Does your family love amusement parks? Make your next visit cost much less by purchasing group discount theme park tickets. Learn how anyone can buy at group rates.
The best way to get discount theme park tickets
For years now, I've saved money on theme park tickets by purchasing them at group rates. You can save $15-30 or more PER ticket this way. When you're buying for a family of five (like mine), that savings adds up!
Can anyone get group rate tickets to theme parks?
Yes! For almost all theme parks, you only need to meet the requirements of a “group,” buying a minimum of 20 tickets. You do not need to have an affiliation with a school, church or other community group.
How much money can I save?
It depends on which theme park you plan to visit. While there are often other ways to find discount theme park tickets, purchasing at the group rate can be up to 55% savings, much higher than using coupons or sales.
Remember that some theme parks do not charge admission for children 2 and under, so there's no need to buy tickets for kids that young. In addition, parks like Busch Gardens offer a FREE Preschool Pass that is good all year. Don't spend money on a ticket if you don't have to!
How do I buy group rate tickets for theme parks?
First off, decide on the park you want to visit. Then head to their website and look in the admission/tickets section for “Group Sales” or “Group Tickets.”
Note that many parks only offer these deals through mid-March or April, before the full summer season starts.
Take a look at these examples of theme park group rate ticket requirements:
- Dutch Wonderland (PA)
- HersheyPark (PA)
- Sesame Place (PA)
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg (VA)
- Six Flags Great Adventure (NJ)
- Dollywood (TN)
What do I need to know about buying group rate tickets to theme parks?
Once you find the information online, read very carefully. Is there a service fee when you purchase at a group rate? Are taxes included? This is important so you can correctly calculate the cost of each ticket.
How many days ahead of your visit must you purchase the tickets? Some parks require a 30-day window. Others only require two weeks.
Do all ticket holders have to visit on the same day? This is very important. For example, Kennywood in Pittsburgh dates their group tickets. That means that ALL the tickets are only good on one day that you choose.
It can be very difficult to get 20-30 people to commit to visiting on the same day. I did it once and will never do it again!
On the other hand, Sesame Place (below) says the ticket is good “any operating day” within those spring dates.
Calculate the price of each group rate ticket
One of our favorite theme parks when the kids were younger was Dutch Wonderland. It's only a few hours from the DC area, so it was easy to find other families that were interested in purchasing group rate tickets.
Here's how I calculate the price of each DW group rate ticket:
Plan to buy 20 tickets for $579.80. There is an online processing fee of $9.99.
You'll need to collect $589.79 total. You will receive 22 tickets in all (20 paid plus 2 free).
That calculates to 20 tickets costing $29.49 each. That is how much you charge per ticket to recoup the cost.
Promote to your groups and sell tickets for $29.49 each. Remember to purchase however many you need for your own family. In my example, I am purchasing 3 tickets and using the 2 free tickets because I have a family of five.
Sell 17 tickets and collect $501.33. You add $88.47 of your own money for the other 3 tickets. This total should match what you will pay to Dutch Wonderland, $589.79.
For your family's 5 tickets, you have spent $88.47 (3 paid and 2 free). When you divide that number by 5, you have only spent $17.69/each. That is a HUGE savings off the original price!
Promote the group rate tickets to your groups
Invite friends, neighbors, and members of your other groups to join you in purchasing the group rate tickets to the theme park. Who do you know in your preschool, church, or MOMS Club who would appreciate the discount?
Set a firm deadline for receiving payment so you can purchase the tickets in a timely manner. Tell purchasers what date you will order and deliver the tickets so everyone knows what to expect.
Some theme parks still mail out paper tickets. Others just send PDFs that you can print from your computer.
Collect payment for each group rate ticket
Be sure to collect money from the other families before you actually place the order for group rate tickets. That way, you are not putting your own money out and risking not getting it back.
If it turns out that not enough people will purchase to help you get to the minimum 20 tickets, you do not have to follow through with the purchase. You will not have lost anything, and you can just return everyone's money.
Use the free tickets for your family
This is not necessary, but it is a nice perk for having done the work of collecting payment, charging such a large amount, and then delivering tickets to participating families.
In all the years I collected and sold for group tickets, I never had anyone complain about me using the free tickets. They were just so thankful to get the huge discount on their own tickets!
If you choose not to use the free tickets for yourself, just take the total amount paid and divide it by 22 (all of the tickets received). That is the amount you will need to collect to pay for each ticket.
Watch this video about discount theme park tickets
In this Facebook Live, I explain how I calculate the price of each ticket, how I promote, and how much you can save.
Let me know if you have questions about how to buy group rate tickets for theme parks. It's such a great way to save!