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Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: CityPASS Attraction Cards

Earlier this year CityPASS offered me a pair of passes to try out their services, but I had no travel plans at the time. They were gracious enough to still provide the pair as a giveaway, which my readers were super excited for. Since I had used their services before, I knew how great they were to work with and wanted to pay it forward with my trip to SoCal this Fall and purchase cards so I could do a full-on review. My cards arrived quickly after ordering and I put them in a safe place in my travel bag. After all, these were going to get me into Disneyland, California Adventure and Universal Studios. (They also were good for admission to SeaWorld, but we didn’t have plans to drive to San Diego on this trip.)


Why CityPASS, you ask? It’s true. I could have just purchased 3-day park hoppers directly from Disney and 1-day admission to Universal, but the cost would have been quite different. CityPASS saves you a significant amount of money on attractions with their cards – up to 50%!  And you all know that budget travel is the name of the game, so the more money saved off the bottom line the better. Regular ticket prices for Disney are $250 for a 3-day hopper and Universal costs a whopping $80 to get in, making your total $330. CityPASS gets you into these two attractions (including a Magic Morning at Disney) and SeaWorld for just $279. It’s a potential total discount of $129 per person, but even the $51 we saved was a good chunk of change. We used the difference to purchase $49 front-of-the-line passes at Universal – and still kept a few bucks in our pockets.


CityPASS is super easy to use. You bypass ticket lines, stroll up to the gates and your PASS is scanned and a regular ticket is presented to you. You pocket both and continue with your day. It literally takes less than 30 seconds for them to scan your card and give you a ticket. No holding up the line or complicated procedures at all. Now, in Universal it doesn’t really matter if you have a real ticket, but at Disney, you need your ticket to be able to use FASTPASS machines that get you ahead in the lines and save you time.

Here’s how we used our Southern California CityPASSes – remember, you need one for each member of your travel party:



Day 1 – California Adventure
We arrived on a Saturday night and were able to check in, get settled, make a grocery store run that involved a spontaneous stop at Wienerschnitzel (pretzel buns are back???) which we don’t have anywhere at home, watched fireworks on the rooftop (of our lodging, not Wienerschnitzel) and then headed to bed for an early morning at the parks.


Sunday, we waited patiently for the ART bus and then waited not-so-patiently in line for security to check our bags. Turnstile lines were short, so we waltzed over to the shortest one and the wonderful cast member scanned our CityPASS, pushed a few buttons, gave us regular park tickets and reminded us that we needed to use those each time we came back on our visit. Easy!



Day 2 – Disneyland
Using our park hopper tickets given to us the previous day, we had absolutely no issues getting into the park a second day. We even used them to hop to California Adventure and back with ease. Once inside the parks, we used them to get FASTPASSes, too.



Day 4 – Universal Studios
Three days after we first used our CityPASSes, we arrived at Universal Studios Hollywood and presented our cards to the attendant and they were quickly scanned. They don’t bother giving you a regular park ticket, which saves some paper.



Day 7 – Disneyland
This is the day we used the remainder of our 3-day park hopper passes for the Disney parks. Again, we had no problems using them for entry and FASTPASS options.

If you want to save up to 50% off your activities on vacations, CityPASS should definitely be on your list of buys before you leave for any of these 11 destinations: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Hollywood, Houston, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California or Toronto. The more you use it, the more you save. Like you needed an excuse to pack more things into your budget, right? If you have kids, you can purchase CityPASS for them at a lower rate and it works just as conveniently. When you save big on certain aspects of your travel, you can splurge on other things (like your hotel or food) or realize how you can have a great vacation with your allocated travel funds.

Mickey gives CityPASS a thumbs up!
CityPASS has generously offered to give me another pair of passes for one of my readers. While I normally would attach that giveaway to this review, it will be part of our Best of the Best Travel Gear Holiday Giveaway next month where we will revisit the awesome travel products and services of 2012 and give away a whole slew of prizes from those merchants. In the meantime, keep CityPASS in mind for any travel you have coming up to the cities they are available in as well as holiday gifts for the traveler on your list. CityPASS is also perfect for getting yourself or your family out of the house over the holidays. If you live in or will be visiting a featured city, spending every waking moment with relatives is not always stress-free. Use CityPASS to save your sanity.

More information:
Where you can buy them: CityPASS online
How much they cost: varying
Where they are available: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Hollywood, Houston, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California and Toronto.
Other specs: CityPASS is good for one year from purchase and makes a great gift.

Doesn’t CityPASS sound cool? You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter

Disclosure: I was not provided with free CityPASS cards for the purposes of this review. My review is purely unsolicited, but the giveaway will be sponsored by the lovely people at CityPASS.
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