Before leading into this post, I would like to make a clarification: The Thrillseeker blog will be posted every Tuesday and Thursday, so keep an eye out for the latest content.
Years ago, many theme parks offered two-day ticket options that were some of the most attractive ticket options for general park-goers. These two-day tickets didn’t have many restrictions besides having to be used within the same season. With that said, if you wanted to visit once in the summer, then return in the fall if they had a Halloween event, they could.
Nowadays, many parks have strayed away from that two-day ticket, resorting to other options such as heavily promoting season pass sales. Some parks still offer the two-day ticket, but those parks are becoming harder to come by.
So, which is the better option; a two-day ticket or a season pass?
A typical one-day ticket to a major theme park runs between $60-70 USD. However, that’s typically the gate price. Most major chains such as Six Flags and Cedar Fair offer a significant discount online, or other various promotions. For example, Six Flags partners with Coca-Cola to offer a discount at the gate if you bring a specially marked Coca-Cola product can. With that discount, however, you’re still looking at a price of between $45-60 USD.
Parks like Cedar Point and Kings Island, both owned by Cedar Fair, offer two-day tickets online for about $65-70 USD. I have also noticed smaller parks that offer such options as well. But like I said, these are getting harder to come by.
In contrast, many parks offer a season pass option. Many have different levels that have different incentives, but typically season passes run between $75-210 USD. Exceptions to those prices are parks such as Disney and Universal that offer pricey annual passes, but here we’re just focusing on seasonally-operated parks. For example, Six Flags offers their cheapest season pass for about $75 USD. The one-day ticket price at the gate is about $67 USD. For only $8 more, you can get an entire season.
Due to how reasonable parks are now making their season passes, and by offering incentives such as upgrades to free parking, many more guests are purchasing season passes as compared to one or two-day tickets. It offers more value to them that they can come and go as they please, not having to worry about not getting their money’s worth. At the end of the day, even going once for a full day, then one or two more times for part of the day pays for the cost of the pass. Additionally, guests can return for fall and winter events, such as Fright Fest at Six Flags parks, or Winterfest at select Cedar Fair parks.
So again, which is the better option?
Personally, if you are going to visit the park more than once, I would recommend the season pass. Not only do you have different incentives for being a passholder, but you also don’t have the obligation to spend an entire day at the park in order to get your money’s worth.
Perhaps it’s just me speaking from having a season pass for many parks, but if you want to enjoy a park multiple times in a season, getting a season pass is the best way to go.