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A PSA to Amusement & Water Park Goers Across the Country

Updated: Jan 3, 2019

If you have ever considered buying a season pass to a local or regional amusement, theme or water park now is the time.   The best deals of the season can typically be found now, in the final weeks of summer leading into Labor Day Weekend.  What is a “season pass” you ask?  Well, I’m glad you asked that question.

There are a number of levels from basic to platinum season passes including variations from basic to membership, however, a season pass at its most basic level is typically an admission ticket that entitles you to unlimited visits for a specified period of time, i.e. the 2019 season.  There truly is a type of pass for everyone and every budget.

Additionally, most season passes come with a variety of benefits worth hundreds of dollars.  These benefits may include free and/or deeply discounted tickets for friends, in-park discounts on food and merchandise, early entry, exclusive events and sometimes, discounts to local partner restaurants, shops, and attractions. Depending on the size of the individual location there may also be huge savings on hotels and campsite stays. Larger brands with regional parks across the country like Six Flags and Cedar Fair offer admission to all of their parks which can be a huge benefit when you live within a hundred miles of multiple parks.

This is the best time of year to buy a season pass. Parks across the country are putting their best foot forward with the lowest prices you’ll pay all year and get extra benefits. You get the biggest bang for your hard-earned dollar right now.

Keep an eye out for benefits such as:

  • Visit the rest of this season and all of 2019. 83% of parks in North America operate between 91 and 365 days*. With new events like Oktoberfest, Halloween themed weekends and winter holiday events, operating seasons are longer than ever. 61% of parks now operate up to 210 days a year*. On average there are 40 to 60+ days remaining this season and another 220+/- days* to use it next year. You won’t, BUT you could visit almost 300 times.

You WILL likely visit 4-5 times though. Think about it.  You are likely to visit once before the kids go back to school, in October for the Halloween activities and again over the holidays. That’s 3 visits before this year is over.  When the winter starts to thaw and you’re looking for something to do over Spring Break you’ll have a ticket in your pocket already.  Then you’ll take advantage of the water park during the dog days of summer next year and repeat the cycle. In case you lost count, that’s 8 visits.

  • The best price of the year at a close, if not the current price of a single day ticket.  The average admission price for a North American amusement park was $65.71 in 2016.* Let’s do the math. 8 visits divided by a one-day ticket is only $8.21 a visit!  To put that into perspective, with a season pass a family of four pays less than half the price of a single, one-day admission. Even if you only visit 4 times in the 300+ available days that’s only $16.42 a visit, 75% less than a one-day admission.

  • Extra benefits if you buy before Labor Day. Keep an eye out for value-ads like free parking or additional bring-a-friend-free offers.

Given pricing and additional incentives this time of year, there is little risk to purchasing even if you only visit once.  If you like all these benefits but aren’t interested or able to drop $200+ for your family’s season passes consider a membership program.  Membership programs are great if you want to spread the expense out over the year and can start as low $5 a month.

Anyone who visits an amusement park should consider a season pass purchase.  Especially if you are visiting this time of year. So, what are you waiting for?  Put the phone down and get to a park today!

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*IAAPA Amusement Park Benchmark Report_June 2017_Euromonitor Consulting

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