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Walt Disney World
It’s the grand poobah of amusement parks, thanks largely to the array of iconic Disney cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy parading about the Magic Kingdom. Regardless of age, these characters, along with world-themed ventures, delightful rides, golf and family-oriented music performances, will bring the kid out in anyone. And although Disney World doesn’t offer senior discounts on tickets, Disney Resorts hotels or vacation packages, it’s still worth a try to explore discounted group rates. To avoid long lines, invest in FastPasses.
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Universal Parks and Resorts
Orlando, Fla., and Universal City, Calif.
Containing some of the best movie and television-themed rides in the U.S., this mesmeric park offers electrifying 3-D multimedia experiences based on Harry Potter, The Simpsons, Jurassic Park and more. If you’re not a fan of vertigo-inducing rides, Universal Parks and Resorts host various live concerts from A-list musicians and offer a wide variety of dining, from fast on-the-go snacks (hotdogs, hamburgers, fried chicken strips) to grownup sit-down affairs. If you’re visiting with a sizeable family, Universal Parks offer vacation homes and studios that allow you to prepare your own meals and sleep in individual quarters. If you’re traveling in a group (family reunion, church group, scout groups), it’s possible to get a custom price quote that’s less than buying individual tickets. Orlando visitors older than 60 (sometimes 65) may also be eligible for senior discounts.
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Why just eat a Hershey’s candy bar if you can go to an amusement park, celebrating that enduring brand’s legacy? With its variety of roller coasters, water slides, an 11-acre zoo, an arcade of fun games, a 23-acre garden and a museum detailing the history of the famous candy, this adventurous treat offers something for the entire family. You can also stay at the park, either at the Hershey Lodge or the Hotel Hershey. Seniors (ages 55-69) get to ride for less — $36.95 for a one-day pass, senior plus (ages 70-plus) $23.95 for a one-day pass. If you’re traveling with a large pack, check out the group rates.
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Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Nestled in Tennessee’s picturesque Smoky Mountains, this world-renowned amusement park — founded by country music star Dolly Parton in 1986 — provides intergenerational fun for lovers of water slides (Dollywood Splash Country), roller coasters, world-class concerts and festivals (Festival of Nations, Barbeque and Bluegrass, Smoky Mountain Christmas, Harvest Festival, Summer Lives Here), stage shows and games. The food choices are scrumptious, too — whether you have a hankering for southern cooking, gourmet kettle popcorn or standard amusement park fare (hotdogs, funnel cakes, cotton candy). Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain cabins and their surrounding natural beauty provide the ideal escape from the hustle and bustle. Dollywood offers seniors (ages 60-plus) discounts on one-day tickets and seasonal packages.
Knott’s Berry Farm
Buena Park, Calif.
If you’re in Southern California, this beloved 160-acre park is a must. In addition to water rides, roller coasters and the unforgettable, multimedia Ghost Town experience, Knott’s Berry Farm is the place to eat mouth-watering boysenberry pie, jams and syrup. Visitors can also take in shows at the Camp Snoopy Theatre, watch stunts at the Wagon Camp Theater, or shake your fancy to the music of Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies. Knott’s Berry Farm offers seniors (ages 62-plus) a discounted rate of $42 on tickets. It’s worth checking the website for discounted family pack rates that can save you more than $60.