Drink Prices & No Re-entry (new takes on the same old)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 1:15 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

We swung by Kings Island yesterday and while drinks are still $4 for a large and the souvenir cups are $6.99 with $1.99 refills, I did notice a small sign advertising a passholder drink wristband.

So passholders can get a wristband that gives unlimited drinks for $8.99

Very interesting.

Also interesting to remind that this past summer at SFGAdv we saw a deal where a $12.99 souvenir cup came with free refills all day.

So the big parks are at least toying with different ways to do the "unlimited drinks for one fee" thing.

With the current economy, will we see one of the biggies just go for it and incorporate this fee into the gate and offer guests unlimited drinks à la Holiday World and others? Or at the very least will we see more parks try this unlimited drinks for a fee approach? Or maybe as an included perk of passholders rather than a passholders-only upcharge opportunity? Lots of ways to use it.

Again, thinking of the economic fears in general, I'd say this offseason is the time to impliment any sweeping pricing change that may become permanent. The timing for a big park to try it just seems right.

I really like the idea of bumping up season passes even more and then including drinks as a perk. (thus pushing more passes and getting a pre-guaranteed amount of drink revenue in the process at a time when people are supposed to be afraid to spend)

Who knows?

---

Also, I noticed that KI is doing no re-entry after 7pm for the Haunt again. I assume it caused little problem last year.

Of course, this reminds me of the rumors of SF considering this as a park policy and the outrage it tends to cause on the various enthusiast forums.

I dunno. I figure 7pm-1am is 6 hours. Show up a little early being as thing start at 7pm and you're potentially captive for 7 hours. I'm not sure it's even a question of if a park could pull it off anymore - Kings Island is. Granted it's under special circumstances - but the end effect remains.

Still not sure any park would be ballsy enough to try this one as a full-time policy though.

No real point here in either case. Just a couple of repeat topics the came to mind during my park visit yesterday. I figured I'd share my thoughts.


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 1:59 AM

Dorney also has no re-entry after 6:00. I don't like it but since it's only for 4 hours (on Sunday at least), I can deal with it. It would be a problem at Great Adventure if Six Flags had all day no re-entry since it's an all day park.

And I hope I am not opening up a can of worms with this but I thought the $12.99 for free refills all day at Great Adventure and then $0.99 refills the rest of the season was a great bargain. For the past few weeks they even have a deal where it is 1 bottle for $12.99, 2 for $17.99, 3 for $19.99. I would have bought one this year but the fact I would have had to pay $1 to leave it in a locker each time I wanted a drink stopped me from making the purchase.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 5:57 AM

SFGAm has the no re-entry after 7pm during Fright Fest, too.


--George H

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 9:33 AM

KBF has had a no re-entry policy for Haunt for a long time...


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 9:45 AM

Don't know about the other parks, but I attended a special event a couple of years ago on a Saturday at Kings Island during their halloween event.

All night long, the best word I could come up with to describe their front gate was "zoo". It was complete chaos with the number of people who were trying to get into the park, such that they actually redirected people wanting to leave the park over to the old season pass entrance just North of the front gate.

Deciding to not offer re-entry during the event appears to have been an understandable decision. They had enough people swarming the gate as it was, and eliminating anybody from that crowd would have been an improvement.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 10:21 AM
rollergator's avatar

GAdv's no re-entry time was 8pm, IIRC. I still think everyone but Knott's owes C-Buzzers a cut of the enormous Halloween profits, LOL. :)


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

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 10:46 AM

WoF is still allowing re-entry and it's a zoo on Saturday nights.


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 12:12 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
I really like the idea of bumping up season passes even more and then including drinks as a perk. (thus pushing more passes and getting a pre-guaranteed amount of drink revenue in the process at a time when people are supposed to be afraid to spend)

I am curious as to what the right price would be for bumping up the pass price...$20, $40? I am afraid sticker shock would set in pretty quickly doing this to a season pass.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 12:30 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Shades said:
I am curious as to what the right price would be for bumping up the pass price...$20, $40? I am afraid sticker shock would set in pretty quickly doing this to a season pass.

It would depend, I guess. Most park's season passes are the price of three or four regular admissions.

If a park like KI is doing unlimited drinks for $9, then the cost would probably be $30 to $40.

I don't think $130 would be too much to ask for a season pass that offers unlimited drinks.

And just to check my math, I took a look at HW pricing and their season passes are exactly in the range.

The big chains have already started including parking with season passes and now they're offering drink deals - it can't be much longer before someone makes it an included perk.

rollergator said:
GAdv's no re-entry time was 8pm, IIRC. I still think everyone but Knott's owes C-Buzzers a cut of the enormous Halloween profits, LOL. :)

Right? :)

Why do we keep giving it away for free? ;)


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 12:31 PM

I was at SFGAm with my daughter yesterday and between the two of us, we only bought one drink in the park for a total of $4 - for a weak as hell lemonade.


--George H

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 12:48 PM
The Mole's avatar

What I find the most interesting is how they're handling the unlimited drink options in the face of all the "required lockers" rules now. I like the wrist band idea/incorporating it into the price of a season pass and just swiping it at the stands instead of HW's somewhat wastefulness. People are more likely to get drinks when they need it, and not waste cups, when someone else does it for them.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 1:14 PM
rollergator's avatar

^HW is in a unique environment - I doubt "wastefulness" is something they'd need to worry about on the same level as say GAdv or MM. Honestly, I don't think I'm the only HW guest that re-uses the drink cups. I'm a *big* environmentalist, hugely in favor of reduce/reuse/recycle - and while I'd love to see more refillable beverage containers, I also understand that with rides and such, the convenience factor is very relevant. I could (obviously) go on for hours about "excess trash" vs. wasted employee time (HW's staff spends almost no time filling drink cups for people) - but in the end, the customer's preferences will reign supreme. ;)


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

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 1:52 PM

If a park isn't going to allow re-entry after a certain hour for Halloween events, the least they could do is open the re-entry stations up for regular admissions.

Dorney's gate was an absolute zoo Saturday night. After the long wait to pay for tickets, you were met by a sea of people with no apparent order, that eventually funneled down to 6 lines at the second set of gates (security). Using the re-entry gates would have given them two more points of entry and made the lines move more quickly.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 2:23 PM

Lord Gonchar said:


If a park like KI is doing unlimited drinks for $9, then the cost would probably be $30 to $40.

I don't think $130 would be too much to ask for a season pass that offers unlimited drinks.

The $30-40 price makes me unhappy as I am now paying $120-160 extra for my family of 4 to buy passes. But I think we are the exception rather than the rule as we really don't drink much at a park other than free water and an occasional gatorade or two. I guess I really don't drink much pop unless there is Bacardi in it:)

Last edited by Shades, Tuesday, October 14, 2008 2:25 PM
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 2:25 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

I would totally prepay for my drinks for the season. The only catch for me would be something like having to have a specific cup all year long. That works for some, but for me it nullifies the convenience factor of being able to get drinks whenever I want.

Most likely I would figure out the cost benefit and make sure I drank enough beverages to make up for the cost, at least in my mind. But conceptually they would have me sold on the convenience alone.

Last edited by Carrie M., Tuesday, October 14, 2008 2:26 PM

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 2:42 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Carrie M. said:
The only catch for me would be something like having to have a specific cup all year long. That works for some, but for me it nullifies the convenience factor of being able to get drinks whenever I want.

Yeah, I don't think there'd be a cup attached.

You'd simply use your pass to get the drink.

I suppose there'd be some difficulty in making sure the passholder was the one getting the drink for passes like the CF passes without the photo(hence the current wristband schemes), but the idea feels solid.

---

And yes, I understand this is in great contrast to my past opinions on the subject. I think with the current economic fear being spouted everywhere (however legit it may be), that this is a way to guarantee a certain amount of revenue from guests.

All you have to do is figure the average guest percap on drinks, round up a buck and everybody wins. The park increases revenue and the guest feels like they're getting a deal.

rollergator said:
^HW is in a unique environment - I doubt "wastefulness" is something they'd need to worry about on the same level as say GAdv or MM. I'd love to see more refillable beverage containers, I also understand that with rides and such, the convenience factor is very relevant. I could (obviously) go on for hours about "excess trash" vs. wasted employee time (HW's staff spends almost no time filling drink cups for people) - but in the end, the customer's preferences will reign supreme. ;)

I think that doing this at the big parks requires n changes. You stand in line like you normally would. The difference is that your pass 'pays' for the drink.

Shades said:
The $30-40 price makes me unhappy as I am now paying $120-160 extra for my family of 4 to buy passes.

Technically I'm with you on that. I've been saying that about the 'free drink' parks for ages. But the simple truth is that it works. People just see the fact that they don't have to open their wallet for every drink and they magically forget that they paid the price on the way in.

I'm not saying the big parks should make it a park-wide policy. They should still sell drinks at $4 each. It should be an additional perk (like free parking) for passholders.

It offers incentives to buy passes for people who otherwise might not (increased revenue) and gets a certain amount of money for drinks up front (guaranteed revenue) and very little in the park has to change (just the system for verifying passholders - if even).

Seems to work on a couple of different levels.


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 3:20 PM
The Mole's avatar

Also if this was added to, say, KI, they'd need to build a dozen and a half or more drink kiosks like at HW with new machines and people to help maintain them throughout the day, in addition to what they already have open around the park. I can see them have free drinks at all the big places, and the bottles remain as a charge. I can see people buying bottles still even if they do have free drinks...

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 3:41 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

I thought the vision did not include having drink kiosks like HW does. I thought the idea was people still wait at the stands that exist now. The only difference is that if they have a pass/band/whatever, they don't have to pay.

But yeah, I can see people still buying bottles despite the free drink option. More power to them... or to the park rather.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 4:36 PM
coasterqueenTRN's avatar

I think the "free soft drink" thing should be a requisite for ALL parks, but that's just me. ;) To me it's cheaper for the parks to keep their guests hydrated than to have them pass out from heat exhaustion...resulting in stupid lawsuits. I know the Ohio parks will give you free water in the summer. I don't know about any other parks.

I can see more and more parks (at least the indie parks) getting in on the idea. I don't see very many "chain" parks wanting to lose a buck. The other day at Stricker's there was not only FREE drinks and FREE parking (as always) but they also offered free popcorn, sno cones, and cotton candy. I doubt it cost the park a fortune. The most *expensive* food on the menu was a double cheeseburger with all the fixin's for less than $4.00.

My only complaint is they didn't have that heavenly corn on the cob this time. ;) Too late in the season. :(

My last visit to HWN cost me more in gas than anything, but in the end it kind of evened things out......considering I constanly drank a TON of Gatorade, water, Pepsi, and Sierra Mist both days...enough to justify my travelling expenses. ;) Considering I am a sodaholic I felt I got MORE than my money's worth for the whole trip! ;)

-Tina

Last edited by coasterqueenTRN, Tuesday, October 14, 2008 4:42 PM
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008 5:11 PM
Kick The Sky's avatar

I don't see this becoming a huge trend. The bottom line is that soft drink sales are the backbone of many amusement park's bottom lines. Soft drink sales are almost pure profit. The soda itself comes down to mere pennies per cup, the cups are usually a few cents above that unless you get a plastic mug, and the amount of labor to pour a soda is still pretty cheap.

I've heard it said one time that soft drinks are usually the profit margin for all of Disney. They pay all their expenses out of everything else and soft drinks are the extra. Expenses go up? Raise soft drink prices.

Smaller parks like Holiday World can afford to give away the soda in exchange for the goodwill that brings more people through the turnstiles. I think a bigger company would have problems justifying that.


Certain victory.

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