs (ride lockers), especially if you’re like me and would rather carry a bottle of water or a camelbak than buy drinks at the park.

    • lilyHaze says:

      @theblackdog: They own the Dorney Park in PA. It’s been awhile, but my family and I loved it. My parents were able to chill by the pool while my brother and I were allowed to go off on our own.

      • SonicMan says:

        @lilyHaze: Season Passes at Dorney include Parking, So if you got a season pass, you avoid the $10 a day parking fee there.
        Also, it was stated before, so on days when it is likely to Rain, If you have a season pass. Park is usually empty and Its not costing anything more since you have the pass.

      • theblackdog says:

        @lilyHaze: I’ve been to Dorney and I loved it there as well.

        In fact, when buying my season pass to Kings Dominion, I sprung for the Platinum pass again so I can also go to Dorney (and all other Cedar Fair parks) and park there for free :-D

    • italianscallion33 says:

      @theblackdog: Cedar Fair parks such as Cedar Point do the same thing with lockers. Depending on the size, it can be 2 or 3 bucks each time you wanna lock it, and there are 2 rides where you cannot throw stuff in the bins on the ride, since they load and unload in different spots.

      Advice: hope you have a non-rider who can hold all your stuff while you ride, or don’t bring a lot of stuff!

      • theblackdog says:

        @italianscallion33: Maybe I didn’t pay close enough attention last year, but I don’t remember dealing with ride lockers at Cedar Point, King’s Dominion, or Dorney Park. The only time I used a locker at those parks was if I wanted to go to the water park.

        Thing is though, Six Flags has gone to doing ride lockers only with every ride in the park (confirmed at MD, MA, and NJ) and if you even try to go over to the ride with your stuff, they will either stop you at the locker and make you put it in one, or if you reach the ride they will make you go back and put it away, you’re not allowed to even leave it on the over side of the platform, period.

  15. I Love New Jersey says:

    Go somewhere cheap, like Coney Island. Wait, you can’t really anymore. Lousy greedy developers!

  16. sponica says:

    I just got back from a Virginia Beach/Williamsburg Vacation.

    Go on vacation just before peak season hits if you can. There was NOBODY at Virginia Beach, and our oceanfront hotel room was pricey but 50% cheaper than 2 days later (and worth the hit to be able to see sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean).

    I saved a boatload of money on park tickets by buying the passes online. 98.80 got me a 7 day unlimited pass to Busch Gardens/Water Country/Colonial Williamsburg AND included parking @ Busch Gardens. We never went to Water Country because we don’t like Water Parks, but still I figured since we went to Busch Gardens 3 times and didn’t have to pay the 12 dollars to park the car, we made our money back.
    And we saved time by riding the rides on a school day, the other days we sort of just walked around and looked at all the shops.

    • theblackdog says:

      @sponica: I usually go to VA Beach Columbus Day weekend because it’s right after the season ends, and the weather is usually warm enough for the beach.

  17. trahision says:

    I used to work in admissions at a major east coast amusement park. These are some great suggestions that definitely work. I have a few more that I picked up from my time at my old summer job.

    - Don’t buy food in the park, the stuff is gross and way too expensive. Don’t bring food into the park either (most places won’t even let you) Pack a cooler instead and keep it in your car. Odds are that you’re going to need a break at some point, so go back to the car and snag a picnic lunch and save some money.

    - If you had pre-purchased tickets from a previous year or season that you didn’t use, bring them with you. It’s highly possible that the people at the guest services office can upgrade unused but out of date tickets at a minimal price (usually just the difference between what you paid and the current price of the tickets)

    - If you’re in the military or have a military ID, bring it. Most places will give at least a discount to service men and women and their families.

    - Read the fine print of any and all coupons your bring. Some coupons are very specific about how many people can use one coupon and what price rates the discounts affect. When you’re waiting in the line to pay to get in it doesn’t hurt to buddy up with the people around you. They may have unused coupons or uses on their coupons that they might be willing to share.

    - If you plan on going to one particular park more than a couple times in a season, look into getting a season pass. Most times they are reasonably priced an will pay for themselves if you use it more than 2 or 3 times. If you find this out in the middle of a season, make sure you save your receipts. Some parks will knock what you paid to get in that season off of the price of a season ticket if you bring proof that you were already there once or twice.

    These tips might not work everywhere, but most of these worked at one point or another when I worked at an amusement park. It never hurts to ask, just don’t get too worked up if they don’t though. It was always terrible to see people ruin their own day before they even stepped foot in the park.

  18. j-o-h-n says:

    Go during a recession.

    When we were kids our parents took us to Disneyworld/Daytona Beach in ’72 (I think)
    during the first oil crisis. We practically had Disneywolrd to ourself. We didn’t wait for anything, we would just circle from exit back onto the ride.

    And I still remember pulling into the parking lot of a quite nice Daytona Beach Hotel right on the beach and my parents discussing if there was anyway if they could afford a night there and how much would be the most they could spend. I went into the office with my father and he inquired of the rates. “We have three classes of room sir, $11, $12 and $13 dollars.” My father “Oh, we always go first class, we’ll take a $13 room”. It was a huge, ocean-facing suite with a kitchen. Sweet.

  19. chiieddy says:

    You can often get discounted tickets through AAA (or CAA up north).

  20. ShiningSquirrel says:

    For Disney in Florida, Christmas day is one of the slowest. The parade is actually shot in November, which is also a good day to go if you can find out when it’s scheduled to be filmed (useally around thanksgiving). They are so slow half the people you see lining the parade route are actually park employees drafted to fill in the ranks.

  21. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    walt disney world has a very useful trap – you can have your purchases shipped to the front gate for pickup [or your hotel if it's on disney property or hotel plaza boulevard] up to a couple of hours before park closing time.
    this is good because you don’t have to carry your purchases all day.
    this is bad because then your hands are free to shop more.
    if you use it wisely it will save you a lot of hassle.

    if you have to eat at disney and you are on a super tight budget, find one of the counter service burger joints. get your meal and then abuse the hell out of the toppings bar. lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, olives – all sorts of veggies and condiments. more than once i’ve ordered a burger only and made a salad out of toppings.

    buy your disney souveniers at the outlet stores across from downtown disney

    eat at off peak times – the lines for the rides are shortest at dinner and lunch.

    the ride with the always longest line: go during the parade. [the parade is at 3]

    at EPCOT and you want an alcoholic drink? buying an open or on tap beverage will cost you several times as much as heading over to the japanese pavilion’s department store where you can buy a nice, sealed bottle of sake for not much more than outside the park. they even sell what i like to call ‘sake to go’ which is
    [www.dealtime.com]
    [ignore the pricing on that page]
    which saves you having to deal with the cup issue.

    if you feel the need to save on disney tickets by listening to a timeshare spiel and getting a ticket voucher – CHECK YOUR VOUCHER CAREFULLY. most of the places are ok, but some will hand out expired vouchers and some will give you all child vouchers. there’s a good chance the poor schmuck sitting at the guest service window will find a way to make it happen for you anyway, but that’s a good 30 minutes of time wasted. read them before you leave the timeshare office.

    never buy disney tickets from scalpers. they are almost always already used. even if they were used the same day – no re-entry without handstamp and matching biometric readings [the thing where you put your index and middle fingers in the slot at the gate] and since the tickets are magnetic strip style, you can’t tell.

    you CAN recover from this by going to guest relations and explaining how stupid you were [seriously, admit you were stupid and desperate, it gets you help sooner] and you can fill out a form about what the scalper looked like to a security officer [one of the special security officers, there are only a few so you may have to wait for one to arrive on site] and a manager at the guest relations office will usually replace the tickets.

    however, this is a huge time waster and you will feel like an idiot the whole time. and your kids will be crying for an hour because they are missing the rides.
    [bonus - some of the scalpers actually pay with credit cards and the credit card info of scalpers gets turned in to the sheriff's office.]
    but it’s still a very very bad idea.

    • floraposte says:

      @catastrophegirl – house closing june 12th: Wow. I don’t even want to go to amusement parks, and these tips are so detailed that I feel I should go to Disney just to take advantage of them. Cool!

      And congrats on the closing today–hope it all goes smoothly.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        @floraposte: 7 years working there, i saw a lot of people end up ruining their vacations trying to save money by cheating the system.

        thanks! taking a break from moving because all the lifting crashed my bloodsugar. i love my house!

  22. Raekwon says:

    @ageekymom: We’ve always found it was best to find out when the locals schools get out of class and goo a couple weeks before that. I believe our longest wait at Busch Gardens was 30min and we rode every major ride multiple times throughout the day.

    Disney and Universal in Orlando are slightly more crowded but it still worked pretty well. I also became a true believer of Fast Passes at Disney.

  23. rbb says:

    When buying season passes, carefully look at what is being offered at each level. For instance, when we bought our season passes for Sesame Place in Pennsylvania, we got 3 basic passes and one at the next level. The one higher pass gave us free parking, a 5% discount on purchases and early entry to the shows (absolutely worthless when they never change the shows…). The free parking alone paid for the extra cost of the pass in two visits.

  24. ChristopherDavis says:

    @econobiker: I think you mean the Northern Hemisphere; I doubt Argentinians are having much fun with long days right now, though the Finns are probably pretty happy.

  25. nocturnal99 says:

    If nobody’s said it (I’m being very lazy) join workingadvantage.com, or find somebody who’s eligible. You need to buy tix in advance which are mailed to you, but Dorney, Hershey, SixFlags, all much cheaper there.

    Also, AAA.

  26. italianscallion33 says:

    Why on earth would going late in the day save you money? You wouldn’t be getting your money’s worth. The tickets are expensive, why waste time?

    • theblackdog says:

      @italianscallion33: Some parks will offer a discounted ticket that’s good after a certain time like 4 or 5 PM, and since most parks on the East Coast stay open until 10 PM, you could get your money’s worth from that.

      However, it really does depend on how much of a discount they give vs how much time you get.

  27. italianscallion33 says:

    Another money saving tip in case the article didn’t cover it – bring your own food. Most places won’t let you bring it in, but you can always take half an hour to go back to your car and grab a quick premade sandwich. It’ll save you the calories too.

    Cedar Point in Sandusky Ohio has a pavillion outside the park where you can bring your food to eat, so you don’t have to eat out of the trunk of your car.

  28. Trai_Dep says:

    8) Bring your own drugs. Sure the carneys say their meth is both top-notch and economical, but if this were the case, would they really try pimping their daughter off on you?

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @Trai_Dep: (yup: still bitter over not being able to knock down that last bowling pin with a baseball.)

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @Trai_Dep: and at disney – they search your bags but not your pockets. i had to deal with more than one little plastic baggie turned in to lost and found because someone dropped it on the ground while waiting in line because they realized there was a bag search. c’mon people, if you’re THAT paranoid keep your drugs in your bra or something.
      yes, everything loose gets turned in to lost and found.

  29. suzy-q says:

    I’ve head that going to an amusement park on Super Bowl Sunday is awesome because the park is totally empty? Has anyone does this?

    • theblackdog says:

      @suzy-q: I think that only works if you’re in Florida or California where they tend to be open all year

      If you’re on the East Coast, forget it, no one wants to operate a roller coaster if it’s snowing ;-)

  30. wheresmymind says:

    Having worked at Hersheypark for 5 summers in high school/college, I have a few tips to offer that apply to most parks.
    1. Food is going to be freaking expensive. If you have a family, pack a lunch in a cooler and leave it in the car or at a picnic area. If you don’t want to bother with this, and are willing to give up on nutrition, Boardwalk fries and ice cream are probably the cheapest calories you’ll find in the park.
    2. Hersheypark has a park preview deal where you can use your tickets tonight after 7:30 or so (giving you a couple hours of ride time), and then re-use them for admission all day tomorrow. Other parks likely have a similar deal.
    3. Go on Tuesday or Wednesday for the fewest crowds and shortest lines.
    4. Don’t leave if it starts to storm! They’ll start up the rides as soon as they can, and summer t-storms often last only 30 mins or so.
    5. Rainy, drizzly days with no lightning/thunder are a great time to go with no crowds/lines. All the rides will be open as long as there is no lightning (including rollercoasters). Beware, rollercoasters with overhead tracks can sometimes drip grease onto riders in these conditions, so wear an old t-shirt or plastic poncho.
    6. If you have young kids, for the love of God schedule some down time during the day. Pack a picnic lunch and take an hour to eat and rest. Based on my observations 90% of “bad days” at amusement parks are caused by cranky, tired, sunburned kids and cranky, tired, exasperated parents.
    7. You probably figured this out already, but avoid the games of chance/skill unless you are familiar with the “trick” to beating the game. The internet is a good source for this info.
    8. Employees of parks get free tickets to give to family/friends (employees themselves can get into parks for free with their employee i.d.s). Chances are good you might know someone with a teenager who can get you some free passes to a local park. Just ask. Don’t feel bad. After working 60 hours a week at Hersheypark, the last place I wanted to be on my day off was an amusement park, so my free tickets would pile up. I usually ended up giving some away to guests in the parking lot on my last day of work.

  31. K-T says:

    Herosalute.com – if you are active duty, activated, or drilling reservist, or national guardsmen. you just have to register and you can get a free ticket for yourself and up to three direct dependants (with dependant ID if over 10) to Seaworld, Busch Gardens and a few other places. you get one free ticket per year.

  32. mwc5446 says:

    If going to Disney, pack your lunch and drinks. At the front gate, rent a locker and store your stuff there.