5 Ways to Save on Theme Park Food


When our kids say “You’ve never taken us here” after arriving at the theme park (even though we’ve been there before), it’s proof that we just don’t frequent these places regularly. Either that or they’re trying to give us a guilt trip. Can you blame us though? Just one day at an amusement park can cost us a fortune!

But, with 4 free tickets from participating in a Six Flags reading program + 1 free entry for the baby, we were willing to cough up some money to buy 2 more tickets so that our whole family can go have some summer fun. (Click here if you missed the post on how to save money on admission tickets.)

But once we passed the turnstile, we were not in the clear yet.

What are you going to do when the sights and smells of the park are luring you to lose all senses and pay 10 bucks for a hotdog on a stick? Oh, and if you have kids, you can add fries, burgers, snow cones, and cotton candy to that list.

Here are 5 ways you can fight the urge to blow your whole paycheck on theme park foods.

1. Bring Cash

If I see a sign for funnel cakes, I’ll race you to the line. One of the memorable experiences of theme park visits is consuming the deep-fried goodness that they sell there before buckling yourself into one of those insane roller coasters. So, before entering the park, set the amount that you’re willing to spend on food and souvenirs, bring that amount in cash, and leave your plastic cards at home.


2. Re-Entry Stamps

So you accept the fact that you’ll be spending money on food, but just can’t get yourself to spend it at the park, where prices run twice as much. I mean, if you’re gonna buy fast food, maybe you’d rather just go to McD’s down the street and get some things from their dollar menu. Who says you can’t do that? Get your hands stamped at the gate, buy that McChicken sandwich or two, and come back to the park for more rides.

3. Eat Big Before Entering

Eat a good, filling meal before going in, and perhaps you’ll be able to pass all those food carts without a second glance.
Funnel Cake & Fried Oreos

4. Brown Bag It

Always check the park’s food and drink policy first before arriving. Most people assume you can’t bring outside food and drinks in, but you may be surprised. We’ve been to places where water bottles are allowed and sometimes, even a small cooler of food.

5. Tailgate It

If you can’t bring the food in, some places allow you to consume it outside the entrance. The amusement park we recently visited even provided picnic tables for that purpose.  Or, have a little “tailgate” lunch in the parking lot, and maybe you’ll stop wondering what deep-fried oreos taste like …

or maybe not.

How do you keep yourself from eating your way through the entire theme park?

Share your tips in the comments.


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14 thoughts on “5 Ways to Save on Theme Park Food

  1. I love how this complements your last post! So pragmatic. My mom was the expert on saving money at amusement parks, the movie theatres, etc. it amounts to huge savings!

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