Alcohol sales boost margins at theme parks

Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:25 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Forty-five percent of 165 U.S. tourist attractions surveyed between 2000 and 2005 either started serving alcohol during that period or expanded venues in which it was sold, says theme park consultant Dennis Spiegel, whose Cincinnati-based International Theme Park Services conducted the study. Spiegel says the trend is not surprising given a widening acceptance of alcohol in American society and the huge profits resulting from alcohol sales. Parks say guests are asking for these products.

Read more from The Herald-Tribune.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:40 AM
Go figure....

When we spend a few days at CLP, either camping or staying at the Parkside, we will usually knock down a few beers because we don't have to drive anywhere after we leave the park.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:47 AM
And, unlike, say, a sporting venue, I rarely see people who are seriously impaired in an amusement park. I do enjoy a drink now and again, and my park visits, more often than not, don't include a drink.

The margarita stand at Epcot, though, well...I'm not passing by that baby. That's good stuff.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 10:03 AM
I can't imagine the appeal of paying the prices for alcohol *inside* a corporate theme park. Kicking back at the end of the day in some bar next to the hotel, maybe.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 10:06 AM
The hotel bars I frequent aren't any cheaper. ;) I was paying nearly $6 for a beer at the Fairmont in San Jose last month. That's a better deal than Sweden, though---beers there were about 50Kr, which works out to almost $7!

But, I think the pricing works in the parks' favor, in terms of providing a good atmosphere. I don't mind paying $6 for a beer once in a while. But, I probably won't buy four of them.

Stadiums charge even more, but there folks don't seem to mind the price of four beers...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 10:17 AM
janfrederick's avatar Sure is nice to have an icy cold beer on a hot day at a park. Parks would be crazy not to pick up all that practically free cash.

As for prices though, too bad most places search the heck out of you otherwise...ahem...hip flask. ;)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 10:38 AM
^LOL, my buddy tried the hip flask and set off the metal detectors at SFWOA a few years back. He guzzled it and took it back to the car. :)

Last summer at CLP, beers were like 3.00 a can/bottle. Not great, but not bad either.
*** This post was edited by FLYINGSCOOTER 7/12/2006 10:47:56 AM ***

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 11:30 AM
eightdotthree's avatar My girlfriend and I will always enjoy a beer at a park, usually if we have been there before, or have more than one day there. For instance, we always grab a beer at IOA, CP, BG. It DOES make it feel more like a vacation, even if your on a day trip.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 12:56 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar I don't get it. Well, I do, but I'm playing dumb for the moment. ;) You can have a beer at home just like a soda. But an ICEE...that takes more effort. Something unusual like that is what catches my attention at a park.

I guess it's just the novelty of it not being the norm. People are surprised to see beer served at an amusement park. Something about it feels naughty perhaps...escapism. :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 1:54 PM

Alcohol sales boost margins at theme parks

I'll drink to that! Hic! ;)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 2:12 PM
With the price of beer in theme parks, i wouldnt pay that much.

Im very content to have my beer/cocktail back at home or the hotel if visiting than pay the prices they charge in the parks Its just as bad as the overpriced water at parks and i wouldnt pay that either.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 2:32 PM
janfrederick's avatar I disagree, I'd much rather have an overpriced beer than an overpriced water. ;)

AV, why not be REALLY different and have both? At the same time? ;)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 2:36 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar Again, I refer to the woderful ICEE. Although I can get an ICEE at other places like Target, K-Mart, the's not something readily available to me normally like water and soda and possibly alcohol. So paying $4 for an ICEE doesn't seem all that bad. It's a special treat. I can't exactly have one back at the hotel or when I get home. But the other "common"'s not worth it. I've got soda at home. I'll have a can of Mt. Dew when I get home. Until then, I can drink the free water.

ICEEs rule! :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 2:54 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar A spiked ICEE... ;)
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 4:28 PM
Many factors determine whether a park should be "wet" or "dry" (No, I'm not talking about water attractions here). The theming, the type of visitors desired, even the nature of the local region can all play a part here.

Some parks remain alcohol-free in order to reinforce the family atmosphere. This is true for many small parks and for some mid-sized parks such as KW and HW. Other parks include alcohol because it fits with the theming of the park or because the park wants to be more accommodating to adults. The Busch parks and PKI are examples of this. Revenue is a major concern, of course, especially with many of the larger corporate parks. Naturally, in the case of the Busch parks, there is another corporate reason for serving beer.

Regional factors are also involved. Some parks might be in "dry" counties or towns or might be in regions where alcohol is looked upon with disfavor. Such parks would not serve alcohol.

Even parks with the same ownership vary in policy here. WDWMK is alcohol-free because it is so oriented toward families with children but WDWEC (especially the World Showcase section) would be missing something if no alcohol were served.

*** This post was edited by Arthur Bahl 7/12/2006 4:33:11 PM ***

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 4:54 PM
kpjb's avatar

I disagree, I'd much rather have an overpriced beer than an overpriced water.


I'd rather pay $6 for a 20oz. beer than $4 for a 20oz. Pepsi.

It's not like it's Holiday World and everything else is free. Free Pepsi vs. $6 beer = me drinking Diet Mountain Dew all day. $6 vs. $4, though? That's a different story.

IOA even has happy hour in the bar that's in the big tree thingy. 1/2 price domestic drafts and wines. Can't beat a $2.50 beer on a hot day!

*** This post was edited by kpjb 7/12/2006 4:55:32 PM ***

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 4:58 PM
Jeff's avatar When this subject comes up, usually someone starts talking about how alcohol consumers == pathetic drunk idiots. I can't believe it hasn't come up yet.

But close enough... in Arthur's post above. :) I've yet to visit any theme park that serves alcohol where the alcohol detracts from the "family atmosphere." Not even one.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 6:04 PM
I have, Jeff, but that park was the exception that proves your rule. I won't call it out (though I probably should) but I will say that the most entertaining thing in the park was watching the county sheriff evict a couple of drunks from the premises...

MOST places, though, I'll agree with Jeff. Selling drink does not equate to widespread drunkenness.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 7:17 PM
One of the best things about DCA are the magaritas. The whole park is good example on how alcoholic drinks can be intergrated into the park setting, such as the Winery attraction, without disrupting the rest of the park.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006 7:58 PM
I worked at Riverside before it was SFNE. They had a dollar draft race event on Sunday nights. Man that sucked bad. People that can hardly stand up don't like being told they're too drunk to ride.

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