Busch ups Florida single-day prices, drops multi-day Florida resident prices

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

The price of a basic one-day, one-park ticket to SeaWorld is now $69.95, up from $67.95. Busch also increased the prices of basic tickets to Aquatica (to $41.95,) Busch Gardens (to $67.95) and Adventure Island in Tampa (to $37.95.) Multi-day resident tickets will see a 20% cut in price.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

I realize that prices will always increase, but it seems that there has to be a tipping point somewhere. I mean, in 15 years I can see ticket prices easily nearing $100. Will people still pay or will parks start seeing a decline in attendence when it gets to the point that the average family cant afford it?
LostKause's avatar
15 years? I think that we'll see $100 by the end of the Decade...just a few years from now.

I remember when I said here on CoasterBuzz that $50 was the tipping point, way back when tickets were only $45ish. I guess I was wrong like usual.

Parks are getting very expensive though. I keep searching for a decent discount for BGE because I am going in a few weeks, and I can't find anything substantial. BG is way too expensive, but the product is high quality. You get what you pay for.

Lord Gonchar's avatar
I think that for whatever reason the average enthusiast posting to an internet forum underestimates the average family's ability to spend on entertainment - especially a vacation destination.

It's a stance I've taken for quite a while now. :)

Consider that SeaWorld is the 12th most visited theme park in the world and Busch Gardens is 19th. Doesn't sound like two parks that have priced themselves out of anything.

Kick The Sky's avatar
Interesting that they are increasing prices while fuel costs go up and airlines continue to go out of business. I think the Florida theme parks are going to be in a lot of trouble very soon when 5-600 dollar airfares become normal and the average family cannot even travel to Florida. If this happens, Sea World is going to have to do what ever it takes to get people through the gates.
From what I'm seeing, the leisure market is starting to split a bit. There really are folks out there who don't much care that gas is $4, because they already had a lot of headroom between income and fixed expenses. They may cut back a little here or there, but it won't change their lives or their vacation plans. I'm going to suggest that a lot of families visiting Orlando, particularly those who have to fly to get there, fit into this class.

On the other hand, there is no denying that a lot of folks are feeling a lot of pain in any once place. So, the strategy clearly is: lighten the load on the locals (many of whom are really hurting) but soak the tourists who can afford it.

Sounds like a reasonable strategy to me. If I'm flying to Floria for $400 or so per person (which is not unreasonable for a peak season fare from DTW these days) a few extra dollars in tickets doesn't make or break the trip. But, the folks in Lakeland who are getting hammered in one of the country's worst real estate markets could really use the break.

LostKause's avatar
...And Busch park do offer some discount to FL and VA residents, Noble. You make a lot of sense.
Lord Gonchar's avatar
So where does my family fall in?

We're flying to Orlando in the fall and were savvy enough to score FL state ID so that we can get the resident discounts on our trip.

Enough headroom to not change lives or plans, but still able to take advantage of the breaks available. To quote Hannah Montana, "It's the best of both worlds" ;)

I think that puts you in the category of "too much time on your hands."
Lord Gonchar's avatar
LOL! Maybe.

The way I figure it, the $3 and one hour spent on the Florida ID could potentially save us 4 digits on 8 days at WDW.

Well, that and the whole perjury thing, unless you've finally bought that second home on the gulf you've been dreaming about.
Lord Gonchar's avatar
It's a legitimate residential Florida address where we spent part of the past 12 months and could be reached at indirectly if need be.

Good enough for me...and the state of Florida to issue an ID.

Spending a night with Aunt Marge to qualify is stretching the point, don't you think? ;)

In the spirit of full disclosure, though, my uncle owns a rental villa in Davenport, and he has offered me the use of his address to get a FL ID. In my situation, though, the savings aren't worth dealing with the FL DMV. If it were a matter of seasonal vs. annual pass, maybe, but we're never there for that long in a given year.

Lord Gonchar's avatar
It was more than a night! :)

I don't think the DMV would've cared if it was a made up address. Seems alarmingly easy to get a Florida ID. I would've never thought of it myself, but my wife knows someone who suggested it (and did it themselves at the suggestion of others who've done it) when she mentioned we were going in the fall.

It's almost twofold for the savings. Score the seasonal pass (less than tickets with parkhopper) and since we want to say on property this time that opens up both passholder and resident opportunities.

Not to mention things like this BG discount for when return (presumably next year to do all non-Disney stuff)

I'm willing to spend for a good time, but I'm not stupid. So little effort for so much potential benefit is not something I'd pass up.

For us, the Seasonal pass is something like $20 less than the tickets we would buy anyway. $80 is nothing to sneeze at, but still not worth me going out to deal with Florida's "government", such as it is. I'm on vacation.

The one year we had two trips, the second was during a blackout period, so we needed the regular APs in any case. I'm guessing the very close pricing between a typical expiring parkhopper and the seasonal pass is no accident.

Don't neglect the Disney Dining Experience card, either. It costs $60, and gives you 20% off your bill at most sit-down locations, including booze (!), and also free valet parking at the resorts when you eat there.

I made that $60 back in one meal hosting extended family at 'Ohana.

Lord Gonchar's avatar
Well, for the sake of clarity, I don't have an ID. The wife scored one while at a conference in the Spring. Work paid for the trip and she had free time, so the hour it took to get the ID wasn't exactly a hassle.

Even the ticket savings are just icing, the access to passholder discounts (in park and resorts) are the real benefit.

Plus, everyone here seems to be of the consensus that they'd rather stay on property (even with my usually convincing hypothetical arguments against it) and you know damn well we're not staying at a value property and honestly the idea of outdoor entry moderates isn't very appealing either. Combine the desire for a deluxe and well, either status (passholder or resident) might help nab a large savings.

Not to mention all the possibilities at Universal, SeaWorld, Busch, etc next year when we return.

I suppose the bottom line is that even if it saves us nothing, it opened up the chance to save. It's about hedging the bets. :)

Well, that's different then. Heck, if my wife would do it, I'd send her off in a heartbeat!

Aside from the DDE card and free parking, the Annual Pass hasn't provided me many discounts that I didn't have some other way. But, as I said, that DDE card is really cool; the ability to just roll up and hand your keys to the valet is a nice way to go.

I don't use the AP room discounts. Someday, I'll tell you how I stay in the Disney timeshare properties for about 25% of rack rate, but now's not the time.

ridemcoaster's avatar
::cough:: rent points from DVC member ::cough::

Anywho.. Thinking of the rate hikes in general, I still think BG is still worth the cost.. Especially if you compare it to the theming that goes into it.. BG/SW is not just a thrill park.. They are themed, which costs a good chunk of money. Shows.. Performers, Animals, and of course Rides. I think BGs cost to ROI still holds well.

Granted im biased due to my wife being a "suit" at BGE so I don't pay for any of BE parks at all, but I do pay for Cedar Parks, Universal and Disney Passes and comparing all the costs to whats offered, if I had to, I would still pay the price of BG and not think twice. The others, in order of my writings, i have to contemplate/justify renewals yearly.

(and yes this article discusses day passes, but believe me Season/Annual pass hikes will follow.)

::cough:: rent points from DVC member ::cough::

Not quite. I pay less than owners do in annual dues.

Lord Gonchar's avatar
I conisdered the point rental thing, but ultimately decided I didn't want to deal with it.

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