May 292012How to Save Money at Six Flags

Amusement parks are expensive so this week I’m going to help you find ways to save at Amusement parks. Today I’m going to share tips on how to save at Six Flags.

There are quite a few Six Flags amusement parks around the US. Not all parks have the same  offers so be sure to check your park’s website to double check.

:: Tickets

  • Purchase tickets online – Many parks offer a 3-Day advance purchase option which saves you the most money. It’s even cheaper than using a Coke can at the gate or paying the kid price. The Six Flags Arlington location has them for just $36.99 If your park doesn’t offer a 3-Day Advance option, then they will have an “Everyone Pays Kids Price” option. This is usually the same offer as taking a Coke Can to the gate. The benefit here is that you print your tickets at home and skip the line at the gate – maximizing your time at the park.
  • Get a Season Pass or Play Pass – If you plan to hit your local park more than once before the end of the year or if you would like to visit a different Six Flags park during a family vacation, grab a Season Pass or Play Pass. Most of these are cheaper than two visits plus you can use the passes at most other Six Flags parks. They also have days when Season Pass holders can bring a friend for free.
  • Gather a Group – Group tickets are much cheaper than regular tickets. Most parks have group rates starting at 15 people. That’s just 4 families of 4. Ask around with your playgroup, MOPS organization, Sunday School class or elsewhere. Grab a few other families and plan to go on the same day. You don’t have to hang out with them if your kids are different ages. It’s just a help to have them get you in the gate!

:: Parking

  • Buy Parking Pass Online – I believe all the parks charge for parking. So be sure you factor that into the cost of your visit. You can purchase a Parking Pass online that should be less expensive than paying at the gate. I checked a few parks and they were all $15 (including tax).
  • Grab a Season Pass – For a limited time, some parks are offering Season Pass packages right now. Purchase four Season Passes and you’ll get a free parking pass valid for the whole season.

:: Food

This is a tricky one because food is so expensive at parks. Six Flags does not allow you to bring in your own food. However, they will stamp your hand at the gate so you can leave and come back.

  • Pack a Lunch – I recommend packing an ice chest and having a picnic in the parking lot for lunch and/or dinner. I know you are rolling your eyes and thinking your kids would never go for that. Make it a fun lunch. Let them pick out treats that you would normally never buy. Maybe it’s the Smuckers Uncrustables sandwiches or Gogurt tubes. Chances are the junk food you buy at the store isn’t any worse than the junk food you would buy at the park and it’s significantly cheaper. If their lunch is filled with fun things they picked, they might be more excited about trekking out to the parking lot for lunch. Then you can splurge on a smaller treat like ice cream or snow cones in the park without spending as much as a whole meal.
  • Buy Meal Vouchers Online – You have the option to purchase individual and family meal vouchers online. These are valid at select restaurants around the park. This is some savings off the park price but they are still very expensive. If you’d rather just see what’s available at the park, you may want to check this out anyway at least for the general prices so you can budget accordingly.
  • Purchase a Season Pass – If you purchase a Season Pass, you get a Coupon Book (while supplies last) with lots of money saving offers inside. Many of these are for the restaurants inside the park. If you get one of those books, be sure you plan your eating around participating locations.

:: Souvenirs

  • Just Say No – Theme park souvenirs are probably the worst. They are cheaply made and sold for a huge, huge markup. Your best bet, Just Say No. Your kids may pitch a fit but remember, they will probably discard them after a week anyway after the item breaks or they tire of it. Save yourself a bundle of dough and skip the souvenirs.
  • Bring Them With You – If you just can’t dream of going to the park without purchasing a souvenir to help your child remember the trip, one idea is to pre-purchase them. Find Looney Tunes Character shirts online. Or grab glow necklaces and bracelets at the party store. When your kid begs, just pull them out of your purse. Littler ones likely won’t be any wiser. And the bigger ones aren’t as likely to throw themselves down and make a scene if they don’t get quite what they want.

If Six Flags still isn’t in the budget this year, check for the Read to Succeed program to begin again in September. This fun program gives students a free ticket to Six Flags when they complete six hours of recreational, nonschool-related reading. The program runs from September through April. Tickets are mailed in May and you redeem them June through August.

Tune in tomorrow (5/30). I’ll share Ways to Save at Sea World!

What ideas do you have to save money at Six Flags?

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  1. In the past, my neices/nephews have purchased the souvenir soda cup–which also got them free refills. They noticed too that some people were tossing the cups and not keeping them for souvenirs–an idea for the resourceful and frugal 😀

  2. Bring a reusable water bottle and fill up at the drinking fountain. In our family, we bring one slim fast meal replacement bar per adult and a granola bar per child. Some parks have roller coasters that require that belongings be placed in them, so we only bring what is absolutely necessary – your season pass and some small bills and change in a pocket (plus that slim fast bar). Some SF parks have discount stores. The one at Magic Mountain is in the Looney Tunes area. We have bought infant onesies, teddy bears and books for only $1. Sometimes we can find adult tshirts for only $5. Also contact your local tourism and travel organization (for example, your credit union or your employer). In slower months, SF offers coupon codes for discounted tickets on-line.

  3. Elizabeth Stires says:

    We have 5 kids so an amusement park can be expensive . Our 4 oldest all participate in the read to succeed program, our youngest doesn’t require a ticket yet . This means every summer we can go to Sux Flags by only purchasing 2 tickets for my husband and I. We eat before we go and after, we just grab a snack in the park. Our kids want souvenirs, we make them use allowance and it helps. There are usually cheap kids shirts which they love to wear and tell everyone about our yearly trip 🙂

  4. Love the food comments BUT if you’re kids “won’t go for that” they don’t eat!