Spending your holiday at an amusement park doesn't have to break the bank. Whether you're heading to the Gold Coast for some of Australia's finest fun zones or jetting off to the United States for Walt Disney World, a few tips and tricks could help you get the biggest bang for your buck.
Here are 10 ideas to save while maximising your experience:
1. Purchase discount tickets or value passes
Most theme parks have online discounts, and you can also watch for deals by following the organisation on social media. If you're planning to visit for more than one day, look into the prices and perks of investing in a multi-day or season pass.
2. Look into off-peak days and times
You'll get more ride time for your money if you're not waiting hours in line for each ride. You might also find that accommodation and passes ring up cheaper for off-season times.
3. Book your flights and accommodation early
As soon as possible, start looking into flights and rooms. Sometimes, tweaking your departure and return dates a few days can translate into significant savings, while booking early is almost always cheaper than last-minute arrangements.
4. Take advantage of special perks and deal
Hersheyspark in Pennsylvania allows people to 'preview' the attractions a couple hours the night before their pass date. People going to Dreamworld in Queensland, can buy a Q4U pass to 'jump the queue'. Look into options like these at the theme park you're visiting.
5. Prepare for the weather
Pack rain gear, sunscreen, water bottles, umbrellas and extra clothes to rug up in the evening. That way, you won't need to buy any incidentals at the expensive shops, nor will you lose time running back to your hotel room.
6. Go early … or late
Getting to the park before it even opens is usually your best bet, because you'll have an hour or two to hit up the most popular rides before the queues form. For days that's not possible, consider going late if the facility offers a discounted rate for evening hours.
7. Dine at off-times or BYO
Many parks allow people to bring their own food and drink, which can save you both time and money. If you do decide to hit up the restaurants, try to eat early or late so you can ride the attractions while others are having their meals.
8. Ride during parades and events
Unless you're drawn to these festivities yourself, they make for great opportunities to take to the rides while the crowds are otherwise occupied.
9. Take a break – strategically
If staying the day from opening to close is a bit too much theme park for you, don't be afraid to take a siesta. However, plan it when the park is at its busiest so you're refreshed when everyone else is wearing out.
10. Plan your attack
There's a lot to be said for an itinerary, even for a theme park. Many parks have apps to help with planning, and you can even find information about which rides are least busy at which times. Be proactive, and you'll be surprised how much you can squeeze into a single day.