They’re some of the most popular places to visit in the world, drawing millions of excited children across the US every year.
But Disney theme parks are breaking parents with extortionate ticket prices and eye-watering costs when families get inside.
Costs for Disneyland in California rocketed to up to $244 for just a day, while valet hit $65 and preferred parking soared to $50.
Meanwhile customers have been left outraged at the ‘ridiculous’ prices at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, with hidden charges battering their wallets.
Yet Disney is not the only firm to have ratcheted up the prices since the pandemic, with Universal Orlando and SeaWorld other attractions to have brought in surges.
Universal Orlando can set a visitor back for the day around $209, with the cheapest park ticket starting at $164 for children.
And SeaWorld offers an array of tickets but the standard day passes sell at a surprising $99, with days out including food and parking coming in at $175.
But one company that does offer a budget day out is Six Flags, with tickets still from around $50 despite its CEO saying it had become a ‘cheap day care center for teenagers’.
Here DailyMail.com breaks down the price differences at each resort and any hidden costs that can affect your trip:
The cheapest single-day options, which include one-day tickets, a single meal and drink and the cheapest parking availability, are ranked: 1. Six Flags, $103.98; 2. Disney World, $148; 3. SeaWorld, $174.98 and; 4. Universal Studios, $208.99
SeaWorld San Diego
Affordable options to visit SeaWorld San Diego are available when purchasing date-specific tickets, which are priced at $99.99.
Alternatively, a two-day ticket is also $99.99, while visitors can add on an all-day dining bundle to a single- and date-specific ticket for a total price of $144.98.
The dining bundle includes one entrée, a side or dessert and a drink, and is available every 60 minutes while inside the theme park.
Annual passes, or the park’s ‘FunCard,’ are priced at $109.99 and provide unlimited access to SeaWorld San Diego all year.
A single-day ticket for SeaWorld San Diego is the same price as a two-day ticket, while add-ons for dining plans will tack on an additional $50
Annual passes, or the park’s ‘FunCard,’ are priced at $109.99 and provide unlimited access to SeaWorld San Diego all year
Other hybrid ticket options are also available, including a two-park ticket for access to Sesame Place San Diego – a children’s theme and water park – for $179.98, and a San Diego 3-for-1 Ticket, which provides access to SeaWorld, the city’s zoo and the San Diego Safari Park, for $173.
Tickets for children aged 3 to 9 are $163 for the 3-for-1 option.
While at the park, SeaWorld offers an abundance of options to participate and interact with aquatic life.
A dolphin up-close encounter is $69.99 while an in-water interaction is $169. A walrus up-close encounter is $69 while a beluga in-water interaction is $199.
SeaWorld does offer options to skip lines and reserve seats for shows and presentations, with prices at $14.99 for either. It offers a combined ‘quick queue premier’ option, which includes the ability to skip lines and reserve seats, for $39.99.
General parking is listed at $30, while up-close is $35 and VIP is $45. Both the up-close and VIP options refer to how close visitors can park to the park’s entrance.
Visitors have reported a 5 percent surcharge added to all food and beverage purchases, which the park has since said it implemented to cover rising supply costs.
In total, if purchasing a single-day ticket with a dining bundle, a walrus or dolphin up-close encounter, a ‘quick queue premier’ slot and general parking, an individual’s cost at SeaWorld San Diego will cost a minimum $283.97 if not purchasing additional food or merchandise.
If not opting for an up-close encounter or the ‘quick queue premier, an individual cost would be $174.98.
There are 27 Six Flags parks, and each share the same ticket pricing. Though, this may change seasonally as different parks hold separate, individual events.
A single-day ticket is $49.99 if purchased online, or $79.99 at the gate. If you’re going as a group of 15 or more, tickets are available for $42.99 per person.
Season tickets are available, starting at $79.99 and up to $249, with various perks slotted for each type, which include the gold, platinum and diamond packages.
Six Flags employs more than 52,000 seasonal employees and 2,100 full-time at their 27 parks across North America
Six Flags remains the cheapest of the five, with the cheapest single-day ticket for $49.99
Perks include free parking, unlimited park visits at an individual Six Flags, unlimited visits to all Six Flags locations, discounted food and merchandising and discounts for friend tickets.
An dining plan can be added with the purchase of a ticket, which includes one meal, one snack and one beverage for $23.99. There’s a slightly more luxurious option available for the dining plan plus a ‘Drink All Day Bottle,’ a souvenir bottle with free refills, for $39.99.
At all Six Flags, general parking is $30. Preferred parking slots are available for $45, and valet is $75.
Before entering the park, Six Flags offers its ‘FLASH pass’ varieties, which allow visitors to wait virtually for rides.
There’s the ‘regular’ pass for $70, which provides the option to wait virtually, then the goal for $90, which says it will cut wait time in half, and then platinum at $160, which is advertised as a ’90 percent reduction in wait time.’
Should you decide to opt for the park’s all-day picture pass, Six Flags-themed photography will be $24.99.
All together, if buying options for one person, a single-day ticket purchased online, an added meal plan minus the free refill cup and general parking will cost a total of $103.98.
This is without playing any of the park’s games, which will cost a minimum $5.
Universal Orlando allows park visitors to disclose whether they are Florida residents, which would allow them to visit during the park’s ‘blockout’ dates. Single-day ticket prices are not affected if you are a Florida resident.
The cheapest park-to-park ticket is available for adults starting at $164 and for children aged 3 to 9 for $159. If just visiting either Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure, these tickets are $109 and $104, respectively.
If visiting the park during its high-traffic days, like the week of Christmas, tickets for adults are $214.
Universal does sell its own express passes as separate from the tickets. These provide access to a separate line entirely at most rides.
Universal Orlando allows Florida residents to access the park during its ‘blockout’ periods, or times when out-of-state residents are not allowed to enter
An unlimited pass, which allows visitors to skip lines as many times as they want, is $119.99. A general express pass, which allows visitors to skip lines once per ride, is $89.99.
There are two add-ons available at the purchase of a ticket, including a photo package and a ‘VIP Experience.’
The photo package starts at $69.99, while the ‘VIP Experiences,’ advertised as ‘exclusive backstage access’ with the addition of an unlimited express pass perks, is $239.99.
The park does not offer any dining packages, though it does sell souvenir cups for $17.99, which provide free refills throughout the day.
Parking at the park starts at $27 but can cost upward of $60 if opting for the ‘prime parking’ option.
If purchasing a ticket during one of the park’s slow days, adding on the cheapest parking option in addition to a single souvenir cup – at the assumption that food is being brought into the park – one person will spend an initial $208.99.
It is assumed this would be more with the purchase of in-park food and merchandising.
Walt Disney World
Orlando’s Walt Disney World has four options available for visitors: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, the Magic Kingdom Park and Disney Hollywood Studios.
A single-day, single-park ticket starts at $109 during the resort’s slowest days.
If you decide you want to visit one of the other park’s during your day, a ‘park-hopper’ option is available, which allows guests to visit a second park starting at 2pm – though ‘the ability to visit a park is subject to the park’s capacity limitations,’ according to its website.
This option starts at $204.
A single-day, single-park ticket starts at $109 during the Walt Disney World’s slowest days
Additional perks are available, including a ‘park hopper’ option which allows guests to change parks by 2pm on the day of visit
While purchasing your ticket, a ‘Memory Maker’ option is available for anyone wanting to add on photos taken at the park. This is $69.
All guests pay an upfront fee for parking accessible to all four parks starting at $25. Preferred parking is available and ranges between $45 and $50.
Inside the park, the cheapest option for dining includes a burger with fries between $11 and $13 and a beverage for an additional $3 to $4. Assuming these are the lesser of the two options for both, a single meal totals $14.
If looking to buy any merchandise at the park, prices do vary. A pair of Mickey Mouse ears will cost $39.99.
In total, if purchasing a single-day, single-park ticket during one of the resort’s slow days, adding on general parking and a single helping of the cheapest meal option, one person’s trip to Walt Disney World would cost $148.
This is if the guest does not buy merchandising and does not buy more than one meal during the Magic Kingdom’s 8am to 6pm hours.
Disneyland differs from Walt Disney World in its offering of a single-day ‘Tier 0’ ticket, which is offered for the park’s slowest days of the year. This is $104.
If purchasing a ticket at the park’s second-lowest tier, tickets are $114. The highest-tiered ticket is now $179.
A ‘park-hopper’ option is available as an add-on to the ticket as a separate purchase and is listed at $65. This means if purchased alongside the ‘Tier 0’ ticket or the highest-tiered ticket, this would cost between a total $169 or $244.
Disneyland announced its recent price hikes for tickets, which rose an average of 8 percent
If purchasing a ‘park hopper’ ticket during one of the park’s busiest days, a ticket will cost upward of $244
The park does provide a ‘Tier 0’ ticket, its cheapest option at $104 that is valid during the park’s slowest days
Disneyland’s beat-the-line option, ‘Genie+’ is an available option at $25 if purchased before arriving. This price will vary if purchased at the park.
Regular parking is priced at $30, while preferred parking and a hotel valet are listed at $50 and $65, respectively.
In the park, visitors are now subject to recently increased food and beverage prices.
A turkey leg is now $12.99, while a beverage is $4.89. Coffee is $3.79. A single corn dog is $10.59, while the park’s signature Dole Whip is $6.49.
Merchandise at the park varies between a few dollars and hundreds of dollars, though Mickey Mouse ears are still tabbed at $39.99 – up $29.99 from the previous year.
In total, if visiting the parking during a valid ‘Tier 0’ day, adding on general parking, a single corn dog and a single drink, one person will spend $149.48.