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Vote of the week: Are the theme parks' discounts luring you in?

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Published: June 4, 2009 at 10:42 PM

Theme parks have been turning to discounts to drive traffic as the U.S. economy remains sluggish. Disneyland's offering a three-day park hopper for $99. Universal Orlando is offering free tickets for kids. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens have been keeping their Fun Card promotions going, and are offering two days for the price of one online at many parks. We've detailed many of the deals, and some guy's been talking about them on TV, too.

But are the deals good enough for you? Have the discounts been enough to entice you to plan a trip you wouldn't have taken without the deals? Here's your chance to tell the parks how well their attempts to lure you in are working.

Tell us in the comments about the deals you've used. If you haven't taken advantage of any discounts this year, tell us what deals you would like to see, ones that would make you more likely to book a trip.

Readers' Opinions

From 208.0.65.65 on June 5, 2009 at 10:59 AM
Discounts are for people who only seek to pay less. However, an incentive to buy something else (with a logo) along with the discount is favorable where the guest has the opportunity to walk away with something tangible. This is more attactive to anyone who enjoys the time with friends, families, and loved ones. Memories are always close to the heart especially when the economy or life seems to be difficult to grasp.
From Andy Guinigundo on June 5, 2009 at 11:02 AM
We got sucked into free dining at WDW last fall and once again the end of this summer.

I think we're fans enough that we might have found a way down to Orlando anyway. My parents have a home in Orlando so no matter what, it's on our radar screen as a vacation option.

Some people love the beach, or Vegas, or whatever. If you want to go bad enough, you'll find a way and the discounts only help to solidify your decisions.

Mind you, (knock wood), I work in an industry that so far has been only mildly affected by the economic downturn. I might think differently about vacations and excess spending if I was in as high risk job like anything to do with the automotive industry.

From Karin S on June 5, 2009 at 11:43 AM
My 92 year old mother in law received a free ticket to Universal Orlando and admission for 6 of her guests is only $49.00 per person (1 day, 2 parks). Guess who'll be pushing a wheelchair around the parks one day this summer?

I'm spending my b'day at WDW because I just can't pass up a free day.

We did the Fun Card to Busch Gardens Africa last year and it was a great value. We might do it again once my daughter is done with her internship.

So, in answer to your question, Yes, the discounts are definately luring us in.

From 207.40.118.194 on June 5, 2009 at 12:08 PM
I won free tickets to Holiday World and I wouldn't have gone without them.
From Deidre Dennis on June 5, 2009 at 12:22 PM
We had our trip booked and paid for prior to the Disney 4/3 deal so we were planning to go regardless of any special discounts. When I saw that deal, however, I immediately called to see if we could be moved into it and we were, saving us right around $500.
From 205.188.116.17 on June 5, 2009 at 1:37 PM
I think discounts are great! I look for them always. My favorite park is Holiday World because I can get money off with Pepsi cans and they already offer some of the best prices around. I've had a number of occasions to go to Six Flags Great America but their discounts arent' worth it. Each park offers something and if the park charges for everything and nickle and dimes you now discounted ticket is worth it.
From Robert Niles on June 5, 2009 at 2:53 PM
I have the free Universal Orlando passes from the Super Bowl, bought the Disneyland 2fer and will be buying the Disneyland 3-day pass for $99. (Actually, we'll be getting three of those.)

Haven't bought tickets for the roadtrip parks yet, and am still on the look-out for deals from them.

From Gary Oberto on June 5, 2009 at 6:27 PM
While I planned to travel to Holiday World in Indiana anyway, it was a nice bonus that all I had to do was bring a Pepsi can, and they took $7.00 off my visit in May. As the summer progresses, the discount drops a bit. In June, you get $5.00 off. And one Pepsi can gets the discount for your entire party, up to 8 people. The discounts are a bit lower for guests under 54".

They have all kinds of discounts, my recommendation is to visit their website and see what's available.

From LG Mills on June 5, 2009 at 8:07 PM
I would totally go if Cedar Fair offered either one of two kinds of discounts; part entry, or in-park [drinks, food, and souvenirs]. They tend to do it all the time, of course, which is why I go to their parks. King's Dominion has plenty that are standard. Though perhaps a few in-park discounts would be nice...lowered food and drink prices, namely. I go to a park, I intend to eat at the park.

Amusement parks, no matter how ya slice it, are always a cash cow with me. I spend and spend and spend. I go to one and bring the park fee and about $50-70 to spend in park, cuz I know I'm going to need it. It's fair, I think; those places aren't cheap to run, which is why I'm not against buying stuff in-park. If I like the place and its rides are kickin', hell, why not, right? Do you not leave money in the guitar case of the guy playin' a guitar as good as Jimi Hendrix on the street?

But yeah, if I had money right now I'd probably hit up Busch Gardens since they've got some nifty deals goin' down right now. :D

From 70.138.223.227 on June 6, 2009 at 6:01 AM
I love discounts! I really wanted to go to Orlando but with the deals out there it was a easy decision! I also got a great deal on a hotel room. I love beautiful hotels and the deal at the Swan & Dolphin make it a no brainer! They had a price of $119.00 a night for a 4 star hotel!
From Terry Smith on June 6, 2009 at 11:50 AM
The free seven-day park hopper passes we got for Universal definitely got us to go there last week when we made one of our frequent pilgrimages to Disney (Kidani Village this time.) It was nice to get away from the Disney parks for a couple of days to do something different for once, and I'm not sure we'd have done it without the freebie. Well, eventually we would have, but now, having seen the other Orlando parks, we'll probably do it again and more frequently.

And the free dining plan is luring us back to Disney again in September, so I guess you could say the freebies bring us in. Maybe we're just suckers.

From 72.2.254.190 on June 6, 2009 at 12:42 PM
If it had not been for Rachel Berg at Holiday World I could have never imagined taking our family of 10 to Holiday World. She helped our family find the best discounts and this year we decided to buy all 10 of us a season pass.

Had it not been for the amazing discounts, free soft drinks, sun block, and hollibucks for donation of can goods we could have never made this coming Summer so wonderful.

Holiday World has my heart for being the number one place to bring our family<3
LanieEden

From David Sutter on June 8, 2009 at 4:51 AM
Good news for all Florida residnets, if your looking for a bargin Universal just lifted all balck out dates for it 2-park anual pass...thats 99.0o plus taxs for us here....
From Bruce Lane on June 8, 2009 at 10:17 PM
Though not directly theme park related (and what else is new in my case?), Associate membership in AZA (American Zoo & Aquarium Association) will get you into an awful lot of zoos all over the USA either free or at a greatly-reduced rate.

That's just about the best 'discount' I could hope for. Sadly, it won't work with Disney Animal Kingdom. For that, you'd need to be an AZA member in the 'Professional Fellow' category (as in working directly in the field), and you're limited to one freebie a year even then.

Still, I'm not complaining. Given my interest in birds, there's still an awful lot of good aviaries in the country.

Happy travels.

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