We just finished a wonderful spring break with my boys, and one of the reasons it was so fun was that we spent three days at Six Flags Over Texas, making it seem like we went on vacation even though it was more like a staycation.
Problem is, Six Flags can get really expensive fast. Here are 6 ways that we save money at Six Flags:
Buy a Season Pass
If you plan on visiting Six Flags for even just 2 days throughout the year, a season pass can be your best bet. If you buy your daily ticket at the gate, you'll pay $84.99, or you can buy them online in advance for as little as $54.99.
The earlier you buy your season pass during the season, the better deal you'll get. We bought our Gold Combo season pass in December and we get free entry to all Six Flags parks (including Hurricane Harbor) and FREE parking (which saves $23.15 for parking every time we visit) throughout the entire year.
If you just plan to visit once, make sure you buy your tickets online at least 3 days in advance to save $10 per ticket (and $30 off the ticket price at the gate). If you are going with friends who have season passes, ask them to see if there's a discount for bringing friends (like half off your friends' tickets) that you can use.
Bring Your Lunch
Although you can't bring food or drinks into the park, they do have a nice picnic area outside the gates where you can sit and eat. Just pack a cooler with food and drinks in your car and get your hand stamped when you leave the park so you can get back in. It may take a little time to walk to your car, but you're saving at least $10 to $12 per person for a meal (for just the food!).
Ask for a Free Cup of Ice Water
If you don't want to shell out the big bucks for a drink, you can ask for a cup of ice water. It's small, but it's also free. You may be able to bring your own water bottle into the park and ask them to fill it with ice water. I'm not positive since I haven't tried it yet.
Buy a Season Drink Bottle
If you plan on buying even just a couple of soft drinks, you might want to consider buying a season drink bottle. They have two types - one where you pay a certain price (as low as $14.99 per bottle) and get free drinks throughout the day you buy it. You'll pay $0.99 per refill on subsequent days. Or, you can buy a season drink bottle for a higher price ($29.99), but you get free refills every time throughout the entire season.
We bought 2 of the season drink bottles to split among our family of 4. It felt super expensive, but it will be worth it with the number of times we plan on visiting this year (and we won't have to think about the $0.99 each time for refills).
Consider a Basic Season Dining Pass
When we purchase our season passes, we also buy the Basic Combo Season Dining Pass. It includes lunch and a snack every time we visit Six Flags or Hurricane Harbor. We will make our money back in just a couple of visits based on the price we purchased it (on sale). If you plan on visiting several times throughout the year and would prefer to eat in the park, a season dining pass can be the way to go.
Without the dining pass, we would likely either bring our lunches or split a couple of meals between us. We would also probably not splurge on snacks, but it's fun to be able to tell my youngest son, who loves Dippin' Dots, that he can get them with the pass.
I also like knowing that after the initial investment on the season passes, dining passes, and season drink bottles, we can visit Six Flags anytime we want without paying a dime other than the gas to get there!
Skip the Fast Pass by Picking a Less Crowded Day to Visit
Since we can visit as many times as we want throughout the year, it would be silly for us to spend the money on a Fast Pass (although my kids might disagree when we're waiting in line), since they can be SO expensive. Even if you're just visiting for the day, you can check out the expected crowd calendar to choose the best days to visit the park. It's not always accurate, but it's a pretty good picture of how the crowds will look each day.
The earlier you can get to the park, the better, since even on the "Yup It's Packed" days the lines weren't AS bad in the morning. But, expect to wait in line to park, get into the park, get food, drinks, ride on rides...pretty much everything on "Yup It's Packed" or "Forget About It" days.
All three days we visited during spring break were "Yup It's Packed" days, but our first Saturday wasn't bad at all since we were expecting thunderstorms in the late afternoon. We took our chances, but others must not have since the lines weren't bad (and we walked right up to the Titan). The other two days we went (a Wednesday and Saturday) were definitely packed and we had to wait at least an hour for most rides (and wait in line for pretty much everything else too).
Whether you get a season pass, bring your lunch, or drink ice water, these are my favorite ways to save money at Six Flags over Texas based on our experience. I've only ever been to Six Flags Over Texas (and Six Flags Fiesta Texas), but I'm assuming that these tips would work at any Six Flags park.
What about you? How do you save money at amusement parks?