Every year - towards the end of the season, there are various incentives to get "next year's" seaons pass. (IE, as of last week Splish Splash will give you the rest of 2008 if you get a 2009 pass).
This may sound a little long-wonded, but:
Do you feel that if you get a season pass to a park, you want to use it as much as possible for maximum value at the expense of only visiting that one park?
And if you do that, while you might enjoy it, do you ever feel you are "missing out" by not going toothers?
Assume that traveling around the country (Like hitting all Cedar Fair or Six Flags Parks) isn't an option.
I am aware that those of you who are only close to one park will have limited choices as to where to go.
Any thoughts and comments would be appreciated.
Having that season pass does not hamper my visits to any other park. But yes, I do try to make sure I get my money's worth when I buy a pass. That generally means the three visit rule for me.
For any other season pass I may consider, I would make the decision a part of my park plans for next summer. I purchased the CF Platinum Pass this year, because I knew I would visit CP, KI, and Dorney this summer. By already having that plan, it didn't impact my decisions for attending other parks.
That's my two cents.
Right now we're about 45 or 50 miles from Kings Island and I'm not sure I feel that the pass would be worth it if that were my only choice. We have passes and so far we've been to the park twice. Not because of anything other than proximity. The hour drive isn't convenient enough for quick stops.
With that said, a few years back we lived about 5 miles from Dorney and with a season pass, we found ourselves dropping in all the time. Maybe when we passed on the way to the grocery store. Maybe on a slow summer evening just for a lap or two on Talon. No big deal to swing by when the park was so close. We'd literally visit the park 30 times in a season - even if a "visit" consisted of one ride for something to do and then leaving. I think we actually stopped once just because somebody was craving a funnel cake. The pass was totally worth it in that case.
I figure a pass is "worth it" if it costs less than the individual park visit would. The pressure to maximize isn't there for me.
I get enough trips to parks to make sure I get my value out of each.
I buy the passes before the season starts if possible and get the discounted rates to save a little cash. Then I check the prices for each park and calculate how many visits I need to make to make it worth it.
I would venture to say it's not that hard to get value out of most season passes.
The other reason I get them is for pure flexibility. We tend to go on week-long trips to "somewhere". I'll usually get a season pass to a park in the area, and call that our "home base". We can go to that park anytime, without constraint. It's nice to know that, if you have an afternoon free, you can just pop in somewhere.
For example, on our Dells trip, we got season passes to Noah's Ark. My son and I visited one day just to play the mini-golf course there while the girls had gone horseback riding. We still went to Mt. Olympus for a couple of days, rode the ducks, went to Timber Falls---so we did a bunch of other stuff too.
The year before, we got passes to Dollywood and Splash Country in Pigeon Forge. It didn't save us any money---the three day ticket would have been a little bit cheaper, even with parking, etc.---but it was nice to be able to just pop in for the last hour one day, just because we could.
*** Edited 8/28/2008 1:43:58 PM UTC by Brian Noble***
The wild card there is Knoebels', which I've visited more than Hershey. Even though Hershey is probably only 10 minutes farther away from my home, I think of Knoebels as the place to go when I want to hop in my car at 6:00 to catch a quick few hours in a park.
This year I got a really cheap deal compared to other years with that how much off for one day thing for Six Flags. With gas being so high, I don't do the just plop in the park for a hour, and leave this year. That's stupid for me.
It's a stay the whole day thing, or don't go. Heck, this year from last year I went to the waterpark for so long, and I went after that. Not this year.
So far in 2008, I have used my Platinum Pass at WOF 36 times as well as visits to 9 other CF parks.
I also have a pass for Marineland. I enjoy the park, it's not a destination but an added bonus for a trip to or passing through Niagara Falls. Also the pass is only a $5 upgrade on the day ticket, so feel that an extra day on Dragon Mountain is worth it.
The great thing about having a pass is the ability to just go to the park for a couple of hours and feel ok with it. As I get older, I really don't enjoy spending a whole day in the park and hate crowds and long lines. So will visit park more in shoulder season or go early in the morning when it's busy and bail out by 2 or 3. I do admit it does feel kinda good when they scan that pass and it feels free. :)
We don't travel around to visit parks anymore. We'll plan a trip to a specific location and then see what's in the area and then find a way to work it into the schedule. So don't feel like we're cheating outselves out of pass value by checking out other parks.
On a side note we both ski a bunch and also get midweek season passes to Blue Mountain north of Toronto. The pass pays for itself in about 3 ski visits, but the benefits are really great. Blue is owned by Intrawest which operates a bunch of lski resorts around North America uncluding Whistler, Mont Tremblant and Steamboat. With our Blue pass we get nice discounts at other resorts in the company on tickets and lodging. Occasionally they'll even offer free lift tickets. Because of this, we're able to afford more tips during the ski season. We do ski outside of the company and of course go where the snow is, but we get a sweet deal at some of the best places in North America so makes it easy to take em up on it.
Six Flags used to work well for us here, but these days no. We had Geauga Lake then, Wyandot Lake, and then throw in a visit or two to SFKK and it was worth it. It wouldn't be economical for us now.
So I guess the thing to do is consider where you live, how close are the parks are and how likely it is that you could take advantage of parks in other states. It not hard to figure out the cost per visit and weigh it against the price of a season pass.
I bought my Six Flags Passes at Six Flags America last fall when they had the visit today when you buy your 2009 pass. I have been to America one more time since then, and Great Adventure twice. Will be going back to Great Adventure during Frightfest. I also have 6 passes to take friends, and will be taking a crew along for free.
I bought my Cedar Fair pass at Kings Dominion in March, and have been to Dorney twice this season. Going back to Kings Dominion and visiting Cedar Point next month.
To me I always get my money's worth out of the passes just because of the parks I have close enough to make day trips. As sad as I am to see Canyon River Rapids gone at Hershey they may as well put my name on a beach chair because I'll be at Hershey even more now with the addition of the Wave Pool, and Lazy River. :)
I have gotten at Dorney pass for the past 3 years and got a Great Adventure pass this year and I don't have to try to get my money's worth since I basically only go to Dorney and Great Adventure on a regular basis.
If Hershey was closer I would probably get a pass there as well but since Dorney and Great Adventure are the only 2 parks less than an hour away (not coutning Sesame Place), I don't feel like I am missing out on other parks since I really don't have any other options especially since a lot of my park visits are for 4 hours or so before I go into work. *** Edited 8/29/2008 6:46:35 PM UTC by YoshiFan***
I go because I have the pass that often, but I buy it because without the pass I wouldnt. If I can relax at a park (ie its a park that I have fun in which means good rides, and operations without too many negatives,) and its within 3 hours Im going to want a pass.
That said when I have enough money, the SPs will also function like they did with my family, as a way to save money on trips.
As it stands now, we will go twice during the regular season this year. Once for an evening with an out of town friend, and once to use our school tickets. We will go again for Halloween.
I agree that it really depends on what you are closest too, and you've gotta take into account the quality and quantity of rides that you would like to ride more often that are near you. I'd likely never buy a Busch Gardens pass because they only have a few coasters, and while they are great coasters, I think I'd get supremely bored quickly if I lived by that area...I dunno, though.
All in all, season passes are the way to go if you've got a decent park near you. Do some investigative work to get the best values, and you'll have a wonderful coasting summer!
^ Looks like your wish is coming true.
Do you know something I don't?
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