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One of our favorite family adventures is visiting Cedar Point. The family fun destination was recently named one of the 16 best Amusement Parks in America and for good reason. Long known to visitors as “America’s Roller Coast”, Cedar Point constantly pushes the limits and world records with its thrill rides, especially roller coasters. Keep reading to learn how to save money at Cedar Point.
Cedar Point Updates for 2023
The park has announced several updates coming to the park in 2023. Some of the updates include:
- The Boardwalk: Cedar Point’s big update for the 2023 season is the addition of The Boardwalk. The new area is located along Cedar Point Beach and will be home to a new family roller coaster, a new dining venue, and other entertainment options.
- Wild Mouse: There’s a new family coaster coming to Cedar Point. Part of the new Boardwalk, Wild Mouse featured themed cars that spin 360 degrees as you twist around the track. Every ride will look and feel different depending on how your car spins.
- Cedar Point’s Grand Pavilion: Also part of the new Boardwalk, the Grand Pavilion is a new dining venue debuting during the 2023 season. According to Cedar Point updates, “The bi-level complex will be home to a new restaurant featuring culinary items not found anywhere else in the park (plus traditional favorites), a waterfront bar for relaxation and conversation, indoor and outdoor seating, plus viewing decks with unparalleled views of Cedar Point and the Lake Erie shoreline.”
- Ride relocations: Two existing rides are moving over to complete the Boardwalk area — Matterhorn and Scrambler (now named Atomic Scrambler).
- Ride renaming: Tiki Twirl is being refreshed and renamed Calypso, honoring the former park classic.
- Top Thrill Dragster 2024 Update: No, Cedar Point is not bringing fan-favorite Top Thrill Dragster back for the 2023 season. However, the park recently announced that a reimagined version of Top Thrill Dragster will return in 2024. We’ll keep you updated as new details are released.
- Two restaurants are going away: At the Winter Chill Out Event, Cedar Point announced that Chic-Fil-A and The Mac Shack are not returning for the 2023 season.
- Forbidden Frontier is closing: Another Winter Chill Out announcement is that Forbidden Frontier, the interactive family area recently added to the park, will not reopen.
We live about an hour from Cedar Point, so we love to plan day trips to Sandusky. While there is so much to love about Cedar Point as a family, it often feels like we are spending a small fortune to visit, between tickets for 6 people, parking, and food.
Over the years, we’ve discovered several ways to save money at Cedar Point, find deals, and maximize the money we do spend. Check out our top tips on how to save money at Cedar Point. You’ll be able to create the most enjoyable family visit without breaking the bank.
Do Not Buy Cedar Point Tickets at The Gate
Cedar Point ticket prices seem to rise every year. To spend less money on admission, don’t wait until you arrive at the park to buy your tickets. If you are purchasing tickets directly from Cedar Point, make sure to head to CedarPoint.com, where they often post deals for tickets throughout the summer.
Members of AAA can get discounted Cedar Point tickets here. Discounted tickets can also be purchased through regional retailers, like
- Discount Drug Mart
- Giant Eagle
Look For Sales Throughout The Year
If you are planning a trip to Cedar Point later in the summer, start watching Cedar Point’s website and social media for their Christmas in July ticket sale to save money at Cedar Point.
Buy a Cedar Point Season Pass
If you plan to visit Cedar Point multiple times during a season, you may be better off buying season passes instead of individual tickets. This is a great way to not only save money at Cedar Point but also gain access to other special perks and benefits.
Below is the pricing for each season pass option (before
2023 Summer Pass: $115
2023 Gold Pass: $160
2023 Platinum Pass: $290
Prestige Pass: $375
Prestige+ Pass: $475
2024 Season Pass Update: Cedar Point is changing season pass offerings for the 2024 season. The only passes available will be the Gold Pass and Prestige Pass. You can gain unlimited admission to all other Cedar Fair Parks by purchasing a new pass add-on called the All Park Passport.
Bring Your Own Food to Cedar Point
It’s one thing to buy tickets for your whole family. That’s just the start, though. What do you do for meals and snacks for everyone? Your pockets can empty quickly at Cedar Point, especially with all the food options available now.
We almost always pack our own lunch. To be clear, Cedar Point doesn’t allow outside food to be brought into the park. There are a couple of exceptions to that rule. According to Cedar Point’s website, “individual, unopened water bottles, as well as special diet/need items, may be brought into the park.”
Cedar Point has a large picnic area just outside the front gate. Pack a cooler, leave it in your car, and take a break sometime during your visit to go out and eat. You will save tons of money with this one tip alone. The one con is that packing your own lunch requires walking back out of the park, retrieving your cooler from your car, walking to the picnic area, returning your cooler after you are done, and then re-entering the park. That can take up precious ride time depending on where you parked.
Another way to make this more efficient is to plan your day so you end up towards the front of the park around the time you want to eat. You could also send one lucky adult (Me) out to the car early to retrieve the cooler and meet everyone in the picnic area.
Like most amusement parks, buying food at Cedar Point is expensive. Try packing your own lunch to save money at Cedar Point.
Cedar Point Dining Plans
If you decide you don’t want to mess with packing a picnic lunch, you can save money at Cedar Point through their dining plans. Cedar Point offers single-meal plans as well as all-day dining plans. With the all-day dining plan, you can get an entree and a side at participating restaurants all day, with only a 90-minute wait between meals.
As a family that deals with food allergies, I appreciate Cedar Point’s detailed dietary needs guide on its website. Super helpful!
Purchase a Parking Pass Online
Like most amusement parks, Cedar Point charges a parking fee. You can sometimes save money at Cedar Point by purchasing your parking pass ahead of time online. There are no other parking options so why not save a few bucks with advance planning? Season passes come with free parking.
Stay at a Cedar Point Resort on Property
If you plan to stay overnight or a few nights in Sandusky, look into deals at Cedar Point hotels and campgrounds, like Hotel Breakers, Castaway Bay, Express Hotel, and Lighthouse Point. Some of the perks of staying on-site include:
- Free parking for the length of your stay
- Easy access to the park entrance
- Early entry into Cedar Point (1 hour early)
- Free admission to Cedar Point Shores, Cedar Point’s waterpark (plus 30-minute early entry)
- Discounted Cedar Point tickets
Depending on your length of stay, the size of your family, and your budget, staying on-site may or may not be the best deal compared to other local hotels. Other hotels can offer amenities like complimentary breakfast that might be more appealing. That will be something for you to research to determine the best deal for your family.
Buy a Cedar Point Souvenir Bottle or Drink Wristband
With all of the walking you will be doing at Cedar Point, especially on hot summer days, it’s important to stay hydrated. Their food guidelines allow you to bring in individual, unopened water bottles, which is great. If you need more than that, though, I suggest purchasing one of Cedar Point’s drink deals. You can purchase a souvenir bottle and get free refills all day on your first visit and then $1 refills on any other visits during the season. The other option is a drink wristband which gives you free refills in a disposable cup during your visit.
Spend Your Time Wisely at Cedar Point
Although this tip doesn’t save you any money, it will maximize your time while at Cedar Point. Most people come to the park with no plan. Some people plan out every second of their day. I fall somewhere in the middle on the subject. For the money you are spending, you want to make the most of your trip, but you also want to enjoy yourself without pressure to fit everything in and stick to a schedule.
It’s important to spend time before your trip deciding what rides & attractions are most important to ride and what your family can skip. What rides do you want to ride first? Where do you want to eat?
Another tip to save time and avoid crowds is to pick alternative times. Eat an early lunch or dinner and catch shorter ride lines while everyone else is eating. If you need a break from the heat, take in one of Cedar Point’s many shows in air-conditioned theaters. In the end, it’s your family’s day in the park, and you should plan to see and do everything you want to do during your time at Cedar Point.
Military Discounts at Cedar Point
Cedar Point honors members of the military by providing discounted tickets and parking for all active, retired, and honorably discharged members of our armed forces. You will need to bring the proper ID to validate the discount. You can purchase up to six tickets at a discounted rate per military member.
Download The Cedar Point App
Cedar Point offers a super helpful Mobile App (available for iOS and Android). The main feature is ride wait times, which will help you plan out your day and maximize your time throughout your visit. Other features include a park map, special money-saving offers within the park for app users, and a handy car finder to help you remember where you parked. Also available now is mobile food ordering at select restaurants within Cedar Point.
Go to Cedar Point for More than One Day
If you are thinking about visiting Cedar Point for more than one day or multiple times during the same season, look into their multiple-day ticket options. Often you can get your second day for $20 or less with these options. Cedar Point occasionally offers ticket options for one day at Cedar Point and one day at their sister park, Kings Island, located just outside Cincinnati, Ohio.
When planning a family trip to Cedar Point, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all of the costs involved. With some advanced planning, you can save money at Cedar Point and maximize your time in the park. Your family can enjoy one of the best amusement parks in the country without worrying about how much it will cost.
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Cedar Point FAQs
What are Cedar Point Fast Lane passes?
Cedar Point Fast Lane passes are a premium pass you can add to your ticket to skip the lines on over 20 of Cedar Point’s most popular attractions.
Where is a Cedar Point Platinum pass valid?
Cedar Point’s Platinum Pass is valid at all Cedar Fair parks including Cedar Point, Kings Island, Michigan’s Adventure, Dorney Park, ValleyFair, Kings Dominion, Carowinds, Canada’s Wonderland, California’s Great America, Knott’s Berry Farm, Worlds of Fun, and Schlitterbahn Waterparks.
Does Cedar Point have special pricing for non-riders?
No, unfortunately, there are no discounts for non-riders who are unable to (or don’t plan on) partake in amusement rides. The park features other options for non-riders, like live shows, dining, shopping, and more.
Does Cedar Point offer rainchecks?
No, Cedar Point does not offer rain checks. Depending on the specific conditions, some or all park rides may close during inclimate weather.
Can I pack my own lunch and bring it into Cedar Point?
No, guests are not permitted to bring food or drinks into the park with the exception of individual unopened water bottles and for those with special dietary needs. Cedar Point has a large picnic pavilion outside the front entrance. There is no public picnic area located near Cedar Point Shores Waterpark.
Does Cedar Point offer discounts for military members?
Yes, Cedar Point does offer a discount for active, retired, and honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces. You can purchase military member tickets online.
Do you have tips for saving money at amusement parks? Let us know in the comments below.
Kevin Payne is the budgeting and family travel enthusiast behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. He’s also the host of the Family Money Adventure Show podcast, where he helps families learn to manage their money better so they can afford to do the things they love.
Kevin is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance and travel. He is a regular contributor to USA Today, Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Fox Business, Credible, and CreditCards.com.