California Theme Park Vacation Deals

Discounts and Money-Saving Tips

••• © Arthur Levine, 2012. Licensed to About.com.

Are you planning a vacation to California? Do you have Disneyland or other theme parks on your itinerary? Learn about the latest theme park travel packages, ticket discounts, and deals for the Golden State.

Disneyland Resort Deals

Do some advance planning, and learn how to save by purchasing passes online before your visit.

  • Southern California CityPass
    Good deal. Pay $340 ($310 for kids) and receive passes to 4 theme parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure (3-Day Park Hopper with a Magic Morning entry at Disneyland) and one day each at Legoland California and SeaWorld San Diego. Must be used within 14 days after first admission. Purchase online in advance from Viator or at one of the parks. First (I think) discount program to include Disneyland.

Limited-Time Disneyland offers:
Save Up to 25% on select Disneyland Resort hotels- Book by March 9, 2017 for stays from January 8 through April 20, 2017.

Other Disneyland deals available

Universal Studios Hollywood Deals

    Multi-Park Discount Deals

    See Southern California CityPass above, under Disneyland deals.

    Go Card offers three ways to save money while visiting a number of California parks:

    • The SoCal Theme Park Pass bundles four parks for one low price: Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott's Berry Farm, SeaWorld San Diego, and the San Diego Zoo. Get one admission to three of the parks plus a seven-day pass to SeaWorld. Buy the SoCal Theme Park Pass direct from Go Card. 
    • The Go Card Los Angeles Build Your Own Pass lets you choose the attractions you'd like to visit on your vacation and offers discounted rates. You put together your own package and only pay for the attractions you choose. Options include Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Legoland California, Knott's Berry Farm, and more. Must be used within 30 days after first admission. Buy the Go Card Los Angeles Build Your Own Pass direct from Go Card.
    • If you are planning to visit a lot of attractions in the L.A. area, and you enjoy packing a lot of activities into a day, the Go Card Los Angeles All-Inclusive Card could save you some vacation dollars. It includes admission to over 30 attractions such as Knotts Berry Farm, Legoland California, and Aquarium of the Pacific. 3-day and higher cards include admission to Universal Studios Hollywood. Make sure that you'll be able to take advantage of enough offers to make the purchase worthwhile. Get more info and buy the Go Card Los Angeles All-Inclusive Card direct from Go Card.

    San Diego-Area Park Deals

    • SeaWorld San Diego Fun Card- Pay for less than one day, get admission for the rest of 2016 and all of 2017. Also offers an all-day dining offer and other deals.
    • The Go Card San Diego Build Your Own Pass lets you choose the parks and attractions and offers a discounted rate to bundle them together. Parks include SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California, and the San Diego Zoo. Buy the Go Card San Diego Build Your Own Pass direct form Go Card.
    • Go Card San Diego package deals include a variety of bundles. Attractions include SeaWorld, Legoland, and the San Diego Zoo. Pas can be used for 30 days after the first visit. Buy Go Card San Diego package deals direct from Go Card.
    • If you are planning to visit a lot of attractions in the San Diego area, and you enjoy packing a lot of activities into a day, the Go Card San Diego All-Inclusive Pass could save you some vacation dollars. It includes admission to over 40 attractions such as Legoland, San Diego Zoo, Belmont Park, and a Whale Watch Cruise. 3-day and higher cards include admission to SeaWorld San Diego. Make sure that you'll be able to take advantage of enough offers to make the purchase worthwhile. Buy the Go Card San Diego All-Inclusive Pass direct from Go Card.

      Hotel Deals

      Other Ways to Save: When to go?

      The general rule when it comes to theme parks is that you want to zag when everyone else is zigging. It might be a small world after all, but you don't want to spend your vacation standing in line with half the world. If possible, try to plan your trip away from holidays, school vacations, and the summer. Good bets include January to mid-February and the end of August through mid-December. You'll find smaller crowds and better deals. The downside is that the parks close earlier, schedule fewer shows and events, and sometimes close attractions to perform routine maintenance.

      Keep in mind that while most of the major California parks are open year-round, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Legoland close some mid-week days during the off-season and California's Great America and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom close altogether in the colder months. Check with the parks for operating days and hours.

      Also keep in mind that unlike Orlando, most of the major California parks are located within major metropolitan areas. Weekend day trips by locals boost attendance significantly. Your best bet is to plan mid-week visits whenever possible.