SFGADV Raises Parking Price

Thursday, June 21, 2012 2:37 PM

I go to amusement parks less than a handful of times each year, so it doesn't really bother me anymore. I can see if I was going every week having to pay that. That'd be ridiculous.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012 2:59 PM

If they continually raise prices at a much higher rate than inflation, something has to give.

I believed that too. But, as near as I can tell, entertainment in general goes up faster than inflation. I've never figured out how or why that is so, but it seems to be so.

I can see if I was going every week having to pay that. That'd be ridiculous.

And if you were going that often, you'd buy a parking pass.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Thursday, June 21, 2012 2:59 PM
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Thursday, June 21, 2012 3:04 PM

bunky666 said:

I didn't even think of the cost of living differences, Gonch...as always, you raise an excellent point. However, the parking for Great Adventure is still excessive. If you look at it in your way, somewhere with a lesser cost of living like...Hershey we'll say, charges 12 dollars for parking. Dorney charges less than even that. I find it hard to believe that the cost of living is SO much more that they need to charge that kind of money. Or at LEAST is it really necessary to then up charge for VIP parking? Yes, they CAN charge what they want, but I still think they SHOULDN'T.

Dorney went up to $15 this year, preferred is $20. At least the preferred parking lot doesn't have many spaces so it's not much of a longer walk this year.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012 3:08 PM

I didn't know Dorney went up since the parking is free for passholders. Been a while since I've paid to get in there (except for that random visit last year).

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Thursday, June 21, 2012 3:39 PM

SFGAdv lover said:

If they continually raise prices at a much higher rate than inflation, something has to give.

You would think, wouldn't you?

But then the millions of visitors each year keep proving us wrong.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012 5:24 PM

Exactly. I've been lingering around this site for more than a decade and, every time Disney has raised admissions prices, someone always chimes in with "someday they'll reach a breaking point." Same applies here.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012 5:28 PM

I keep on hearing you guys say "If you think parking at parks is bad, try the event parking for x," but despite paying for event/destination parking in cities like Cleveland, Orlando, Chicago, Dallas, Tampa etc. I've never run across the kinds of prices mentioned and I always park in a garage or ground lot run by the event staff and never walk more than a few blocks at most to an event. In most cases, I'm parking as close as I can without needing VIP/valet. The most I've payed for any event/destination parking was $20, average price is about $15.

Of course, I'm also one of those people that has to be there super early, so that helps (and sometimes scores free parking in a garage if I know they don't do window "receipts").

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Thursday, June 21, 2012 6:19 PM

maXairMike said:

I've never run across the kinds of prices mentioned and I always park in a garage or ground lot run by the event staff and never walk more than a few blocks at most to an event. In most cases, I'm parking as close as I can without needing VIP/valet. The most I've payed for any event/destination parking was $20, average price is about $15.

You can park for less at events, but you can also park for more...a lot more.

Sure, anyone can park a few blocks away and do the old time-for-money trade and park relatively cheaply. It exists.

My experience is that on-site parking or the equivalent (seems like a most valid comparison) runs at prices that makes the park prices seem totally sane.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012 8:53 PM

I'm expecting to pay $45+ to park at a hotel in Chicago. It is what it is.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012 9:15 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

maXairMike said:

I've never run across the kinds of prices mentioned and I always park in a garage or ground lot run by the event staff and never walk more than a few blocks at most to an event. In most cases, I'm parking as close as I can without needing VIP/valet. The most I've payed for any event/destination parking was $20, average price is about $15.

You can park for less at events, but you can also park for more...a lot more.

Sure, anyone can park a few blocks away and do the old time-for-money trade and park relatively cheaply. It exists.

My experience is that on-site parking or the equivalent (seems like a most valid comparison) runs at prices that makes the park prices seem totally sane.

There are very few major venues I've been to where paying to park day of or even buying online parking (including things like garage passes) gets you any closer than a block or two, even if you get there as early as I do at times. If you want to do valet, maybe, but even then I've seen it hit or miss. If you're not paying for parking one of those 3 ways, you're not going to park close.

I can't imagine them letting "anyone" park as close as you seem to be saying because at that point you might as well just be using valet. And if you're actually parking where you're talking about, parking fees stopped being a consideration a long time ago.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012 9:20 PM

Jeff said:

I'm expecting to pay $45+ to park at a hotel in Chicago. It is what it is.

Is that per day? I've heard of charges like that, but those kinds of places are usually so far out of my price range it doesn't matter to me. Now if that's a place like a Holiday Inn or basic Hyatt downtown...I'd be staying a little farther out and taking public transit.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012 10:12 PM

A lot of events sell various levels of VIP and Premiere parking as add-ons to tickets and/or packages. I know of a recent concert I went to that I paid for Premiere Parking, and was VERY close to the venue, but there were VIP spots I never even knew existed that were even closer. (They sold out before I could buy one of them initially, or else I'd have done that) Those that paid for VIP parking, but didn't get a spot in one of the VIP lots - wound up in the Premiere lot, and got a ride to the front gate on a golf cart. It's not always about parking in the closest public lot, sometimes they have special areas for people who fork over the cash.

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Friday, June 22, 2012 3:38 AM

maXairMike said:

There are very few major venues I've been to where paying to park day of or even buying online parking (including things like garage passes) gets you any closer than a block or two...

I can't imagine them letting "anyone" park as close as you seem to be saying because at that point you might as well just be using valet.

I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at.

I'm simply saying that parking a distance from the venue that's a fair comparison to the parking situation at the parks costs exactly the crazy amounts we keep talking about that you implied didn't exist.

And I conceded that cheaper parking exists, if you're willing to trade time/convenience rather than money.However, I think the point remains. $22 is not out of line for what you'll pay for comparable parking in event situations.

With that said:

maXairMike said:

Is that per day? I've heard of charges like that, but those kinds of places are usually so far out of my price range it doesn't matter to me. Now if that's a place like a Holiday Inn or basic Hyatt downtown...I'd be staying a little farther out and taking public transit.

Two things here, really.

1. The fact that it's not in your price range and doesn't matter to you doesn't mean these parking fees don't exist and that people don't regularly pay them. (and that applies to both posts of yours that I quoted)

2. Again you talk about trading convenience/time in an effort to save money. Which seems to indicate that you are well aware of the parking fees that you originally claimed to never run across and take action to avoid them and/or mitigate the cost.

3. There is no #3, but I did want to point out that plenty of "not out of your price range" hotels charge parking fees in the ballpark of what SFGADV is charging. A quick scan of these search results shows Holiday Inn hotels charging anywhere from $9 to $27 for parking. The Hyatt hotels seem to be even higher.

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I dunno. The original point seemed to be that you said you never run across event parking prices like we talk about. I just pointed some out and noticed the way you actively avoid these charges. High-cost parking exists and people (not everyone, obviously) regularly pay for it.

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Friday, June 22, 2012 8:51 AM

SFGAdv lover said:

If they continually raise prices at a much higher rate than inflation, something has to give.

Well, as long as there's an ever increasing disparity of wealth, they should be okay catering to the top end, which is why prices can go up faster than inflation: the standard of living of the "people who can afford a week at Disney" or whatever is going up a lot faster than inflation also (see Apple products). Of course, an ever increasing disparity of wealth will eventually break a whole lot more than Six Flags' bottom line.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Friday, June 22, 2012 8:55 AM
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Friday, June 22, 2012 8:59 AM

Well, let's look at it like this. If I take the the prices from their respective websites, Kennywood for a day is $37.99 with free parking, or $5 for preferred parking if you want it. Six Flags Great Adventure is $36.99 and $22 for parking. Holiday World is $40.95 with free parking.

Kennywood's early bird season pass was $69.99? with free parking, $99.99 now. SFGAdv's is $61.99 + $60 for a parking pass. Holiday World's is $159.95.

If I were a season pass holder I would have bought the parking pass, if I were visiting for a day I would have paid the stupid $22 and have been annoyed that I paid $22 just to leave my car for the day. That said, parking is expensive because it usually takes up valuable space.

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Friday, June 22, 2012 10:55 AM

$22 to park does seem ridiculous, but when you put it that way, it really doesn't seem out of line.

Including parking, a visit to KW is $39, HW is $41, SFGAdv is $59. I'd say that GAdv has more high priced attractions and that it's a reasonable price.

Unless you're an enthusiast, you probably don't go alone either. For a family/group of 4 traveling together, the one day price including parking is KW $39, HW $41, GAdv $42.50.

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Friday, June 22, 2012 11:11 AM

Or you can be one of those people that park 2 miles down the street and just walk to the park. Seems like I see this alot at the various parks I go to. Except of course for CP.

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Friday, June 22, 2012 11:54 AM

I'm inclined to wonder if perhaps the high parking rates are there to somehow compensate for low season pass prices. Think about it: SF season passes are often nowhere near the price of passes elsewhere, be they multi-park chains or, as we've seen, even Holiday World. While I'd rather pay more for a season pass and less for parking, I still don't see how I have much right to complain when I'm averaging less than $20 at the gate to enter a SF park at least four times a year. And honestly, if I'm paying the same amount regardless, I suppose it doesn't matter if I'm handing the cash out at the parking booth or online when I purchase the pass. In the end, SF is still just about as economical as it gets.

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Friday, June 22, 2012 12:00 PM

You're probably on to something.

SF seems to have always used the approach of selling people on how cheap tickets/passes are and then nickel and diming them once they've got them at the park.

It's kind of a lazy approach to selling. Say it costs $40 to visit and then surprise people with $22 parking and $5 drinks.

Still waiting for the first 'free' big park where parking costs $50 per person. ;)

But yeah, you're correct in that the overall cost, the bottom line, is really what matters. Every park chooses to divide this up and present it differently.

It doesn't really matter how they get that money from you. Some parks have succeeded with free parking or free drinks, some just hit you at the gate, some use in-park pricing. But the price of visiting amusement parks is pretty consistent and comparable across the board.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Friday, June 22, 2012 12:01 PM
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Friday, June 22, 2012 2:07 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

Still waiting for the first 'free' big park where parking costs $50 per person. ;)

But yeah, you're correct in that the overall cost, the bottom line, is really what matters. Every park chooses to divide this up and present it differently.

Two items, addressed individually: First, Idlewild. Paid to park (somewhere around $25-30 to park, but the admission band was included "free")...LOL! This was prob. 4-5 years ago, so I can't say if that's their current strategy or not.

Second - Freakonomics rears it's pretty little head once again. Leavitt and Dubner recently referred to a company CEO (want to say JC Penney) who had the revolutionary idea of ending the "sales cycle" - all items have one price, all the time. Customers won't have to bargain-shop, or wait for a sale...they can come in and buy anytime, with a clearly-marked, rock-bottom price. IIRC, they tried the strategy for one quarter in the hopes that they could raise market share. End result, they got *clobbered*. Turns out, people do say they only care about the bottom line - consistently. Their behavior proves that people prefer to think they're "getting a deal", even if in the end they're the same or even worse off. Humans are just funny creatures... :~)

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