Six Flags offers two dining passes, are they a good value?

Six Flags offers two dining passes, are they a good value?  Should you get one? Just like a college meal plan, they entitle you to get, per day of a visit:

  • Basic dining plan: one lunch and one "snack" (on sale in September / October for $49.99 per person)
  • Premium dining plan: one lunch, one dinner and one snack, and it includes an unlimited free-refills all-year drink cup.  (Premium dining plan is on sale in September / October for $89.99 per person)

The hours and rules concerning what and when lunch, dinner and snack vary somewhat from year to year.  In 2019, you could use any of them at any time. This year, the lunch time window is from opening until 4 pm and dinner is from 4 pm until closing. Of course, this may vary from park to park, and they can change it at any time. 

(Click here to return to the Six Flags buying guide and calculator)

The Options

OK, face it, you and you kids are going to need to eat and drink while you are there.  Over the past 15 years, I have tried it every which way, and there's no getting around it, you only have the following options, from cheapest cost on up.:

  1. Eat immediately before you go into the park, and do not eat or drink  (or drink only water, from water fountains, which are rare)
  2. Buy unlimited drink cups (average cost, $20 each) and do not eat in the park
  3. Buy unlimited drink cups and leave food in the car, and go out to the car when you are hungry, then re-enter the park.
  4. Buy the basic meal plan and drink only water
  5. Buy the premium meal plan which comes with unlimited free-refill drink cups for the whole year.
  6. Buy food la carte each time you go to the park (spoiler alert, this option is horrifically expensive)

The Bottom Line

Option 1 works only for brief visits, say 2 hours or less.

Option 2 is near impossible, as you waste a lot of time going to the car, or simply become very hungry,

Option 3 works if you eat right before you enter the park, and stay 3 hours or less.

Option 4 is feasible, as Six Flags will give you cups of tap water for free when you get your meal.

Option 6 is truly absurdly expensive.  Six Flags even admits it, saying,

Option 5 is the best option

Six Flags says:

On average, we've found that the Deluxe Season Dining Pass is a great value for anyone who uses the park to visit at least four times over the course of the season.

This actually makes sense. The premium passes cost about  $90  on sale each Fall. So take 90, divide by 3 (lunch, dinner, snack), and that is $30 per meal/snack per year.  Well, the average cost of any meal is at least $10., and snacks are at least $7, so if you were to buy each of those on every visit, you would come close in 3 visits, and by the 4th visit, you are ahead.

But even if you tried to save money by eating at a nearby fast food restaurant, like Burger King, McDonald's, Chik-fIL-a, etc., you would still pay at least $5/person, and then there is the lost time waiting to order and get your food.  "Fast" food is rarely fast these days.

What about dietary health?

It is true that most Six Flags food is truly crap, as far as health is concerned, like the funnel cake ( lard-fried dough with sugar all over it...).  But there are some healthy options. Grilled chicken, salads, etc. And some of them taste decent.


Basic or Premium Dining Pass?

There's no reason to get the basic dining plan: the Premium dining plan is about $40 more, BUT in includes the unlimited free drinks cup, which is about $20 by itself, so essentially, you are adding the dinner meal for $20 per year.

Notes about the Fall / Halloween Sale

If you buy your a Deluxe Dining Pass during the Halloween sale, you get a free upgrade to Premium dining pass, which:

  • Provides lunch, dinner and a snack each visit (the basic dining pass is lunch and snack only)
  • You can eat at every Six Flags theme park and
  • It includes free all-year free  Drink Bottle (the basic dining pass does not include the cup) Since the cups cost about $20 each, this is a big deal.


Also, when you buy the 2021 dining plans, they are valid IMMEDIATELY.  In other words, you can starting using the dining passes and unlimited drink bottles immediately (in 2020) and they are still valid until December 31, 2021. Effectively, you get 15 months to use them.


Cost comparisons for other times of the year.

Whenever Six Flags has a sale, and during non-sale periods, I will create a cost comparison for those times, as well.  Stop back then!