Kings Island All You Can Eat Plan Thoughts

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:03 PM

Hello Ohio Coaster Fans Who Are Getting Ready To Puke Their Guts Out To The Start Of The Ohio Amusement Park Season This Coming Weekend At The IX Indoor AmuuuuuuuuUUuuuusement Park,

I just saw Kings Island added an all you can eat plan for $29.99.

There is a 90 minute wait time in between meals. Might be a good deal? Especially if you want to try something you haven't before.

I normally don't spend that much per person when I'm with my wife or kids...but I might try it once to see.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:14 PM

Holy cow. Six Flags Over Texas just upped their price for this year to $100 and that's 2 meals per day (one in the "lunch" window and one in the "dinner" window).

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:28 PM

Good deal, except that drinks are not included. I don't know if I even spend $30 a day on food at Kings Island. I guess sometimes I might. I know I would eat more on purpose if I paid for this. By the end of the year, I might be too large to fit on some of the coasters. HAHA!

Souvenir bottles are only $9.99 plus ¢99 refills, too. I drink more bottled water than anything though.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 10:53 PM

Generally, I'm not a fan. I bought into Universal's meal plan, and what was it, 29 bucks or something? And I was the loser there. The choices were ok, counter service places, and I had a nice lunch. When dinner time rolled around, I wasn't close to being hungry. The park hours were short that day and at that point I wanted more rides, not food. I stopped somewhere for supper, but I didn't want it and didn't eat it all.

It put me in the mind that when I'm at the park I'm ok with one meal then maybe a snack, an ice cream cone or something later. In reviewing KI's choices I see that they are places I'd normally stop for a bite, LaRosa's or Skyline, but just the once. Certainly not every 90 minutes. And I doubt they're passing out whole pizzas on this deal, but more like two slices, right? So, for me its best I buy my lunch when I feel like it.

Having said that, I'll admit I don't travel to parks with family or kids that may have more demanding appetites that might put a strain on the budget.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 10:57 PM

Seems like with only a 90 minute window, you could easily work the system and feed multiple people with this, as long as you don't mind eating separately.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 11:21 PM

Or working your entire day around who eats what and when. I assume what you're suggesting is one person buys the plan then every ninety minutes hands food off to someone in the group. An option, I suppose, but not a very convenient one.

I have a feeling that Cedar Fair, in designing these meal plans, prices, and locations have thought carefully about those that will intend work the system to advantage, and in the end have determined that it's still a profitable business for the parks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 11:37 PM

kpjb said:

Seems like with only a 90 minute window, you could easily work the system and feed multiple people with this, as long as you don't mind eating separately.

Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Assuming it is tranferrable in some way, we buy two. Then as the day goes on, at certain points we simply split for a few minutes - two ride and two eat. No more inconvenient that someone not wanting to a ride a certain ride when someone else does. Mix and match pairs as the day goes on and needs/wants are met - covering all the food we care to eat in a day for $60 is a no brainer.

It's not a no brainer at $120 though. So for me, that line is crossed somewhere between $15 and $30 a head. Not sure what the magic number is, but $30 doesn't seem like a "gotta do it" purchase.

At the very least this mentality is a step in the right direction...and one we've been suggesting/discussing for the better part of a decade or so around here - CoasterBuzz has always been sort of visionary like that (smile). I don't think there's any discussion forum that gets the business of the amusement industry better than our little group of nerds does.

</end smug self congratulatory satisfaction>

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 11:39 PM

I would have preferred they copied Six Flags Season Dining Pass. I paid $74.99 last year and another $74.99 for this upcoming season and that was a much better deal even with only eating 1 meal during most of my trips to Great Adventure. I thought it was a really smart idea for them since in all my trips to the park from 2008 - 2012, I ate a meal in the park once on two different days and otherwise went to WaWa right outside the park where I could get a meal with a soda for under $6 compared to $15+ in the park (a drink is $3.79 and an entree can be up to $12). Now Six Flags gets my $74.99 a year and I can get a meal at the park and not feel like I am getting ripped off and it is more convenient. Paying $30 for 1 day isn't worth it to me when I go to a Cedar Fair park like Dorney when I can eat outside the park for a few dollars, plus I rarely spend more than 4 to 5 hours at Dorney.

Last edited by YoshiFan, Wednesday, March 19, 2014 11:40 PM
Thursday, March 20, 2014 12:45 AM

Oh, I can't imagine it's transferable in any way. I'd assume the owner of the plan will have a wristband that can't/shouldn't be moved from person to person. So while 2 plans for a family of four may work out financially I have a feeling it won't be as easy as just splitting up while two eat and the other two take in a show. Mom and Dad with their wrist bands will be the ones standing in line and distributing the food to the kids (or themselves) each and every time someone wants to eat. And there appears to be nothing in place to prevent sharing of meals, so the park's gonna be good with that.

Now this may be over thinking it, but let's say LaRosa's deal is the two slice plate. Mom and Dad each get one, all four sit down and everyone gets a slice. And as LK points out the drinks have to be cared for as well, but in another 90 minutes, after a couple of rides or something are thrown in there, they can do it all over again. They've still, at that point, spent 60 bucks for 8 half meals = 4 full meals plus drinks, so to make it really worthwhile they should do it again at least once. They can also, for variety, split an order of chicken fingers or cut Skyliners in half, and have a big time with that. I know first hand that Ohioans can eat, but honestly, by the time a family of four is done working the system the day will be up and mealtime will have been stretched out over time so that no one's gonna want another bite of anything! (Making the real losers here the McDonalds and the Popeye's out on the road) :-)

I will agree that plans like this can and should be a convenient way for people to manage their day, and no doubt the parks are pushing us to see things and shop in a different way. But I maintain that in the long run the park isn't letting anything slip by into the negative column trying to do us all a big favor. And there's nothing wrong with that, either.

I'll also agree that CBuzz guys tend to be some of the smartest and most sensible ones around in terms of industry trends. (what to wear and who to date? Not so much...) For proof, just look up this very topic on other sites out there and you'll know what I mean.

Last edited by RCMAC, Thursday, March 20, 2014 12:52 AM
Thursday, March 20, 2014 1:41 AM

Ok, I see what you guys are saying.

I still think two deals for a family of four could work. (or 2-for-5 or 1-for-3 or whatever ratio) Then again we did three days at Cedar Point last year, essentially living on that crazy chili fries deal for the duration of our trip.

Splitting meals certainly seems like an entirely doable way to cut the costs to create a ridiculous value.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 2:11 AM

I've shared one meal with a friend at a park before. First of all, I don't want all the food that they give me sometimes, because I don't want to have a heavy meal in my belly while I am on the rides later. Sometimes the meals are just too much food, which makes it a good value only if you can eat it all.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 8:56 AM

The problem with the dining deals at any of the chains is that they seem to be a good deal for the amount of food you can eat, but then I realize that it's more food than I want or need to eat. At Disney, the standard dining plans over-do it for me, especially since they include dessert. The all-day deals at UO or SeaWorld really do require you to space out the lunch and dinner or it ends up feeling unnecessary to eat. And if you don't eat, it's no longer a good deal. The systems are predicated on the idea that you would eat more than normal.

Then again, I've seen how some people eat in theme parks. :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014 11:37 AM

RCMAC said:

Oh, I can't imagine it's transferable in any way. I'd assume the owner of the plan will have a wristband that can't/shouldn't be moved from person to person... Mom and Dad with their wrist bands will be the ones standing in line and distributing the food to the kids (or themselves) each and every time someone wants to eat.

Agreed, but I don't think it has to be very complicated. I know my family is not typical, but I have an 8 and 2 1/2 year-old in tow. There are plenty of times throughout the day that we're not able to ride together, and it's rare that we all get hungry at the same time anyhow.

For the time being, until my kids get bigger, I could totally see being able to do this with only one wristband for my whole family.

My wife's not a big breakfast person but the kids and I are. You figure we could:

11am My wife eats... 12:30 the kids can share a meal (one slice of pizza is all they'll eat anyhow)... 2pm I eat... we can skip the next window altogether or get a snack, with my wife getting dinner around 5... the kids eat at 6:30 and me at 8.

At home we always eat together, but I tend to go further without being hungry when we're out so honestly, that's not too far off from when we'd probably be eating in the first place. For $44 (including a drink and a few refills) I fed a family of 4 two full meals and a snack.

All it requires is that at four times throughout the day that my wife or I catch a ride alone, sit down and relax for a few minutes, check out a gift shop, whatever. That already happens.

That being said, I probably still wouldn't do it because it's just not the type of thing we're interested in. It might be tempting, though.

Last edited by kpjb, Thursday, March 20, 2014 11:38 AM
Thursday, March 20, 2014 11:58 AM

I would think many people would be better off with the single meal plans. The $29.99 gets you an entree and side every 90 minutes (drinks not included). If you are only going to do two meals at the park, then for $12.99 you get an entree, side and regular drink. Assuming you can buy two meal deals for each person, then for $4 less you get your two meals plus the drinks.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 2:43 PM

I really wish drinks are included. The all day plans at SWO and BGT were a huge value for me because of that, it was something like $30 for unlimited meals and drinks. The meals by themselves payed for the wristband, the drinks made it irresistible. Being well hydrated and caffeinated really allowed me to enjoy those parks more, despite the Florida heat/humidity.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 4:49 PM

I'm having horrible flashbacks to waiting for my lives to recharge in "freemium" games (e.g. Candy Crush). I will sadly admit that there was a time when I was so into a game (Marvel Puzzle Quest for those that care) that I'd wake up in the middle of the night to use up my lives so I could get another full set in the morning.

Whenever I consider a meal deal like this I always go through the following train of thought:

Could I get my money's worth out of the meal plan:

10+ trips a year X 2 meal per trip with some careful planning X average cost of meal at Six Flags...definitely. Do I ever want to eat 20 meals at Six Flags in one year? Not in a million years (see what I did there?).

The value of the meal to me is significantly lower (like 25%) of the sticker price so even though I could break even on the sticker price, I'd still be way way short on the actual value.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 5:41 PM

You know you can set the clock back on your device and get your lives back.
And THAT would be Productive.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 7:47 PM

Yeah, I know. But the case in particular I was talking about (Marvel Puzzle Quest) blocked that particular trick very early on.

Friday, March 21, 2014 8:13 AM

Businesses don't offer all you can eat specials as a way of reducing profits. Some people get their moneys worth and more but others do not. My family would definitely fall into the latter category. Sometimes I wonder how my daughter survives on the little she eats. Though on hot and humid days when I am walking/running around outside, I tend not to eat much myself.

Friday, March 21, 2014 10:16 AM

For Kings Island, the best food value is still to leave the park. The front gate is never that far away and many restaurants are nearby. I'm still baffled by the lack of sit down table service food options at KI.

Other parks may not have as good access to outside restaurants, so it likely is a better value there than at KI.


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