Obviously, the first thought on every kid’s mind when returning to school after spring break is, “How many days until summer vacation?” Let the countdown to family vacation begin by scoring a hotel deal near one of the country’s top amusement parks for as much as 50% off.
WALT DISNEY WORLD: Sonesta ES Suites Orlando … $89-$99 (50% off)
The crown jewel of childhood’s bucket list and the world’s most-visited theme park, Disney has hosted 30 million annual visitors since opening the Magic Kingdom in 1971. The resort’s 47 square miles are home to four theme parks, two water parks, five golf courses, 24 themed resorts and two spas.
Book a two-bedroom suite for up to six people including daily breakfast, Wi-Fi and shuttle service to Disney, Universal and SeaWorld. A plus for parents: this deal includes two welcome cocktails. Available most dates through September.
SCHLITTERBAHN WATERPARKS & RESORTS: The Resort at Schlitterbahn … $189 (40% off)
Named America’s No. 1 water park by the Travel Channel, this family-owned resort grew from a mere four water slides to the largest water park in Texas with two parks on the west and east sides of town with a free tram running between. The original section of the park uses water pumped in from the Comal River, which is filtered, cleaned and released back into the pristine river.
Wake up in the heart of the park in a one-bedroom suite for up to four people, including admission. Guests staying on-site gain access to the park an hour before it opens to the public. Available select dates through September.
CONEY ISLAND: Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Brooklyn … $219-$249 (reg. $309)
Before World War II, the Brooklyn barrier island was the largest amusement area in the nation, made of three major competing parks as well as many independent amusements. Home to iconic rides like The Cyclone roller coaster and Wonder Wheel, the park completed its first new roller coaster in more than 80 years in 2011. Despite withstanding major damage in 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, rides will be open and the world-famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will be held in the summer as usual.
Fill up with a hot complimentary breakfast before hopping on the subway on Atlantic Avenue located steps from the hotel. The hotel puts guests close to popular attractions in Brooklyn such as the new Barclays Center and a short ride from downtown Manhattan. Available most Sunday-Thursday through July.
DISNEYLAND: Red Lion Hotel Anaheim … $109 (45% off)
Second only to its Floridian sister in annual visitors Disneyland is the only theme park designed and built under direct supervision of Walt Disney and has the largest cumulative attendance of any park in the world with 600 million guests since opening in 1955.
Stay down the street from Disneyland at the Red Lion Hotel Anaheim in peak season including parking, breakfast for four and an upgraded room with views of the Disneyland fireworks. Visitors staying two nights get a third night free, making the effect nightly rate $73 per night. Available through August.
SEAWORLD: Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina … $119-$129 (30% off)
Get up close and personal with larger than life sea creatures at this SoCal theme park. The park features animal encounters as well as aquatic shows. Some of the most popular attractions are a comedy show performed by sea lions and an evening rock concert with choreographed killer whales. In addition to entertainment, the organization has worked for forty years to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals.
Set on the shores of Mission Bay, the 4-star hotel is a stone’s throw from SeaWorld. After a day hanging out with Shamu and his crew, take a dip in one of the hotels’ three pools including the area’s only hotel waterslide. Available select dates through June.
CALIFORNIA’S GREAT AMERICA: Single-day admission … $35 (reg. $60)
California’s Great America is the only theme park in Northern California including a water park. The 100-acre theme park offers more attractions than any competing park nearby including the brand-new, fastest wooden roller coaster in the region, Gold Striker. Access to the water park is free with paid admission to the park starting Memorial Day weekend. Tickets are valid for any public operating day through June 14.
ADVENTUREDOME/STRATOSPHERE TOWER: Vdara Condo Hotel … $79 (45% off)
Located in the heart of America’s Adult Playground is an indoor, family-friendly amusement park. Part of Circus Circus Hotel & Casino, the dome holds twenty-five rides, 4-D movie theatres and shows for all ages. Older kids and thrill-seeking adults can go for a scream-inducing 108 story fall on Skyjump or be catapulted into the air on the Big Shot. Both rides are located on Statosphere Tower, the tallest point on the Las Vegas skyline.
Suites at the 5-star Vdara Condo Hotel are nearly 600 square feet and offer views of The Strip. Stay select weekdays May-September; Fridays-Saturdays are $40 more per night.
KING’S ISLAND: The Cincinnatian Hotel ... $129 (reg. $249)
Eleven straight years as Amusement Today’s Gold Ticket Award-winner for “Best Kids’ Area” in the world helped tie this theme park with its Ohio park attract the most visitors of any seasonal amusement park in the United States. The Royal Fountain, the park’s central attraction capable of shooting ten thousand gallons of water into the air each minute, is surrounded by eighty rides including The Racer, featuring two identical tracks for head-to-head competition between trains.