Darien Lake, Elitchs Gardens, Frontier City, and Enchanted Village food and drink pricing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 5:50 AM
With the (six) flags falling at DLk, EG, EV, and FC, what will be happening to the food and drink pricing at these parks? We all know that Six Flags has some of the highest prices for amusement park food and drink and that has been a sore spot for many of us.

Now that these four parks are no longer Six Flags parks, will the prices be changing? Will the new owners recognize that some of those Six Flags prices are out of line, especially for smaller parks?


Arthur Bahl

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 8:37 AM
Here's the problem I have with the complaints about Six Flags pricing. I went to Florida in the end of March and around paid the same prices there as I would at Six Flags.

I don't buy the arguement that Orlando parks are different because they are Destinations not day trips. A park is a park is a park.

Oh and Carowinds wasn't much cheaper also.

You are at a park and they raise the cost of things so be it.

So I wouldn't expect prices to drop due to management change.


Watch the tram car please....
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 8:55 AM
Here's an article from the Buffalo news, in regards to the sale of Darien Lake. This is great news for the park and it's patroons. Maybe six Flags should take some lessons.

The changes are intended to make the park more family-friendly, said Parks, who came from Jacksonville, Fla., for Wednesday's news conference. He said he revamped park prices after receiving complaints that they were too high. New this year is a $20 ticket after 5 p.m. to the 10 p.m. close. To encourage grandparents to bring children, senior citizen admission is the same as the one for children shorter than 48 inches: $25.

Parking will drop from $10 to $7. Beer will be $4.50 instead of $6. And a pepperoni pizza by Rich Products will be $17. Last year, another national brand sold pizzas for $25 and higher.

food stands will serve local, lower-priced brands of hot dogs, whipped topping and beef on weck. "Paying $35 for a pizza is just too much," said Curtis Parks, chief operating officer of Parc Management, the new corporate owner that closed on the sale of Darien Lake this month. "Where it made sense, we lowered prices."

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 9:06 AM
Lowering prices on concessions is a great idea. And as Dragonoffrost said earlier, they raise the prices on food and such once you get into the park. It's just like stopping at a rest stop on the Interstate. The prices at a McDonald's at a rest stop are about 25% higher than a normal McDonald's. You expect to pay that type of price to stop in those spots, just like you expect to pay higher prices inside amusement parks.

I would really like the PARC system to adopt the type of plan that Holiday World has with free soft drinks. I think that would make the food prices look that much better if you can get a free soda with your $8 burger

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 9:24 AM
matt.'s avatar

dragonoffrost said:

I don't buy the arguement that Orlando parks are different because they are Destinations not day trips. A park is a park is a park.


It doesn't make good business sense for the price of a 20oz soda to be the same at DelGrosso's and SFGAdv or IOA and Frontier City.

The demographics are vastly different at all 4 parks, to say "a park is a park is a park" is a vast over-generalization.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 9:29 AM
Are prices really that much higher? A meal deal at SFA:

3 Mozarella Sticks (medium size, not skinny like at Unos but not big like at Fridays)
4 Long and Thick Chicken Tenders
Two large scoops of baked beans
Curly Fries
and a small Bundt Cake for $11.99 with a premium pass you save an extra 20%.

They have similar deals for ribs and bbq sandwiches.

However, where they get you is the add on small soda for $2.99 but I could buy a refillable cup that I save on all season and get refills I think for $.99.


A day at the park is what you make it!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 10:49 PM
^^Are prices really that much higher?? Of course they are. When parks start charging $25 for a cheese and peperoni pizza, and a burger and fries for $8-$9. Those are the prices comparable to a Fuddrucker's or Friday's, but at those two establishments you get a big burger (1/2 lb at least) and alot of fries for that. At the parks you get a small 1/4 lb burger (if that) and a decent amount of fries. It is definately price gouging inside amusement parks, but it is expected. If you really don't think it's price gouging, just look at the price of a bottle of water at most parks $2-$3!!
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 11:19 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

"Where it made sense, we lowered prices."

Preceded by a list of exactly two in-park food/drink items that had prices lowered.

I think that about sums it up. ;)


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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 11:30 PM
They better start lowering prices; the way they had it at FC last year it seriously impeded sales because hardly anyone wanted to pay what they were asking for at just about every venue. I remember going half a day stone thirsty because I couldn't stoop low enough to shell out $3 for a small drink (filled with ice and a shot full of soda). I remember the prices for food where phenomenal as well. I never saw anyone eating at any of the restaurants. But what was the park's response? They kept raising the prices...
www.sdcfans.com
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Thursday, April 19, 2007 9:51 AM
If you insist on raising prices, at least raise thw quality of the food. Nothing's worse than having to sell your first born to afford a crummy meal.
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Thursday, April 19, 2007 10:10 AM
I think PARC understands that food prices were way too high at the parks and hopefully will bring them back to more reasonable levels.

In defense of SF, they were in so much debt that they were trying to squeeze every single nickle out of thieir guests in order to make more money to pay off debts and show more profit. They knew that they were loosing customers, and the only way to make more money with dwindling customers is to raise prices so that the same amount of money comes in.

I would bet that PARC doesn't need as much money and hopefully will get things back to normal. I heard they did lower the parking prices at most parks from $10 to $7. That is a start, but $5 would be much better. Hopefully they will do the same with the food prices. $15 for a pizza is decent, especially when it was $25 last year, but $12 is better

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Thursday, April 19, 2007 10:55 AM

matt. said:

dragonoffrost said:

I don't buy the arguement that Orlando parks are different because they are Destinations not day trips. A park is a park is a park.


It doesn't make good business sense for the price of a 20oz soda to be the same at DelGrosso's and SFGAdv or IOA and Frontier City.

The demographics are vastly different at all 4 parks, to say "a park is a park is a park" is a vast over-generalization.


Ok yes to compare DeGrosso's to SF Great Adventure is a stretch for pricing purposes. But to compare a Six Flags park to Universal, Disney Cedar Fair or Busch isn't. The parks in question were Six Flags parks and were priced accordingly.

I don't think the demographic at Six Flags is really too different from Universal. Other than the people at Universal Florida are paying for a multiday experience where they Six Flags customer are paying for a one day experience. They want the same thing just for a different duration.


Rob Ascough said

If you insist on raising prices, at least raise thw quality of the food. Nothing's worse than having to sell your first born to afford a crummy meal.


That is where I think Six Flags was trying to go with the Papa John's deal. It's a recognized name with a recognized level of quality, good or bad is in the eye of the consumer. Then mark it up from the outside park price and it goes with my statement above. All park food is more expensive at the major chains.


Watch the tram car please....
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Thursday, April 19, 2007 12:54 PM
rollergator's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

"Where it made sense, we lowered prices."
Preceded by a list of exactly two in-park food/drink items that had prices lowered. I think that about sums it up.

True, pizza and beer were THE two in-park price drops mentioned (like you, I imagine they'd mention more if the were more to mention, LOL). But let's not forget that the patron has *already* noticed the reduced pricing on parking and admissions, so they're probably still a little *giddy* about that.

Overall, it may take a year for the word to get out, but I'm wagering that PARC will do VERY good things with these parks. As always, important to remember that price drops come in second to the *uber-critical*, and anticipated, improvements in guest experience. ;)


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Thursday, April 19, 2007 1:02 PM
I disagree about Orlando. I found food/drink prices at WDW to be lower than SF last time.
Real Cbuzz quote of the day - "The classes i take in collage are so mor adcanced then u could imagen. Dont talk about my emglihs" - Adamforce
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Thursday, April 19, 2007 1:16 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Except that the gate didn't change unless you're a senior, Gator. (and I know you're not there quite yet ;) )

So if a family of four (mom, dad, kids) visits the park this year they save just $3 (on parking) unless they buy a whole pizza or beer.

Let's just call a spade a spade:

  • Parking dropped $3.
  • Seniors get in for $10 less.
  • Whole pizzas and cups of beer dropped a few bucks in price.

All this tells me is that PARC pretty much agrees with SF's pricing scheme (at DL, at least).


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Thursday, April 19, 2007 2:10 PM

Peabody said:
I disagree about Orlando. I found food/drink prices at WDW to be lower than SF last time.

I also agree with that. When I was at WDW last December, 20 oz bottles of soda were $2.00 - $2.50, Great Adventure is charging $3.50 for the same item. A medium fountain soda (regular size at WDW) is $2.19 or $2.29 at WDW, $3.59 at Great Adventure, a large is $2.49 at WDW and $3.99 at Great Adventure.

I couldn't believe how bad the food prices were at Great Adventure last week and I was very glad I stopped and got some food to eat in the parking lot before I started my day at the park. $2.00 for 1 candy bar is ridiculous, and it was $1.50 last year which I thought was also way too much. $4.99 for a soft pretzel is even worse and of course there is the $6.49 slice of pizza and $7.49 cheesesteak (which I am guessing does not come with a side of fries or potato chips)

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Thursday, April 19, 2007 2:53 PM
Are you serious about the soft pretzel being $4.99? That's outrageous! A slice of pizza for $6.49... come on.

I've said this over and over. Guests expect to pay a little more in a captive environment, it's called a convenience charge, but they don't tolerate being ripped off. When someone rips you off you don't want to return.

Movie theatres and sporting venues have gone the route of the rip off pricing for concessions. When you cross that line then some guests skip the stands and leave with money in their pockets.

Per cap which Six Flags is having a love affair with is one way to measure performance. Another is units sold be hundred guests. I'd like to see Six Flags tout their high per caps and show me that they maintained their sales on a units per hundred basis. That would be impressive, but I suspect that per cap increased, but actual unit sales decreased which would tell me that some guests are turned off by the high prices.

PARC 7F has already said that they are reevaluating the food pricing and partnering with local vendors for food service in their parks. However, I wouldn't expect a $4 coke to suddenly drop to $2.


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Thursday, April 19, 2007 2:54 PM
rollergator's avatar ^^^ Gonch, there's ALSO the twilight admission.

"New this year is a $20 ticket after 5 p.m. to the 10 p.m. close."

I guess people take advantage of those fairly frequently, I'm pretty sure K-Wood does a *brisk* twilight business.

I don't normally drink alot of soda at parks if there's decent water fountains (er, bubblers) available. Better to stay well hydrated and avoid the headaches that can kill a good evening at the park. But I do have to say that I bought a few sodas at WDW/AK last season when everyone was here for Con/EE opening...and the prices on food *and* drinks were surprisingly (refreshingly?) reasonable.

edited since Eric posted while I was typing, LOL....but I could NOT agree more. VERY well said!

A 50% "convenience fee" for items at a park is *reasonable*, and even a 100% increase is *tolerable*. But when you're upcharging at 200%+, you ARE taking advantage of the captive audience...don't be TOO surprised if they're not as interested in being captured again... ;)

edit #2, just because I wanted to mention again (from news item maybe)....LOCAL name brands and recognizable REGIONAL logos, etc....those are going to pay off. That's where the brand-recognition/brand-loyalty thing is infinitely better than the national chain coming in and dropping a restaurant in EVERY chain park in the country. Might be cheaper for the chain to sign one contract for a one-size-fits-all mentality, but I think we've seen where Gonch is almost-certainly right. This is NOT a big-box industry, and catering more to the "specialty" crowd has its benefit$.

I'd even go back to Dorney if I can get a Geno's cheesesteak...LOL! ;)

Seriously, why target specifically a demographic that *almost never* eats Taco Bell or Subway, then bring them into your park and offer them stuff they don't care for....

*** Edited 4/19/2007 7:05:50 PM UTC by rollergator***

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Thursday, April 19, 2007 3:07 PM
matt.'s avatar "Ok yes to compare DeGrosso's to SF Great Adventure is a stretch for pricing purposes. But to compare a Six Flags park to Universal, Disney Cedar Fair or Busch isn't. The parks in question were Six Flags parks and were priced accordingly."

Slapping the name "Six Flags" on a park doesn't suddenly put it into a certain market or make it a certain level of quality, which is partly what got SF in trouble in the first place.

I think Darien Lake is a pretty nice place, but pricing food the same as SFGAdv or a Universal Park isn't going to be justified just by having the Six Flags brand.

Looking at all SF (or former SF) parks and saying the pricing should be roughly the same for all of them just ignores tons and tons of factors.

It's just a matter of what's good for one park isn't going to be good for another, necessarily. I trust in PARC that they should know where their food sales are and what they could potentially be, and prices/quality will be adjusted. I'm sure Mr. Shapiro is doing the same at the existing SF parks he's now running but truth be told, he probably (and rightly so) has about 20 higher priorities going at the same time.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007 3:12 PM
matt.'s avatar

egieszl said:

Movie theatres and sporting venues have gone the route of the rip off pricing for concessions. When you cross that line then some guests skip the stands and leave with money in their pockets.


But let's not forget that those who do chose to pay end up paying more. If movie theaters could make more money charging less for popcorn they would, wouldn't they?

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