How to save money with theme park ticket deals and discounts

April 7, 2019, 2:51 PM · What is the best way to find cheap tickets to Disney, Universal Studios, and other theme parks?

With prices for one-day tickets costing more than $100 for many top parks, a day at places such as Disneyland or Universal Orlando might seem too expensive. But almost no one pays that much money for each day they spend in the parks. With discounts, multi-day tickets, and annual passes, you can enjoy a day at Disney, Universal, Six Flags, or any other theme park for much, much less.

How do can you find discounts and deals on theme park tickets? Each year, I have published an article here on Theme Park Insider with links to sources for discounted tickets and vacation packages, but this time I wanted to do something different... something that would help everyone who comes to the site throughout the year.

So after several months of research, I am pleased to announce that we are now partnering with aRes Travel — an authorized ticket agent for Disney, Universal, Cedar Fair, Legoland, and other theme park chains — to offer discounted theme park tickets and vacation packages throughout the website. As you shop around for deals on theme park tickets, I hope that you will take advantage of these links here on Theme Park Insider.

Central Florida

Southern California

Georgia

Missouri

North Carolina

Ohio

Texas

Virginia

You will be able to find those links going forward on our theme park listings page. In addition, aRes Travel offers reservations for hotels at and near major theme parks in the Unites States.

Central Florida

Southern California

Elsewhere

You can find those links on our hotel guide page, as well. Both the theme park and hotel guide pages are accessible from the drop-down navigation at the top of all Theme Park Insider pages. There's also a search form for tickets and packages on the right side of all our pages (on laptops) or at the bottom of the page (on smartphones).

And if you just want to talk with someone, you can get personal assistance with theme park tickets, hotel reservations, and vacation packages from our dedicated Theme Park Insider line with aRes Travel by calling +1-800-680-1271.

Consider upgrading to an annual pass

Remember that any theme park ticket can be upgraded to an annual pass while you are still in the park. Just check with the park's guest relations office before you leave the park. Parks want you to extend your stay, so they price tickets so that the daily cost of getting in to the park decreases with the more days you buy, and annual passes are the cheapest "bulk pricing" deal available.

Seasonal and annual passes typically also include discounts on in-park purchases, such as food, merchandise and even parking. Theme parks also might bundle dining plan and front-of-line pass discount options with their annual passes. If you are a big eater, or have limited time in a park, you might find value in upgrading to a dining plan or a front-of-line option. But if you are looking for the lowest possible price to visit, skip those and bring a snack and plan to wait in the lines.

Six Flags' season passes also are valid for all parks in the Six Flags chain. So if you are planning to visit more than one Six Flags park in a year, definitely go with a season pass option. You can get admission to all Cedar Fair parks with a Platinum pass from any of its parks. And the SeaWorld/Busch Gardens parks offer admission to all of their properties with a Premium Membership from any of their parks, too.

Beware of fake tickets

As you look around for tickets online, don't be tempted by tickets from sources you do not know. Authorized resellers such as aRes Travel sell legitimate tickets from the parks themselves. Unfortunately, fake or invalid tickets abound for sale online and in roadside stands outside the parks, so stick with the authorized resellers or the parks' official websites. Never buy tickets on Craigslist or eBay!

Theme parks use photos and finger scans to associate multi-day tickets and passes to their original user, so unused days on tickets cannot be used by anyone else. And parks track their inventory rigorously. Stolen tickets are often immediately canceled and duplicate tickets simply won't work. Don't waste money on deals that seem too good to be true. They are.

I hope that this new service will help make your vacation planning even easier here on Theme Park Insider. We want to bring the world's best theme parks to you through the website and our social media channels, and we hope that these new features will help get you and your family out to them more often... with the best possible deals and discounts. Have a great trip!

Replies (5)

April 7, 2019 at 8:22 PM

From 1991 to 1995, my family lived in Jacksonville, about two hours from Orlando. We soon discovered that they had scores of "Florida resident" deals for WDW that we'd take full advantage of for some nice trips. A major benefit to enjoying that period.

April 8, 2019 at 12:33 PM

In SoCal as the summer season gets under way, visitors can also find slight discounts for certain parks at fast food chains or on soda (usually Coke) products.

It's a good idea to check places like Cars Jr., Subway, Burger King, etc. for discount coupons. Knotts Legoland, Seaworld, Six Flags & (occasionally) Universal have coupons at the counter of fast food establishments that are available for customers to take.

Coke products purchased in the area during summer, also have discounts to Six Flags & Universal.

April 9, 2019 at 9:48 AM

Thanks Robert. Glad you have worked out a partnership like this. Hopefully it will provide a decent amount of income stream for TPI. I looked at the Carowinds ticket prices for an upcoming June visit. Definitely a better deal than the CW website was quoting me for 2 day ticket.

April 9, 2019 at 3:50 PM

Hello, do you know what happens if I bought tickets for my friends daughter for Universal City and I can't give her my credit card for obvious reasons... How can she pick them up?

April 11, 2019 at 12:07 PM

I live in SoCal and have bought tickets from Craigslist a couple times. Of course there’s always a risk, but if you’re smart about it (know which parks have finger scans, check IDs, have multiday tickets with expiration dates coming up), with some street smarts (good at reading ppl), you can do it. Ive also sold tickets on there myself, like ones I won on a radio contest. I understand why you can’t endorse it Robert but just for the record...I have never been scammed

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