A Disney vacation could be a dream, but, once you start researching the vacation and looking at prices, your jaw drops. According to Hipmunk’s research, the total cost of a Disney vacation (including flights, lodging, tickets, and snacks) for a family of four for four days is as follows:
- Disney World (Orlando, Florida): $3,227 – $4,052
- Disneyland (Anaheim, California): $3,471 – $4,954
If that price tag makes you throw your hands up, then it may be time to consider other options. Lucky for you, America is full of theme parks that offer you just as much fun as a Disney venue at a fraction of the price. So, watch the Lion King and choose another amusement park.
Estimates here are the cost for a family of four to vacation for four days. For food, what’s calculated is one full meal for each group of four per day (it’s assumed other meals will be had at the hotel and off-site eateries). As for ticket prices, typically buying a membership pass is cheaper than four days of tickets for these parks.
1. Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio)
In terms of roller-coasters, there may not be a better park in the world than Cedar Point. From the 310-high hill on the wicked fast Millennium Force, a coaster made of steel, to the Maverick, with its famous 95-degree angle turn, you and your friends or family will be thrilled by all the exceptional rides here. The Dinosaurs Alive exhibit fascinates, kids’ rides abound, and there are always live acts on site. If you come during the summer, you can spend part of your trip sliding down those refreshing water rides. The setting, which features views of Lake Erie, is stunning as well.
So, how much will a trip to Cedar Point set you back?
- Four round trip flights to Cleveland: $1544
- Four nights in a hotel: $394
- Four days of tickets: $504
- Meal expenses: $224
A four-day trip for a group of four to Cedar Point costs $2,665 on average. At the very least, that’s approximately $562 cheaper than a trip to Disney World.
2. Six Flags Great America (Gurnee, IL)
With an 85-degree decline, a height of 180 feet, and a speed of 72 miles-per-hour, Goliath — an undeniably impressive wooden roller-coaster — is reason enough alone to come to Six Flags Great America. X-Flight, a wing coaster, and Batman: The Ride, with its menacing twists, are just some of the many other amazing rides. Hurricane Harbor, the water park on site, has something for every age, and the array of exciting kids’ rides is noteworthy.
- Four round trip flights to Chicago: $1,555
- Four nights in a hotel: $588
- Four days of tickets: $6780
- Meal expenses: $244
A four-day trip for a group of four to Six Flags Great America costs $3,067 on average. That total is between roughly $160 and $1,887 cheaper than a Disney vacation. Though hotels in Chicago and nearby areas average at about $147, which is higher than the U.S. average, it’s still lower than other mega-cities like New York City
3. Busch Gardens (Tampa, FL)
Busch Gardens may not be Florida’s most well-known theme park, but it’s arguably the best. Falcon’s Fury, which puts you at a 90-degree angle as you drop 335 feet at a speed of 60 miles-per-hour, is simply exhilarating. You can also greet wildlife on the Serengeti Safari, climb the Treetop Trails, and see live shows.
- Four round trip flights to Tampa: $1,328
- Four nights in a hotel: $407
- Four days of tickets: $352
- Meal expenses: $240 (if getting two all-day dining meals each day)
Four days for four people runs you roughly $,2326, which is significantly cheaper than a Disney vacation (between $901 and $2,628). The combination of affordable tickets to the park and reasonable prices for flights and hotels in Tampa lead to big savings.
4. King’s Island (Mason, OH)
The Beast — long-known as the longest wooden roller-coaster in the world — is one of the most iconic coasters on the globe. Planet Snoopy is a great spot to relax and let the kids run around, and Soak City Waterpark is always worth going for a splash. On top of that, dining at King’s Island is top-notch, and features local dishes such as Cincinnati chili.
- Four round trip flights to Cincinnati: $1,888
- Four nights in a hotel: $432
- Four days of tickets: $378
- Meal expenses: $224
Altogether, King’s Island costs a group of four $2,922 for four days. That’s between $305 and $2,032 cheaper than a Disney vacation. Feel free to have an extra ice cream cone or two.
5. Knott’s Berry Farm (Buena Park, CA)
One of the best theme parks in greater Los Angeles, Knott’s Berry Farm has plenty of rides for children (Flying Ace, Rapid River Run, and more), as well as adults (Silver Bullet and Montezooma’s Revenge). The California Marketplace is a wonderful area to stop and refuel with a meal, and live acts include Old West stunt shows, magic performances, and concerts.
- Four round trip flights to the Los Angeles region: $1,532
- Four nights in a hotel: $552
- Four days of tickets: $564
- Meal expenses: $232
That brings the grand total to $2,880, which saves between $347 and $2,074 when compared to a Disney vacation. While hotels in Los Angeles and surrounding cities and towns will cost you more than the U.S. average, expenses are lower for a vacation to Knott’s Berry Farm due to solid flight prices and reasonable meal expenses.
As you can see, unless you are a die-hard Disney fan and dead-set on visiting there, there are plenty of other comparable options across the country that won’t cost you nearly as much. If you book at the right time and get discounts, you can save even more. Go make memories — without burning a hole in your pocket.
This post was posted by TheHipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on January 13th.