It's not that Shapiro thinks it's Disney so much as he's positioning it as a more affordable but "similar" alternative.
For my family to go to Disney, we've got to drop $800-$1000 just on airfare---the alternative is three to four days in the car for the round trip. To go to SFGAm, we've only got a four hour drive. We could go to SFGAm for a weekend, but because we have to fly, Disney really requires a week's investment---which also means time off work.
For a lot of families in the upper midwest, a missed week of work plus a cool grand on airfare just isn't in the cards, but a weekend trip to Chicago could work out just fine. Maybe even two weekend trips.
Finally, for what it's worth, you couldn't get me within 100 miles of a northern-US amusement park on Columbus Day weekend with temperatures in the 70s. That's just a guaranteed recipe for disaster, crowd-wise.
You can get a disney vacation for four 3 days 2 night, Airfair, parks and rooms for like 1500 maybe even a lot less if you look into the pricelines ect.
A friend of mine just scored tickets from Tampa to Pitt and from Boston back to tampa for like 39 dollars each, He atteneded Kennywood, knoebels and SFNE with the use of a rental car.
So, thank you very much, but if you want to go to WDW from Detroit in late February/early March (and that's when I want to go), and you want to fly on the weekends, then you are paying $200 minimum per person, and have been for each of the last three years.
I know this because I religiously scour the airfare search tools starting 331 days before I go, I use travel agents to help me get the best deals, and I go every year at this time. Most people are paying a lot more to get from the upper midwest to Florida in late winter. Guaranteed.
(Truthfully, I can get there for less if I'm willing to fly a scheduled charter like USA3000 or Allegiant, but they often only have 1 flight per day, and if your flight is cancelled for some reason, you've got another 24 hours before you get to where you want to go---if they have room for you at all. Of course, the poor folks who had flights booked on Transmeridian before they folded up their tents were just plain screwed.)
True, I can fly to Orlando for $100 per person round trip in September flying mid-week, but I don't want to be in Florida in September, when it's nice here and lousy there. I want to be in Florida when it's lousy here and nice there.
But, that's still $100 per person that I don't have to spend to go to SFGAm, and because those fares are midweek fares, they still represent days I have to take off work to visit Disney, when I don't have to do that to visit SFGAm.
Again, though, thanks for your "help."
Fun, I am very with you on the whole Flash Pass thing, and with your assessment of SFGAm. I had some bad experiences at SFGAdv yesterday, which I may share in a TR sometime soon.
DOWN WITH FLASHPASS!
I'm with you on that as we had a rather bad experience with flaspassers at SFA on sunday ourselves.
Waiting in line for superman we're queued up for row# 4 & since the flaspass seats are down on both the red & blue trains<good news is the front seat on red is back up> we had to put up with flashpassers being assigned to the row we were waiting for instead.This went on for at least three cycles before we were able to get on & we were so disgusted by it that we just left after our ride & spent the resst of the evening at wild one,which BTW was a complete walk on & totally empty.
By the end of the evening we were still so ticked off though that we made sure to stop in at guest relations to give them a piece of our minds about what we think of their paid linejumping system....althoug hI doubt that they'll even bother forwarding the complaint to management or let alone to corporate.
We went back the following day to pick up the red side of AE, Fiddler's Fling, V2 reride, and Hurricane Harbor. So what was the big difference in crowds versus what you experienced? Hurricane Harbor was open. Most parks at this time of year don't have waterparks to siphon off a lot of the crowds, and by late October most of the water rides are closed as well.
The last time I remember SFGam actually being "crowded" and I mean "crowded" was back when Batman first opened. That was my 2 hour wait and the line for B-TR went zig-zagging through employee areas all the way to the main gate.
I wasn't there this year but went to the ACE convention last summer and the majority of the GP went straight to the new water park. I didn't wait for anything longer than probably 45 min most non-ERT (on Superman or Deja Vu).
My guess is not only Fright Fest popularity, but the water park no longer taking most of the attendance.
Also, they don't make you pay for parking. I think it would be worth paying an employee who doesn't like coasters at least 60-70 bucks for his/her ticket, if you know one.
Wild one was empty partialy because of the around 7500 people in the park WO ran 6600 people. which for running half empty trains from about 4:00 on is pretty good.
Ahh but all those free laps definitely came at a price as I've been dealing with a pretty nasty cold for the past couple days as a result.
Kevin Max said:
Go when Accenture rents out the park.
I got a ticket for that in '04 and it was the best day I've ever had at GAm. Had about 12 Bull rides that day. With the Accenture day each employee is given only 2 tickets max I think. This year I managed a ticket to Kohl's buyout day on October 1st and expected it to be a little busier since each person could buy as many tickets as they wanted. I was surprised at the crowds though. It was WAY busier. I managed to get on all the coasters except Iron Wolf and Wizzer though and one ride on King Chaos. So, not a terrible day. Especially since I finally got a front seat ride on 'Vu. But it was nothing compared to the Accenture buyout.
Last year I didn't get an invite to any private days so wound up going on one of the final Saturdays before Fright Fest and have never seen anyplace as crowded as the park was that day. Turns out it was "bring a friend for free day" to all season pass holders and they also got 1/2 price Flashpasses that day. That was a rough day.
Had mostly nice visits this year. I just get there early and never go on weekends anymore. Ever.
Funny thing about it is that my friend didn't tell me about his having a slight cold until after we were on the road homeward bound.Had he told me about it in the morning before we left then perhaps maybe we could've convinced him not to go with us.
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