Planning your theme park vacation: How much are you planning to spend?
Back in November, we started a series to help readers budget their money
for a theme park vacation in 2009. We've written about how to set aside money before a vacation, pick the right park, look for deals online and to weigh the relative value of deals at various parks.
During this time, the U.S. and world ecocomy's gotten even worse, with many businesses sliding into bankruptcy, and millions of people either losing their jobs or fearing that they will.
Of course, a theme park vacation can get your mind off this mess. And I think that the advice we've provided not only still applies, it's more appropriate than ever.
Today, I'd like to get a sense of what you are planning for this year, and ask you to put some specific numbers on that. How much did you spend on theme and amusement parks last year? And how much are you planning, at this point, to spend in 2009?
Include what you paid for tickets (annual or day passes), parking, food and souvenirs. If you stayed overnight, throw in hotel and airfare, if applicable, as well. If you're a parent, include the cost for your whole family, not just yourself. If you are a student, click the amount your family spent. There are two votes today, one for 2008 and below it, for 2009. (Apologies for the long vote forms, but I think getting granular data is important here.)
Detail for us in the comments how your spending on theme parks might change this year, from last.
In 2007 we spent two weeks in Orlando.
First and foremost, Mr. Niles this is perhaps your most interesting survey to date. I hope you will keep it atop the home page a bit longer than the regular survey.
By the way, I'm looking to see what turn out to be the
In 2008 we spent over $6,000 at Disney World, due in part to it being my husband's first time, making sure to have deluxe everything, and then going crazy at the Tatooine Traders. We just recently returned from eight days there and spent around $5,800, though this was everything included with roundtrip airfare, deluxe resort, deluxe dining plan, and lots of toys for our two sons. We are also considering maybe trying to squeeze in one more trip there this year along with going to the Smokey Mountains. For, us, we rarely spend money on anything other than groceries and utilities, so a Disney Vacation is important to us. We always make sure that we aren't going into debt though to go. We haven't really had time to travel this was due to serious and scary health problems for myself. We had only gone on two trips during our marriage before these which was for our honeymoon and when my father-in-law passed away. Definitely time to have some fun.
Robert, let me know when you are heading to Worlds of Fun, and I will drag my family out to meet "the man who's website takes up so much of Daddy's time!"
Last year we did Gatlinburg, Myrtle Beach, and a long weekend in Cincy for King's Island and the zoo there. This year our only trip will be 9 days at Disney which eclipses allof last years' trips. We might still do King's Island or Holiday World but no long weekends or shopping included.
For sure I will go to Kings Island because it's an hour away and there is a new coaster. Cedar Point is also probably in the mix, and perhaps Holiday World. If I hit the beach this year and it's open, Hard Rock Park will have my business again. Who knows what other parks I will visit. May go to D.C. to visit grandparents, so that puts me in the vicinity of Busch Gardens, Kings Dominion, and Six Flags. I don't have a grand scheme for anywhere, just kind of going with the flow. Orlando isn't in the cards at this point in time. That probably will happen in a year or two when my kids are of the right age.
We haven't left yet and have spent about $4500 for our 11-day trip to WDW in June. That includes roundtrip airfare, Universal Studios/IOA Express Tickets, SeaWorld, BGA, hotel stay at on-site WDW resort and those tickets. We budget for a big trip every year so we paid cash upfront for everything. We have our spending/eating money set aside for this trip as well. We usually spend anywhere from $1500-$2000 for eating, souvenirs and other stuff while on vacation, but always end up bringing money home with us that we toss into the next year's vacation budget.
I'll likely spend less on theme parks this year than I did last year, but not due to econimic conditions. I'm fortunate enough to have a good job with an engineering company, so I'm not yet feeling the pinch. My job does reqiure a lot of travel, however. Last year I wound up in a lot of locations near various theme parks. As a result I was able to visit many parks around the world for only the price of admission and whatever I spent on food/souveniers. In total I visited 11 parks for around $1200. This year it looks like I'll only be travelling to a theme park destination for work once (SoCal), so my spending will be quite a bit less.
Cedar Fair Season passes for us, and then road trips to Kings Island (1 hr) and Cedar Point (3 hrs). I'd dearly love to hit Disneyland the Senior this year, but that may have to wait until next. And, like I said before, if we go to Williamsburg, it will be via San Antonio to take advantage of the $199 2-year Platinum Pass they offer down there.
Interesting question. I'm in denial about how much I spend at theme parks with my family of 4. I know I spent about $900 for my passes last year (single BGW, and CP Platinum). We don't fly, and I have a Prius we use for our travel, and I stay in $80-a-night hotels mostly. We spent 2 weeks doing the Kings Island-CP-Canada's Wonderland-Dorney Park trip (also saw niagara falls for the first time). But if I add that up, I bet that was $3000 for the trip with food and passes included, of which only $500 or so was non-park-related stuff. And yet I just said I only spent $1500 last year. And I know I spent a lot of money at KD and BGW on food and hats and stuff, and other hotel charges. Oh well.
Seeing that my themepark budget has been local/regional (SFOT/SFFT,Seaworld SA, Schliterbahn NB)its been pretty low due to season passes and the like. This fall, im headed to LA for a dual family/personal trip. Ive was curious if anyone has ever purchased the SoCal CityPass in the past and if it actually worth it when it comes to admission??
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