Eight ways to save as theme park ticket prices soar

The news for Disneyland daytrippers earlier this month was grim. 

In anticipation, of the opening of its new Star Wars land later this year, the California resort hiked the cost of a regular single-day, single-park ticket for the second time in less than a year. It’s now $129, up more than 17% since January 2018. 

Prices also have been rising fast at sister resort Walt Disney World near Orlando and the big Universal parks in California and Florida – now all charging well over $100 a day for single-day, single-park tickets.  

Still, all is not lost for theme park fans on a budget. Even as single-day ticket prices soar, there still are plenty of ways to bring the cost down. Longtime park-watcher Gene Sloan offers his tips:    

1. Go off season. Many of the most popular theme parks, including those at Disney World, offer lower rates during less busy times of the year. In October, Disney unveiled a new date-based ticket pricing system for Disney World parks that brings savings of as much as $20 on single-day tickets on less popular days. Single-day tickets now start at $129 for adults during peak periods around Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas but drop as low as $114 on weekends and $109 midweek during the slower months of January, February and September.    

2. Stay longer. The cost of single-day park tickets at Disney World, Universal Orlando and other top park destinations is shocking, for sure. But you’ll pay a lot less on a per day basis if, like many people, you stay a few days. While the starting price for single-day tickets at Disney World is $109, you’ll pay as little as $78 per day if you buy a five-day pass. Seven-day passes start at $58 per day. At Universal Orlando, single-day tickets start at $114, but five-day pass go for as little as $51. At nearby SeaWorld Orlando, parkgoers will pay $79.99 for a single-day pass but just $20 more to add additional days at sister park Aquatica Orlando or Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.    

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