Giving away the gate: Not just Six Flags.

Thursday, February 10, 2005 10:17 PM
I was just thinking about 2 examples of parks owned by companies other than SF that are essentially "giving the gate away" so to speak.

Geauga Lake with its new waterpark included with admission along with dropping admission by $10.

Universal Studios Hollywood has you buy a one day admission ticket for $53 and you can redeem that ticket for a season pass that lasts the rest of the 2005 season at no additional charge.

It's not just an SF thing.


My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

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Thursday, February 10, 2005 10:48 PM
The differences I see there:

Geauga is an isolated case in a much larger company capable of supporting the lower price. Plus, their season passes are still $80, and most people are going to pay the $125 to add Cedar Point to it. They're also in a sort of emergency mode, trying to bring customers back to prove that things have changed and are better.

Universal Hollywood is also, from the limited time I was there, a park that thrives on in-park spending. There are some rides, but the real attraction are the clubs, the restaurants and such, so admission really isn't their primary attraction, unlike a park like say, SFMM which has a Wendy's right outside and is almost all about the rides which are free with admission.

SF's certainly not the only one with a seemingly undervalued gate, but I think their problem lies in their application of this policy company-wide, rather than keeping the price high in places like SFMM and SFGAdv and SFGAm which will still get people almost regardless of cost of admission, and making the prices less at the smaller parks. They could probably charge a lower admission in areas of intense competition, or economically depressed areas and absorb the loss with the more "hardy" parks - but of course, they don't do this because as well know by now, their management could bankrupt Wal Mart ...


Brett, Resident Launch Whore Anti-Enthusiast (the undiplomatic one)
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Thursday, February 10, 2005 11:12 PM
When GL was SFWoA, they were giving away season passes. Now the season pass price is up so they don't give that away and people buying one day ticket usually spend a bit more in the park. I think that is the proper way to do it with CP so close.
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Thursday, February 10, 2005 11:18 PM
Jeff's avatar He's right... Geauga Lake is certainly a different situation with them maintaining the season pass price. In GL's "old days" they used to bank on their picnic business and one-off gate sales, which I suspect is precisely the reason they went with a $25 ticket. This is hardly the $40 season pass giveaways that Six Flags did. You also can't split out the water park after it has been included for decades.

I suppose you're trying to compare it to SFGAm, but I can assure you that GL isn't even remotely like it. SFGAm is more of a Cedar Point, and poor GL has to co-exist. It's not even remotely the same kind of market conditions.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, February 10, 2005 11:41 PM
It's worth noting that Geauga Lake gave the industry a number of 'firsts' or at least things that most other parks simply didn't do--

1) First to integrate the waterpark
2) First to honor family-park season passes
3) First to offer rainchecks (!)

Including the waterpark with admission isn't just something Geauga Lake has done for decades, it's something they made a name for themselves doing. Kind of like You Know Where and their drink deal. :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Thursday, February 10, 2005 11:44 PM
When I was a kid, we got rained out at Kings Dominion (before the P) and they gave us rainchecks. It was not policy, but they had people out front giving away free passes as everyone left. We had season passes so we brought friends.
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Friday, February 11, 2005 12:41 AM

Jeff said:


I suppose you're trying to compare it to SFGAm, but I can assure you that GL isn't even remotely like it. SFGAm is more of a Cedar Point, and poor GL has to co-exist. It's not even remotely the same kind of market conditions.


Actually, I wasn't comparing it to SFGAm because realistically, they aren't giving away the gate at the Chicago park. They increased admission by $4 which brings them right around the same ballpark as PKI.

My point was that other companies are trying to entice people to enter their park at a low rate. GL while has been said here prided itself in the past of picnics and one gate admission, they still on top of building a new waterpark, also lowered the cost to get in the gate.

USH at $53 for the whole season is still a bargain regardless of how much the average consumer spends in the park.


My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

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Friday, February 11, 2005 1:16 AM
rollergator's avatar BGT has had the same "buy one day get the whole year free" thing for a few years now...the call it the Fun Card, but I think of it in Busch terms as a *copper pass*, it's the only SP that doesn't include parking...

Note however, that their waterpark, Splash Island, can be added to your pass for *substantially* higher than what you might call a nominal fee...

Honestly, due to per caps, operating expenses, etc., I don't see how parks can keep having a season pass to waterparks in some of the more crowded markets without becoming *awash* in people...should I refrain from suggesting a limit to the number of visits on a season pass?


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

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Friday, February 11, 2005 1:54 AM
BullGuy's avatar I was surprised to hear our SWO admission came with the same thing. We weren't originally going to come back to the park again that year, but things worked out, and when I visited with some buddies later in the year, I got in an "extra" park in.

-Mark
Never Has Gravity Been So Uplifting.

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Friday, February 11, 2005 7:34 AM
matt.'s avatar In some cases it makes sense to offer insentive to get people into the park by lowering prices. USH just strikes me as the type of park that wouldn't really have very many season passes sold to begin with (just a guess.) If it can get people back into the park, buying food, and passing by all the stuff at City Walk then I think it would be worth it, especially when you consider the high capacity of most of USH's attractions. At a mid-level Six Flags, you possibly have a high number of folks standing in line, but not spending a lot of money. You may still have this situation at USH but you would have to have a much higher amount of people in line to really effect wait times (on most rides.)

Just speculation here. I've never been to USH but sure...I can see why giving away the gate in this case can be a very good thing.

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Friday, February 11, 2005 10:49 AM
One thing, is with Universal Studios Hollywood is, why would people want to buy a season pass?

Yes its a very nice theme park, but after you see the same show and the same simulator over and over again wouldnt one get a little bored?

At least with a season pass at say CF or SF you can use at other parks around the country.

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Friday, February 11, 2005 11:30 AM
Well I would assume that it gets you into USF and IoA too. But as I said, the money makers for these parks are the CityWalks anyway, so as you said, season passes aren't really that useful.
Brett, Resident Launch Whore Anti-Enthusiast (the undiplomatic one)
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Friday, February 11, 2005 11:54 AM
Nope, it's not good for USF and IOA. I got one of the season passes at the beginning of April. At the time it was $10 more than a single day. I had never been to the park, and honestly it's not a park you can go back to over and over for yourself. That said, I think one of the better reasons for USH to offer is the deal is because people bring paying friends.

I went 4 times on that pass, not because I love the park, but because I had friends in town. They kind of wanted to go, and it was free for me to go again, so we went. They got 4 more people in the gate paying full price because I had a season pass.

I also have a SFMM pass, but they gave coupons away in theirs to "bring a friend for free" (maybe it was $10). That was just stupid in my opinion.

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Friday, February 11, 2005 12:19 PM
matt.'s avatar Those bring a friend for free days at any parks are usually nightmares. At least at PKI it always was.
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Friday, February 11, 2005 3:45 PM
The SFMM bring a friend for free wasn't limited to a certain day even.
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Friday, February 11, 2005 5:30 PM
On the subject of Geauga Lake.. does anyone know why they still aren't honoring other CF season passes (and vice versa). In 2004 I assumed it was because of the newness of a deal, but it appears that a GL SP won't get you in anywhere else, and the other CF passes won't get you in @ GL.

Are there plans to change this, or is this old information and I just haven't heard the change?


"Life's What You Make It, So Let's Make It Rock!"
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Friday, February 11, 2005 6:10 PM
Jeff's avatar Uh, they are honoring them across the chain. The only place they aren't is between GL and CP, where you need to pay extra for that endorsement. You only need to visit any of the sites to see this.

Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Friday, February 11, 2005 6:13 PM
Mamoosh's avatar Wait...you're telling us the answer is on the internet, Jeff? Why didn't I think of that before? Next you'll be telling me I can find park operating schedules, maps, and hotels online too!

FYI, that sarcasm wasn't directed at Jeff...rather at the people who ask questions that could easily be answered with a quick internet search.

*** Edited 2/12/2005 12:15:45 AM UTC by Mamoosh***

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Saturday, February 12, 2005 3:07 AM
I'm not trying to be a wiseguy, but just for the record:

Dorney's mentions it can be used at GL
Michigan's Adventure mentions it
Worlds of Fun mentions it, but I had a hard time finding it (took me about 10 minutes clicking around until I finally found the correct page that mentions it).

Valleyfair does not: FAQ page - click Season Passes (can't link there directly). It mentions Every standard amusement park but does not mention Geauga Lake.

Knott's, however, I couldn't find any information about whether the annual passes were good at any other parks, let alone Geauga Lake. (After searching for close to 30 minutes before getting frustrated and giving up).

Although this is stretching the point, there does seem to be a little bit of ambiguity regarding cross-company theme park admission with the season passes. Also, perhaps (in general) the people who ask these "stupid questions" don't have the time to spend searching other websites for information that is very likely someone on the site knows off the top of their head, and the path of least resistance is to just ask. That's why I asked - it was relavant to the discussion, it's possible that other people have the same question as I do, and I didn't have time to search around the sites when I posted the question. Just a little food for thought.


"Life's What You Make It, So Let's Make It Rock!"
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Saturday, February 12, 2005 10:10 AM
Jeff's avatar There is no ambiguity... don't you think it's perfectly logical that if GL says you can use the pass at the other parks (except CP) that the reverse is true?

Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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