5 Money-Saving Theme Park Resolutions

Help Get Your Vacation Budget Back on Track Any Time of The Year

Disney's PhotoPass
Stop at any Disney World's PhotoPass location and a photographer will capture your memories, but you have to buy the photos you want. © The Walt Disney Company

If it's your New Year’s resolution to take that Florida theme park vacation this upcoming year, here are five more resolutions you should make in order to do it on a dime.

I will buy discount theme park tickets before I leave home. Just about all the theme parks offer discounts for advance online admission purchases. Additionally, many also offer special seasonal prices and deals throughout the year. For instance, save an additional $15 off LEGOLAND Florida advance admission tickets by specifying which date you plan to attend. If you bought annual passes for SeaWorld Orlando today, you would find an amazing buy-one-get-one free deal online. If you plan on spending more than one day in the area, consider multi-day tickets that also offer a discount.

Do read the details carefully. You may find that tickets purchased online must be used within a certain period of time or contain block-out dates.

I will limit add-on purchases at theme parks. While theme park ticket prices have held steady for nearly a year, the parks have all been busy adding services that “add on” to the general price of admission tickets. These add-ons range from meal deals to front of the line passes, like Universal Orlando’s Express Pass. These are easy decisions for me. The meal deals offer too much food for the light eaters in our family, so that's the easy one to pass up. If we plan our theme park visit during less crowded times of the year, that could eliminate the need to purchase front of the line passes.

I will carry my own camera and take my own pictures. Most theme parks now offer photo services. Busch Gardens and SeaWorld have rolled out PhotoKey and Disney’s PhotoPass  has been around for years. While it is more convenient not to lug around a camera and you don’t have to ask a complete stranger to take a picture of your family together, the pictures are quite expensive and it’s hard to resist purchasing them all. None of us leave home without our phones these days and since they now take amazingly sharp pictures there is no camera to lug around.

I will provide my own necessities and extras. Whether it is bringing along a refillable water bottle, snacks or a stroller for the grandchild, I will bring it along and not pay for anything I can provide myself. This should go for those needing a wheelchair as well. If you don’t like the taste of tap water, buy bottled water elsewhere (preferably by the case) and bring it along. Anything is cheaper than the usual $2.50 a bottle that is typical of theme park pricing.

And, finally…

I will explore vacation options that don’t include the theme parks. There is a big beautiful Florida located beyond the theme parks. Plan your next vacation without the theme parks and enjoy Florida’s great beaches or go camping in Florida’s award-winning state parks. Even if you feel you must go to Disney World... forget the theme parks because there are wonderful experiences awaiting you at your onsite Disney resort hotel – unique pools, game rooms, carriage rides, character dining and more.