Are amusement parks worth the money? Just for Laughs…

by | Apr 15, 2022

If you’re a parent wondering how much you’re going to have to carve out of your kids’ college fund to be able to take them to an amusement park, you’ve landed on the right video. Today we’re going to be discussing whether the cost of Amusement parks is worthwhile for the value they bring to you, your kids, and those blisters and diarrhea you are inevitably going to get after walking all day and eating the fried foods and gallons of soda and icees that come with the experience. 

Let’s start this analysis off by stating something some of you might already be thinking – not all amusement parks are created equal. At the low end of the totem pole for a gluttonous money pit of a day trip are the cheap places that pop up all over the country. These can be smaller carnival type attractions or even small parks that are more of a permanent carnival. They might have a ride or two but really aren’t anything that impressive. Or maybe they’re just intended for children and the rides are all small and they throw in some putt putt golf or go carts to make you feel like you got your money’s worth for your kid. 

Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, the crown jewel of the amusement park price gaugers is Disneyland or as I like to call it, a precursor to bankruptcy. 

For the purposes of this breakdown we’re not going to be talking about anything that can’t be called a proper amusement park though – that means at least some roller coasters or large water slides that are permanent to the foundation of the park.  That being said, there are some bargains across the US in this category…but more on that later.

Now if you’re one of those people who were smart enough to only have one child ***you might want to check out my video on the financial analysis of a vasectomy LINK IN DESCRIPTION*** then your expense might not be too drastic when visiting one of these parks. Of course what you trade off here in cold hard cash is directly correlated to the anxiety you might have in making sure your only child is properly socialized and well adjusted. As a father of four miserable, spoiled, rage-inducing, pieces of  *** Let’s get some figures together so we can really start talking about brass tacks here.  

In addition to the admission of the park you also have to take into account the cost of parking (which can be a pretty hefty price tag) as well as the cost of food because most of these places don’t allow you to bring in outside food or beverage.

our family happens to keep kosher and if there’s a religious reason why you’re bringing in your own food they don’t really give you a hard time so you might want to consider becoming Jewish for the day and saying that magic word “kosher” or citing some other random religious dietary restrictions if you’re planning on having a picnic after nearly vomiting from your latest roller coaster. 

Just don’t say you’re kosher and then bring in bacon – Kosher jews don’t eat bacon – for the love of God make a little effort to make sure your alibi holds.

After looking online I’ve seen day passes go anywhere from $26 a person if you’re in New Mexico…and as much as $200 a person if you’re looking at Disneyland (and since Harry Potter world by the way – Universal Studios isn’t all that far behind). 

But parking can be anywhere from $0 – $40.

Now if you’re not bringing your own religious exemption food the average meal listed on the internet can range from $7 – $25 a person but let’s be real here. As Americans we don’t eat a standard “meal” when we’re out and about at an amusement park. Nobody’s going on twisted colossus or space mountain or the slingshot and then having a reasonable chicken caesar salad….you’ve already made the horrible decision to hurl your body through the air on a metal tube at 50 miles per hour, you’re going to have a turkey leg followed by a cone of french fries and a paper boat of nachos…and you can bet your backside that all logic will totally escape your brain when you’re standing in the heat for two hours. $8 for 6 ounces of frozen lemonade, that’s a bargain – $15 for three spoonfuls of dippin dot ice cream…we’ll take four.

Also – I know I pitched the kosher thing pretty hard just a minute ago but let me just paint the picture of the drawbacks. First, it’s going to take you another hour to leave because you’re going to want to pack the perfect snacks, then you gotta spin the designated driver wheel and stick someone with the unfortunate task of lugging around a forty pound back back the whole day filled with stinky lunch meat and dry goods.  And by the time you’re ready to eat your meal the sandwich breads have no doubt become slightly soggy and properly smashed down to a paper thin width and the chips and pretzels you brough have been reduced to a powder that you dig through for something you can put in your mouth that’s larger than the size of a quarter.  

If you have a normal sized family with two kids unlike the stupid, idiotic, I mean…wonderful family of four beautiful children who are perfect in every way…

For a family of four you can expect to spend, realistically at least $60 dollars in food but more realistically $150 or so in food and snacks for one day, another $20 on average for parking, and let’s call it an even $50 a person for the admission. The grand total for the day brings you to $370 for a family of four.  That of course is if you’re a local, but if you have to also factor in a hotel or an air bnb then God help you. 

Another thing to keep in mind if you’ve never taken your kids to such a place is that it is not about you anymore. It’s about your kids. You want to ride the matterhorn or boomerang – it’s going to be another ten years and lots of convincing before junior is tall enough and brave enough to go on one of the roller coasters you remember from your youth. Also, that excitement or reckless abandon that you felt as a kid going on a roller coaster after they strapped you in tends to disappear the older you get. Once you’re at the age where you have twenty years on the quote on quote safety experts whose acne faces are tasked with making sure your seat belts are secure enough so you don’t….you know – DIE – each roller coaster starts to induce a mini heart attack or at the very least is a good test to make sure your sphincter is still working.

So why do it? Why go through the trouble of spending $400 – $1,000 on one day of heat exhaustion misery where you don’t even enjoy the rides? 

Well, as a parent you’ve quickly realized that your life has taken a back seat. Your joy comes from seeing happiness and excitement in the eyes of your children. You make them go to school five days a week cramming their brains with as much as they can handle and on the occasional weekend you get to be the good guys who show them a good time. It strengthens an already amazing bond that lets your kids know that they come first and that nothing is more important in the world than your love for them. 

Also…if you eat enough junk and go on the scrambler four times in a row you’ll probably end up throwing up on one of your kids – and then they’ll have a great story to tell at your funeral.


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