Empty King's Island 5/22-23/13

Associated parks:
Kings Island, Mason, Ohio, USA

Friday, May 24, 2013 1:11 PM
sirloindude's avatar

I get what you're saying, Gonch, and I think one could lump it in as part of the same money-on-the-table situation as Six Flags season passes. However, I suppose if Holiday World's free sodas are a stroke of genius, the practice of chain-wide souvenir cup refills at Cedar Fair parks couldn't have been all bad.

Last edited by sirloindude, Friday, May 24, 2013 1:14 PM

13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

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Friday, May 24, 2013 1:19 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

sirloindude said:

If the parks were honoring that practice for years, it doesn't make me cheap for doing it. It makes me a value-oriented consumer who is merely enjoying a nice perk.

To-may-to. To-mah-to.

It's clearly been the practice of parks for years.

'Clearly' in that people have done it or 'clearly' in that park has recommended it? Because it's certainly not the latter. It seems like the best kept secret in the industry. Like the 'secret' menus at certain restaurants.

Is it bad business sense? I don't know. I think if Holiday World can offer free sodas and it's considered a good thing, Cedar Fair offering cheap refills for souvenir cups bought elsewhere in the chain probably is as well.

Heh. "Free' drinks. *snort*

But yeah, it's only $10 for the cup. I could argue it either way.

If you're trying to beat the $10 surcharge for a season's worth of 99-cent refills, I gotta wonder. Is it really a 'smart consumer' move? Heck factor in free refils on the day of purchase and it just seems like a scheme.

But on the flip side, free refills day-of and 99-cents from there out. Probably works out the same for the parks in the end. No harm. No foul.

Again, for me it all goes back to the ways people will try to work on the fringes to save a few cents. I just don't live in that world...and I'm probably the most outwardly dirtbaggy of all of us. ;)

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Friday, May 24, 2013 1:20 PM
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Friday, May 24, 2013 5:45 PM

Hi Daniella, I'm Billy. Welcome to Coasterbuzz.

Have you been to Holiday World? You don't have to worry about lugging a drink cup around all day, as drinks are included with your admission; they supply disposable cups whenever you want a drink.

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Friday, May 24, 2013 5:56 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

But also consider that the trade off for those included drinks is paying essentially the same admission price for a park that's 1/3rd the size, has 1/3rd the coasters and less attractions overall.

But yeah, if you're visiting a park to drink pop, it's a steal.


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Friday, May 24, 2013 6:00 PM

^Very good point. At the same time, the quality of service is much higher at Holiday World. To get on rides quicker at a much bigger park, you have to pay an extra fee that is usually greater than the cost of entering the park.

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Friday, May 24, 2013 6:10 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

My longest wait at Kings Island was 10 minutes without an upcharge. Everyone was perfectly nice, some above what you'd expect and no one below.

Truthfully, I find HW's hourly employees to be nothing special - no better than the folks I ran into at KI this week. All of the "great, down home service" at Holiday World comes from management types (like Paula) and the Koch family themselves.

Plus, with a park that size, being able to ride everything so quickly isn't necessarily a plus - it just means I feel like I did everything in a few hours.

Hell, we had a complete day at KI and were ready to go in 8 hours. No idea what that'd translate to at a smaller park, but the last time I was at HW more than a few of us were milling around by about 3pm trying to find things to do to waste time until ERT started.

But again, if you want to ride three coasters over and over and drink lot of pop - Holiday World can't be beat.

To each their own. The experience is what you make it. I don't do well at small parks in general because of that 'we're done already' factor.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Friday, May 24, 2013 6:10 PM
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Friday, May 24, 2013 6:21 PM

^Agreed. It does come down to what you like. I can't remember the last time I spent an entire day - open to close - at Holiday World. I have usually gone for Holiwood Nights. So I sleep in, go late/stay late. It's more than just the park, it's an event, friends and stuff. I rarely have gone for the morning ride session in the water park.

I'll usually go to a park for more than one day, and almost always go back to the hotel to get a nap in the afternoon. It's not like when I was a kid; we went to a park for one day (and were darn happy to get to go!) and you better make the most out of that park, open to close. I'm grateful for those times, but as an adult, I have the benefit of doing more of what I want when I want. I need those naps now!

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Friday, May 24, 2013 6:27 PM

We've always found Holiday World's employees to be perfectly fine but not exceptional as well, probably about on the same level of most Cedar Fair parks. For us the Herschend parks (namely Dollywood and Silver Dollar City) have probably the "best" employees in terms of service and genuine friendliness, although there are good and bad employees at every park.


"Thank the Phoneticians!"

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Saturday, May 25, 2013 1:24 AM

I was in the park on wed 22nd too - seems alot of coasterbuzzers were, but I didn't recognise anyone from the pictures.

It rained from 6-6:20pm and after that the Beast was running great. I just stayed on and/or moved seats until they closed again a 7:25pm with the threat of lightning.

I just managed to get back to my car before it started to rain, and I did see lightning. Fortunately I was heading south on my way to Holiday World and missed the storm/rain.

I had just buckled up on Invertigo earlier when they said it was closed for weather. There was one spot of rain and everything else was running. Is there something about this ride which means it can't operate in any rain at all?


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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 4:26 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

Unfortunately, playing the system equates to 'smart consumer' anymore. I don't necessarily see it that way. I see it as almost a 'lower class' thing to do. At some point, trying to get something for nothing is just kind of 'eww' to me.

I've read plenty of articles and studies and have noticed repeatedly in my own experience that it's usually the lower class that pay full price without blinking for things, while those in a higher class tend to be more frugal and use coupons. It makes sense, doesn't it? Lower class tend to spend their money foolishly and never have any, while the wealthier build wealth by spending wisely.

I say reusing a souvenir cup from previous seasons within the Cedar Fair chain is a financially and environmentally-responsible decision. I've never done this for the issues I have with carrying things, but I've been well aware of it by reading forums over the years. I don't necessarily think Daniella or other people doing this are expecting 99-cent refills for life, but that they could refill for the current year's souvenir refill cup price.

If I was in charge, I'd welcome my customers to refill their old cups and even make them aware that they could. I'd market them as "green" cups that were refillable each season at the current refill rate. You might be able to get a slightly higher upfront cost and it'd be good PR material for the company. Participation would likely be low (people lose, forget, get lazy, or throw away these cups), but you'd still make a very healthy profit off those participating. Furthermore, it'd likely be the frugal customers participating, which would mean actual sales over free ice water.

What does KI get for refusing to refill old souvenir cups? They potentially lose profitable sales to frugal customers, they annoy or upset them, and the customers spread negative opinions about the business. Lose. Lose. Lose.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 5:24 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeph said:

It makes sense, doesn't it?

No, not really. It seems like one facet of many in determining one's wealth. Things just aren't as simple as you guys want to make them sometimes.

You're not getting rich by using coupons. Trust me.

If I was in charge, I'd welcome my customers to refill their old cups and even make them aware that they could. I'd market them as "green" cups that were refillable each season at the current refill rate.

That's a great idea.

What does KI get for refusing to refill old souvenir cups? They potentially lose profitable sales to frugal customers, they annoy or upset them, and the customers spread negative opinions about the business. Lose. Lose. Lose.

Again, not sure it really works quite like that. But, sure.

Sales to 'frugal' customers? What does that even mean? Suddenly we have to have 10 different price points to accomodate every 'kind' of customer? Again (again) - it just doesn't work like that.

The second you sell something on the cheap - every customer is a frugal customer. Here's a better idea - pay for a cup or get the hell out of my drink line so that everyone else paying for cups can get one. Believe it or not, some customers just aren't worth it.


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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 11:21 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

No, not really. It seems like one facet of many in determining one's wealth. Things just aren't as simple as you guys want to make them sometimes.

You're not getting rich by using coupons. Trust me.

You're misunderstanding me if you thought I was saying that using coupons will make one rich. Being frugal /using coupons/ spending wisely is one way to get richer, and it should be viewed that way. I hope you're not associating frugal living and acts of saving money with a lower class.

So, I'm not understanding your disgust and view that using a souvenir cup from a prior season is lower class. The soda costs 10-15 cents according to a few estimates (and possibly cheaper under Cedar Fair's contract). The refill was $0.99 to 1.99. It's still a healthy profit for the business. Here are the souvenir bottle terms pulled right from Cedar Point's website:

"Refillable Drink Bottle/ $9.99 plus tax / $12.99 plus tax at the gate. Enjoy refreshing Coca-Cola beverages all day long and get FREE refills on the day of your visit. Plus pay only $0.99 for each refill when you visit again!"

So, I'd say that there's no abuse when people are trying to use their bottles in future years. Actually, some people only visit once per year, so "again" to them is the next year. It's very vague, and I can understand customers being confused or upset when they are denied a refill when they "visit again" in 2014.

Sales to 'frugal' customers? What does that even mean? Suddenly we have to have 10 different price points to accomodate every 'kind' of customer? Again (again) - it just doesn't work like that.

The second you sell something on the cheap - every customer is a frugal customer.

In this case, the frugal customers are the ones that won't pay the inflated park prices. They'll drink the free water, pack a cooler with food and drinks in the car, or eat out of the park at a local restaurant.

Having different price points to accommodate a variety of customers is a basic concept in most businesses, and it does work. Take a stroll over to any car dealership, check out the menu at a restaurant, or compare all the similar products at your local grocery store or retailer. If we're talking the exact same products at different price points, reaching a wider audience is one of the basic concepts of coupons and promotions.

Also, I don't agree with your last statement. Many people just don't care about pricing and either ignore or are completely unaware of deals and different price points. Pizza places around here are great at doing this. They pump out so many coupons and offers that it can be entertaining to see what everyone is paying for their pizza. There are countless discounts and promotions from 10-60% off, yet many just pay full price.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013 12:15 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

You, sir, live in an entirely different world than I.

I don't even know where to begin.

Jeph said:
Here are the souvenir bottle terms pulled right from Cedar Point's website:

"Refillable Drink Bottle/ $9.99 plus tax / $12.99 plus tax at the gate. Enjoy refreshing Coca-Cola beverages all day long and get FREE refills on the day of your visit. Plus pay only $0.99 for each refill when you visit again!"

It's very vague, and I can understand customers being confused or upset when they are denied a refill when they "visit again" in 2014.

It's vague because it's understood. (at least that's how I took it) You shouldn't have to spell it out. But somehow at the same time, it doesn't surprise me that we do.

By your logic, my $9.99 purchase entitles me to 99 cent refills for eternity.

If that makes sense to you, there's no point in continuing this discussion.

In this case, the frugal customers are the ones that won't pay the inflated park prices. They'll drink the free water, pack a cooler with food and drinks in the car, or eat out of the park at a local restaurant.

Ok. Let's keep that in mind...

Having different price points to accommodate a variety of customers is a basic concept in most businesses, and it does work.

So why don't parks offer different price points to accomodate the frugal customers that - by your definition - drink free water, pack a cooler and eat out of the park? The fact that these 'frugal' customers exist means there's not a price point for them - which leans more towards my idea that some people aren't worth it than yours of multiple price points to include all potential customers.

Take a stroll over to any car dealership, check out the menu at a restaurant, or compare all the similar products at your local grocery store or retailer.

Really? I'm not even humoring that. Horrible comparison. Because...

If we're talking the exact same products at different price points, reaching a wider audience is one of the basic concepts of coupons and promotions.

Obviously, we are. That's exactly what we're talking here - pop at different price points.

Also, I don't agree with your last statement. Many people just don't care about pricing and either ignore or are completely unaware of deals and different price points. Pizza places around here are great at doing this. They pump out so many coupons and offers that it can be entertaining to see what everyone is paying for their pizza. There are countless discounts and promotions from 10-60% off, yet many just pay full price.

You veered off into different territory. Coupons aren't exactly different price points in the sense that we were previously talking.

It's an interesting argument, but opens up a whole different complex thing about customer perception, psychology and habits, the idea of value, and crap like that. Take a look at my loosely related thoughts here.

I subscribe to the same line of thought as Marriott's corporate revenue manager. This clip is terrific. (go watch it real quick)

You don't train the customer like that. Your product has a price and that's it. The second you give a deal, you've created that same 'frugal' customer that you talked about. Why bother with (and certainly why in the hell would you create) frugal customers when non-frugal customer exist?

I'd rather do business like Marriott International than the local pizza place and I think amusement parks and theme parks are FAR closer to being in the hospitality biz than the low-end food biz.

At this point we're so far from the original question of whether it's reasonable to expect your souvenir cup from a different park and a different year to be refilled that I don't know where to go, so I'll just stop. But I like to think that if you collect all of my ideas and thoughts that I shared on the subject you see a pattern - and it spells out pretty clearly why it makes no sense to me to expect that old, foreign cup to be filled.


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Thursday, May 30, 2013 12:31 AM
sirloindude's avatar

I get it, but I think that the whole cup thing is just a little perk; an off-the-menu deal, if you will. I don't think it goes to the whole price point argument. I think it's a one-off gig.

I do see the training-the-customer segway, but again, if it was considered standard practice at the parks, I don't see the issue. I can understand how you view it as absurd, because I never would have thought of it in a million years, but evidence suggests that it was legit. I see the lead-in, but I think there are far more severe examples of training the Customer to con their way out if paying for stuff than refills on a souvenir cup. Ergo, your hotel example.

I do like the hotel bit, by the way. It's the same with Disney, who, if I'm not mistaken, has been quite vocal about pricing out certain segments of the market. Seriously, there are some things in this world where if you don't have the money to do it, you shouldn't be able to do it. It sounds harsh, but honestly, if it means that much to you, pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get on it.


13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

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Thursday, May 30, 2013 12:36 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

No, I know the cup thing is legit - at least now I do. I just don't agree with it. :)

I'm with you 100% on the other stuff though - everyone shouldn't be able to have everything. I'm a big fan of brand/product integrity.


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Thursday, May 30, 2013 3:21 AM

Jeph said:

If I was in charge, I'd welcome my customers to refill their old cups and even make them aware that they could. I'd market them as "green" cups that were refillable each season at the current refill rate.

Just make sure you're not doing that in a highly conservative area, else you might lose money. Although I suppose in that case you could increase sales by calling them "Earth murdering cups of doom" or something like that.


And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

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Thursday, May 30, 2013 9:17 AM
Vater's avatar

CP Chris said:
"Earth murdering cups of doom"

If a park sold something called that, I'd totally buy it.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013 9:38 AM
HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

I might sound ignorant here but couldn't you just ask for a water cup and then fill with Coke? I know that's how some people used to roll around here.

The service industry is crazy these days and it feels like it gets worse and worse. The amount of stuff I see people bitch about because they know they can get more for nothing bugs the crap out of me. Is it really that hard to find value in the goods or service you are recieving and not take issue with spending money? Do you realize that companies need to make up that lost revenue from giving away free stuff by charging more for other stuff?

Now that I think of it, maybe thats why Cedar Fair and Six Flags in general have low admission prices and out of control food prices.

~Rob

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Thursday, May 30, 2013 12:06 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

HeyIsntThatRob? said:

The service industry is crazy these days and it feels like it gets worse and worse. The amount of stuff I see people bitch about because they know they can get more for nothing bugs the crap out of me. Is it really that hard to find value in the goods or service you are recieving and not take issue with spending money?

And with one post, my faith in humanity just got restored. At least it's not just me. This same thing drives me absolutely insane.


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Thursday, May 30, 2013 12:18 PM
rollergator's avatar

I think to a large degree, people are beginning to realize that by giving up *everything* for lower prices, that too much may have been lost in the negotiations. The Walton family seems happy, though...

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