Seek Theme Park Fun and Thrills This Summer

As much as I love beaches and visits to cities, I will forever and always believe there is nothing like planning a vacation (or even a single day!) to visit a theme park in the summer. Theme parks offering something for everyone – there are shows for entertainment lovers or those who aren’t fans of rides, there are roller coasters for adrenaline seekers, and there are themed attractions created to remind us of some of our most-loved movies. What’s not to love?

To keep your budget in check (and to help you say yes to a theme park vacation), you can earn 10 kicks per $1 spent when you book your trip with through your Shopkick app between now and May 27, 2019. To save even more, you can also trade in your kicks for gift cards that you can use during your stay! With kicks and money saved, isn’t it time to make this summer one to remember by planning a visit to a theme park? I’m going to make a bold statement and say it’s time!

To help you decide which park and destination to visit, I thought I would offer even more inspiration:


If you and your family have yet to visit a Disney park or if you’ve been more times than you can count, Disneyland should be on your list! The park is located just south of Los Angeles in Anaheim, California, and it’s a complete experience you won’t soon forget. Similar to its East Coast counterpart, Walt Disney World, Disneyland also has Disney hotels and resorts that will add plenty of perks to your experience. With that said, if budget is your main concern, there are a host of well-known hotels located a stone’s throw away from the park or closer to the city. The choice is completely up to you, but make sure to book your stay with through your Shopkick app to earn kicks!

The length of time needed to explore Disneyland is completely up to you! However, Disneyland offers the opportunity to visit the park of the same name as well as Disney’s California Adventure. You and your family will find classic Disney rides at Disneyland, as well as parades and everyone’s favorite characters. Kids young, old, and young-at-heart are sure to enjoy it, but if you’re traveling with an older group or thrill seekers, Disney’s California Adventure and its many thrill rides may be more their speed. Please note: if you wish to explore both parks, you will need to purchase separate tickets.

Universal Studios Florida:

Thanks to its location in Orlando, Universal Studios Florida is one of the most easily accessible parks on the East Coast. Plan to fly into Orlando International Airport (their airport code is MCO) and stay at Universal. There are a few hotels associated with the resort, and there are also plenty more located nearby. Plus, if you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World, it’s so easy (and common!) to incorporate Universal Studios Florida into your vacation because they’re quite close to each other.

Before you go, it helps to determine which rides and shows your family is most excited to experience. If everyone loves movies and TV shows, you won’t want to miss Universal Studios Florida. Be warned: If everyone in your party enjoys Harry Potter, a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter World is a must do! Make sure to allow plenty of time to view every nook and cranny and ride every ride. And, if you’re traveling with a group who loves roller coasters and attractions to test their adrenaline, you will also want to visit Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay:

Busch Gardens has two locations. One in Tampa, and one in Williamsburg. But, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay tops our list!

Busch Gardens’ location in Tampa makes it equally as accessible as Universal Studios, Florida. You could even plan the ultimate vacation and visit both in one trip! There are plenty of hotels near the park, and there are even more in Tampa itself. So, it will be easy for you to book your accommodations with through your Shopkick app!

Once you’ve arrived, your family will have plenty of fun at their fingertips. Busch Gardens is home to a host of roller coasters, including the new roller coaster Tigris, so adventure seekers will have plenty of fun. There are also wonderful themed areas for the littlest of visitors, thanks to the recent opening of Sesame Street Safari of Fun! Here, kids can meet characters, see shows, and ride rides that are definitely their speed. And, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay also offers a safari! You won’t want to leave.

Have you booked your trip? You only have until May 27, 2019 to earn 10 kicks/$1 on, so don’t miss out on earning up to 4% back in kicks!

Make sure to download Shopkick for free, and join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more shopping inspiration!

Going to Disney: 5 money-saving hacks for planning a cheap Disneyland trip

Disney may be the happiest place on Earth for you and your loved ones, but your bank account might not feel the same way. According to Hipmunk, in 2016 the cost of a Disneyland trip would cost a family of four an average of $1,624 in airfare, $2,128 to stay four nights in a Disneyland Resort Hotel, and $1,010 for park admission tickets for four days. Don’t forget to add in the costs of souvenirs, dining, and other must-have experiences!

The good news is that with a little faith, trust, and creative planning, you can take advantage of several money-saving tips when it comes to planning a Disneyland trip. Here are a few we recommend:

Take advantage of points programs

Booking flights and hotel rooms are often one of the most expensive parts of a Disneyland trip, but with all the mileage and points programs out there, you can significantly cut back on these costs.

Signing up for a travel credit card like Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard or Capital One Venture One will allow you to rack up travel points with every dollar you spend on the card. Richmond Savers even figured out a formula for using these types of credit cards to take your family to Disneyland for nearly free.

Use your kicks

Shopkick user Courtney Cole discovered a really smart way to use her kicks to earn some extra spending money for her family’s upcoming Disneyland trip. “My daughter is three-and-a-half and we promised her a Disneyland trip as an incentive for potty training. Because I’m in Target all the time, I started using the Shopkick app a lot more and used my kicks to buy Target gift cards, which I then used that to buy Disney gift cards. I would go to Target, check in, scan everything I could and get those kicks.”

During her family’s Disneyland trip, Courtney used her gift cards to buy things that might normally be over budget. “I knew I was going to spend money on meals, toys, and a princess makeover,” Courtney explains, “But because I used my kicks to buy the gift cards, I didn’t have to feel bad about it.”

Due to the success of this trip and her ability to accumulate so many kicks with only a few months prep, Courtney and her family have another Disneyland trip in the works. “I plan on making more of an effort and saving up my kicks to do the trip next year. That’ll give us a whole year worth of kicks to use in the parks.”

BYOFD (Bring your own food and drink)

Mickey Lunch for Disney Trip - Going to Disney: 5 Money-Saving Hacks for Planning a Cheap Disneyland Trip
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Food and drinks in the park can cost a pretty penny, but sometimes you just need to splurge on a Dole Pineapple Whip or indulge in Chef Mickey’s Character Dining experience. The key is finding a balance. Before you leave, plan out which meals, snacks, or drinks you most want to splurge on in the park. Bring everything else with you.

According to the Disneyland website, guests can bring coolers that are 18”x25”x37” and store them in the rentable lockers by the Disneyland Park main entrance. You can also bring in hydration backpacks, which are great for storing water and any souvenirs your little ones might pick up throughout the day.  Just remember you can’t bring any alcohol with you into the park.

Snag discounted admissions tickets

Are you a member of AAA? Do you plan on taking a youth group of 10 or more kids to the park? Are you or your spouse in the military? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be able to take advantage of special Disneyland park admissions prices.

If not, don’t worry. There are other ways to snag discounted admission tickets, but it can be tricky and risky to do so online so proceed with caution. The key is finding a reputable discount ticket source. MouseSavers (a website dedicated to helping you save money when it comes to all things Disney) recommends using aRes Travel for discounted tickets.

Go during the off season

Disney Savings tip: go during the off season. Going to Disney: 5 Money-Saving Hacks for Planning a Cheap Disneyland Trip

Last year, Disney rolled out demand pricing for park admission. On certain high-demand days, the ticket prices increase, while days with less traffic are less expensive. These off-peak times are usually after the holidays—January and February are ideal—and from the end of August until mid-to-late October.

When it comes to the resorts, Disney offers three “seasons”. Around January, February, and the first three weeks of October, November, and December is the Value Season. If you manage to time it right, Value Season is the least expensive and least crowded time to book at the resorts.

Do you have a money-saving tip when it comes to trips to Disneyland? Share with us @Shopkick on Twitter #ShopkickBlog