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Planning your theme park vacation: Readers' top money-saving tips

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Published: February 19, 2009 at 11:02 AM

I've offered several money saving tips for theme park vacations in this series over the past three months, and many Theme Park Insider readers have their own advice to offer, as well.

Several of the items submitted to our Tips for visiting theme parks page offer advice on how to save money and time (which is money, in my book) on your vacation. Here are 10 of the more popular tips from that section. The figures after each tip represent the number of readers who have voted for, and against, that tip, as of when I posted this article.

You can vote on these tips yourself - yes if you agree with it, no if you do not. Just click the linked numbers to go that tip's page and cast your vote. You do not need to be a registered Theme Park Insider member to vote.

And if you have a favorite money-saving tip that you've not seen discussed in the series, please submit it here. Again, you don't need to be a registered member on the site in order to submit tips.

All parks: Get to the park early to be sure you can get on your favorite rides before the park gets too crowded. [494 + / 42 -]

Universal Orlando: If you stay in one of Universal's three on-site hotels, the Royal Pacific, the Hard Rock or the Portofino Bay, you get free front-of-the-line access to all Universal Orlando attractions. [333 + / 22 -]

Walt Disney World: If staying at a Disney-owned resort, take advantage of the Extra Magic hours, where lines are short and crowds are small! It's the best time to visit some of the more popular attractions while feeling like you're the only ones in the park! [133 + / 31 -]

Walt Disney World: If you stay at a Disney hotel, you can get free transportation and baggage handling at the airport with Disney's Magical Express service. [46 + / 4 -]

All parks: Bring your own water bottles. It will save you time and money! [89 + / 9 -]

Walt Disney World: Free water! Yes it sounds silly, but any of the drink stands with a fountain will gladly pour you a big cup of ice water for free. Some of the bottled water snobs may not approve, but Disney's water tastes fine to me. [36 + / 1 -]

All parks: If you're going to get an annual pass, add parking to at least one pass. It seems expensive at first, but at more than ten bucks a pop for parking at most parks, it pays off in the end. [36 + / 3 -]

All parks: If you are going to visit a park more than once in a year, look into buying an annual pass. Most include discounts on food, merchandise and parking and some can pay for themselves in as little as two visits. [21 + / 1 -]

All parks: Ask the human resources department at your employer if it sells discount tickets to theme parks. Many do, as well as discount tickets to local theaters, zoos and attractions. Check those prices against the parks' websites and pick the better deal. [9 + / 2 -]

All parks: If you are flying, save time and checked-bag fees by carrying on your luggage and buying sunscreen, etc. at a store (not the hotel!) when you arrive. [7 + / 1 -]

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