I’m putting it out there – taking your family on a holiday to the Gold Coast can be (heck!) expensive. In the past few months we have visited DreamWorld, WhiteWater World, MovieWorld, SeaWorld and Wet’n’Wild, and at each park my inner bargain hunter came out in full force. So, I thought I would share my top 5 tips on how to save money at the Gold Coast theme parks.

How to save money at the gold coast

Tip 1: Buy combo tickets

If you are planning on visiting more than one theme park during your trip, buying a combo ticket that will allow you enter to partner theme parks will save you a stack of cash, rather than buying singular entry tickets at each park.

There are essentially two conglomerates of theme parks at the Gold Coast; MovieWorld, SeaWorld and Wet’n’Wild are one group, and the other group is DreamWorld and WhiteWater World.

As an example of the savings to be had, the current price on an adult one day entry ticket to MovieWorld is $89.99, but for only an extra $20 you could buy a VIP ticket which would include your entry to MovieWorld, as well as SeaWorld and Wet’n’Wild.

You can buy combo tickets at these websites:

Tip 2: BYO drinks, snacks and sandwiches

Theme park food is not only expensive, it’s also generally not very healthy. Each of the theme parks seem to have different rules about bringing food into the park, but they all allow food to be brought in for babies. When visiting the parks we brought along a small collapsible cooler that fit in our backpack, and stocked it with water, sandwiches, fruit and yoghurt. No one ever asked to search our bags at any of the parks.

Tip 3: Scope out the cheapest food & drink options

Of course a visit to a theme park isn’t complete without at least a little indulgence in the theme park food, but it can be pricey. Some of the best deals on food in the parks that we found included:

  • MovieWorld and Wet’n’Wild have a $9 serve of lattice chips that was big enough snack for our whole family:
How to save money at SeaWorld

$9 lattice chips – a decent sized snack the family can share

  • MovieWorld and Wet’n’Wild also had HUGE sundaes in beach buckets that we all shared (lucky our kids are still young enough to be okay with sharing food). The bucket cost $13 which works out a lot cheaper than buying individual sundaes (which were almost $5 each for a small and $8 for a large) plus we got to keep the bucket and spade to use at the beach.
Sundae bucket movieworld wet'n'wild

Sundae prices at MovieWorld & Wet’n’Wild

  • If your family drinks a lot of soft drink, these refillable bottles may be a good option. You can buy them at Movie World, SeaWorld and Wet’n’Wild for $13. On the day you purchase the bottle you get unlimited soft drink refills, and you can also use them at the other two partner parks on following visits, where you can refill for $3.
Refillable water bottle sea world movie world wet'n'wild

Refillable soft drink bottle

Tip 4: Give your kids a set amount of money to spend and look for the best value souvenirs

Giving your kids a set amount of money to spend will hopefully reduce the amount of times you have to hear the phrase “I want, I want” throughout the day. When my daughter has a set amount of money to spend she’s also much less likely to want to spend it on junky/expensive souvenirs. If you’re looking for souvenirs that are decent bang for your buck, I’d recommend these:

How to save money at SeaWorld

$3.99 light up Polar Bear at SeaWorld – pretty cute!

How to save money at MovieWorld

$10 cape at MovieWorld – my daughter plays dress ups a lot so I figure she’ll get quite a bit of use out of this

How to save money at SeaWorld

$2.95 Lanyards at SeaWorld

How to save money at SeaWorld

“Make your own charm bracelet” at SeaWorld. $2.95 for the bracelet + $1.95 per charm

How to save money at SeaWorld

Bargain corner at SeaWorld – lots of 2 for $3 items

Tip 5: Don’t be a sideshow sucker

Both MovieWorld and SeaWorld have ‘sideshow games’ that cost extra money for the kids to play. So if you don’t want the kids nagging you for money to play them, I’d suggest steering clear. Otherwise look for the games that say “everyone wins a prize” so that the kids at least win *something*. That being said, the “Pick a lucky duck” game at SeaWorld wasn’t a great investment at $5 to win a whoopee cushion that lasted about six irritating fart noises before it popped (then again, maybe it was for the best that it didn’t last long).

On the upside, another sideshow that we had better luck with at SeaWorld was the $5 basketball game. As much as I initially doubted hubby’s basketball skills, it turned out to be a good investment – he got all three shots in and won a big stuffed dolphin, which from memory cost more than $30 in the souvenir shops.

Seaworld sideshows

Proud of his win much?

 

Have you got any tips for saving money at theme parks? We’d love to hear them – please share in the comments below.

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Rebecca Kersten (46 Posts)

Hi, I'm Rebecca and thanks for visiting Happy Travel with Kids! I'm an Aussie working mum of two, who loves exploring the world with my family in my time off. I hope our tips, reviews and travel tales inspire you to travel with your kids!