Affordable Family Trip Alternatives to Disney World
I have never been to Disneyland, Disney World, or any other behemoth theme park with the word, “Disney,” in the name. The closest alternative I ever experienced were academic day trips when I was a kid. I never went on school trips to water parks, as I am opposed to sharing small bodies of water with tens of thousands of strangers. I went on an all-day school trip to Philadelphia that I remember fondly.
I got to see the Liberty Bell, an experience that I still remember. We may have walked on the steps where the film, “Rocky,” shot a famous scene. What I do remember is eating a Philly Cheesesteak at either Pat’s or Geno’s, but I am ashamed to say that I do not remember which. I didn’t understand the depth of that local business rivalry then. My point is that some people can’t afford or aren’t particularly enthused about visiting Disneyland, and that OK.
It’s really expensive. A one-day ticket for a basic experience costs about $160. However, Disney raises prices as it sees fit according to peak attendance periods throughout the year. Disney offers a platinum pass for all of it’s Florida-based theme parks. The price of the platinum pass ticket increased from $779 to $894 from February 2018 to October 2018. One shouldn’t have to take out a personal loan to visit Disney Land. If you’re in the market for a family vacation, you should remember that there are many other affordable alternatives.
Hersheypark, Derry Township, Pennsylvania
1-Day Ticket: $38.95 – 2-Day Ticket: $26.75 – 3-Day Ticket: $24.16 (Online purchase prices)
You can’t beat a theme park that is themed on chocolate. Hersheypark opened in 1906 and is often called, “The Sweetest Place on Earth.” One of the main draws of Hersheypark is an informative tour about the chocolate manufacturing process. The tour is enhanced with singing animatronic cows as well. At the end of the tour, everyone gets a free sample of chocolate.
Hersheypark has waterparks, carousels, bumper cars, and roller coasters like Comet, Fahrenheit, Lightning Racer, Sidewinder, and Skyrush. You can book accommodations at numerous hotels and resorts affiliated with Hersheypark as well.
Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, California
1-Day Ticket: $49 (Online purchase price)
Knott’s Berry Farm started out almost 80 years ago as a farm stand that sold pies and berry preserves. The owners then launched a fried chicken restaurant that somehow morphed into a ghost town themed county fair. Over the next few decades, Knott’s Berry Farm would then expand exponentially to become one of the most popular theme parks in the country. Knott’s Berry Farm is only a few minutes’ drive away from Disneyland in California.
It is also a world away in terms of relative cost savings comparison. Knott’s Berry Farm has just as many thrilling rides and attractions for adventure seekers and those seeking family-themed fun. The GhostRider is 118 feet tall and is the tallest roller coaster on the west coast of the United States. Xcelerator The Ride is the fastest roller coast at Knott’s Berry Farm and can go almost 82 miles per hour.
Consider Other Theme Parks
If you can afford to go to a Disney theme park, then more power to you and your bank account. However, if you are stretching a dollar as much as it can possibly stretch, why not consider every other available, and more affordable, option?
Allen Francis is a full-time writer, prolific comic book investor and author of The Casual’s Guide: Why You Should Get Into Comic Book Investing. Allen holds a BA degree from Marymount Manhattan College. Before becoming a writer Allen was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including saving and investing in your own small business.