It is a new year, and time to look at the current pricing at the different Southern California Theme Parks. Let’s start with the pricing at the Ticket Windows, then we will look at some of the different type of discounts available. In case you don’t know, an Annual Pass is good for 365 days, so if you bought it March 1st, it would expire March 1st, 2006. A Season Pass is based on a Calendar year, so if you bought a Season Pass on March 1st, it would expire December 31st, 2005.
The Disneyland Resort
Single Day, Single Park ticket, $53 for Adults (10+), $43 for kids 3 thru 9
Single Day ParkHopper, $73/$63
2 Day ParkHopper, $106/$86
3 Day ParkHopper, $159/$129
Parking, $9 per car
Annual Pass, $99-$329, no special pricing for kids
Universal Studios Hollywood
Single Day General Admission, $53 for Adults, $43 for those under 48 inches
Front of the Line Pass, $89.75, no special pricing for kids
VIP Experience, $135, no special pricing for kids
Parking, $10 per car
Season Pass, $53
Annual Pass, $59.75 - $129.75, no special pricing for kids
Knott’s Berry Farm
Single Day Admission, $45 for Adults, $14.95 for kids 3 thru 11, Seniors $35
After 4 PM ticket (sold any day Knott’s is open past than 6 PM), $21.50 for adults
Parking, $9 per car
Annual Pass, $115 - $175 Adults, $60-$75 kids 3 thru 11
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Single Day Admission, $47.99 for Adults, $29.99 for those under 48 inches and Seniors (55+)
Parking, $9 per car
Season Pass, $47.99 - $125
SeaWorld San Diego
Single Day Admission, $50.95 Adults, $40.95 kids 3 thru 9
Parking, $8 per car
Season Pass, $56.95 Adults, $46.95 for kids 3 thru 9
Annual Pass, $84.95 - $134.95 adults, $69.95 - $119.95 kids 3-9, $74.95 - $124.95 Seniors (50 +)
Single Day Admission, $44.95 Adults, $37.95 for kids 3 thru 12, and Seniors (60 +)
Two Day Ticket, $52.95 Adults, $45.95 for kids 3 thru 12, and Seniors (60 +)
Parking, $8 per car
Annual Pass, $89 - $1000 Adults, $65 - $1000 for kids 3 thru 12, and Seniors (60 +)
San Diego Zoo / Wild Animal Park
Single Day Zoo General Admission, $21 for Adults, $14 for kids 3 thru 11
Single Day Zoo “Best Value” Admission (includes in park busses and trams) , $32 for Adults, $19.75 for kids 3 thru 11, $28.80 for Seniors (60+)
Single Day Wild Animal Park Admission, $28.50 Adults, $17.50 kids 3 thru 11, $25.65 for Seniors (60+)
Zoo Parking, Free
Wild Animal Park Parking, $8 per car
Annual Pass, $43 - $2,500 for Adults, $21 for kids 3 thru 11, $25 for those 12 thru 17.
Now there are restrictions and blockout dates on the Multi-day tickets and Season and Annual Passes, please check with the park for all terms and conditions. All prices subject to change. Parking prices are for general parking of a standard size vehicle, many parks charge additional for larger vehicles, and offer preferred parking for a premium. LEGOLAND offers a $1,000 lifetime Pass, and the San Diego Zoo has different Donor levels, the highest is $2,500, check the parks websites for the different levels of Season and Annual Passes, and the benefits each level gets.
Now, there are also Multi-Park packages, the best known is the Southern California CityPass, which combines a 3 day Disneyland Resort ParkHopper, a one day ticket to Knott’s, a one day ticket to SeaWorld San Diego and one day at either the San Diego Zoo or the Wild Animal Park. $172 for Adults, $129 for kids 3 thru 9 thru March 31st, 2005. As of April 1st, 2005 (thru March 31st, 2006) Adults will be $185 and kids 3 thru 9 $127.
Plus you can find packages that offer SeaWorld San Diego and Universal Studios Hollywood as a package, or SeaWorld San Diego and the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal park, plus others.
Now, we just talked about how much someone would pay if they just walked up to the park’s ticket windows and purchased tickets. But you can save a lot of money buy doing some planning and purchasing in advance.
Let’s start with the simple basic promotions, some parks will discount a single day ticket if you show your AAA card, but this is less common than the past. Also, some parks will place coupons that you can find in the nearby hotel lobbies or tourist magazines. The Good Neighbor Hotels near Disneyland will sell discounted Disneyland Resort tickets, here is the current deal available thru April 28th, 2005, and comes with one Early Entry Pass (Early Entry allows guests to enter the park 1 hour prior to the official opening of Disneyland on certain days, and selected rides, shops and restaurants will be available).
3 day ParkHopper, $114 for all guests 3+, a $45 savings for adults over the Main Gate Pricing.
4 day ParkHopper, $134 for all guests 3+, a $55 savings for adults over the Main Gate Pricing.
Now with the growth of the internet, you can find many deals at the Park’s websites, and in fact even print the actual ticket at some sites.
The Disneyland Resort has been aggressive in offering discounted tickets on line, for all of 2003 and 2004, the park offered “2 days free” with a purchase of a 3 day or more ParkHopper. In 2005, they have cut back on the specials, but you still can find some great deals…
Right now, there are 2 main specials, one for the Spring 2005 period (First Day of use must be by April 28th, 2005) and another set of deals good for the rest of 2005. All tickets come with a free $10 ESPN Zone Game card, and one early entry to Disneyland. Plus they have a new SoCal 2 day ParkHopper special online, which will be mentioned later.
The Spring 2005 deal is “Adults at the Kids Price”
3 day ParkHopper, $109 for everyone 3+, a $50 savings for adults (and $5 cheaper than buying at the Hotel front desk)
4 day ParkHopper, $129 for everyone 3+, a $60 savings for adults (and $5 cheaper than buying at the Hotel front desk)
5 day ParkHopper, $139 for everyone 3+, a $70 savings for adults
The tickets for May thru December 2005 are a bit more expensive, but still a good savings from the Main Gate Prices.
3 day ParkHopper, $139 for Adults, $109 for kids 3 thru 9
4 day ParkHopper, $159 for Adults, $129 for kids 3 thru 9
5 day ParkHopper, $169 for Adults, $139 for kids 3 thru 9
Universal Studios Hollywood offers the Print at Home feature, and currently offers $10 off a Front of the Line Pass, $20 off a Deluxe AP and $30 off a Premium AP.
Knott’s Berry Farm offers $10 off the single day Adult ticket ($35), and also offers the print at Home system, which basically is a pass you print at home that has a bar code, and is scanned at the entrance turnstiles, no need to redeem them at the ticket windows, a nice saving of time on busy days.
Six Flags Magic Mountain also has a Print at Home special, $25.99 for a one day ticket good thru March 13th, 2005.
SeaWorld San Diego also offers Print at Home, and you save 10% off a single day ticket, $45.85 for Adults, $36.85 for kids 3-9.
The San Diego Zoo/Wild Animal Park is offering an extra 2 months on the purchase of an Annual Pass if you apply online. Your Annual Pass would be mailed to you.
But the best deal I know of online is the Southern California CityPass from Costco.com, valid thru March 31st, 2005. Just $149.99 for adults, $114.99 for kids 3 thru 9. The tickets if bought separately would cost $286.95 for Adults, and $204.65 for kids 3 thru 9.
And there are the Package deals (Hotel and Park Tickets, and sometimes Airfare and/or Rental Car), AAA and Walt Disney Travel (and most travel agents, both online and traditional deal with Walt Disney Travel) are the best known, Right now, you can choose between Adults at the Kids Price, or a Free Kids ticket with the purchase of a full priced Adult Ticket on multi-day Disneyland Resort ParkHoppers thru April 28th.
Also, there are the Southern California specials good only for those folks who have an ID with a Southern California Zip Code, sometimes a coupon that can be found at a local fast food restaurant, a grocery store or on a can or bottle of Soda giving you a discount of single day admission.
Right now, Disneyland is working with the Grocery Chain VONS (a division of Safeway), where they are selling “Pay for Disneyland, get DCA for FREE!” two day tickets for the single day, single park price of $53 for adults, $43 for kids 3 thru 9. Each ticket must be used by a Southern California, or Baja California resident. Tickets are good thru April 28th, 2005. This same ticket is available at the Main Entry Plaza ticket windows with the same restrictions.
Also, Disney has added a new SoCal Advance Purchase special online, you can get a 2 day ParkHopper for the price of a single day ParkHopper of $73 for adults, $63 for kids 3 thru 9. Each ticket must be used by a Southern California, or Baja California resident. Tickets are good thru April 28th, 2005.
Going to Southern California Costco’s is another place to find discounted tickets, Disneyland is selling a “Play 4 Days” ticket for $89 which gives you 4 days of admission to the DLR, each day is good for either Disneyland or DCA, tickets expire June 23rd, 2005 and are blocked out from March 19th thru April 2nd, 2005.
LEGOLAND tickets at Costco are $34.99 for adults, $29.99 for kids 3 thru 12 and Seniors (60+).
Knott's is working to help out the Orange County Food Bank and will sell you a ticket for just $16.95 thru January 31st with a donation of food. Knott's also just did a Tsunami Relief event where they opened up the park after hours, with all the money going to the American Red Cross. Knott's and Six Flags Magic Mountain also have toy drives every December to help out during the holiday period.
Also don’t forgot the savings after you arrive, many parks give discounts to food and merchandise purchases to AAA holders, or folks that buy a Season/Annual Pass.
Plus there are plenty of websites that you can find discounted Hotel Rooms, Airfare and Rental Cars. While buying a package can be convenient, usually by doing your own research and get the best deal on each piece will save you money. By taking some time to do just a little research, you can lower the cost of your next trip to a theme park by quite a bit.
But remember, no matter what you paid to get in, make sure and have fun once you enter the gates!