It’s true that a theme park vacation can be a costly undertaking. You have the airfare, the hotel accommodations, the food, and then the various shopping sprees that inevitably occur. For a family of four, the whole thing can cost thousands of dollars.
Then there are the theme parks themselves. True, it might seem a bargain to buy a ticket and then enjoy all the rides all day. But it’s not that simple. Waiting times can be considerable, and that limits the number of rides you can actually enjoy during the day. And that’s not even factoring in the walking times from one attraction to another, and the breaks you take for meals.
Here are some prime examples of pricey theme parks:
Universal Studios in California
You’ll pay $109 for a single park for a single day if you’re an adult, and in this case “adult” means at least 10 years old. Younger kids don’t really get that much of a discount, as they still pay $104.
What makes this place among the costliest theme parks not just in the US but in the entire world is that it has the longest wait time among all the major theme parks. The average wait time for a single ride is 43 minutes, as there are only 10 rides to choose from.
Even without factoring in the walking times and meal breaks, that means a maximum of 15 rides per day.
Disney World in Orlando
The price here is the same as Universal Studios in California. It’s $109 for adults (starting from 10 years old) for just a single park.
Here, the average queue time is 34 minutes. And if you’re determined and lucky, you might just be able to squeeze in up to 17 rides in a single day.
SeaWorld in Orlando
The ticket price in SeaWorld is about $114 per day. Then there’s the waiting time. In the off-season in September (when school has already started), the waiting time might be just 20 minutes or so. But during the summer season, it’s common for people to line up for an hour for each ride. That really limits the number of rides per day, and makes each ride costlier as a result.
The Cheapest Theme Parks
In the US, that’s the Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. Tickets only cost $75 for adults, and there are 76 rides to pick from. With the short wait times, it’s only about 92¢ per ride. Of course, that’s assuming you’ll have the energy to zip from one ride to another for the whole day.
In terms of the cheapest theme parks in the whole world, the winner is Chimelong Paradise in China. It might not be that cheap for American tourists who have to deal with the airfare, but once you get there, you’re in for a good deal.
Tickets cost just $32, and this is the largest amusement park in the country and it boasts of a roller coaster with 10 inversions. And there are 70 rides to pick from, not to mention other parks nearby like Ocean Kingdom, Safari Park and Circus.
But then again, when it comes to pricey theme parks, it’s not really all about the cost, is it? Sometimes it’s all about having a great magical time as a family, and that can be priceless!