For a day ticket, yes....considering the enormous variety of "passes" and discounts available, no one should pay full gate price for a one-day ticket. But if they do, it's free money...
Hey, that's my standard SF defense!
Just think how much it all adds up to when you factor in everything else like parking, food, drinks, ect. Just think how much a family outing to a park can cost.
A family of four wants to go to Six Flags for a day. If they have two meals and one snack, it will cost them at least $350. Add in Flashpass, prefered parking, some games, and a few gifts shop items and you could easily spend a Grand - for one days worth of family fun.
EDIT- I'm just using SF as an example. A lot of parks bleed their "Guest's" dry. I know, I know. It's called "business". *** Edited 12/8/2006 4:49:42 AM UTC by dexter***
I bought a full price admission ticket to BGT (BGA) and opted for the "free for the rest of the year" option. I ended up going to the park 5 times in the 3 visits I took down to Florida.
That basically came out to about 12 bucks a visit.
Even with this increase, it would be about 12.50 a visit.
Here are a couple of comparisons.
An NFL game. Average ticket cost in 2006 is $63.42. Parking will be more. Food might be less, because you may not need to eat there. Souvenirs about the same. Then again, really only a half-day, not a full day.
A day skiing. Midweek full-day lift tickets at Boyne, a dumpy little hill in northern lower Michigan, are $46 for adults, $41 for kids. Add equipment rental if you don't have your own, which is going to be another $35 for an adult, another $25 per kid. Food about the same. No parking costs or souvenirs. A real ski resort, with a real mountain, will of course cost more.
A ticket at the Blue Man Group's tour when it visits Detroit will set you back $56 for the cheap seats, plus ticketbastard fees of around $10 per person. Parking about the same. Food you can skip. But, only an evening, not a full day.
I plunked down $45 to get into SWSA this fall (using my AAA discount to get it down from $50), thinking at the time it was just a splurge to go in and whore two credits. I came out believing that I had more than gotten my money's worth compared to other park visits. Beer School probably helped in that assessment, of course. ;)
Finally, I want to bring up something that rarely comes up in these multi-day vs. single day discussions. There is value in variety. If I've been to MK, AK, EP, and DS already, and seen everything there I've wanted to see, then sure I can go back to them for less and do the same stuff over again. Or, I can go do something else entirely new for a day at SWO, IOA, or UO. Yes, that's going to cost more, but it also provides more, as well.
If you are an out of town visitor to Orlando, as a family of four, staying for a week, you've already spent a big chunk of change on airfare, rental car, lodging, and eating out every day. In that context, an extra $250 is nearly irrelevant. When I go, I go about as cheaply as possible without resorting to the fleabags on US192, and an extra $250 is not going to make the difference between being able to afford the trip and not.
That said, we get our "diversity of experience" over time, not necessarily within one trip. We try to go down at least once per year in late February to escape the cold. Each trip so far has been Disney-focused, driven mostly by the ages of our kids. Over time, we'll spend the week doing other things, too, and switch to long-term non-expiring disney admission to fold it in.
-brian, who is a big believer in diversity of experience. Just don't tell his wife.
Plus, as I've said before: amusement parks don't compete (only) with other amusement parks. They compete with all other leisure time activities.
And, nothing in central Florida competes directly with any non-central-FL property for the vast majority of all visitors, because most non-destination parks see a very small fraction of guests who came from farther than a few hours' drive away. A day at your local park is just a different class of activity than a week in Central Florida. The former is a diversion. The latter is a vacation.
The interesting fly in this ointment is Cypress Gardens. They've done booming business in the past little while, and can barely expand fast enough to meet their growing attendance. Unfortunately, the storms really did a number on them; hopefully they can survive this period, financially. However, it's clearly not just price that has helped CG---the place languished in obscurity for years priced even more cheaply than it is now.
On the other hand, look at what happened to Splendid China. It's now waiting to be redeveloped into timeshares or vacation homes. It wasn't really an "amusement park", but it was cheap, and cheap alone didn't carry the day.
At the end of the day, the question is: does a park provide *value* to its guests. Watch people leave a Disney, Busch, or Universal park---even those priced northwards of $60. It's hard to conclude that those guests didn't get good value, because they all seem pretty happy, albeit exhausted.
*** Edited 12/8/2006 7:14:43 PM UTC by Brian Noble***
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