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Dive Right In! - Discounts

Getting a discount to the parks covered in this book is a good bit harder than it used to be, but it is still possible to save a few bucks. Here’s how.

Order online. As noted earlier, if you order online at one of the Worlds of Discovery web sites, you can purchase some adult tickets at the child’s price. This often represents a larger savings than you can get elsewhere.

AAA. Members of the American Automobile Association can buy their tickets through a local AAA club office, which will save between $3 and $10 depending on the park and the ticket packages and might vary from club to club. You can also use your card at the gate for a modest discount. AAA cards are not good for discounts at restaurants or shops inside the parks.

Coupons. The Orlando area is awash in throwaway publications aimed at the tourist trade. They all contain discount coupons for many attractions in the area, including the major theme parks. When coupons are available for these parks, which seems to be less and less these days, a typical discount is $2.50 off for each of up to six people. Discount coupons must be presented at the ticket windows at the parks and do not apply to Passports. If you can purchase your tickets online, you’ll usually get a better deal than you would using a coupon.

Ticket Brokers. Another major source of discounts is ticket brokers. There are dozens of them scattered around the tourist areas, many of them located in hotel lobbies. Ticket brokers concentrate on the major attractions and the dinner shows that are an Orlando staple. Discounts for the major theme parks aren’t as good as they used to be. At most you will be able to shave a few bucks off the price of admission. At worst, you will pay full price in exchange for the convenience of not waiting in a long ticket line at the parks. One place worth checking out is the Official Visitors Center at 8723 International Drive, which is operated by the Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau and is about three miles north of SeaWorld. There you will find plenty of discount tickets, coupon books, and the free Orlando Magicard, which offers a broad array of discounts at hotels, restaurants, and attractions.

Ticket brokers on the Internet. Ticket brokers are cropping up on the Internet. One of them, Ticketmania, offers SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Busch Gardens Africa tickets for about $5 off the gate price, depending on the pass. To this they add a $13 per order minimum shipping fee ($25 for delivery outside the United States), although from time to time they offer free shipping. Other options include picking up your tickets at their Orlando location (free) or having them delivered to your hotel (for a $10 fee). Usually, you can do better using the Worlds of Discovery sites given above and getting the online discount. The Ticketmania web site is www.ticketmania.com.

Vacation Packages. If you purchase a vacation package from your travel agent, one that includes airfare, hotel, and a rental car, as well as passes to the parks you are probably getting a very good buy on the tickets. If you are making SeaWorld and its sister parks the primary focus of your trip, these package deals offer excellent value and make a lot of sense. Chapter Five has more information about packages available from Marriott Hotels that include length of stay admission the Orlando parks.

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