Here's How Much It Costs to Visit All of These Major Theme Parks
IT TURNS OUT, YOU CAN PUT A PRICE ON FAMILY MAGIC.
For families with young children, there's no better place to vacation than an amusement park. With its raging roller coasters, delicious snacks, and beloved characters come to life, it's not surprising that some 501 million people visited the top 10 theme park groups in the world in 2018. But anyone who's visited one of the world's biggest amusement parks knows that these glorious getaways don't come cheap. When you factor tickets, food, lodging, and souvenirs into the equation, a trip to Disney World or Six Flags can easily end up costing thousands of dollars. So, to financially prepare you for your next amusement park excursion, we've crunched the numbers to calculate the average costs of theme parks worldwide for a family of four.
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida: $5,165
A family consisting of two adults and two children over the age of 3 can expect to shell out $5,165 on a trip to the legendary Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Hotel cost: If you book a five-day June excursion and stay at the Port Orleans resort, a moderately-priced in-park resort, a room with two queen beds will cost around $291 per night, or $1,455 for a five nights.
Admission cost: You'll likely want to visit most of the parks that Walt Disney World has to offer: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios, along with two water parks. So a standard ticket with the park hopper option that allows visitors to jump between the different parks comes to $109 per person per day. That means you'll be forking over $2,180 just on admission. (As with most hotels and theme park tickets, these prices fluctuate throughout the year.)
Meal and souvenir cost: And if your four-person family opts for one of the park's character meals (around $160), and throws in the Disney dining plan (approximately $207 for the family per day), you'll spend about $1,195 on food over the course of five days. Since you'll likely buy souvenirs and other extras, you can expect to add approximately $75 per day ($375 all told) to your total. (Of course, this doesn't include your flights to Walt Disney World, car rental fees, or any activities you may choose to pursue outside of the park.)
The good news? Those visiting the legendary park on a shoestring budget can save hundreds by staying at a hotel outside of the park, bringing in their own food (yes, you're permitted to do so), and opting out of the park hopper option.
Disneyland in Anaheim, California: $3,369
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
Using the same method of calculations for Disney World, a trip to Disneyland in California will cost a family with two adults and two children approximately $3,369. The reason why it's so much less than Disney World? You only need about three days to tackle this smaller park.
Hotel cost: For a family of four looking to stay in a standard room at Disneyland's Paradise Pier Hotel, the park's least expensive option, a three-night stay in June comes to $428 per night, or $1,284 in total.
Admission cost: For entry to the park for two adults and two children under age 10, with the addition of the park hopper option, you'll spend at least $355 per adult and $335 per child—a grand total of $1,380 for the entire family.
Meal and souvenir cost: According to Mickey Visit, a four-person family will also likely spend about $480 on food during their three days in the park—a price that goes up with the addition of special character dinners. And, just like at Disney World, guests can expect to spend around $75 per day on souvenirs and other extras (adding another $225).
In order to save money on your trip to Disneyland, be sure to book your hotels far in advance—and to perhaps consider visiting during the park's slower season between September and December.
Disneyland Paris in Marne-la-Vallee, France: $2,813
Edgardo W. Olivera/Flickr
As you might imagine, the Parisian version of Disneyland is particularly glamorous, and it comes with quite a hefty price tag. A family of four can expect to spend $2,813 for a three-day stay.
Hotel and admission cost: The Disneyland Explorers Hotel provides those on a budget a perfectly comfortable stay in a standard room at $551 for a three-night stay. On top of that, a family of four can expect to pay a total of $982 for three-day passes.
Meal and souvenir cost: The standard meal plan at Disneyland Paris, which includes breakfast and two additional meals, will cost the entire family $830 over the course of those three days. Additionally, you'll need to factor in the extra snacks and souvenirs that your kids are sure to clamor for, which will likely cost $150 per day, totaling $450 at the end of the trip.
Shanghai Disneyland in Shanghai, China: $2,487
If you're a family of four seeking some Disney adventure in Shanghai, China, you can expect to spend $2,487.
Hotel and admission cost: You'll need three days to enjoy all this park has to offer. A stay at the lower priced on-site Shanghai Disneyland Hotel during the month of June will cost around $402 per night—or $1,206 total for three nights. As far as tickets to the park go, three days of admission will cost a family of two adults and two children $621.
Meal and souvenir cost: Assuming that you'll be buying two meals a day at the park, plus a few extra ice cream cones and sodas, it's likely that a family of four will spend about $480 total on food, according to Travel + Leisure. Souvenirs and extras will cost you around $60 a day at Shanghai Disney, totaling $180 for the three-day venture.
Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida: $2,369
Walt Disney World isn't the only theme park to visit in Orlando. The city is also home to Universal Studios, which consists of both the original park of the same name and Islands of Adventure. A family of two adults and two children can look to spend around $2,369 for a three-day vacation at Universal in June.
Hotel and admission cost: Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort is the most cost-effective option for those who want to stay within the boundaries of the theme park. A standard room in June will cost around $173 per night, totaling $519 for a three-night stay. If you'd like to visit both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure over the course of your three days, you'll spend $1,160 for a family of four's three-day admission.
Meal and souvenir cost: According to Food & Wine, a typical meal at Universal Orlando costs around $15, so you'll likely spend around $360 on food for a family of four during your three-day stay. With the added miscellaneous expenses and souvenirs, which could cost you around $70 a day, you can expect to pay an extra $330.
To save money during your trip to Universal Studios, try eating just one meal a day within the park. Additionally, opt for tickets that only include admission to Universal Orlando and not Islands of Adventure, and you'll save hundreds.
Disneyland in Tokyo, Japan: $1,671
Parents with two young kids can expect their Tokyo Disneyland adventure to cost around $1,671. Since this park is also smaller than Walt Disney World, families are likely to spend just three days at Tokyo Disneyland.
Hotel and admission cost: A three-night stay at the budget-friendly Disney Celebration Hotel in June will cost around $689. And for a three-day pass, which includes visits to both Disneyland and DisneySea, you'll likely spend $160 per adult and $103 per child. That brings you to $526 on admission for a family of four.
Meal and souvenir cost: For food inside the park, visitors can expect to spend around $216 over the course of three days. When you add around $80 per day on souvenirs and extras, that's another $240.
To save money on your trip to Tokyo Disneyland, look into booking an in-park hotel that isn't Disney-themed, like the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay or the Hilton Tokyo Bay.
Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California: $1,474
Compared to other amusement park experiences, Six Flags Magic Mountain is affordable, costing just $1,474 for a two-day adventure with two adults and two kids.
Hotel and admission cost: The nearby Hilton Garden Inn Valencia Six Flags is a budget-friendly place to stay, costing $394 for two nights in a standard room. A family of four can also expect to pay a total of $600 for tickets.
Meal and souvenir cost: If you opt for a dining pass at the park for $35 per person, per day, that will total $280 for the whole family for two days. And you're probably going to spend money on snacks and souvenirs, which will come to around $100 each day, or $200 total.
According to the Krazy Coupon Lady blog, you can save big by visiting the park when it's slowest, which is from Tuesday through Thursday, particularly in the months of April, May, September, and October.
Europa-Park in Rust, Germany: $1,600
One of the most popular European theme parks is Germany's Europa-Park. And if you're looking to pay it a visit, you should know that a typical family of four is likely to spend, on average, at least $1,600 on their two-day foray at the park.
Hotel and admission cost: A stay at Bell Rock, located within the park, will cost around $275 per night in June, or $550 total. For each adult, a two-day pass to the park will cost around $111, while a ticket for a child under the age of 11 will cost around $94. That means that, for two days in June, a family of four will pay approximately $410 for entry to Europa-Park.
Meal and souvenir cost: According to reviewers on TripAdvisor, the food offered within the park is a must, since it's considered quintessential German cuisine. That said, for your full two-day stay, you're most likely going to spend around $500 for the entire family to indulge in Europa-Park's eats. As far as souvenirs go, you can easily spend $70 per day on German goodies—totaling $140 at the end of your venture.
To save money on your trip to Europa-Park, consider heading to the international destination during the winter season, when the price of admission tends to be much lower—and when the dazzling Christmas decorations are on full display.
Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia: $1,158
One of the most popular American amusement parks, Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, will cost the average family of four approximately $1,158 for a two-day stay.
Hotel and admission cost: Lodging at a middle-of-the-road hotel like the Doubletree by Hilton Williamsburg, which has free shuttles to Busch Gardens, will cost approximately $169 per night, or $338 for a two-night stay in the month of June.
Meal and souvenir cost: You can buy a two-day ticket to the park that includes admission and a dining plan for $130 per person, or $520 for the entire family. And if you pick up some extra snacks and souvenirs, expect to spend around $150 per day, or $300 throughout your two days in the park.
According to The Penny Hoarder, the biggest way to save money on your trip to Busch Gardens is to scour the internet for deals and coupons before you set off on your adventure. And you can also save extra money while at the park if you're an AAA member or active duty military. So be sure to take advantage of those discounts as well.
Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio: $1,144
Heading to a world-renowned amusement park like Cedar Point can provide tons of fun without breaking the bank. A family of four can expect to spend a lot less here than they would at other theme parks—around $1,144 for a two-day visit for a family of four.
Hotel and admission cost: Located two miles outside of the park, the Castaway Bay hotel costs just $498 for a two-night stay. If you decide to buy Cedar Point tickets during the pre-sale season, a two-day ticket will only cost you $75 per person—coming to a cool total of $300 for all four family members.
Meal and souvenir cost: The average cost of a meal at Cedar Point is around $11. So if you're planning on at least two meals for four people over the course of two days at the park, expect to pay a grand total of $176 for food. This amount doesn't cover drinks and snacks, which would cost at least $40. And, since souvenirs from Cedar Point aren't as coveted as they are at other parks like Disney World and Universal Studios, it's likely that families will only spend around $50 per day on these items, adding just $100 to the total.
Apart from buying your tickets early to snag the pre-sale discount, Cedar Point visitors should purchase the $12 souvenir cup, which can be used for free refills throughout the park.
Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, Japan: $1,104
Paying a visit to Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan, is much more affordable than other amusement parks because you only need two days to do it all. A two-day fun-filled trip will cost a family of two adults and two children approximately $1,104.
Hotel and admission cost: A stay at the Park Front Hotel will cost around $150 per night, or $300 for two nights. For a two-day park pass, you can expect to pay $264 for two adults and $180 for two children under the age of 12, for a total of $444.
Meal and souvenir cost: According to Japan Cheapo, families of four will typically spend around $240 on lunch and dinner for those two days. Similar to other locations on this list, you're likely to spend around $60 a day on souvenirs and extras, adding an additional $120.
The best way to save money while visiting this destination? Eat at the vast array of restaurants available just outside the gates of the park, and you'll cut your food spending in half.
Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina: $996
Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina has long been considered one of the best amusement parks in the southern United States—and it's budget-friendly, to boot. For a two-day stay at the park, a family of four will likely spend $996.
Hotel and admission cost: At a budget hotel, like Best Western Carowinds, in the month of June, you can expect to spend $144 per night for a standard room, or $288 for the two-night stay. A two-day ticket for admission to the park and its extensive collection of heart-racing roller coasters will cost you $80 per person—or $320 for the whole family.
Meal and souvenir cost: If you opt for the dining plan Carowinds offers, which costs $30 per person per day, you'll pay $240 over the course of two days. And, since the plan doesn't include beverages, you'll want to purchase a refillable souvenir cup, which will cost each family member an additional $12 (adding $48 to your grand total). As far as the extras go, you can expect to spend approximately $50 per day, totaling $100 for your two-day trip. But if you pack your meals during your stay at Carowinds, you'll save tons of money.
Lotte World in Seoul, South Korea: $795
Seoul's Lotte World is a favorite theme park destination for locals and international travelers alike—and it's not hard to see why. A family of four will likely only spend $795 on this vacation since you can do it all in a day.
Hotel and admission cost: A stay at the Lotte Hotel World will cost you around $157 per night for a standard room. To enjoy all of the park's offerings, adults pay $50 for admission, while children pay $44. So a family of four will spend $188 exploring the magical depths of Lotte World for the day.
Meal and souvenir cost: Though this amusement park doesn't offer any dining deals, the park's food prices aren't outrageous. A family of four can expect to spend $150 a day on food. However, Lotte World does have designer shopping and exciting excursions, meaning you're likely to spend more than your fair share on souvenirs and extras. While it's only an estimation, you can expect to fork over an additional $300 during your visit.
And for more Disney budgeting tips, check out the Which Is Cheaper: Disneyland or Disney World?