One of our favorite family adventures is visiting Cedar Point. The family fun destination was recently named one of the 10 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 2022
Cedar Point continues to monitor the pandemic situation. Park policies may change throughout the 2022 season to reflect what’s going on in the area. Always head to the official Cedar Point website for the most current park news and policies.
The park announced several updates coming to the park in 2022. Some of the updates include:
- Cashless System: Cedar Point announced that it would be switching to a completely cashless system for the 2022 season. Instead of using cash, park guests can use debit cards, credit cards, or digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. For those who don’t have a card or digital wallet, you can convert cash to a prepaid debit card at Cash-to-Card Kiosks located within the park. Prepaid debit cards from the kiosk require a $5 minimum deposit and you can add up to $500 on a card. One thing to keep in mind if you choose this option is that you could end up paying fees if you don’t use the card regularly. After 92 days of inactivity, you’ll get charged a $3.95 inactivity fee each month.
- No More Wicked Twister: During the offseason, Wicked Twister, one of the park’s coasters and a fan favorite, was removed from the park. There’s no official word on what could possibly take its spot in the park, but I’m sure they have plans in the works.
- Castaway Bay Update: Indoor Waterpark Castaway Bay is currently closed as Cedar Fair updates and renovates the property. The goal is for the hotel to open sometime in 2022, but an official date hasn’t been set.
- No Top Thrill Dragster: Cedar Point announced that fan-favorite Top Thrill Dragster would be closed for the 2022 season. The popular ride was shut down during the 2021 season following an accident.
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 also 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 their website, 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
Quick Tip: 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.
Here’s a look at the current 2022 pricing for Cedar Point season passes:
Gold Pass: $135.00 – The Gold pass includes unlimited visits to Cedar Point, Cedar Point Shores, free parking, early entry, and discounts throughout the park.
Platinum Pass: $230 – The Platinum Pass gets you into all Cedar Fair parks across the US. Other benefits included depending on the park you visit.
Pre-K Pass: FREE – Parents of children ages three to five can register them for a free Pre-K pass for the 2022 season. Children under three don’t require a pass.
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 does offer 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.
Update: Cedar Point removed most of the picnic area that has been a staple outside the front of the park forever. There are only a handful of picnic tables left and usually, people leave coolers to reserve them, so good luck if you are packing a picnic lunch during your visit.
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 meal 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.
Note: As a family that deals with food allergies, I appreciate Cedar Point’s detailed dietary needs guide on their 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 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 on iOS). 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.
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 does have some picnic tables available outside of the main entrance, but they removed most of them this season. 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 here.
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Kevin Payne is the co-founder and budgeting and family travel enthusiast behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com.
Kevin is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance and travel. He is a regular contributor to Forbes Advisor, MoneyGeek, CreditCards.com, Credit Karma, Money Under 30, and Student Loan Planner.