Thursday, August 22, 2013

Amusement Park on a Budget

Yesterday, I visited Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. 

The park is approximately 200 miles from our home.  Between the two of us, we only spent $83.00.

Now, you're probably wondering how that is even possible when the cost of a ticket is $44.99.  That's the discount rate if you buy your tickets on  (Although, I'm sure there are probably some fees added, by the time you checkout.)

First of all, I searched the web and stores nearby for discount tickets and giveaways.  I found a sweepstakes or two, and ended up winning our tickets.  So, that saved us, at least $90!

We planned to visit during the week, so the park wouldn't be so crowded.  Our main goal was to ride the major roller coasters, at the park.

The park didn't open until 11:00, so we munched on a cheap lunch at the last Service Plaza, on the Ohio Turnpike.  Two strombolis cost us $12.  (We probably could have split one, as we ended up eating the other half when we got home.) We packed a cooler, so we had water and soda in the car. 

We didn't plan ahead, so we did end up paying $15 for parking.  I think this could have been avoided if we could have found a Park & Ride somewhere nearby.  Something to think about next time.  I believe they do have a shuttle that only charges 50 cents per person.  So a little research next time, could end up saving us $14.

Even though it was a forecasted 90 degrees, and quite humid, we withstood our desires to buy lemonade and slushees throughout the day.  We only drank fountain water.  I'm not sure anything else would have clinched our thirst as well, anyways.  It was really too hot to even think about food.  Plus, we were in a hurry to ride the big coasters, so we didn't want to take a break to eat.

We had to work the next day, and since we had a 3 1/2 hour drive home, we left the park by 5:30.  It was a good day.  We rode the new Gatekeeper, the Raptor, Mean Streak, Magnum 200 XL, Genesis, the Mantis, and Millennium Force.

Here's a couple of tips I found would have gotten us through the rides a little quicker:

Get to the park 30 minutes before they open.  I've done this in the past and been able to walk straight in.  I think their "open time" is really the time the rides start.

Go straight to Millennium Force.  This one keeps a long line most of the day, but if you hit it first, you'll beat the crowd. 

If you have quick feet, try to make it back to the Gatekeeper or to the Maverick before the crowd starts building.  Both of these roller coasters seem to be busy throughout the day as well.

Your roller coaster riding should be smooth sailing from there.  I would hit, Magnum XL 200, Genesis, Mean Streak, the Maverick, the Mantis and then the Raptor. 

The Raptor is popular, but since it's at the front of the park it seems to get the early crowd.  And dies down after lunch.

If you have a desire to ride the Top Thrill Dragster, you could squeeze it in either before Magnum XL 200 or after the Mantis. 

More tips on saving money.   You can go in and out of the park as you wish.  (Don't forget to get a handstamp.) Take a picnic lunch and your favorite fruits in a cooler.  If you have something you really love in the car, you won't be as tempted to spend $5.59 on a lemonade, $3.75 on a Coke, or $7.79 for a beer.

In my opinion, Cedar Point could do just as well on their Coke/Lemonade/etc. if they sold it for 50 cents a can instead of $3.75 a bottle.  Go for quantity instead of markup.  Then they could recycle the cans for CA$H.  But, that's just my opinion. 

Finally, you're probably wondering where we spent the last $56 of our money.  That was to fill the gas tank when we returned home.  We started out a little shy of a tank, so it probably wasn't quite that much.  And, we could have spent only half that, if we would have had another couple along on the ride.

Next time, I think you should come along with us!  What do you think?

Thanks for reading and remember....

May all your travels be...Lots of fun, and mostly FREE!