Top Tips To Enjoy A Theme Park On A Budget

May 29th, 2015 / Alton Towers / No Comments »

1. Rainy Day Guarantees

A number of theme parks run Rainy Day Guarantees that offers a FREE second day at the park if the weather hampers your day out.  This offer varies from theme park to theme park so worth understanding the full terms & conditions for your theme park including how long it must rain for & when you can return!

Often these guarantees are only available if you book online in advance and not available at all theme parks.

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Coaster Fun, (photo; Phil Loach)


2. Early Ride Time

Some theme parks offer exclusive Early Ride Time that gives you the chance to enjoy the rides before the park opens to the public.  Some parks offer early rider to visitors that book theme park tickets online, (such as Alton Towers), whilst other parks offer it as part an overnight stay, (Chessington World of Adventures, LEGOLAND Windsor).

3. Book Online For Extra Perks

Not only can you take advantage of online discounts but this also allows you to avoid the first queue of the day at the ticket booths.  Look out for added perks when booking online too such as Rainy Day Guarantees & Early Ride Time.

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4. Vouchers; 2 for 1’s

Often, a 2 for 1 voucher will secure you the best savings on entrance charges even though it may mean a queue at the ticket booths.  Generally a 2 for 1 voucher cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer including online discounted tickets.

More information available at 2 for 1 Vouchers for Merlin Attractions.

5. Parent Swap Passes

A number of theme parks offer Parent Swap Passes that offers parents with younger children a chance to ride the thrill rides without having to queue twice, (such as Thorpe Park).  Often the second parent makes use of the fastrack entrance but check how this works at your theme park of choice.

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6. Pack A Picnic

Most theme parks, (sadly not Blackpool Pleasure Beach), allow you to take picnics into the park for some easy savings.  Check in advance if there are on-site lockers available that bypasses the need to carry your lunch around with you.

7. Height Checking Service

For those on the cusp of significant height markers, it may be worth checking out if a height checking service is provided.  Once measured, eligible children will then be given a wristband that will alleviate any potential difficulties at individual rides.

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Drayton Manor; Troublesome Trucks

Drayton Manor; Troublesome Trucks


8. Come Back Deals

If you are looking to extend your visit, then look out for come back offers that can offer heavily discounted tickets for a second day at the park.  Often theme parks offer a cheaper next day rate but also offer savings on a second day at the park later in the season.

9. Single Rider Queues

Some theme parks offer Single Rider Queues, (such as Alton Towers & Disneyland Paris), that is a free method to shorten your queue time by allowing individual riders to use up available space on ride carriages.

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Gulliver's Theme Park

Gulliver’s Land, (photo; Phil Loach)


10. Free Parking

Some theme parks still offer free parking, (such as Gulliver’s Theme Parks & Lightwater Valley Theme Park) and this can help you keep the costs down on a day out.  Look for other ways to reduce your parking costs such as passholder perks, overnight packages that include parking or making use of free drop off/collection points.

11. Fastrack Tickets

Not always a popular, (or cheap), method to reduce your queue times on busy days at a theme park.  However, sometimes investing in a solo fastrack ticket for a particular popular ride, (such as The Swarm at Thorpe Park or Vampire at Chessington), allows you to achieve more rides in a day.

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12. Back To Front

Generally,  people arrive at a theme park opting for rides closest to the entrance.  Buck the trend and make your way to the back of the park heading directly for rides that are likely to pull in the greatest queues during the day.

13. Real Time Queues

Take advantage of electronic boards or apps that offer information on real time queues for the most popular rides at the park.  Be flexible with your ride itinerary taking account of busier/quieter queue times.

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14. Inclusive Tickets

A number of Theme Parks have introduced an All Inclusive Ticket that loads all your expenditure up front.  This allows you to budget up front, ensuring that your spend is under control during the day.  However check value for money before opting for an inclusive package.

15. Ride Photography Deals

Look out for ride photographic deals that offer a range of photographic souvenirs, (photos, magnets, driving licences, keyrings), that can be spaced out during the theme park season.  These can offer value for money for those planning to return later in the year.


Legoland Windsor boat ride

LEGOLAND Windsor; Coast Guard HQ


16. Non Ride Options

A select few theme parks, (Blackpool Pleasure Beach, M&D’s Theme Park), offer reduced/free entrance charges for those that do not intend to enjoy the rides but wish to accompanying the family.  These can offer value for money but watch out for accompanying adult rules in place on some younger rides!

17. Non-Queue Attractions

Many theme parks now offer a range of non-queue attractions such as playgrounds, soft play areas, shows & 4D cinema experiences. During busier times of the day, opt for a few non-queue attractions for some light relief!



By Liz Walsh

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