I am big fan of amusement parks and roller coasters, but in the last decade it seems that the Business of running an amusement park has over shadowed guest happiness. I understand that all of them are a business, but how much should the general public have to pay before they stop the sky high prices?
I plan to write a hub about this, and would like to know what you think.
One of my biggest gripes is paying to park the car. I will not name any particular park, but, one near where I live charges $10.00 to park the car, which is crazy considering that the park is in the middle of nowhere, and is not a very big park. This year I understand that they have roped off area parking near the park entrance in which they charge even more for those who want to park by the gate. I'm not sure how much that is, but in some parks as much as $25.00, usually $10 or $15 more than regular parking. They make huge amounts of money on parking, when not that long ago, it used to be free for everyone.
Another thing, is outrageous food prices. I went to a certain park in Ohio, which had a Subway inside the park, and a footlong sub was $20.00!!! What the hell happened to the $5.00 footlong! We were all singing $20.00...$20.00 footlong. Not to mention a medium coke at $4.95. and the same chips for $2.95. The percentage of profit on those items must be staggering.
Coaster enthusiasts say profit equals better attractions and rides. Well I know a couple parks that have almost double their prices and have only added a few rides in decade, and only a few of them are worth mention. So are you ok with this? When is it going to be too much?
Another thing that I am on the fence on, is paying to cut in line. There are now parks offering passes that allow you to skip the line for an extra fee. I know of one that charges $30.00 extra on top of regular park admission, $35.00 if it is on a Saturday. I can barely afford the regular park admission, parking and food. Not to mention some parks that now charge $10.00 for a locker. Usually those that have water parks.
I say that I am on the fence on this, because I can see the value in paying extra to cut in line, mostly at parks that have 2 and 3 hour waits for rides. But some parks have very few rides, and still have the passes, and charge the same amount as the larger parks where the pass might only be needed for 1 or 2 rides. or not at all. Which would lead me to ask the question. Where are these passes sold? If you arrive at a park and the lines are light, how are you going to know if it's worth it?
I have been flamed up and down for my comments among the coaster crowd, but I would like to know what the general public thinks. Personally, I think it's all a huge rip off. On a positive note though, Theme parks are still a better deal than a traveling carnival, they are bordering on insane. Not to mention cheap.
I understand that it costs a lot to run an amusement park. There is equipment, maintenance, cleanup and insurance that I imagine would be horrific to look at. I don't mind paying a little extra for entry into an amusement park, it's the extra's once you get into the park that get me. Food and trinkets should not cost an arm and your first unborn child lol
Personally I think it depends on the person. For some people, spending five dollars on a coke is worth it. I worked at Walt Disney World for about a year and a half and I saw people shovel out hundreds of dollars on what I considered to be worthless crap. They would pay 8.00 just to have their cookie shaped like a Mickey Mouse. And they didn't care. It made them happy. Other people would gripe at having to pay 1.00 for a bottle of water. It really just depends.
I do have to agree with you that most amusement parks completely rip off the guests; and being an insider, I know that is true. but people pay for it, and sometimes have no choice but to pay for it (they gotta eat!) so the company will obviously take advantage of it.
'Tis quite sad.
I think Disney World would be the exception in this case. I have been there, and their guest service is outstanding, and some of their attractions are the envy of the world. Granted, a lot of the rides at the Magic Kingdom are glorified dark rides with Disney theme. But very well done.
Also, a majority of Disney's restaurants are well themed, and air conditioned, not just a portable stand plopped in the park, that can also be found at any traveling carnival. I am not sure if it is still there, but the living seas pavilion at Epcot had a dining room where you were seated right next to a huge aquarium, where you would likely see a 500 pound grouper fish swimming by, with a shrimp meal at only $18.00 per person with table service. For the same $18.00 at any other park, you get waited on by a bored teenager for an average hot dog, cold fries, and an over priced soda. And, the parks act like they are doing you a favor by having it there, as some parks have a portable food stand every 50 feet.
Also, Disney's food is top notch. I have never been upset or unhappy with a meal there. We also ate at the German Pavilion and the Mexican Pavilion at Epcot on our trip, and the scenery and food was very good. We wanted to eat at the China Pavilion, but the wait for a table was 3 days!!! That's good service! Not an empty place with crappy food.
Cedar Point is a crapshoot. You have the nice places to eat, along with the bored teenager stands. But, luckily you have the option to pick and chose the good over the bad. At some parks its all the same, no matter where you eat in the park, and very expensive, like a $9.00 smoothie! GOD!!
I usually stock up on food before I arrive at the park, and keep soda in my cooler. Another thing people do that is pretty smart, is they keep a frozen bottle of water in a carry on bag, and just refill it with water at the fountains.
There are lots of ways to save money, but the parks are quickly finding ways to keep you spending your money. I have heard that some parks have removed the drinking fountains, and sell bottled water. Then dare you to drink the water from their restroom sinks.
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