Although you can find carnivals and small theme parks charging less than $40 for a ticket, the most expensive and extravagant parks in the world demand more than $100 a day for a single adult ticket. If that seems outrageous, consider that the cost to see a football game can easily reach $150 or more.
From Busch Gardens to the infamous Disney World, here are some of the world's priciest theme parks that are totally worth the money.
Pennsylvania's Dorney Park is planning plenty of new adventures for 2017, including two new rides, Dodgem and Kaleidoscope. Guests can also enjoy the Parkside Pavilion, which offers new places to eat, drink and hang out. The dazzling Cirque Imagine show is brand new, as is the Sunset Beach Bar. Additionally, there are 17 brand-new cabanas to enjoy at Wildwater Kingdom, making this park a great alternative to Disneyland.
The largest amusement park in the Midwest, Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, offers a great deal of fun for $40. Along with a new wooden coaster called Mystic Timbers, guests in 2017 will be able to experience WinterFest, back after a 12-year absence. And, of course, all the old favorites are there, including terrifying thrill rides like Banshee, Firehawk, the Beast, Diamondback, Delirium and Invertigo.
Spend the day at Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C. The park offers a wide array of beloved rides, like Planet Snoopy and Dinosaurs Alive. If you're planning a trip in 2017, be sure to check out new attractions, such as the County Fair.
Those seeking a fun way to ring in the holiday this year should be sure to visit WinterFest. In the warmer months, head over to the Carolina Waterpark to check out the new offerings. After visiting the park, don't miss the NASCAR Hall of Fame, ranked one of the coolest places in the U.S. to visit with kids.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
The price of admission to Blackpool Pleasure Beach in the U.K. buys you a seat on nearly a dozen thrill rides, including the park's legendary behemoth, The Big One. Kids and adults who prefer to keep their stomachs where they belong can enjoy nearly 20 family rides.
The park is also home to Europe's only Nickelodeon Land, which features 12 rides and characters based on the children's TV channel. In 2014, TripAdvisor named the park the best value in Europe.
Price: 32.50 pounds ($40.60)
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Knott’s Berry Farm
To save at Knott's, buy tickets in advance for as little as $41. This Buena Park, Calif., site boasts 10 huge roller coasters, including the longest, tallest and fastest wooden coaster on the West Coast.
There are plenty of kid-friendly rides, including water rides, for those planning to visit with little ones. If you'd rather keep your feet on the ground, you can check out the live entertainment, pan for gold or meet Snoopy and the Peanuts gang for pictures.
Price: $41 and up
Although the ticket price of almost $50 per person might seem steep, Futuroscope in France offers plenty of bang for your buck. Brand-new attractions include the Extraordinary Journey, where riders fly from one continent to the next with their feet dangling, and the Time Machine, which transports riders back to the Ice Age.
Another new event is the Cirque du Soleil evening show, La Forge aux Étoiles. Plus, guests can enjoy plenty of thrill rides, live shows and discovery events, such as Journey Into the Dark.
Price: 45 euros ($47.67)
Europa Park might have a high cost of entry, but consider all the brand-new attractions the Rust, Germany, site has to offer. In 2017, the park will debut Project V, Europe's largest "flying theater." The Irish-themed Children's World opened in 2016, and there are new restaurants, pubs, rides and kiddie attractions.
The Magic Ice Exhibition is also new as of 2016. Be sure to check out Happy Family, a show at the 4D Magic Cinema.
Price: 47 euros ($49.78) in summer; 38.50 euros ($40.78) in winter
Located about an hour from Barcelona, PortAventura World isn't just one park but six massive "worlds." For just over $60, you can visit Mediterrania, Polynesia, China, Mexico and the Far West, as well as a Spanish version of Sesame Place.
Along with plenty of shops, hotels and restaurants, the park wows visitors with its more than 40 rides, including Tutuki Splash, Canoes and the Dragon Khan roller coaster.
Price: 60 euros ($63.56)
Like its counterparts in the U.S., Disneyland Tokyo, which opened in 1983, is brimming with fun. Along with plenty of parades, night owls can enjoy the Sky High Wishes fireworks show. Guests can also visit Adventureland, the World Bazaar, Westernland, Fantasyland, Toontown and Tomorrowland, each of which is packed with rides and fun. To get the VIP treatment, try these tricks at Disney.
Price: 7,400 Japanese yen ($65.66)
The $65 cost of entry for DisneySea in Tokyo might seem steep, but guests should consider what's included before writing off this attraction.
Although the park contains familiar favorites, like the Tower of Terror and Toy Story Mania!, you can also enjoy an aquatic adventure exclusive to this Disney park. Visit the Mediterranean Harbor for a ride on the Transit Steamer Line or a sail on a Venetian gondola. Then hop over to the American Waterfront for a ride on the Electric Railway or head to Port Discovery, where you'll find Aquatopia. You can also visit the Lost River Delta for Raging Spirits, see the sights at Mermaid Lagoon or check out Mysterious Island.
Price: 7,400 Japanese yen ($65.66)
Alton Towers Resort
This British park's 40-plus rides include Galactica, which opened in 2016, and Sharkbait Reef. If you're in the mood for thrills, drop by to enjoy a trip on the looping Nemesis, a vertical drop on Oblivion and a soaring journey on the Smiler. Additionally, kids of all ages will appreciate the live shows and character encounters at this Staffordshire, England, park.
Several rides are being refurbished for 2017, so check the site to make sure your desired attractions are up and running.
Price: 52.80 pounds ($65.73); 32 pounds ($39.84) if booked online
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Langhorne, Pa., hosts Sesame Place, a park dedicated to one of the most iconic shows in the history of children's television: "Sesame Street."
Sesame Place gives kids of all ages the chance to meet their favorite characters, including Big Bird, Grover and Oscar the Grouch. The price of admission also buys you a seat on nearly two dozen rides and a chance to splash around on any of nine water rides, depending on the season.
Price: $66 at the gate; $56 if booked online
Country legend Dolly Parton has her own theme park in her native Tennessee, and it offers fun for guests of all ages. Kids can enjoy mini-thrills on the Busy Bees ride and Amazing Flying Elephants. For those seeking more adventure, rides like Barnstormer and the Tennessee Tornado pack plenty of punch. There are also wildlife attractions and, of course, plenty of live entertainment.
Plus, guests can look forward to big changes in 2017. Brand-new rides include Drop Line and Whistle Punk Chaser.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
San Francisco's Discovery Kingdom has some new attractions planned for 2017, including Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth and Rage of the Gargoyles. The park also offers lots of price-saving freebies and discounts this year. Get free refills on drinks all season or score a 20 percent off shopping pass.
While the park is known for its thrill rides like Cobra, Tazmanian Devil and Superman Ultimate Flight, families with young children won't struggle to find the fun. Along with the famed coasters, guests can enjoy animal attractions, family rides and live entertainment.
Price: $67.99; $42.99 if booked online
SeaWorld San Diego
For a limited time, SeaWorld San Diego visitors can score single-day passes for just $73, down from the usual $93. And now is a good time to visit, as the beloved One Ocean attraction will soon be replaced with a new orca-centric experience. Other attractions include Dolphin Days, Sea Lions Live, Cirque de la Mer and Pets Rule.
Along with access to the hottest oceanic shows, your ticket buys you a seat on nearly a dozen rides and entry to more than a dozen exhibits.
Disneyland Hong Kong
Seventy-five bucks might seem like a lot for one day of fun — until you realize how much fun there is to be had at Disneyland Hong Kong. The park offers seven enchanted lands, each of which is bursting with attractions.
Spend some time in Adventureland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, Toy Story Land, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Main Street, U.S.A. Plus, Disneyland Hong Kong is planning huge expansions in the near future, helping you get more bang for your buck.
Price: 589 Hong Kong dollars ($75.89)
Multiday passes are available, and you might need one if you plan to take in all of Legoland in Carlsbad, Calif. Brand-new and exclusive to Legoland is the film "Lego Movie 4D: A New Adventure," where you'll follow the exploits of MetalBeard, Benny, Emmet and the rest of the crew.
You can bring your own minifigure or buy one at the park and trade with Model Citizens throughout the day. Meet your favorite characters and participate in pop badge challenges during your visit.
Price: $90 and up
The Tampa, Fla., theme park charges quite a bit for a day of excitement. However, visitors get a lot for their money.
Along with up-close-and-personal encounters with exotic beasts, visitors have the opportunity to learn about animal care and conservation. And ride lovers won't be left out. The park boasts a wide array of coasters, from the kid-friendly Air Grover to monsters like Cobra's Curse and Kumba.
While Disneyland tickets might seem pricey, experts suggest remembering how much you get for your money, just as Walt Disney did when the park opened more than 60 years ago.
"Back in 1956, people complained that the $1 ticket admission to Disneyland was too expensive," said Scott Wolf, Disney expert and owner of the Mouse Clubhouse blog. "I heard an interview with Walt Disney from back then, comparing the prices to things like movie theaters and even the cost of a dress, and it really still holds true. Once you're in Disneyland, not only do you have free access to all the world-class rides and attractions, but you can see top-notch live entertainment like live bands, parades and Broadway-style shows."
Price: $97 and up
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Disney California Adventure
Tickets to Disneyland's sister park, California Adventure, also start at $97, and "Park Hopper" tickets are available for those looking to visit both Anaheim sites.
Along with plenty of rides — including thrill-seeker favorites like California Screamin' — the park offers some new shows. Wolf suggests visiting the elegant Hyperion Theater to check out the "Frozen" show, which is free with admission.
Price: $97 and up
Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom
One of four Disney resorts in Orlando, Fla., Magic Kingdom offers Magic Tickets, which allow guests to move freely among the parks at will. Prices for one-day tickets vary by date.
Even if Magic Kingdom is your only vacation destination this year, you'll certainly get your money's worth. There are more than 40 attractions and rides to enjoy, including favorites like Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. Additionally, you can check out the parades, watch the fireworks or meet your favorite Disney characters for pictures and autographs.
Price: $99 and up
Walt Disney World Epcot
Another Disney park, Epcot offers unique attractions for visitors seeking some educational fun. The pricing structure is the same as Magic Kingdom's.
The dozens of attractions include Frozen, Mission: Space, Soarin' and the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. You can also enjoy numerous wildlife exhibits and encounters, including Coral Reefs, Turtle Talk With Crush, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Sharks and Stingrays and Sea Turtles. Be sure to attend one of the dazzling shows, such as IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth or Jeweled Dragon Acrobats.
Price: $99 and up
Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom costs the same as the other three Disney parks in Orlando. It is, however, wilder than its peers. Not your average zoo, Animal Kingdom boasts a broad array of exotic wildlife, including rhinos, gorillas, lions, tigers, tamarins, okapis, giraffes and elephants.
Additionally, guests can see animals that haven't walked the Earth for millions of years. Examine Dino-Sue and then take a spin on the Dinosaur ride.
Price: $99 and up
Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios
Disney World Orlando's fourth park is Hollywood Studios. There, visitors can see their favorite films, shows and theatrical performances brought to life.
Plummet to Earth in the Tower of Terror or whirl around in Toy Story Mania. Guests can also enjoy several "Star Wars" offerings, including Path of the Jedi, Star Tours and Launch Bay. Plus, music fans can check out the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith.
Universal Studios Florida
The cost of a single-day ticket makes Universal Studios one of the priciest theme parks on this list. However, the Orlando site offers plenty for visitors to enjoy.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley might be the newest attraction, but it's by no means the only one to enjoy. Check out movie-inspired rides like E.T. Adventure, Men in Black Alien Attack, Shrek 4-D and Transformers: The Ride–3D. Additionally, guests can sit back and watch shows like Fear Factor Live, Terminator 2 3-D and The Blues Brothers.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Islands of Adventure is one of the most expensive tourist destinations in the U.S., costing $110 for a day of fun. However, odds are you'll get your money's worth. TripAdvisor ranked Islands of Adventure No. 1 on its list of the world's best amusement parks two years running. Guests can enjoy thrilling trips on Skull Island: Reign of Kong, the Incredible Hulk Coaster, Jurassic Park River Adventure and Pteranodon Flyers.
Visitors to Discovery Cove in Orlando can get up close and personal with all kinds of wildlife — but it will cost them. "Park tickets are running at $169," said Sam Huang, owner of TopMiles.com. "If you want to swim with the dolphins, it's another $60."
While guests can pay extra for add-ons, the website indicates that tickets are all inclusive.
"While expensive, this does include breakfast and lunch, and all-you-can-eat snacks and beverages," Huang said of the high ticket price. "All the snorkeling gear including wetsuits is also included, so it really depends on how much you value swimming with wildlife."
Price: $179 and up