Is a Season Pass Worth the Cost? - CentSai
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Is a Season Pass Worth the Cost?

Tech Team
2 minutes read
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6 second take: Run the numbers to determine whether a season pass is worth the cost. And don't forget to factor in the intangibles!

Now that we have a small child, my wife and I have been trying to come up with cheap ways to get out of the house and keep our son entertained. This year, we’ve hit on something we’d never really thought of before, and it looks like it will work out quite well: Season passes.

We live near an awesome water park, Shipwreck Island, that we’ve been to only a couple of times in the past. Typically, we buy single-day passes and go once a year. This year, however, we decided to pick up season passes for a number of reasons. Even so, I wondered whether that was a wise move. Here’s what I found out.

Season Passes for Zoos, Theme Parks, and Water Parks

When it comes to theme parks, zoos, and water parks, you need to consider both the price of the tickets and the intangibles you’ll get for being a season pass holder.

The biggest factor in determining whether a season pass will be worthwhile is how often you’ll visit during the time frame when the pass is valid. You’re likely to go more often if you live close by.

Frequent visitors may find that season passes offer them the best deal. In our case, this was an easy decision. Season passes to the water park cost $129 each, while individual tickets cost $38.91. We’d have to visit just four times to get our money’s worth.

However, don’t base the decision solely on price. Consider the less tangible benefits a season pass may offer.

For us, the biggest plus of having a pass to Shipwreck Island is that we can come and go as we please, rather than trying to get maximum value out of a single-day ticket.

With passes, we can go for just a few hours between our son’s naps and enjoy ourselves without worrying about getting burnt to a crisp or buying expensive water-park concessions when we get hungry. For this reason, we’ll probably visit the water park more often than we normally would have and save even more money by not buying concessions.

When it comes to larger theme parks such as Disney World, you have even more options to weigh. Disney World has a variety of annual passes with different levels of benefits. You can get a pass with blackout dates or pay a premium for a pass that will work any day of the year.

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