I have been going to Carowinds since I was a child myself. In the last couple of years though, we have decided to get Gold Passes for our family. Here’s why its worth it to us, even though we drive 1.5 hours to get there. First of all, the passes cover the $20 parking fee for every visit and pass holders have access to special parking(if you get there early enough). Second, we spent roughly $100 each for 3 passes this year. We have already been four times this season, and the passes paid for themselves after the second visit. So, even if we drive the 1.5 hours and only stay about 3 hours, I’m happy with that. I also like that we don’t feel the need to cram both the water park and rides into one day to get our money’s worth out of it. Now that the weather is much warmer here, its nice to go to just the water park side for a few hours. Where as on the flip side, we just went to the rides side last week and due to the heat the lines were super short! And let me tell you, to get your bang for your buck, all of the food and drink stands offer free cups of water. Third, new this year, Carowinds offers a pre-k pass that offers free visits all season long to children aged 3-5 at no cost. Our youngest is already free, as he is 2. With a family our size, I have found that pass deals are the best way to get the most for our money. Entry fees for our entire family for one visit is roughly $255!! We only paid $45 more than for unlimited season visits! I am considering a few upgrades to our pass next year to include fast passes. These passes allow us to jump to the front of the line and immediately ride instead of waiting. This would change the pass cost to $200 a piece, but would definitely be worth it for my husband and oldest who are always on rollercoasters! Carowinds also recently redid the younger child section (anyone 36″ and up) and added in a huge playground and a Snoopy themed ride area. The playground is great for me with the younger ones while the older two ride some of the larger attractions with my husband. It keeps them entertained and happy, and allows me to sit down! Bethany and her family have passes as well. The passes also have free entry into Scarowinds at Halloween and the newest event, Winterfest. She lives about 20 minutes from the park, and goes more frequently than I do. It is definitely worth it to anyone living locally! She also has the dining plan on her passes, which cost about an extra $100, like the fast passes, but it allows her to have 2 meals at the park, 4 hours apart. All in all, these passes are a great deal for family entertainment! I know we will continue to get them for years to come!