Secrets to Saving Time and Money at Theme Parks

Theme park rollercoaster ride

Welcome to Queensland, the theme park capital of Australia! If you live in Brisbane, or you’re planning to come and visit, you’ll be glad to know that this is the perfect gateway to all of the best theme parks in the country!

Whether you’re after tea cups or thrill rides, animals encounters or water slides, we have every theme park you could ever want, right here on our doorstep. But while these attractions offer an amazing, jam-packed day of fun that everyone will enjoy, there’s no denying that entry prices can be expensive and difficult for families to afford. So this post is for anyone wanting to know how to visit theme parks but get discounts, avoid paying full price, spend less while there and get the most out of your day!

Aussie World ride

Theme Parks around Brisbane

Before we get started, let’s take a look at the main theme parks that are located around Brisbane!

Gold Coast

The Gold Coast theme parks are famous around Australia and even the world. You can find Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and SkyPoint by Ardent Leisure. There are the Village Roadshow theme parks of Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild, Paradise Country and Australian Outback Spectacular. Plus find out about other awesome Queensland Theme Parks here.

Sunshine Coast

While most people’s first thought when we say theme parks is the Gold Coast, the theme parks of the Sunshine Coast are some of Australia’s most up-and-coming attractions. There’s Aussie World and Australia Zoo, Sea Life Sunshine Coast (formerly UnderWater World), and Wildlife HQ Zoo at the Big Pineapple, to name just a few! Check out our full run-down of the Top 10 Theme Parks on the Sunshine Coast here!

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Ways to Save Money

1. Buy discount tickets

The most expensive part of visiting theme parks is the entry prices, especially when you have a large family. So it’s always a good idea to shop around for the best value tickets in advance, rather than pay full price at the door. You can find so many great deals on Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast theme parks, zoos and attractions here. Sites such as Groupon and Experience Oz usually have great deals to take advantage of.

2. Follow social media

It’s also a good idea to follow the theme parks you want to visit on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, and to subscribe to their newsletters. That way, you’ll be the first to know if there are any flash sales on tickets prices or other special deals on attractions, accommodation, and so on.

3. Buy multi-park passes

Did you know that you can get tickets that allow you to experience several theme parks, usually for little more than the cost of going to one? If you want to visit more than one park, it’s definitely best to consider parks within the same group so you can make the most of these deals. For example, Ardent Leisure covers Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and SkyPoint, and offers tickets to two or three of these attractions. Similarly, you can get tickets to different combinations of Village Roadshow Theme Parks, including Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild, Paradise Country and Australian Outback Spectacular. So choose where you want to go and get a single pass rather than separate tickets to save money.

4. Buy multi-day passes

Many theme parks offer tickets such as three-day passes that are not very much more expensive than single-day tickets. This is great if you want to spend several days at theme parks without paying a fortune in separate entrance fees. It also means you can take your time to explore all of the attractions within a park, without the pressure of trying to cram it all into one day.

5. Buy annual passes

Consider how many times you plan to go to a theme park. Often you will find that an annual pass actually costs less than paying to visit the park twice! If the pass covers several theme parks, then that’s even better. Imagine how much fun it would be to have unlimited access to a range of theme parks for a whole year! Now that would keep the kids entertained.

6. Plan when to go

If you’re travelling to theme park destinations from outside of Brisbane, then plan carefully when to go. If you go at peak times such as in the summer and during school holidays, flights and hotels will be at their most expensive. You can save heaps by going at quieter times and getting the best deals. Also, towards the end of the financial year, many theme parks slash their annual pass prices so you can get some amazing deals.

7. Take a water bottle

The cost of bottled water and soft drinks soon adds up when you’re out with a family for a full day. Stay hydrated for free when you’re at a theme park by making sure everyone brings their own water bottle with them.

8. BYO lunch

There’s always lots of tempting food and treats on offer in theme parks, but they usually come with a pretty hefty price tag. One of the easiest ways to save so much money on your day out is by bringing your own lunch and snacks.

9. Set a budget

If you do want to be able to let the kids (and adults!) have some treats while at the theme park, make sure you set a budget before you go and stick to the limit. That way, no one gets carried away by all the temptation on offer.

10. Avoid the gift shop

Inevitably, when you leave any theme park, it’s via the gift shop. This is a clever way to make you part with more cash before you head home, and it’s always hard to say no to the kids. If you don’t want to spend money in the gift shop, let everyone know this rule from the start so you don’t have to manage their expectations at the end of a long day. You can always find other ways to help them create memorabilia of their amazing day out, such as making a collage of tickets, map and leaflet clippings, making a diary or printing some special photos.

Group of friends

Ways to Save Time

1. Decide when to go

Before you head to a theme park, think about what time of year to visit. If you’re able to go outside of school holidays and in cooler months rather than the summer, you will often be able to avoid the crowds and also the queues! Weekdays are also much quieter than weekends, if you’re able to take advantage of that. Also, if rain is forecast, that could put some people off, but a little drizzle may not be a big inconvenience if you’re going somewhere like a waterpark.

2. Buy tickets in advance

Buying entry tickets online before you get to a theme park is a great way to avoid having to join big queues when you first arrive. Plus you can usually save money on entry prices too!

3. Plan your trip

You can find so many reviews and tips about theme parks online, to help you plan what to do to save time when you visit, such as which rides and attractions to visit in the morning and the afternoon to best avoid the queues. You can also visit the theme park’s website to plan the main things you want to see and do. This will save time trying to decide what to do next when you’re there.

4. Download park apps

Most theme parks will have tools such as apps or maps, that you can download before you go. This will help you to easily navigate around the parks and avoid wasting time by getting lost in the maze of attractions.

5. Consider fast track passes

While fast track passes will cost you more, they will save you lots of time, as they usually let you skip the queues at major attractions. If time is of the essence and you want to make the most of your day, these passes can be invaluable.

6. Arrive early

Make sure you plan to get to the theme park before it actually opens. That way, you’ll be first in line to get through the gates, and first to all the best rides and attractions too.

7. Remember where you park

When you park, remember to take note or a photo of where your car is, so you can save time trying to find it at the end of your day.

8. Head away

When you first get to the theme park, try to resist the temptation of visiting the awesome attractions near the entrance. Heading to the area furthest from the entrance can be a great way to get away from the crowds and get to some of the best attractions before the queues get too long. You can also head away from the pack by going to other attractions during major shows or events. So while everyone else heads to the central stage for the main show, you could take advantage of the peace and quiet in other areas of the park.

9. Split up

If you have kids of different ages or abilities and more than one adult, it may be worth considering splitting up to go to some of the attractions. That way, the older kids can go on the thrill rides while the younger ones go on the kids’ rides, without having to all wait for each other.

10. Plan pit stops

Make sure factor things like eating breaks and pit stops into your day, so you can maximise your time in the park. Eating snacks in queues is a good way to reduce the time needed for a lunch break, and keeps the kids occupied too. Toilet stops when you pass a toilet block are also a good idea, so that you avoid having to go far out of your way when the need arises, or having to leave a queue right at the very end when a child needs to go.

Ways to Stay Safe

When planning a trip to a theme park, it’s also important to consider child safety. Make sure kids have comfy shoes, suncream,d a hat and water bottle. You can even pack ponchos in case it rains or you go on rides with water. Take a picture of your kids at the start of the day so you have a record of what they look like and are wearing in case you get separated. You can also plan a meeting spot in case you get split up, and point out park officials so kids know who to go to if they need help. You could also consider giving kids IDs such as ID bracelets, or a card with your contact details, in case they need it.

We hope these tips help you to make the most out of your theme park visit, and help you to save lots of time, money and stress!

You may also be interested in Five Theme Parks for Five Days of Christmas with Your Family, and How to Know Which Gold Coast Theme Park is Right for You and Your Family.

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