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Many families planning San Diego vacations center them around visiting SeaWorld San Diego. It is the San Diego theme park that I am asked about the most because it’s one of the best activities in San Diego for kids from toddlers to teens. The good news is that there are various ways to buy discount SeaWorld San Diego tickets reliably.

Which method you choose depends on how long you intend to spend in the park, your itinerary once inside, and which other San Diego attractions are on your to-do list. Rest assured that you’ll easily be able to choose the right SeaWorld ticket based on the information below so you can avoid coupons, discount codes, and deal links that do not work.

Please note: SeaWorld San Diego reopens as an accredited zoo on February 6, 2021. However, they are OPEN NOW for a new drive-thru experience on select dates through February 14, 2021. If you purchase tickets using the links in this post, I may be compensated.


SeaWorld San Diego Reopening Guidelines

Jump to: SeaWorld San Diego Tickets

When you buy SeaWorld San Diego tickets, you acknowledge the below.

  • Reservations will be required to help manage capacity.
  • Guests and employees must agree to a temperature check before entering the park.
  • Guests ages 2 and older must wear face coverings except when eating, drinking, or in designated relaxation areas.
  • Increased sanitation and hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the park.
  • Contactless payment such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet is encouraged.

Similar measures are already in place at sister parks SeaWorld San Antonio and SeaWorld Orlando. And, they were in place for SeaWorld Spooktacular Halloween and the annual Christmas Celebration in 2020.


Important General SeaWorld Ticket Tips

Jump to: SeaWorld San Diego Tickets

You will save money by purchasing tickets and experiences online, in advance. For reference, normal retail price at the gate for single entrance SeaWorld San Diego tickets is $93.99 for ages 3 and older. Kids ages 2 and under are free.

  • The general parking fee at SeaWorld San Diego is currently $25 but you can upgrade to up-close and VIP parking. You may purchase parking in advance.

Spending a half-day at the park is completely doable if you are pressed for time. Plan to arrive in the morning, enjoy the shows and outdoor exhibits, grab lunch, see a few more things and leave.

It’s important to read all terms and conditions before purchasing SeaWorld tickets. Be sure that they do not expire before your visit and check refund or transfer policies.

SKIP THE LINES (NO NEED WHILE RIDES ARE CLOSED)

SeaWorld San Diego has a variety of Quick Queue passes that provide guests with express entry to the best SeaWorld San Diego rides like (Manta roller coaster and Electric Eel) and priority seating at shows. I would recommend this for older kids who will primarily be interested in the thrill rides which tend to have long lines.

1. Direct From SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego offers numerous different admission ticket options via its website. Keep in mind that they charge a $9.99 service fee for online orders. The park is open on select dates as an accredited zoo.


2. Discounted SeaWorld and Multi-Park Tickets

I offer discount SeaWorld tickets right here, powered by aRes Travel who is a San Diego-based, authorized ticket seller to major California attractions. These SeaWorld tickets are print-at-home or in a mobile format so that you can head straight to the gate without the need to redeem a ticket voucher. There is a $2 convenience fee per ticket but you will still likely come out ahead.

Their discounted SeaWorld San Diego tickets also require reservations. After purchasing the tickets, you’ll receive a voucher that will have a link on it to make reservations.

SeaWorld San Diego Manta roller coaster

VISITING FOR MORE THAN ONE DAY?

Definitely consider a Fun Card, Annual Pass, or 7 Days for the Price of 1 ticket.

3. SeaWorld San Diego Fun Card

Fun Card holders receive unlimited visits through Dec. 31, 2021 to SeaWorld San Diego. This SeaWorld San Diego ticket does have some limited blockout dates, but it’s popular with residents and people who may visit more than once in a year and don’t plan to park a car in the lot.

It doesn’t provide parking and dining discounts, but it’s still a great deal seeing that it’s nearly the same price as 1-Day SeaWorld tickets. Regular price: $91.99


4. SeaWorld San Diego Annual Passes

For a bit more than the Fun Card, a SeaWorld San Diego Annual Pass can add more value. And, they’ve revised the passes to include even more for a limited time.

If you buy an annual pass now, you’ll receive the rest of 2020 free and all of 2021. Your annual pass includes the new Spooktacular and Christmas festivities that are on tap in the coming months. I’ve listed some of the pass highlights below, but the list is long for each.

Silver Annual Pass

These annual passes include unlimited admission throughout the year with:

  • unlimited admission in 2021 with no blockout dates
  • two free guest tickets
  • free general parking
  • 10% discount on dining
  • 20% off merchandise
  • and more

(Price: $126/person)

Gold Annual Pass

The Gold Annual Pass also includes:

  • unlimited admission in 2021 with no blockout dates
  • four free guest tickets
  • free up-close parking
  • 30% off daily and all-Season Discounted Quick Queue
  • 30% off merchandise
  • 15% off dining
  • and more

(Price: $156/person)

SeaWorld Platinum Pass

SeaWorld Platinum Pass holders receive:

  • unlimited admission in 2021 with no blockout dates
  • six free passes for friends
  • free up-close parking
  • free reserved show seating
  • free animal experience
  • free single-ride quick queue per day
  • free-up-close parade viewing
  • 50% off merchandise
  • 20% off dining
  • and more

(Price: $237/person)

Plus, you’ll also get access to SeaWorld San Diego, Orlando, and San Antonio; Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Williamsburg; Aquatica San Diego, Orlando, and San Antonio; Adventure Island; Water Country USA; and Sesame Place with no blockout dates in addition to many other VIP benefits and discounts for the rest of 2020 and all of 2021 with a Platinum Pass. (Price: $237/person)

HOLIDAY EVENT ADMISSION IS INCLUDED

Annual Pass holders receive free admission to Halloween Spooktacular and SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration.
Penguins in their exhibit, which you can see with discounted tickets to SeaWorld San Diego
Penguin Encounter is a popular exhibit.

5. Go San Diego (Most Popular San Diego Attractions Pass)

The Go San Diego pass saves up to 55% off of admission to 55 top San Diego attractions, including SeaWorld San Diego, in three simple steps:

  1. Choose the pass option that best suits you (you can buy an All-Inclusive pass, Explorer pass, or a Build-Your-Own pass) and buy your pass in advance.
  2. Get your pass on a mobile device or print it at home.
  3. Show the pass at any eligible attraction and you’re in for free.

The All-Inclusive passes are available in 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7-day options, each at different prices. Add only the attractions and tours you know you’ll see to the Build Your Own pass, which you can use over 60 days from the first activation. With the Explorer pass, you’ll buy the option to see 3, 4, 5, or 7 attractions and tours that you can choose as you go over the course of 60 days from first use.

Make sure the attractions you’d like to visit are listed on the option you buy. This by far the most popular San Diego sightseeing pass.

Note: Go San Diego does not qualify for the October kids free promotion.

See also: 10 Benefits of the Go San Diego Discounted Attractions Pass


6. California Explorer Pass (Includes Los Angeles and San Francisco Attractions)

The California Explorer Pass offers an excellent solution for those on a California road trip. Explore 3, 4, or 5 major California attractions over 60 days. Participating attractions include:

  • Universal Studios Hollywood
  • LEGOLAND California
  • San Diego Zoo
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • Warner Brothers Studio Tour
  • Knott’s Berry Farm
  • Knott’s Soak City
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain
  • SeaWorld San Diego
  • Belmont Park
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • California’s Great America
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Note: California Explorer Pass does not qualify for the October Kids Free promotion.


7. Bundle a Hotel with SeaWorld San Diego Tickets

You can often save even more with a SeaWorld San Diego vacation package that includes your hotel and the cost of admission.

For hotel advice, you can read my list of favorite hotels near SeaWorld San Diego.


8. AAA Discount Tickets

Members of AAA can receive various SeaWorld San Diego discount ticket options throughout the year. None are available in California at the time of this writing, but you can check with your regional office.

However, be mindful that it is often less expensive to buy directly through SeaWorld San Diego or aRes Travel than to use AAA.


9. Free Military Tickets

Active duty military members and veterans receive special SeaWorld San Diego discounts through the Waves of Honor program. Military personnel and three direct dependents will receive one complimentary admission that is valid through December 31, 2021.

Former military personnel and up to three guests may enjoy one complimentary admission to SeaWorld San Diego through November 15, 2020.

A little girl looks at a beluga whale through glass at SeaWorld San Diego.
Don’t miss the beluga whales in the Wild Arctic exhibit.

10. Teacher Fun Card

SeaWorld San Diego offers unlimited free park admission to certified California and Arizona K-12 teachers via its complimentary Teacher Fun Card. Teachers must have registered by May 1, 2021, for a 2021 Fun Card. The 2021 Teacher Fun Card is valid for unlimited admission through December 31, 2021. Blockout dates apply.


SeaWorld San Diego Tickets FAQs

These are the most frequently asked questions that land in my inbox. Or, consider this your TL;DR (too long; didn’t read).

How much are tickets to SeaWorld in San Diego?

The gate price for general admission SeaWorld San Diego tickets is currently $93.99 for ages 3 and older.

How can I get discounted tickets to the park?

I offer up-to-date tips for finding discounted tickets through trusted vendors. The theme park also offers Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales and limited-time offers throughout the year.

I have tickets for when the park was closed. What happens?

Unused SeaWorld San Diego tickets that were to be used when the park was closed in 2020, automatically have an extended expiration date. These tickets will be valid through December 31, 2021. Unused internationally-purchased tickets will be valid through the first week of January 2022.

You do not need to do anything to receive the expiration extension. You can also reschedule unused park experiences through December 31, 2021.

Do children get into the park for free?

Children under the age of two can enter the park for free year-round. However, SeaWorld San Diego participates in the annual Kids Free San Diego promotion in October. This is a county-wide promotion where kids receive free admission when accompanied by an adult who holds a qualifying ticket.

How many days do I need at SeaWorld San Diego?

If you are pressed for time, you can enjoy the park in a half-day. However, most families spend a full day unless they’re splitting visits into multiple days.

Believe it or not, multi-day visits are common, especially for families staying in nearby Mission Bay hotels. They’ll buy the 7 Days for the Price of 1 ticket (temporarily unavailable) and spend a few or more half-days in the park. This is especially convenient when traveling with children who need to nap or don’t have the stamina for a full theme park day.

Can you buy packages that include SeaWorld and San Diego Zoo?

Yes, you can purchase several multi-park passes that include both theme parks.

  • Seaworld and San Diego Zoo Combo Package includes one-day general admission to the San Diego Zoo and seven consecutive days of SeaWorld San Diego general admission.
  • The San Diego 3-For-1 ticket gets you admission into SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park within seven days of your visit to the first park.
  • The Go San Diego® 3-Day Pass grants you access to more than 55 attractions in the area, including both parks, but you must visit them within three consecutive days.

How much is SeaWorld San Diego parking?

General parking for a single car costs $25. Up-close parking costs $28, and VIP parking starts at $35. Annual pass holders receive free general parking. 

Does the park offer annual passes?

Yes, the park offers three versions of the SeaWorld annual pass: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each pass has its own unique perks, but all passes offer unlimited admission, free guest tickets, discounts on dining, free general parking, and more. The Platinum pass provides unlimited visits to 11 other parks across the country. 

What kind of ticket upgrades are available? 

The park offers several different upgrades you can purchase, from animal encounters and reserved seating at shows to Quick Queue front-of-the-line access (we recommend this upgrade) and dining specials. These experiences are additional add-ons to your general admission ticket.

Are all the rides included with admission?

All the rides are included with your ticket, except for Bayside Skyride gondola and Skytower. Both rides cost an additional $6 for ages 3 and older. Rides are temporarily closed until further notice.

How Can I Get SeaWorld San Diego Discounts in the Park?

The best way to secure in-park discounts is through an annual pass. Depending on whether you choose Silver, Gold, or Platinum, you’ll receive 10-20% off of dining and up to 50% off of select merchandise purchases in addition to other perks.

What is your personal experience with the park?

I live on Mount Soledad in La Jolla, and I can see SeaWorld San Diego from my backyard. Having grown up in Orange County, I’ve been visiting the park since I was a kid. And I get to visit now as a parent. Sesame Street Bay of Play appeals to toddlers, the new roller coasters thrill teens, and there’s plenty to do for ages in between.

When marine mammals are in danger along the San Diego coastline, SeaWorld San Diego rescues them. I’ve called their rescue hotline when I’ve seen La Jolla seals and sea lions hurt or malnourished. They’ve always responded and have even followed up with me to let me know what happened to the animals.

How do you buy discount SeaWorld San Diego tickets?

See also: Top 10 Things to Do in San Diego and Best Things to Do at Mission Bay

Learn also how to buy discount:

Photo credits: Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld® San Diego

Find the best ways to buy discounted SeaWorld San Diego tickets.

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9 thoughts on “How to Buy Discounted Tickets to SeaWorld San Diego

  1. Do you feel like the current Seaworld specials are as good as they get, or should we hold out and wait for better?

  2. I was thinking about getting annual passes for my daughter and myself – we live in AZ but come over a few times a year. Would it make sense to buy one regular annual pass for the free parking and other benefits, and one Fun Card for the small savings, or is there something I am not considering? Thanks!

    1. I’ve never purchased that combo but I don’t see why it couldn’t work! I just updated the Fun Card link in this post as I clicked on the link I originally had and didn’t see it with the annual pass options. You’ll see it there now.

    1. I do not see the SoCal pass offered in 2018. It seems that the $109.99 pass is the best value because it includes parking.

  3. Thank you very much for you extensive research!! We are planning a trip to San Diego in April. Trying to be as frugal as possible so we can enjoy the sights.

  4. We’re a family of 4 planning to visit SeaWorld in May ‘21. Is it possible for me to buy an individual gold pass now, and then use the free friends tickets for my husband and two kids when we visit in May? I don’t see any restrictions on their website, but it seems too good to be true! Thanks!

    1. The Gold Pass is a great deal. The only thing I see is that it says “Available Soon” when it talks about the three guest passes and that they will be good on specified dates that are not published yet. I suspect it’s because they just announced today that rides are opening on April 12 and there are some restrictions our parks need to enforce when it comes to theme park rides — theme parks are only permitted to open to California residents. SeaWorld is open right now as an accredited zoo. I’d imagine the details will shake out in the next few days!

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