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Planning family travel comes with a lot of responsibilities. You have to find the right place to stay, pack everyone efficiently, and organize the best transportation option to get there. On top of that, add in budgeting for the total cost of the trip and you may end up wanting to just relax on your couch for a week instead. But despite all of the work it takes to prepare, family vacations are worth every second. You’ll forget all about those planning woes when you return home with all the new memories your family made together. And luckily, the SeaWorld preschool pass and the Busch Gardens preschool pass, as well as other theme parks that offer a similar program, are super helpful if you’re looking to travel on a budget.
If you’re wondering how to register for the SeaWorld preschool pass and other preschool passes that are offered, we have all the answers you need. To help cut costs this year, we’ve also rounded up a handful of theme parks, including SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, that offer a free preschool pass so some of your kiddos can have fun for free.
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What is the free SeaWorld preschool pass?
A SeaWorld preschool pass or a pre-k pass gives children that meet the criteria — usually a certain age or sometimes resident of a specific state — free admission to the park for the better portion of the year. There are sometimes blackout dates and food and drinks are not included, but overall this is the most affordable option for taking your kids to SeaWorld multiple times per year — because it’s absolutely free for kids under 5 years old!
What’s the best way for a parent to enjoy SeaWorld with their preschooler?
Parents will need to purchase their own tickets or passes to accompany their children with free preschool passes. Whether you buy a single-day ticket or an annual pass is up to you (and the park’s rules). At SeaWorld, there are no specific rules as to what kind of admission — whether a day pass or annual pass — a parent needs. But to get the most out of the preschool pass, it’s best to consider a Fun Card or Annual Pass. The Fun Card is $129.99, and a single-day ticket is $99.99. For just $30 more, you get free admission every day of the year, and with the preschool pass, this is a no-brainer. Parking will cost an additional $30 per day with the Fun Card or daily ticket.
If you do want to invest in an annual pass for SeaWorld, we recommend the Silver Annual Pass. This is only $89 more than the Fun Card and gets you free admission to all of the SeaWorld events with no blackout dates, free parking, guest tickets, and 20% off at the park. This is your best option if you plan to attend more than three days in a single year. Three days with the Fun Card with parking would run $219.99 and the Silver Pass is $219, so that should be your baseline. For anything under three days, opt for the Fun Card. But if you and your preschool-aged kids can go three or more days in a season, the Silver Card saves you money.
These are the theme parks with free preschool passes for 2023.
All of the theme parks on this list offer a free preschool pass or Pre-k pass, giving many kids 5 years and under free admission. There are some locations that are available only to state residents, and we’ve noted that in the list.
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay — Florida residents only (Tampa Bay, Florida)
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Virginia)
- Carowinds (Charlotte, North Carolina)
- Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio)
- Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee)
- Dorney Park (Allentown, Pennsylvania)
- Great America (Santa Clara, California)
- Idlewild & SoakZone — No 2023 info yet (Ligonier, Pennsylvania)
- Kings Dominion (near Richmond, Virginia)
- SeaWorld Orlando — Florida residents only (Orlando, Florida)
- SeaWorld San Antonio — Texas residents only (San Antonio, Texas)
- SeaWorld San Diego — No longer available (San Diego, California)
- Silver Dollar Park (Branson, Missouri)
- Story Land — No 2023 info yet (Glen, New Hampshire)
- Valleyfair (near Minneapolis, Minnesota)
- Wild Adventures (Valdosta, Georgia)
- Worlds of Fun (Kansas City, Missouri)
How do I get my child a free SeaWorld preschool pass?
Many of these passes require early registration. The links provided above send you to the registration page to sign up. The SeaWorld preschool pass requires registration by Feb. 3, 2023, and you must activate the card at a Sea World location by Feb. 28, 2023 — so now’s the time! Other parks require registration online, but some of them have deadlines in March or even later in the year.
You’ll then activate your child’s pass at the admission gate. At most parks, proof of age is required. Bring a valid birth certificate or passport to ensure your child fits into the age range — normally 3 to 5 years old. Children under 3 are often admitted free anyway, so these parks essentially offer free admission to kids under 5!
How to register for SeaWorld preschool pass.
The SeaWorld preschool pass in Orlando is available for Florida residents. You can register your child online by Feb. 3, 2023, and then activate your card at Sea World Orlando by Feb. 28, 2023. Your child must be under the age of 5 years old on the day you activate the card (children under 3 are always free), but kids can still take advantage of the pass even if they turn 6 during the 2023 season. The pass expires on Dec. 31, 2023, so you have the whole year to visit for free!
How much do I save with the Sea World preschool pass?
A Preschool pass is completely free, but blackout dates do apply, and it doesn’t include food or drinks at the park. A comparable annual pass for kids runs $168 for the full year, so you’re saving nearly $170 right off the bat. Single-day admission for kids is $99.99, but meals are free. Let’s assume a single child averages $12 per meal and you stay for the day so you eat two meals working out to $24. You’re still coming out on top by using the free preschool pass by about $75 even if you just go for one day. If you visit more than one day in the 2023 season, those savings really add up. You should also consider the dining package which allows you to eat every 90 minutes at participating restaurants for $24.99 for kids 3 – 9 and $49.99 for adults.
What kind of birth certificate do you need for the Sea World preschool pass?
After registering online, you’ll need to activate your preschool pass at the gate sometime before Feb. 28, 2023. To activate your child’s pass, proof of age is required. This can be done with a valid birth certificate or passport. A copy of the birth certificate is just fine if you don’t feel comfortable bringing the original. A school ID or security ID will not be accepted. Parents must also bring their ID or driver’s license to prove that they are Florida residents.
What if I lose my child’s Sea World preschool pass?
You’re provided with a digital PDF version of your child’s preschool card upon registration. You can access this digital copy at any time on your mobile device by logging into your Sea World account and visiting your order history. If you’d like a wallet-sized card for your preschool pass, they are available, but in many cases, they will cost $5 to replace if lost or damaged. The PDF version is your safest bet.
Is there a Sea World preschool pass for other states and locations?
Yes! There are free SeaWorld preschool passes available for other locations as well. Though, much like the Orlando theme park, it is only valid for state residents.
Sea World San Antonio Preschool Pass
The SeaWorld San Antonio preschool pass is available for Texas residents. You can register your child online by March 31, 2023. This pass is valid for children 5 and under (children under 2 years old are free). This pass does not include parking or food and drink. The pass expires on Jan. 3, 2024, so you have a whole year to visit for free! For an additional $35, preschool pass holders can also upgrade their passes to get an annual pass to Aquatica San Antonio water park.
Sea World San Diego Preschool Pass
SeaWorld San Diego no longer offers a free preschool pass. Instead, children from 3 to 5 years old can enjoy unlimited admission for $22. This promotion is only available to children in San Diego and Orange County. You will need a birth certificate and state-issued ID to confirm residency at the park for admission. These 2023 Fun Cards must be activated with a first visit to the park by April 9, 2023.
Is there a Sea World teacher pass for Florida teachers?
Yes! The Sea World teacher pass is available to active and certified Florida K-12 teachers. The teacher pass provides unlimited admission through Sep. 7, 2023. You can register online and verify your teacher status using the ID.me website. You will need your Department of Education number to register, and if you work for a private school, you can still get your pass with a letter from your principal on official letterhead, picture ID, and paystub. Find more information and instructions on how to get your pass on the Sea World Teacher Card website.
How do I register for the Busch Gardens preschool pass?
The Busch Gardens preschool pass in Tampa Bay is available for Florida residents. You can register your child online by Feb. 26, 2023, and activate your card at Busch Gardens by March 13, 2023. Your child must be under the age of 5 years old on the day you first activate your card, but kids can still take advantage of the pass even if they turn six during the 2023 season. Children under 3 are always free. The pass expires on Dec. 31, 2023, so you have the whole year to visit for free!
The Busch Gardens Williamsburg location also offers the same preschool pass, but it’s open to anyone, and you don’t have to be a Virginia resident to register.
The prices for Busch Gardens are the same as Sea World Orlando listed above — $99.99 for a single day or $168 for a basic annual pass. So by registering for a Busch Gardens preschool pass, you’re saving $75 to $100 per visit.
What does the Busch Gardens preschool pass include?
The 2023 Busch Gardens preschool pass gives kids aged 3 to 5 years old unlimited free admission to both Busch Gardens and Adventure Island for the duration of 2023. It doesn’t include parking, food, drinks, taxes, or service fees.
When does the Busch Gardens preschool pass expire?
The Busch Gardens preschool pass gets children from 3 to 5 years old unlimited free admission through Dec. 31, 2023. You do have to register online before Feb. 26, 2023, so act quickly to get your pass.
Does Disney have a preschool pass?
No, there’s no Disney preschool pass, but kids under the age of 3 are completely free at all Disney theme parks. Disney is a great place to bring little kiddos, and they have over 120 rides and attractions for kids under 3 years old.