Magic Springs will offer free soft drinks and sunscreen

Posted Friday, March 30, 2007 10:49 AM | Contributed by Lord Gonchar

The operator of the Magic Springs amusement park says patrons will be able to lather up and drink up for free during the upcoming summer season.

Read more from WMC/Memphis.

Friday, March 30, 2007 11:33 AM
YES...Let the revolution begin.
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Friday, March 30, 2007 11:45 AM
It's actually catching on slower than I expected.

I had even talked to Pugh at Lesourdsville about it and he was interested. Sorry to say that never came to furition. They might have had a chance.

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Friday, March 30, 2007 11:46 AM
A revolution that SF would dare never to join in.......even if they saw the good in it.

I was once told by a Disney tour guide that they can run the parks just on the profits from beverage sales alone each day. Mind boggling, but sadly, it's quite possible this is true. I work for one of the 2 big soda co's and I know the profit margin on "flavored sugar water".......it's ridiculous....

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Friday, March 30, 2007 12:09 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Just for the record (and did you think I wouldn't go there?) - the gate was raised $7 across the board and parking was increased $2.

The free drinks and sunscreen costs a family of four $30.

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Friday, March 30, 2007 12:42 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar That's one way to look at it. Here's another:

Even if drinks were $3 each - that's 10 drinks. How many families of four were buying ten drinks? Doesn't matter. Now you're being forced to.

What about singles? It's an additional $9 or 3 drinks at that price. How many were buying three drinks a day? Doesn't matter. Now you're being forced to.

Kind of funny how the 'value' crowd their attracting with deals like this are the same folks who probably didn't have that extra $30 a day to spend on drinks.

Brilliant, really.

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Friday, March 30, 2007 12:44 PM
I still think every single park in America would end up with greater profit by raising each ticket $5-7 and doing free parking/drinks/sunscreen. Sure if you just look at revenue generated by those three things you'd make a little bit less than selling those individually, but the increased customer happiness would result in more than enough additional profit spread throughout the park to make it worthwhile. Even if you ended up making a little less per guest per visit, happy customers are much more likely to return! (and attendence would grow too.)

At some parks (*cough* certain SF parks *cough*) I feel in that one visit they're trying to screw every penny out of me before I escape from the place. Other parks I feel like a guest and am getting a good value I'll likely spend more there.

Gonchar makes great points....but....I would imagine that most guests meet or exceed the dollar figure if required to pay for everything. I certainly do, whether by myself or with the fam. The people who would get "screwed" would be the folks stopping in for a very brief visit. But....don't you imagine most people who enter a park and pay for a full ticket end up spending the day?*** This post was edited by Peabody 3/30/2007 12:48:04 PM ***

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Friday, March 30, 2007 1:00 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Yeah, I see your point. I'm not arguing the potential value or the marketing genius behind these moves. It's the most brilliant 'spin' ever used in amusement parks.

But these parks don't take a loss when they switch over like this. They're making sure they're covered. Some of that may be anticipated attendance increase because of the new marketing angle, but for the most part that increase is covering the 'lost' drink revenue.

It's fun when they switch though, because we can see exactly what the park expects (money-wise) out of every guest.

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Friday, March 30, 2007 1:23 PM
The HW route is the better route for me since I'm stopping by the Pepsi Oasis all day long...at least ten times if not *double* that. Plus, the Oasis lines basically don't exist where at SF, I'm standing in at least a 10 minute line just to grab a drink. Let me pay up front and be done with it.
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Friday, March 30, 2007 1:32 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar More than a few people say that. I can't imagine a 10-drink day at the park, let alone double that.

For you 'big drinkers' this is a huge payoff. :)

You know though, if I buy a drink, I can dump it on the ground if I like. It's mine. I wonder how long I could stand there filling up cups and dumping them before someone stopped me?

"But I just wanted to make sure I got my money's worth!" ;)

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Friday, March 30, 2007 2:11 PM
Gonch: the *real* beauty of this approach is that *most* people don't do the math that you just did. So, not only is it an upsell, but it's an upsell that almost no one will notice. That, my friends, is true business savvy.

I watch the same thing with timeshares. The developer, when they try to sell you, will compare only the annual cost of the maintenance fees---the out of pocket costs---to the equivalent cash rental rates. And, that comparison is a really good deal. Of course, it ignores the fact that you've tied $30,000 worth of capital into something you'll be lucky to sell for $10,000, and will probably sell for $5,000. Not only doesn't it earn interest, the capital invested loses 60-80% of its value (or more) over the term of your ownership. When you add that in, most timeshare units end up in the red for decades before they begin to pay off for their owners, and the developers laugh all the way to the bank.

But, guess which segment of the hospitality industry is growing like gangbusters? You got it: timeshare. Er, sorry: "fractional vacation ownership." As long as you obfuscate the real costs of something well enough, you can sell darn near anything as a "good deal."

-brian, who bought his timeshare via resale at less than a dime on the dollar, and did pretty well for himself. Compared to cash rental rates, I'm earning almost 9% per year on my purchase price. Depending on how well I can play the exchange game, I could potentially earn 4-5x that. Every year.

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Friday, March 30, 2007 2:47 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

So, not only is it an upsell, but it's an upsell that almost no one will notice. That, my friends, is true business savvy.

Exactly.

More slick and more sly (and arguably more greedy) than anything the big parks do.

Not to mention that the gate price at Magic Springs (before any discount) is on par with SF online ticket prices and more than the CF gate prices. But hey, the drinks and sunscreen are free!

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Friday, March 30, 2007 3:22 PM
HW, LC and Now MS. Who will be next? Idlewild? Silverwood? Alabama Adventure? Dutch Wonderland? Martins Fantasy Island? Adventureland (IA)? Canobie Lake?

Interesting how the GP will respond to parks that put more of the costs upfront at the gate instead of getting it after you are in the park. Of course, HW goes further in this respect because they have free parking on top of the other included items.

Sure the drinks aren't really "free" but I would expect most visitors to buy 3 or 4 at most other parks so the value is there. Also, some of the price increase (probably around $2) at MS might be part of the general round of increases that is taking place at many other parks this year.

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Friday, March 30, 2007 3:52 PM
Lord Gonchar (Edit) 3/29/2007 8:09:51 PM Just for the record (and did you think I wouldn't go there?) - the gate was raised $7 across the board and parking was increased $2.The free drinks and sunscreen costs a family of four $30. Ok Gonch, That family of four wants two drinks apiece minnimum per day. $4 X 8 = $32 if the drinks are even that cheap and thats all they want.Now they pay the price, Go in, Drink as much as they need. Don't have to add another 4-5 bucks to a meal for the drink and are happy.Id much rather have the increased gate and be happy all day and not wait in line for a drink and get the crappy service behind it that I have gotten at SF before than pay a already high gate and feel ripped off all day.Chuck, who's hashed this a million times. SATISFACTION is the issue. NOT THE COST!Two instances of crappy service and high drink charge, Both at SFKK. I walk up to the pizza stand and the girls sitting on a stool looking right at me and I litterally had to ask if she was going to wait on me or not. Another was buying a unlimited refill ICEE for 4.99 and then getting charged double saying the first didn't include the drink. I threw the whole sixty four ounces across the counter and took my money off the counter.No excuses for that kinda service. NONE.Chuck*** This post was edited by Charles Nungester 3/30/2007 3:59:47 PM ***
*** This post was edited by Charles Nungester 3/30/2007 4:00:42 PM ***
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Friday, March 30, 2007 4:00 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Also, some of the price increase (probably around $2) at MS might be part of the general round of increases that is taking place at many other parks this year.

Maybe.

But between 2005 and 2006 the gate rose $3 for adults and $5 for kids and seniors.

A family of 4 (with two kids) who didn't visit in last year pays $168 to enter and park this year, but they paid just $122 in 2005.

$46 difference. Ouch. Just be sure to drink 15 drinks or so to break even! :)

Worse yet, in 2003 it would have cost that same family $94. (almost an 80% increase in 5 seasons)

Another case of the small parks that supposedly offer 'value' raising their prices at a much higher rate than the rest of the industry. But I digress.

Here's why it's not any special value to me - souvenir cups. I use them religiously. Even if they're $9 with $2 refills (and many parks are less than that) - we'll get two and share among the family. $18 upfront leaves 6 refills each cup. For the same price as these 'free' drinks, we get two souvenirs and 7 drinks that are twice the size as a 'regular' drink. But here's the catch - we fill those things 3 or 4 times at best. My cost in a worst case scenario (highest pricing, thirstiest day)? $26 - it's often less.

For me it's usually cheaper to pay per drink.


Chuck, who's hashed this a million times. SATISFACTION is the issue. NOT THE COST!

I'm more satisfied when I pay less. :)

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Friday, March 30, 2007 4:02 PM

A revolution that SF would dare never to join in.......even if they saw the good in it.

Oh, I don't know... I can see SF offering free soft drinks. Of course they would charge you $5.75 for a cup... and have a NO REFILL policy.

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Friday, March 30, 2007 4:03 PM
Has not the non free drink parks raised almost as much? And you still have to pay 3-5 bucks for a drink?

PKI went from 39.99 in 2001 to 45.00.

Lets not forget that HW and Magic springs have done almost as much in capital improvments than many SF parks dumped in one ride.

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Friday, March 30, 2007 5:07 PM

I'm more satisfied when I pay less.

But, you have to wonder if, perhaps, you are the exception, rather than the rule.
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Friday, March 30, 2007 6:02 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar I'm sure I am.

Which is odd considering how the arguement is that parks are 'nickel and diming' people with drink and food costs.

Flat out, it costs me less to pull the souvenir cup deal then it does to pay into the 'free drink pool' at parks that demand it.

The logic seems to be that people are more satisfied paying more all at once, then paying less in increments. (which defies every other 'cost' thread we've ever had around here)

If that makes me the exception, then maybe the people that think Wal-Mart helps them are complete morons? (reference to the SF thread :) )

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Friday, March 30, 2007 6:31 PM
I believe that LC has done well with its policy and the park continues to enjoy steady growth. This system certainly appeals to families that are upset with SFNE drink prices not to mention the long lines that are all too common at the bigger park.

I have great expectations for LC because of its location. As the park grows, it should attract more visitors from the NYC and Boston areas aling with its base from CT and RI. This is a park that is very family oriented even though it also has several rides that appeal to the thrill seekers.

If someone invited me to go to any New England amusement park of my choice, I would choose LC because I believe that I would enjoy this park the most.

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