Some 41.5 million people are traveling at least 50 miles from home this weekend, according to AAA Travel. And those frequenting theme parks are paying big bucks.
The costs of visiting a theme park doesn’t stop with ticket prices. There’s meals — if you go with family the price multiplies pretty quickly — and if you stay more than a single day, you have to pay for lodgings.
Meals and lodging get particularly expensive in cities like Orlando, where there are 14 different theme parks competing for your dollars.
However, once you get out of Orlando, you might find that not all theme parks cost an arm and a leg. ks.
The Cost of the Most Popular Theme Parks
The cost of visiting one of the 45 most popular parks in the U.S. ranges from $60 to $267, according to HomeToGo.
HomeToGo looked at the price for a one-day adult entry during peak season (without tax), or a “ride all day” price if the park is pay-per-ride.
Also included in the cost of visiting was one day of parking, one meal (using a meal deal when available), and the average rate per-night in a four-person room on a Friday or Saturday from April 1, 2018, through October 27, 2018.
Based on that, here are the five most affordable popular theme parks in the U.S.
1. Cliff’s Amusement Park (Albuquerque)
- Total cost: At $60.39, this is the cheapest amusement park to visit in the U.S.
- Cost of a one-day ticket: It’s $25.99 for one adult to enter.
- Cost of parking: You don’t pay for parking at Cliff’s.
- Cost of accommodation: The average cost per night in the vicinity is a nice $27.41.
- Cost of one meal: Get a meal for as little as $6.99 per person.
2. Castles N’ Coasters (Phoenix)
- Total cost: One day costs $72.55, making it the second cheapest theme park in the country.
- Cost of a one-day ticket: A single adult ticket costs $29.99.
- Cost of parking: Like Cliff’s, parking is free.
- Cost of accommodation: The average price per night for a four-person room is $33.07 in the area.
- Cost of one meal: It averages $9.49 per person.
3. Frontier City (Oklahoma City)
- Total cost: The total cost per day is $81.12.
- Cost of a one-day ticket: It costs $31.99.
- Cost of parking: You’ll pay $8.29 to park for the day.
- Cost of accommodation: Nearby hotels average $28.85 per night.
- Cost of one meal: This averages out to $11.99 per person.
4. Quassy Amusement Park (Middlebury, CT)
- Total cost: It comes out to $83.32 per day.
- Cost of a one-day ticket: Admission accounts for $28.99 of the total price.
- Cost of parking: Visitors pay $7 for parking.
- Cost of accommodation: A nearby four-person hotel room costs about $35.83 on average.
- Cost of one meal: Expect to pay around $11.50 per person.
5. Canobie Lake Park (Salem, NH)
- Total cost: This costs about $91.49 per day.
- Cost of a one-day ticket: Admission to the park costs $39.
- Cost of parking: Visitors do not pay for parking.
- Cost of accommodation: The average hotel room price-per-night is $40.71.
- Cost of one meal: It averages about $11.78 per person.
Most Expensive Parks to Visit
The five most expensive theme parks in the U.S. can easily put you out a couple of Franklins per person per day.
- Total cost: At around $266.67, this is the most expensive theme park in America.
- Cost of a one-day ticket: Admission for a single adult is $129, though tickets start at $109 during less popular times of the year.
- Cost of parking: Visitors pay $25 to park per day.
- Cost of accommodation: On average, visitors are paying $96.29 per night on hotel accommodations.
- Cost of one meal: A single meal averages around $16.38.
Disney World (Orlando, FL)
- Total cost: At a total cost of $219.51, the Magic Kingdom ranks second most expensive.
- Cost of a one-day ticket: Like Universal, $129 of the total cost is from admission price alone. During less busy times of the year, you may be able to get a ticket for $109. You can also get a park-hopper, making it possible to visit all four parks in Florida for $184.
- Cost of parking: The park nails you $22 for parking.
- Cost of accommodation: Averaging $53.73, hotel prices are much more reasonable than at the other expensive parks.
- Cost of one meal: It averages $14.78 per person.
Disney California Adventure Park (Anaheim, CA)
- Total cost: A full day will cost you around $217.08 per person.
- Cost of a one-day ticket: It starts at $97 per person and can cost up to $135 during peak season. Like Disney World in Florida, you can also get combined admission to Adventure Park and Disneyland for $185 with a park hopper pass.
- Cost of parking: Parking accounts for $20 of the total cost.
- Cost of accommodation: Most people are paying around $46.50 per night on a hotel in the area.
- Cost of one meal: One meal will cost around $15.58 per person.
Disneyland (Anaheim, CA)
- Total cost: Disneyland is just slightly cheaper at $216.08 per day.
- Cost of a one-day ticket: The cost of admission for an adult is $135 during peak times but can get as cheap as $97 during slower times of the year. You can visit both Disneyland and Adventure Park in the same day for $185 with a park hopper pass.
- Cost of parking: Visitors pay $20 for parking.
- Cost of accommodation: Hotel accommodations run about $46.50 per night.
- Cost of one meal: It averages about $14.58 per person.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Orlando, FL)
- Total cost: It costs around $214.31 per day.
- Cost of a one-day ticket: Admission price sits around $122 for an adult during peak season and $102 during less busy times of the year. As previously noted, you can pair this with a pass for the other three Florida parks for just $184.
- Cost of parking: It costs $22 to park on the property.
- Cost of accommodation: Nearby hotels have an average price of $53.73 per night.
- Cost of one meal: It averages $16.58 per person.
The listings above cover the two extremes — most expensive and cheapest. If you want to see pricing details for the 35 other parks, they’re in HomeToGo’s complete ranking reproduced below.
Interestingly, the park ranked sixth cheapest, Darien Lake, has what amounts to the lowest cost per ride, at 59 cents. By contrast, the most expensive price per ride is $9.38 at Disney’s Hollywood Studio, which is actually ranked 38 on the list.
Meanwhile, it’s still possible to find ways to save money even at the most expensive theme parks. Learn how by checking out the discussion on saving money at Disney World in the Saving Advice forums.
Readers, what do you think about the cost of visiting these popular theme parks? How much do you think is a reasonable amount to pay? And if your kids want to go somewhere outside your budget, how do you say no?
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