Thrill seekers – you know that one theme park is not enough, and once you’ve got the bug you’ll want to see more, ride the most thrilling rides and dare yourself to take the scariest plunges! Theme park trips don’t come cheap though, so here’s how to stretch your budget whilst you test your nerves.
Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando
Perhaps the most sought-after theme park of them all, this Orlando park is large enough to keep you busy for at least a week! First up, if you just want to see this park and none of the others (like SeaWorld, or Universal Studios) it’s worth looking for a cheap deal in a Disney hotel. Staying onsite gets you added extras like more hours in the park, and often includes meals at your choice of the restaurants too. If not, booking your tickets in advance and looking for money saving coupons in local Orlando shops can save you big. These can cover food, entry and more so are certainly worth picking up. If you’re not staying onsite then stay self catering so you can prepare food and drinks to take with you. There is no limit on how much you can take in, but you must use a soft bag and alcohol isn’t allowed.
There are whopping savings to be had booking your tickets in advance here, with up to 50% off kids prices! Spain’s largest theme park is also a huge draw for the locals, so make the most of your time by going during the week to avoid the weekend visitors. When it comes to booking your accommodation, look for hotels not just in Salou, but also in Tarragona and Cambrils, where you will find plenty of cheap deals. You can take food in with you although larger bags will be searched and large amounts of food may be confiscated. It’s usually pretty hot in there so share a refillable drinks cup and have a big breakfast to avoid paying too much for extra food during the day.
Six Flags Magic Mountain, California
The incidental things at Six Flags can really add up, with whopping parking charges as well as mandatory lockers on many of the rides, which cost $1 a go. There are plenty of public transport options that will get you to the park, so on top of booking your tickets in advance this should save you plenty before you’ve even started queueing. The theme park is located just outside Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles so it will be cheapest to fly to Los Angeles and probably cheaper to stay here too. Food can’t be brought in so food and locker costs will be almost unavoidable once you get inside, so try to hit all the rides where you need your bags locked up one after the other. Don’t forget you can leave to eat food if you like, although options are limited outside too. The other way to save on food is to buy a meal voucher beforehand, redeemable at certain restaurants.
Certainly the best way to save here is to get a cheap flight, but once you’ve got that under your belt you’ll want other ways to save too! The theme park is easy to reach from the city so there’s no need to stay in a dedicated resort hotel here, instead you can choose from some of the great value accommodation just inland from Tokyo Bay. If you’re looking to eat inside the park then lunch is much better value than dinner, so fill up during the day! As ever, booking your tickets in advance to pick up on the gate is likely to save you a big chunk of cash, but prices still won’t be cheap, so take advantage of the great public transport links and get to Disneyland nice and early to get a full day’s fun in!
Ocean Park, Hong Kong
More popular than the Hong Kong Disneyland, beating the crowds and getting the most out of your day is the best way to save money here. That and eating a big breakfast – food and drinks inside the park are astronomically priced, even by theme park standards, with even McDonalds doing away with their meal deals in favour of a pricier item-by-item structure! Stay strong throughout the day and stick to your budget. For example, there are photo opportunities at all the rides and staff to point out your pictures, making it even easier to fall into the trap of buying yourself an expensive souvenir! Avoid the weekends, show up early and plan your day in advance so that you hit your must-sees. The animal shows get pretty packed out so you’ll need to get there ahead of the start time to get a seat. Perhaps plan one for the mid-afternoon slump!