Australian theme parks ban outside food, guests protest

Posted Monday, July 27, 2009 11:41 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Gold Coast theme park patrons are being forced to eat lunch in the carpark after a controversial new ban on food brought from home. The Warner Village Theme Park Group, which owns Sea World and Movie World, has just introduced the ban on packed lunches. Eskies have been banned and security guards have begun searching patrons' bags for sandwiches and snacks.

Read more from The Courier Mail.

Monday, July 27, 2009 11:42 AM

"Americans call the move, 'normal.'" :)

Monday, July 27, 2009 2:23 PM

I have to say that I found the Warner Village parks had a Six Flags-style policy on carry on items, too - everything had to be in a paid locker, including glasses. Securing eyewear with a strap was not permitted.

Monday, July 27, 2009 4:45 PM

(nearsighted user quietly scratches another park off his list of places to go...)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 1:24 PM

I have to agree with the comment about food contamination and allergies. Along with diabetics, this seems a bit extreme.

I wouldn't say searching for a sandwich or snack bar is normal for many parks here (at least not for any of the SF/CF/ smaller parks I have been to). Ive been to a few parks and I could always sneak a few snacks/water bottles in here and there, either in a small pack or just in my cargo pockets. I'm sure if I had a cooler that would be a bit out of the question, but with my cargo shorts I could get away with quite a bit. I wasn't exactly patted down or asked to take everything out of my pockets/bags (unless it was metal objects for a detector). It seems these people are being searched in such a thorough manner, and that is just ridiculous.

Last edited by P18, Tuesday, July 28, 2009 1:27 PM
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 2:16 PM

The tall, crooked toothed guard stretched the latex glove past his wrist, let it go with a snap, and then exclaimed in a slow, breathy voice, "Allrighty. Let's see if you have a sandwich up your butt."


Tuesday, July 28, 2009 2:54 PM

Then you have your picnic parks like Kennywood, where you can pull up in the back, drop off your basket then proceed to the parkling lot. Cedar Point used to be that way too. But I think we are used to the no food policy at most parks now, and the ones that still allow it are so entrenched in tradition that they can't get out of it without causing a major uproar.

Hell, I feel guilty when I sneak a box of SnoCaps into the movies.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 1:27 AM

You can still bring food into Walt Disney World.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 9:53 AM

It's called "Corperate Greed". :(

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 10:44 AM

What does wanting to make a profit have to do with greed?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 11:36 AM

They're taking away from the guests to make a buck!!! I'm boycotting Australia!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 12:29 PM

Jeff, you missed the memo where any business looking to make money is full of greedy, soul-sucking, corporate vampires?

I still insist that a corporation or business, by definition, cannot be greedy. Their sole purpose is to generate revenue.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 3:27 PM

I'm just curious if it will really help their bottom line or not. That is, will the increase in food sales offset the decrease in ticket sales (even a small decrease)?

And also there is the question of atmosphere. Laid back vs. corporate. Which one attracts more customers? I guess they'll find out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 5:05 PM

IMO, greed goes beyond just wanting to make a profit, and yes a business or businessmen can become greedy. Price gouging, paying exploitative wages, using underhanded tactics to eliminate competition and create a monopoly... things like that. I would say the owners of the park I went to while growing up were greedy. They took all the revenue, but put hardly anything back in the way of upkeep let alone improvements.

I wouldn't call this park's decision greed. They're entitled to make revenue by selling food and drink in the park. They're not forcing anybody to buy it. There's nothing saying that people aren't free to leave and eat elsewhere.

In fact, parks that do allow people to bring their own food provide picnic facilities. They're not required to do that. Bringing in outside food is a privilege the parks extends to its guests. It's not a right for them to expect, even if it's "always been that way."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 5:36 PM

...Also, I am not entirely convinced that the decision to prohibit people from carrying in food is a strictly profit driven decision. As has already been noted, there is nothing preventing people from picnicking in the parking lot. Cedar Point has been cited as an example...there, the same picnic areas where people used to park their baskets and coolers inside the park were not removed, they were merely moved outside the park gates. So you didn't even have to go any further.

I wonder how much it is a matter of getting better control over what is in the park and who consumes what. Alcohol, for example, is a major concern here. If a park is licensed to serve alcohol but allows a customer to carry in something that the park is not legally permitted to serve, it puts their license in jeopardy. Likewise, if someone brings in a beer and serves it to a minor in the park grounds, the way the laws are written, the park can be cited for a violation of their permit! Now, I would hope that Australia is less Puritanical in that regard than Ohio, but that kind of thing can be a real headache if you allow picnics into the park grounds. Likewise, there are issues where parks may wish to restrict or prohibit the use of metal or glass containers in the park. Waterparks will typically add beverage lids and straws to the list of materials they don't want in the park. Again, it's easier to keep that stuff out of the machinery if you can keep it entirely out of the park.

As for the whole idea of corporate greed...greed is what makes Capitalism work. You really can't evaluate the company's actions on the basis of whether they are "greedy". Instead, it is all about value: do they provide an adequate value for the price they charge. And at some parks, at least where food is concerned, the answer is "no". It isn't because the park is excessively greedy, it is because the park's pricing is out of line with what the customers perceive to be a good value. To say the park is being excessively greedy is really just a shorthand for "they charge more than I am willing to pay."

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 5:42 PM

RatherGoodBear said:
IMO, greed goes beyond just wanting to make a profit, and yes a business or businessmen can become greedy. Price gouging, paying exploitative wages, using underhanded tactics to eliminate competition and create a monopoly... things like that.

Perhaps, but if these things occur and are considered objectionable, presumably the market responds by not buying that company's product.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 7:49 PM

RideMan said:
To say the park is being excessively greedy is really just a shorthand for "they charge more than I am willing to pay."

Give that man a gold star!

Nice, Dave. Very well said. :)

And from there it goes to Jeff's point - if enough people feel that way, the market responds accordingly and the business fails.

But even in that case, it's still not greed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 10:40 PM

Paging Gordon Gekko!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 10:46 PM

Put Bear and Dave into a room for a few weeks, and they could probably end world hunger and find a cure for the common cold. Brilliant!

Thursday, July 30, 2009 12:14 AM

Thank goodness greed has been proven not to exist. I'll have to pass that information on to my good friend Bernie... Oops, I'll have to wait for him to call me. They don't take calls where he is. Aw well.


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