My family and I visited Valleyfair on opening weekend this May 2022 and had a blast! It was a little chilly but the weather has since warmed up for sure, and Soak City Waterpark is now open as well. We’ve also been back a couple of times in June, including since Grand Carnivale entertainment and food have returned!
In 2021 we visited Valleyfair a couple of times and I wrote about our visits here.
But after visiting again this year, I put this list together to share what families should know before going!
(Note: I updated this list July 1, 2022)
12 Things to Know Before Visiting Valleyfair in 2022
1.Get discounted tickets in advance online (don’t buy at the gate!), and you’ll save the most on 1-2 day tickets through my exclusive link.
Tickets are much cheaper online if you get them in advance. On the Valleyfair website, they’re $32.99 – $36.99 (depending on the day), plus taxes and fees, but they’re $60.00 at the gate. That’s some big savings!
BUT they’re even cheaper if you get them through my link! My website lists prices for a fixed $37.99, but that INCLUDES taxes, and fees are cheaper!
Here is what my discounted ticket site looks like:
Here is what it looks like purchasing 1 ticket on my discounted ticket page. The total is $39.99.
Here is the SAME purchase on Valleyfair’s ticket page. See how much higher the added charges are? The total is $44.56.
You save MORE purchasing tickets through my link!
There is also a 2-day deal option for less than 2 purchased separately!
They’re $64.00. It’s $71.98 if you purchase two 1-day tickets so it’s cheaper! And you can use the 2 days non-consecutively.
2. If you have preschoolers, do NOT buy their tickets – get them the FREE Valleyfair Pre-K Pass.
With this pass your 3 – 5 year-old can get in to Valleyfair and Soak City for unlimited FREE visits during the entire 2022 season. (Note that you’ll have to pay for your own admission – see my tips above!)
3. If you’re going to Valleyfair more than twice this season, get a season pass.
A season pass is as low as $89 so you’ll get your money’s worth after just a few visits.
4. Plan to pay $20.00 for parking, and DON’T pay more to upgrade.
Parking is $20.00, and it’s $30.00 for preferred parking. That supposedly gives you access to one of 100 spots closest to the park. But honestly, there are so many parking spots that are just as close as these, so it’s not worth the upcharge. I’ve heard from people who have paid more that it wasn’t any better, and everyone can park wherever they want, with or without the preferred parking.
Note that you can pay in advance for parking on the Valleyfair website.
5. It can take some time to get in as bags are checked and families are taking photos.
A security guard hand inspected my bag each time I went in to the park, last year and this year.
This, along with crowds, can cause lines and delay getting into the park so plan on some time for this.
Note that you can’t bring in food (you can bring in water bottles – continue reading…).
Another traffic jam at the entrance can be families taking photos right inside the entrance. There are professional photographers that will take your photos, which can be nice, but you can also take your own photos.
Note that unlike in 2021, you don’t make a reservation in advance for when you go. So it may get pretty busy.
6. Bring your own water bottle.
Valleyfair allows one refillable water bottle per person. I bring my own backpack with one for each in my family/group. Then we refill the water bottles at water fountains, which are abundant around the park.
Don’t buy water at the park – it’s easily $5.00 or more, like everything else. Speaking of consumables…
7. Food is expensive. Bring food in a cooler (keep in your car) or buy a dining pass to save money.
I couldn’t believe how expensive food was in Valleyfair. A piece of pizza is $12.99? A drink is $5.00? Yes, it is. It’s good food, and can be plentiful, but you can easily spend $100 for a family here in one day, if not more.
There are options though. You can get “All Season Dining” starting at $89 per person or “All Day Dining” for $29.99 per person. This gives you food during your visit for one set price and can definitely be cheaper.
(If you do this – check out my review of their new foods in 2022! Plus see my full article linked at the bottom of this page. PLUS – I love the Carnivale international foods this year. They’re priced at $5.50 – 9.50 per dish, and you can get food tasting cards, all of which are reasonable. Check out my VIDEO on Instagram or see it below, showcasing Grand Carnival and the yummy foods we tried!)
Or just do what some families do – bring food from home, keep it in a cooler in your car, and have a picnic outside or at your car.
Yes – you can leave Valleyfair and get a printed ticket to come back in the same day. But note that the parking fee does not include coming and going. You can’t leave the parking lot and come back without paying for parking a second time.
8. The park’s hours vary throughout the summer, so check the hours before you go.
Earlier this season the hours have usually been 11:00am – 7:00pm and they go from 10:00am – 9:00pm and even 10:00pm many days this summer. But some days are not open as long as you might expect. Even though, it was a full day for our family – we were plenty tired by 6pm just from the rides! But note that you may not get to see everything you want in a day, if you want to enjoy both the rides and the waterpark.
Also, all rides may not be staffed all the time.
We went opening weekend, and there were some rides that weren’t open yet. Then we went on a Sunday in June and the train wasn’t running when we were there. This may be different on busier days, when more people are in the park, but just be prepared.
9. Lines can be long, but there are options.
Since we’ve visited this year and last year, I’ve noticed some rides always had long lines. Thrill rides like the Corkscrew and Steel Venom probably had the longest lines, but I know there were others with long lines.
But there are things you can do about it, to avoid waiting too long or at least prepare for it. I recommend 2 things:
- Get the Fast Lane pass. It’s separate from admission and starts at $60 per day/per person. It can be pricey but may be worth it. I recommend it mostly for teenagers (or anyone) wanting to go on all the popular thrill rides like rollercoasters.
- Get the free Valleyfair app as it includes ride wait times and other features.
10. The entire park is cashless.
This one is easy to forget.
Cash is useless at Valleyfair now, even for small purchases. Bring a credit or debit card to use for everything you’ll need!
OR – bring cash and exchange it for a gift card to use in Valleyfair. My daughter did this when going with some friends, but note that the value expired within a couple weeks so be sure to use it up.
11. Enjoy entertainment in the park, included with your admission.
Just walking through the park we saw a local choir singing, and the Snoopy gang dancing and singing on stage. We also got a picture with Sally! Valleyfair has a variety of entertainment and photo opportunities throughout the day.
(From June 25th – July 10th be sure to enjoy Grand Carnivale entertainment! It’s really good!)
See my video here:
View this post on Instagram
12. There are many games! Here’s what to play to win
My kids LOVE games at Valleyfair, but some are not easy to win. For example, there’s a ring toss game that is very hard to win (you try to toss the rings over glass bottles – they basically just bounce off). But we found a couple that are easier to win – the Guessing Game and the Prize Wheel! These are just outside the entrance to Planet Snoopy. If you or your kids are looking to win some plushies or even a free fast pass ticket for one ride, try these games! We have won something almost every time. In fact, my kids and I each won prizes at both games this year on our first try! (Note it costs $5 per try but for me, it’s worth the high chance of winning.)
New Foods and Happenings in 2022!
I got a sneak peek sampling their NEW foods and learning about their events in 2022! Learn about their new foods, what’s happening in 2022 and my experience here:
Except for the FREE Pre-K passes, there are no other discounts available except for the military. Military tickets are available for $32 each. If you qualify for that, you can get them from the Valleyfair website. But you’ll still save MORE buying regular tickets from my site!
Valleyfair – Hotel & Tickets Package
PLUS – Bundle and SAVE up to 30% when you combine your hotel with Valleyfair tickets!
Visit my Valleyfair packages page for deals on tickets + hotels!
MY DEALS ARE THE LOWEST PRICES OUT THERE!
Did I forget anything? Let me know!
Learn more about Valleyfair on their website.