But if there is no single correct answer for where to buy cheap theme park tickets, there are many very wrong answers. Don't wait to buy your tickets at the front gate. You'll get the worst possible price there, with no chance for a discount. And worse, you will waste valuable time waiting and buying tickets when you could be going straight to the rides before the lines get long. Also... don't buy second-hand tickets on eBay or Craigslist. Fake tickets litter those websites. In addition, most major parks use finger scans or photos to associate tickets with a single user, so you cannot use someone else's unused days on even a legitimate ticket.
So where should you look? Start with the parks' official websites, along with authorized resellers. We've listed those choices below. Keep in mind that Disney and Universal now charge different prices for their one-day theme park tickets on different days of the year, making shopping around in advance even more important than before.
Decide which parks you want to visit, then start with their official sites to see which types of tickets they sell and what the baseline prices are. Then visit the resellers to see if you can find a better deal. Keep in mind that major resorts such as Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando offer vacation packages that include theme park tickets and hotel rooms. They can provide great value, but if you're on a tight budget, staying at an off-site hotel and skipping the official packages almost always gets you a lower total price, though you'll have to go without perks like extended park hours and on-site convenience.
Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Universal Orlando each offer multiple theme parks in their resorts, so you will have the option to buy "Park Hopper" (Disney's term) or "Park to Park" tickets (Universal's term) at those resorts. Those allow you to visit all the resort's parks on a given day, as opposed to visiting one of the parks on each day. For first-time visitors, especially to the sprawling Walt Disney World Resort, you're probably better off skipping the Park Hopper option until you have the experience to make the most of it. But at Universal Orlando, you will have to buy the Park to Park option to ride the resort's popular Hogwarts Express ride, which travels between the two parks. If you're not a big Harry Potter fan, though, skip it.
If you live in Florida or Southern California, you can get local resident discounts on tickets and annual passes. And if you buy an annual pass to a Six Flags theme park, you can use that pass for admission at any other Six Flags park, too. Cedar Fair and SeaWorld/Busch Gardens parks offer annual pass levels with that same perk for the other parks in their chains, as well. Depending upon the park, buying an annual pass might be a better deal than buying even two one-day tickets in the same season. So, again, look at all your options before buying.
Here's where to look, including official park websites plus authorized resellers aRestravel, KGS Tickets, Recreation Connection, and Undercover Tourist:
Walt Disney World
Universal Studios Hollywood
For other theme parks
You also can often find discounted tickets at your local Costco or Sam's Club warehouse store. Members of the armed forces also can obtain discounts through your local ITT office.
If you are a member of AAA, ask your local office about discounted theme park tickets, too. Visit your local auto club's website to start, or follow this link to the Southern California AAA's attraction discount page.
If you are visiting the Southern California theme parks, the Southern California CityPASS includes admission to Disneyland, Disney California, Adventure, Legoland California, and SeaWorld San Diego. It might end up being a better deal than buying tickets to each park individually, depending upon your plans.
Finally, during the spring and summer, actually pay attention to local ads, as many regional theme parks offer discounts for bringing specially marked soda cans or coupons from local fast food chains. Signing up for parks' email lists and following them on social media can get you news about their last-minute discounts, as well. Follow the links above to get started.
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Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort