Is there anything like the childhood memory of a hot summer day spent roaring over the highest peak of a roller coaster with hands still sticky from a cherry slushy?

Is there anything like the childhood memory of a hot summer day spent roaring over the highest peak of a roller coaster with hands still sticky from a cherry slushy?


Amusement parks are synonymous with summertime, but they can also be costly. Here are some frugal tips on theme park hot spots so your family can have fun without breaking your bank.


Six Flags Great America, near Chicago


Discounted tickets: Six Flags Great America north of Chicago offers an online special that allows everyone to buy tickets for the kids’ admission price. Look for school events such as reading contests or fundraisers that offer Six Flags’ tickets as participation prizes. 


Food and drink: While food and drink prices inside the park can be a killer, you’ll find lots of families enjoying elaborate picnic spreads from the back of their minivans. Pack what you need and head to the parking lot for lunch, saving a bundle.


Super frugal: For $64.99 per person when purchasing four season passes, you can keep coming all season long with the bonus of over $300 in food, drink, souvenir and game coupons. Season-pass holders also receive free guest passes and admission to Hurricane Harbor outdoor waterpark and all the Six Flags parks across the country.


Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Fla.


Discounted tickets: Currently the best ticket savings are through the Magic Your Way ticketing program, which allows guests to pay less per ticket, per day, the longer they stay.


Food and drink:The great news for Walt Disney World Theme Park guests is that there are no restrictions on bringing food items that do not require heating or refrigeration into the parks. Keep in mind that guests may not enter with hard-sided or large coolers or alcoholic beverages.


Super frugal:Instead of spending a ton of cash at souvenir shops inside the park, watch the local Disney Store near your home for sales. Stock up on inexpensive trinkets to give the kids before heading to the park each day.


Coney Island, Cincinnati


Discounted tickets: This moderately sized theme park is affordable and offers loads of fun for the family. Check out the deals for combination tickets, which boast savings and access to both the classic rides and the Sunlite pool. Deep discounts happen after 4 p.m., when prices are nearly cut in half. Kids under the age of 2 are always free.


Food and drink: Even though the park offers many choices when it comes to refreshments, Coney Island guests are welcome to bring along a picnic basket of goodies from home to enjoy inside the facilities. Young families will love the convenience of satisfying picky eaters as well as saving a bit on food at the park.


Super frugal: In 2010, Coney Island began their “Deal of the Day” online special, so make sure to check before you hit the road to this traditional family fun park. Be sure to register online when you visit the website. Doing so enters you in a drawing to win free admission tickets.