If one of your new year’s resolutions is to get your financial house in order, you’re not alone. I spent a good part of this past weekend paying pending bills, balancing the checkbook (well, almost) and working on a household budget for 2011. As I add up the costs for necessities like utilities, food and home repairs, the amount left for family entertainment is getting smaller and smaller.
So if you’re also looking to tighten your belt without strangling your family’s fun, here are 11 easy ways you can save on all the exciting things we have in store this year at Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.
- Check your employer, credit union or military base. Many companies throughout the region make discounted tickets and passes available to their employees through our Print at Work program or through their human-resources offices. Most of the major credit unions also sell discounted tickets to their members. And members of the military can find special savings through their recreation offices on base.
- Bring a group. Just find 14 other people and you will qualify for special group rates when you buy your tickets in advance. Bring your extended family, a couple of neighbors, a church group, book club, whatever. Find out more at www.buschgardensgroupevents.com/va
- Pay for a Day. It’s the cheapest way to visit Busch Gardens or Water Country USA over and over again. At Busch Gardens, get a Fun Card for the same price as a one-day ticket and visit as often as you like through Labor Day. At Water Country USA it’s called the Summer Sizzler and it gives you unlimited admission for the park’s whole season. In the past these passes could be purchased only by Virginia residents, but this year anyone can get a Fun Card or Summer Sizzler regardless of where he lives.
- Extend your pass to two years. An annual pass is always a great deal because not only do you get unlimited admission, but you also get free parking and discounts on food, merchandise and tickets for friends. For an even better value, though, you can get all those benefits for two years for just $60 more. That works out to a 45 percent savings for the second year – plus you’re locking in a rate that protects you from a price increase over the next two years.
- Expand your pass to two parks. You’ll also get a tremendous value with a combination pass for Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. For just $40 more, you can add a second park and double your options for summer fun. And, of course, the value is exponential with a pass for both parks for two years.
- Go for Platinum and plan your vacation. A Platinum Pass is our highest level of pass membership, with two years’ unlimited admission to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, preferred parking, discounts and more. And when you’re ready to hit the road, a Platinum Pass also gives you free admission and select benefits at our company’s other parks, including SeaWorld in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio; Busch Gardens in Tampa; Sesame Place near Philadelphia; Aquatica in Orlando; and Adventure Island in Tampa.
- Eat, shop and find coupons. Keep your eyes open when you visit your favorite grocery stores, restaurants and other retailers to find coupons for discounts on tickets and other special offers. We also have discount offers on specially marked cans of Pepsi products during the year.
- Follow us on Twitter. Not only is Twitter a great source for updates on the parks, but it’s also our special “deal center” with exclusive offers on passes, tickets and in-park experiences. Sometimes we even do crazy things here, like selling Christmas Town tickets for $5 or giving passes to randomly selected followers. Get in on the action by following us @BuschGardensVA.
- Show Your Card and Save. AAA members can save $3 on tickets just by showing their membership cards at our ticket window. Or plan ahead and save even more by visiting AAA’s website or branch offices.
- Buy dining certificates online. Busch Gardens is known for great food, and you can save more than 30 percent on your meal when you purchase a dining certificate before you visit. Check out all the options, as well as special dining programs like Dine with Elmo & Friends, at www.buschgardens.com/va.
- Visit BuschGardens.com frequently. You never know what great deal we might cook up next, so it’s a good idea to check our website before you visit. Our Special Offers page will have the latest ways to get the most for your money.
This is a business, and to be certain, we are here to make money. But with these ways and more, we are trying hard to make sure a visit to our parks is as affordable and accessible as possible. Here’s to a year of fun and prosperity for all.
By Dan – Marketing Vice President