Disney - Free Drink Refills

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 6:42 PM

Acoustic Viscosity said:
If I spent a full 12-hour day at a park, which I rarely do, and it was hot out, and price was not a concern, I could easily drink 5 large drinks (32oz each) over the course of that long, hot day. Let's say each one of those drinks is normally priced $3.00 (about right for some parks, cheap compared to others). That's $18 in soda I consumed that day! Tacking on $7 to my admission is no big deal. Now not only can I have my 5 drinks for less than half the price, I can have even more if I feel thirsty and knowing it's not costing me anymore, will probably drink even more than I would otherwis and be happier at that moment, at least until I think about all of the sugar and calories the next day.

Another perspective. There is no way I would spend $18+ in soda at a park in one day. I would rather stop at the drinking fountains all day. But just $7 for all the soda I want? No problem. And I don't have to carry around a souvenir bottle all day and deal with it when I get on rides, nor do I have to share my drink (I'm weird like that, but I rarely get sick so it pays off)? THANK YOU! *** Edited 4/3/2007 8:15:41 PM UTC by Acoustic Viscosity***

Thats all I was trying to say. Try buying 5-6 drinks a person on a hot day from 3-5 dollars.

As someone else stated, Like last HWN it was darn hot and I bet I juiced up at least ten times on Saturday. That would be $50 bucks at SFNE and I'd have to wait in line every single time to pay it.

You can like it or not, It's working and is the wave of the future based solely on customer satisfaction.

Im sure Gonch goes to every parks PR and makes a complaint everytime he has to pay two dollars for unlimited drinks. :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 7:54 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Im sure Gonch goes to every parks PR and makes a complaint everytime he has to pay two dollars for unlimited drinks.

If it were only $2, then there'd be no debate. :)

Out of the three parks that now do that sort of thing (wave of the future, hehe) I've visited two of them -once each.

I guess I vote with my wallet much like the haters of Q-bot. (the real wave of the future ;) )

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 8:01 PM
I dont think big places will do this too much .They make tons of profit on soda .IT costs maybe 5- 10 cents a cup for soda. So sey they charge 2 dollars that at least $1.50 per cup profit.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 8:43 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar I don't know if this has been mentioned elsewhere in the "great debate", but what about this...

Gate prices and parking prices go up by a dollar or two periodically anyway. If you take that into consideration, the "pre-pay for free soda" may be under $5 per person. What a bargain!

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 8:58 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Gate prices and parking prices go up by a dollar or two periodically anyway. If you take that into consideration, the "pre-pay for free soda" may be under $5 per person

Yeah it has been mentioned. In the case of Magic Springs, they bumped prices up by $3 (adults) and $5 (junior) just last season.

It would cost my family $46 more dollars to visit this year than it did in 2005.

Sorry, but I'd rather pay for drinks at a place that doesn't raise the cost for me to visit by 20% every year.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 9:19 PM
Oh Please, And what parks don't do that?

PKI raises parking every year they add a new major attraction, Raises the drink price to AHEM, What the market will bear and SF didn't just raise their gate 40 percent at some parks last year not to mention parking by 50 percent.

I respect where your coming from but excuse me for not getting it. In the long run, I save a ton and leave the park far more happy not getting taken at every turn.

Chuck who even says Strickers has free drinks on family and park apreciation day. Oh wait, They raised the already ridiculous ride cost price to 12 dollars from 10.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 9:38 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

PKI raises parking every year they add a new major attraction...

But you keep making generalizations. Stop and look at the truth.

PKI's listed gate is only $5 more than it was in 2001. And if you're savvy enough to score an online ticket, it's still under $35.

Magic Springs raised their gate by double that in the last two years alone. And they raised it by that same amount in the two years prior to that.

In the last 7 years HW's gate has gone up 65%. PKI's has gone up 12%. CP's has gone up 11%. Even the "great evil", SFGAdv has raised their listed gate by 30% since 2001.

Yes, it's the same old boring, overthinking things, fact-based retort that Gonch always gives. But it's true.

I respect where your coming from but excuse me for not getting it.

I would've said the same thing to you if you hadn't beat me to it. :)

In the long run, I save a ton and leave the park far more happy not getting taken at every turn.

Again to flip it and spit it back out from my POV:

"In the long run, I spend more and leave the park no happier being taken at the gate than inside the park."

I know (or rather I'm learning quickly) that my definition of value is quite different from the average enthusiast. I think Q-bot is a great thing and I think the free drink angle (while business genius) doesn't benefit me personally as a consumer. (ironic, since that tends to be the anti-Q-bot argument)

And as I said in the news thread and on the podcast - even more than the actual implimentation really bothering me, it the reaction. I just don't get you guys sometimes. :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 9:43 PM
Value and Satisfaction are too different things. I get that. But it's far more acceptable to me to see a 39 dollar gate price and not wait for parking lines, drink lines and sometimes very poor service going with them than to go, Pay the gate and not worry about anything else.

Chuck agreeing to dissagree on this issue

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 9:50 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Even more than that - value means different things to different people.

The way you find HW to be a better value than PKI even thought after discounts both cost roughly the same to get into. (yeah, I know - drinks, parking, blah, blah, blah)

I find more satisfaction in paying more to visit places like PKI or CP or even SF. To me that's a better value overall. I'll probably never go back to Stricker's - seemed like a waste of time and money for us. (stressing *for us*) Meanwhile, you constantly refer to Stricker's as a great value park for you. (notice the emphasis again)

It's just different wants and needs.

The best part is neither one of us are wrong. :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 11:43 PM
When my family and I stayed at Disney (Carribean Resort), I had a great system...

Not too long before we left for Florida, I was diagnosed with Acid Reflux. (I would throw up at school about twice a day, usually when I would be laughing at something. Since I never knew when the "erruption" would hit, I carried around a large plastic "vomit cup" in case I had to leave the room in a hurry.

Well, I started seeing a dr, who prescribed proper medication (Aciphex)...but the vomit cup kind of stayed with me as a security blanket.

Are you still with me...

Anyway, the medicine worked perfectly. But any time I wanted a drink at the resort's main eatery center, I just whipped out "the friendly barrell" under any spigot (water, milk, soft drink) (though not at the same time).

Bottom line...I don't think I ever paid for soft drinks.

Thank you Mr. Vomit Cup for not only saving the day, but saving my money!

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 11:58 PM
Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar Is this for the buffet-style eatery places? Or for stand-in-line, order, pick-up-your-food and then sit-down eatery places? Or both?

*** Edited 4/4/2007 3:59:35 AM UTC by Pagoda Gift Shop***

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 10:55 AM
Look at it from this perspective:

Most people don't go to parks all that often. They have a general idea of what a park should cost, probably, but I'd be willing to be that's a $20 window between about $30 and $50. Anything inside that isn't going to cause them to bat an eye. Most people might even expect to pay for parking, though begrudgingly, because they have to do that when they partake in other recreational activities such as sports games, museums, etc.

But here's the thing: while people may only have a vague notion of what an amusement park should cost, and thus be willing to tolerate variation, they definitely know how much a Coke costs. You can't go down to the corner store and buy a case of Amusement Park, but you sure can go down there and get a 24-pack of soda for $6 or so (the typical price for two drinks at most parks). The same could be said for food, too.

And yes, it's true that the other venues I mentioned before overcharge for their drinks and food. So parks can get away with charging $3 per drink, and while it undoubtedly annoys people, they accept it because it's the norm.

And there lies the reason why parks that offer free soda/sunscreen/amenity "x" blow people's minds. They're used to paying for that crap in real life! And even over-paying for it in other parks/venues. I really believe that it was the freebies at Holiday World that got their name on the map, especially with the "general public". That's right, more than Raven, Legend, Splashin' Safari, all of that. It was the freebies. It's a conversation starter. A new coaster may not mean a whole lot to someone. It's not necessarily an easily-describable concept, even if it is an amazing ride. But if you start telling them about a park that's giving stuff away that you had to pay out the ear for before, it's gonna get your attention. People CAN relate to that.

I more than understand Gonch's position. I'm a business student, and I can see exactly what is taking place from that perspective, too. It's an amazing product of Marketing and Operations. It's brilliant! Make more money and make people feel better. If you can keep your gate price in that "acceptable" window that I mentioned, then sure, bring it on! I worked fast food before my amusement park years, and soda is a ridiculously cheap product. The cup is more expensive than the actual drink. If parks wanted to make that up, I'm sure they could print advertising on the cups they use.

I'd really like to see CF try a similar policy out at Geauga Lake. Talk about a park that needs some positive word-of-mouth and community support to be successful. Geauga will never be a success on the "megapark" model, as we've seen. But I am very serious when I say that it could, with effort, be a "Holiday World North".

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 1:24 PM
I guess Gonch that I don't need 15 coasters (12 of them mediocre at best to make me happy. Im happy in a atmosphere that allows me to be so. Waiting in two hour lines and getting customer service *If you could call it that* thats far below average isn't my style anymore. Kennywood fits this bill as every visit I've been there. I never waited more than 20 minutes for anything.

I hit everything there and somethings two or three times and just enjoy it. CP's 7-12 major rides in one day and the rest waiting in line don't justify 45 bucks for me. I don't care what they have if the majority of your day isn't *ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING*

Strickers is no *MUST HAVE* to anyones credit. However we can go, Ride all we want, Drink all we want, Eat all we want for under $20 bucks and even just sit in the shade talking coasters.

YMMV but if I go to some of these parks and ride 30-50 times and pay 39.99. It's FAR MORE VALUE to me than going and paying $45 + Parking, + Food + Drinks for only 12 rides in a day.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007 1:31 PM
Raven TTD. To add to your anology. They make far more money from people returning and bringing friends than the Detroit family that makes a CP sojourn every 2-5 years. That family would go back sometimes twice a year or probably every year if it seemed more worthwhile to them.

They also know that 39.95 is fixed compared to purchasing drinks a few times during the day which could be more than they are willing to pay.

I go back to the time we went to PKI (My Girlfriend and her kids and I went out to the car to have a sandwich and a soda. We were actually told by a security guard that WE COULDN'T DO THAT! Oh and I hyped that park for two years afterward.

Chuck *** Edited 4/4/2007 5:33:29 PM UTC by Charles Nungester***

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 1:51 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar I understand, Chuck. It's good for you.

The bigger parks seem to fill our needs better in general.

That's why both options exist, I suppose. :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 1:54 PM
:) , Im done with this topic till next winter when some major chain catches on.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007 2:01 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Hehe. :)

I'm not sure a major chain will ever do this. It's one place I actually agree with Arthur Bahl on something (he said this in the News item):

Arthur Bahl:
Some parks would be well advised to consider the "free" drinks idea and some other parks would not. The best place for the idea is small to mid-sized parks with POP admission that are trying to differentiate themselves from other parks or to capture a niche market

The big parks are doing just fine with the system as it is. But the smaller parks can use this as a way to compete and even the playing field a bit.

Three parks have picked up on the free drink thing in the past 7 years. Two of them are smaller parks that have bigger parks as nearby competition (HW and LC) and one is in the middle of nowhere (MS).

It's leverage as much as it is a business decision.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 3:12 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar Kiddieland in Chicago does/did offer free drinks as well, at least they did when I visited in 2005.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 4:12 PM
rollergator's avatar ^ And last year in '06. We spent *about* a half-hour in the park, outrageously expensive for just a credit. But it IS a Schmeck....

...and Schmeck coasters are "all you can drink". :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 4:15 PM
rollergator's avatar

Charles Nungester said:Strickers is no *MUST HAVE* to anyones credit.

I take exception to that! LOL...

I have gone to some lengths TRYING to get to that park...it will be mine, someday. Free drinks or not... ;)


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