Free Parking

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 2:17 PM
People don't normally talk about "free" rides at a POP park even if they are not paying anything at the time they board a ride. Instead they look at the rides as something they are paying for when they enter the park.

Here's another example common in supermarkets: "Buy one, get one free". It really is "buy two and pay half price on both of them". Neither of the items is "free" really. They are both half-price. *** Edited 3/13/2007 6:22:33 PM UTC by Arthur Bahl***

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 2:19 PM
Look at CP: parking went up a buck for this year. They had to make up for the cost of building Maverick this year.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 2:24 PM
Didn't admission at CP go up as well?

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 2:26 PM

millrace said:
I suppose you aren't thrilled with pay one price plans either. That implies that the rides are free after you pay $40 admission.

Nicely done. :)

I had two answers for you, but Arthur stole my first.

My other response, is the use of such 'perceived value' as a selling point is what makes it even worse.

How many of the parks that don't charge directly for parking use the 'free parking' war cry to attract guests? Most.

It's the decpetion that bugs me, I suppose. Heck, everyone here pretty much knows the 'free' stuff isn't 'free', but still praise parks for going that route with their marketing. That's how strong of a hold that one little word has when attached to anything.

Going back to the SF thing, that's exactly why I do like their approach better. They're just telling you upfront...pay up. Honor among thieves?

EDIT - let me continue to stretch the bounds of absurdity by offering this equally twisted concept:

A park that advertises itself as free. Ride all you want - it's free to enter the park and free to ride! The catch is that when you get there, parking is $30 per person. It's essentially the inverse of the free parking thing. They can use the 'free' item as the selling point.

Would people stand for that approach? Not for long. So why are we so happy to be lied to about free parking?

*** Edited 3/13/2007 6:43:21 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 2:44 PM
I don't think it is very deceptive. At least it doesn't bother me. And I'm easily bothered by "creative" marketing.

Free parking technically is "free" because I could drive a car into a lot, take a nap for 3 hours, and go home. That park just chooses to make their revenue in other ways. How is that deceptive?

Nice example with the $30 per person parking fee. :) I think the reason that sounds bad is because people don't "park", only the car is parked, so it clearly comes off as a disguised admission fee.

Come to think of it, Idlewild does something like that. *** Edited 3/13/2007 6:48:15 PM UTC by millrace***

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 3:11 PM
Just for the sake of keeping a pointless arguement going...

Kennywood admission $31.00 parking free

Carowinds admission $34.95 parking $10.00

SFOG admission $49.99 parking $15.00

I didn't include the prefered parking prices since you don't have to use that option

That free parking sure looks free to me

Add in the pay per experience attractions at those parks and the free parking looks even better. Kennywood has 1 that I can think of- Sky coaster

SFOG has a sky coaster and go carts

Carowinds was trying to break the record for things you had to pay extra for after paying to get in a few years ago- sky coaster, virtual reality, mini golf, go carts, and that ridicules trampoline thing that took the Whirling Dervishes' spot. Admission included ride replace by pay extra attraction, that went over real well. *** Edited 3/13/2007 7:17:11 PM UTC by john13601***

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 3:21 PM
Dutch Wonderland has free parking but it's a smaller park

Hershey and Dorney also have free parking with a season pass

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 3:32 PM
Canobie lake in Salem, NH also has free parking. It's also a MUCH smaller park.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 3:45 PM

Lord Gonchar said:EDIT - let me continue to stretch the bounds of absurdity by offering this equally twisted concept:A park that advertises itself as free. Ride all you want - it's free to enter the park and free to ride! The catch is that when you get there, parking is $30 per person. It's essentially the inverse of the free parking thing. They can use the 'free' item as the selling point.

Wait a sec...isn't that what happened to me at Idlewild? ;)

LOL! That was awesome....before you park your car, they sell you your POP bracelet. Loved that concept.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 4:09 PM
KW has two upcharge attractions: the Skycoaster and the paddle boats. Even small parks like DelGrossos, Lakemont, and Conneaut Lake have them. CLP has minigolf, a boat ride onto the lake and ponies. Lakemont has Leap-the-Dips and Go Karts. DelGrossos has Go Karts and minigolf.

KW and CLP have both free and pay parking. Lakemont has free parking except during Altoona Curve baseball games. DelGrossos always has free parking.

What happened at Carowinds is the thing that we have a right to gripe about. Taking out a POP included attraction to put an upcharge attraction in. IMO a park should have 1 or 2 upcharge attractions, maybe 3. Any more and they should have a special area outside of the gate like CP does.

*** Edited 3/13/2007 8:15:23 PM UTC by Arthur Bahl***

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 4:27 PM

I don't think it is very deceptive. At least it doesn't bother me. And I'm easily bothered by "creative" marketing.

Oddly enough, I'm just the opposite. I'm not bothered one bit by "creative" marketing. Actually, I don't think I'm even bothered by the 'free' thing as much as I am by the way otherwise intelligent folks seem to buy into it.


Wait a sec...isn't that what happened to me at Idlewild?

Heh, no. Idlewild is kind enough to not try to pull the wool over your eyes. They tell you you're paying park admission. :)

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 4:38 PM
At Idlewild you pay so much per person but nothing for the car when you drive into the park. That amounts to "parking included with admission."

Lakeside Park does the same thing except that their admission is a modest $2 and you then can choose to either pay for a unlimited ride wristband or pay per ride.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 4:40 PM
I guess I should clarify that in NO way did I feel that Idlewild was misleading. I just never had paid for park admission in the parking lot before....good times!

Lakeside was weird too.

I guess I like quirky parks AND quirky admissions policies... ;)

edit: I :)


*** Edited 3/13/2007 8:43:15 PM UTC by rollergator***

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 4:41 PM

No different than 'free' parking at any park. Regardless of how much and where you pay, the cost of maintaining the parking lot is passed to the customer in other ways.

I think the psychology of the situation makes a justified business case for making it free. Of course parks will need to make a certain amount whether they hold out their hands at the lot or if they increase the gate.

Do it once, and the guest is more likely to forget than if they do it twice in a short amount of time. Ignorance is bliss. Bliss = more souveniers, food, goodies, games, etc.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 4:47 PM
I have to bring this up if you buy a season parking pass at SF after your 3rd visit, parking is free for the remainder of the season at every SF park in the USA. IMO if you buy a Seasonpass you might as well spend the extra $45 for the parking its stupid if you don't. Lake Compounce charges for parking also, but I have never paid to park there in past40+ years I have been going there.

If you think parks charge alot try going to NY city where it costs $20 to park for an hour!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 4:49 PM
To me, Parking fees piss me off (Yeah im pulling no punches) When you buy a tank of gas to GO TO THEIR FREAKING PARK and are met with a $15 *WELCOME FEE* they can KISS MY A++ Expecially when there is no services offered Tram. Picnic grounds ect.

My GOD, Universal probably has a 500 million dollar parking garage, I was pleased when I only seen 5 bucks to park.

Chuck

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 4:50 PM
I agree entirely, janfrederick.

I'm not against the 'no parking fee' thing, per se. And yes, the psychology of it works.

Like I said, it's more the idea that people (especially people savvy enough about the industry to post here) think these parks are offering them some sort of added value or doing you a favor.

You said it yourself right there - thinking you spent less and in turn spending more is ignorance.

I'd rather be miserable and informed than stupid and happy. ;)

*** Edited 3/13/2007 8:51:57 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 5:02 PM
Some people will actually spend more at a park that gives good value. An example is someone that goes to KW and waits until they get there to eat lunch instead of filling up beforehand. They may also give the kids $5 or $10 to play the games instead of giving them an economics lesson. l
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 5:09 PM
It just pisses me off to no end to realize that a large soft drink at Knoebels would really be only $1.75, but they rook me $2.00 for it because of the "free" parking! :)

Actually I don't mind paying a nominal fair parking fee as long as it gets me a reasonably secure, well-lit, smooth paved surface (not looking to break an axle OR an ankle heading in or out of the park). And the people who direct traffic in and out should be paid as well-- at least if they do their jobs correctly.

In other words, use the parking fees to operate and maintain the lot, not just to pay someone to sit there and collect money.

At Knoebels, it wouldn't be worth it to put in parking booths. Whatever they could make on charging for parking they'd lose on rearranging the whole lot and traffic patterns to accommodate booths and the resulting traffic backup (not to mention they'd really have to pave the field if they were to start charging).

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007 5:19 PM

Lord Gonchar said:


No different than 'free' parking at any park. Regardless of how much and where you pay, the cost of maintaining the parking lot is passed to the customer in other ways.



Technically, though, it IS free parking. If you park your car and then just sit on a bench outside the park all day, or walk across the road to a shopping center, and then leave - you don't pay anything. The parking is free. Going into the park is when you spend your money.

If Gonch gets to use twisted examples, so do I. :)

- Jeff

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