How To Visit Kings Island On A Budget

banshee kings island, budget kings island
Banshee At Kings Island

As done for Kings DominionCarowinds, and Busch Gardens VA, we’re breaking down how to visit Kings Island on a budget.

Because the cost of visiting Kings Island doesn’t have to be as scary as the park’s ghost stories.

So, we’re going to cover where to get Kings Island discount tickets, what the best affordable hotel near Kings Island is, how to save on dining expenses and parking costs, and whether or not you need to buy a fast lane (hint: you don’t).

Without these insights, you could be facing $75 tickets at the gate after paying $30 for parking. In essence, $105 for one person–not even including a $15+ meal, potential locker expenses, etc.

$37 off of your tickets and a complimentary shuttle to the park sounds better, right?

Let’s get to it!

Related Reading: Kings Island Height Requirements

invertigo, kings island on a budget
Invertigo at Kings Island

Discount Kings Island Tickets

Naturally, the number one way you can save money visiting the park is by snagging discount Kings Island tickets!

Kings Island ticket prices cost $75, more or less, at the gate. And, if you purchase them online, a processing fee will be added to your total.

However, you can get an exclusive $30 off of Kings Island tickets, courtesy of Undercover Tourist. This deal also includes tax with no extra fees and comes with a best-price guarantee.

Plus, if you need another reason to go on a less crowded weekday, you can get $37 off of weekday tickets. This also includes no extra fees and the best price guarantee.

Also, during certain times of the year, Kings Island offers discounted group tickets for groups of 15+ people.

Discounted military tickets are also available for active duty and retired veterans (6 tickets limit)

Keep in mind, concerning all tickets, that as of currently, children under 3 can visit Kings Island for free!

Kings Island Parking

If you’re driving to the park, be forewarned that parking at Kings Island costs $30.

If you’re staying at the nearby Camp Cedar campground, they run a complimentary shuttle to the park. This way, you can avoid driving to the park altogether and save on parking fees.

Great Wolf Lodge is located right alongside the park, so it’s within walking distance. Although, while you can avoid the parking prices going that route too, just know that Great Wolf Lodge can be pricey due to it being a waterpark resort.

Another option is to carpool with friends or family. If you split the cost of parking among several people, it can significantly reduce the cost per person.

Furthermore, if you’re carpooling with a season pass holder, they’ll be able to get free parking for your group with their pass.

Hotels Near Kings Island

If you’re planning to stay overnight or aren’t local to the area, there are plenty of great hotels near Kings Island.

And as with parking, choosing the right hotel can also help you save money and maximize value.

The Tru by Hilton Mason Kings Island is the best affordable Kings Island hotel, dropping as low as $82 per night and averaging $158 per night. It’s 2 miles away from the park, includes free WiFi and parking, and has a late (12pm) checkout.

The aforementioned Camp Cedar can go down to $147 per night for a cabin, but usually starts around $200 and goes up to over $400. They’ve got enough space so that you could split that cost between 8 people. Plus, they do run a free shuttle to and from Kings Island.

So with both lodging options, you can enjoy quality and savings, taking advantage of either the price point or the complimentary amenities.

Booking your stay at either the Tru by Hilton or Kings Island campground comes with perks like free cancellation, a price match, and discounts on your stay. Your reservation will go towards the Booking rewards program that allows you to earn points towards future trips.

flight of fear, discount kings island tickets
Flight Of Fear with Lights On

Eating At Kings Island

Outside food and drinks are not allowed into Kings Island unless they’re for a medical necessity. However, you can pop back out to the car if you packed your own lunch.

Kings Island Food

Kings Island has a wide variety of culinary offerings. 

Some of the most popular restaurants at Kings Island are Coney Bar-B-Que, Miami River Brewhouse, and Skyline Chili. Respectively, these dines serve classic barbecue, gourmet sandwiches, and Cincinnati chili.

To save on costs, one plate can be split between two people. Going this route, it’s cheaper to split an order for lunch and dinner than to buy two individual plates for both meals that don’t get fully eaten. Alternatively, you can always order from the kid’s menu.

Most people don’t tend to eat full, heavy meals when visiting the park (especially in the heat of summer) and instead eat a few light “meals” or snacks.

Of which tangent, there are options to graze around the park at eateries like Potato Works (loaded fries) in Rivertown and Auntie Anne’s (hot soft pretzels) in International Street & Rivertown.

If you’re unsure about trying one of the plans out, you can always grab a single-meal plan for yourself (or split between two) and then snack on pulled pork fries or cinnamon pretzels later.

Note: Free water cups are available at any restaurant or concession area within the park.

Food Prices At Kings Island

Kings Island’s food prices range between $10-$20 depending on the dish and the restaurant.

Meal entrées, more concisely, go for $13-$18 for options like burgers, chicken wings, hot dogs, etc.

Casual bites and snacks typically run $6-$12. With options like popcorn and churros being on the lower end while buffalo chicken fries and seasoned chips with beer cheese are on the higher end.

Drinks at Kings Island tend to be about $5.

Kings Island Dining Plan

If you do anticipate purchasing at least two $17+ meals throughout the day, Kings Island offers a full-day dining plan for $33.99. They also have a single-meal plan that costs $17.99.

Just make sure you’re ordering meals that justify the cost of the plans!

Packing Food For Kings Island

Packing food for your theme park day is a great way to save money! Just make sure you pack non-perishable bites or bring a cooler to keep your lunch from spoiling.

If you’re aiming for something substantial, sandwiches or wraps are easy to pack and won’t spoil if left in a cooler or insulated bag. Opt for protein-rich fillings like turkey or peanut butter to keep you satisfied throughout the day.

Pack plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day and consider packing sports drinks or drink mixes that can easily be added to water bottles.

Non-perishable snacks, such as granola bars, trail mix, or fruit snacks are a nifty option too. These snacks won’t spoil if left in a hot car until you’re ready to eat.

Medicinal Snacks & Drinks

If you or anyone in your group has a medical condition that requires specific snacks or drinks, be sure to pack those! For example, if someone in your group has low blood sugar, bring a juice box to prevent hypoglycemia.

It’s important to note that while Carowinds does not allow outside food to be brought into the park, snacks and drinks for medical purposes are allowed, so don’t hesitate to pack those!

drop tower kings island, kings island discount tickets
Drop Tower at Kings Island

Kings Island FAQs

Last (but not least), here are some quick answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding Kings Island:

How much is the average trip to Kings Island?

Full price, the average trip to Kings Island can be $120 for one person (park expenses only, not including hotel or travel). That’s for parking, an admission ticket, and one meal.

For a group of four, it would be about $390–parking for one vehicle, four admission tickets, and four meals.

Who gets into Kings Island free?

Children under 3 can visit Kings Island for free.

Also, Prestige pass holders can bring a friend for free.

So, be a toddler or friends with a Prestige pass holder.

How much is parking at Kings Island?

Parking at Kings Island is $30 per vehicle.

When does Kings Island close for the season?

Kings Island closes in September for its regular season.

Then it runs two special events for fall (Halloween Haunt) and winter (WinterFest), with the park closing in December until the following April.

How much are fast passes at Kings Island?

Kings Island fast passes (Fast Lane) cost $85-$135 per person. Steep, I know.

Going on slow days–aka rainy days or weekdays–can help you avoid needing them.

Where is Kings Island located?

Kings Island is located in Mason Ohio, just northeast of Cincinnati.

It sits right off 71 and next to Great Wolf Lodge.

What day is Kings Island least crowded?

Kings Island is the least crowded on weekdays and rainy days.

Saturdays and holidays ought to be avoided at all costs if you’re avoiding crowds, long lines, and the need to buy a Fast Lane.

Is Kings Island cash only?

Yes, Kings Island is cash only.

They have machines around the park where you can convert your cash to a debit card that can be used both inside and outside of Kings Island.

What is the Kings Island bag policy?

Bags are permitted and subject to search before entering Kings Island.

During Halloween Haunt, stricter bag policies are in place, limiting the size of bags allowed in the park after 4pm.

How many days do you need on Kings Island?

You need 1-2 days to fully experience Kings Island.

The park can be done in one day, especially if you go on a slow day and arrive at park opening. But, two days would be ideal so you’re not in a time crunch and so you could also enjoy Kings Island’s waterpark, Soak City.

windseeker kings island, kings island on a budget
WindSeeker at Night


And with that, we wrap up our guide on how to visit Kings Island on a budget!

Visiting Kings Island without spending a ton is definitely doable with a little planning and preparation. Just remember these few pointers:

  • Purchase Kings Island discount tickets for $30-$37 off.
  •  Choose an affordable hotel or campground near the park.
  •  Visit on weekdays, rainy days, and during off-peak hours for shorter lines (no fast lane needed).
  •  Consider sharing a plate at the park’s restaurants or packing a lunch to eat outside of the park.
  •  Enjoy free shows, attractions, and special events included with the price of admission.

Remember, planning ahead is key to saving money on your trip! So, be sure to take advantage of discounts and book your hotel before demand causes price hikes closer to your trip.

If you have any Kings Island questions I missed in this post, drop them in the comments below and I’ll circle back around to you.

Have fun at Kings Island!

What’s your favorite money-saving hack for visiting Kings Island?

For more Kings Island travel guides, you can also check out:

Thanks for reading!

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