Theme Park Rip-offs!

What gets me is the placing of the "gift shops / Souvinere shops," at some parks. I don't mind them near the exit of the ride... that only makes common sense... get the people while they are still hyped up from the ride they just came off of. But what gets me is that some of them are built into the Exit queue line... forcing me to walk through them if I want to or not. Three that come to mind... Spiderman and Cat in the Hat (IOA) and Montu (BGT). At least the one for Montu has an open air market feel to it... not a claustrophobic gift shop feel like the ones at IOA.

I promise I won't go off on a rant about those @#$%^&*! Toboggan's again.
I couldn't agree more, but with all the money amusment parks are spending on new $10 million rides, the need to charge a heavy amount of money for tickets and parking fees. Cedar Point is now up to $40. But, SFWOA family four pack of passes is only 49.99, plus it's good at any six flags theme park, now thats what I call a deal. I will be getting season passes to both parks!
I seen somone complain about price of MGM tickets you can buy most tickets cheaper than the gate through a broker, call before you go there is always dicount tickets to those who look. And I also love the Idea just like Peabody about IOA 1st hour free for your locker all of them right next to there rides, put your stuff in before you get on and its right there as you get off and all secure.

Army rangers lead the way

Jeff said:
"I'm on vacation at the parks, I'm not that interested in worrying about my finances."

Must be nice....

Anyway, I rarely buy anything aside from something to eat. Parking fees suck, especially @ places like CP where you have no other option (I'd walk up the causeway if I could, great view, but that's illegal). But if a park is accessible by other means (like you can take the bus to SFA) then I dont feel bad about the parking fee.

For the most part, they can charge whatever they want. If I think it's too high, I will gladly do without.
--who wont get pissed till they install pay toilets (pun intended) ;)
janfrederick's avatar
I think al lot of the fees (like parking) should be included in the ticket price. I agree with Jeff that I don't like thinking about finances....but every time I dip into my pocket, I do.

I don't mind paying high prices if it means they do their best to keep the lines moving, keep the park clean, and put in a great ride now and again.

By the way, must have been a coincidence or something, but every coaster at PGA this Saturday was either down or went down while I was in line.

Decisions determine destiny; Destiny determines decisions.
If I owned a theme park I would do the same, but I think $10.00 to park is more resonable. Then I would charge at least $50.00 to get in the park. Then I could build really expensive rides.
Well, I think that my home park of Holiday World is a good role model for the other parks. No charge for parking, free drinks, and you can leave anything in the station while you ride the coasters. Thank god that I live nearby the park!:)


"Hold on tight, with all your might, and enjoy your flight on the Raven!"
SFWoA &11.95 for an on ride photo and 7.00 for to play a game there.
Heres one, if I remember correctly, I beileve I paid $15 for Hulks on-ride photo. Thats a bit much but I had to have it. Also if you want to beat the parking fees for Epcot or MGM, park at the Dolphin hotel and either walk to either park or take there little ferry. *** This post was edited by hockeyman on 4/23/2001. ***
Obviously, when Disney and Universal continue year after year to be the most visited parks anywhere by far, they can charge whatever they want because they know people will come. We always stay at Disney resorts(which are the best anywhere), all of which are completely packed and adding more so we don't worry about their parking. Plain amusement parks can charge a lot less, because they don't need great theming and have to give great service to bring in a minumum amount of people. Don't complain about IOA's food. Be glad it's actually good. I don't know if you mean big 3 amusement parks Jeff, but Disney and Universal are much bigger than your "big 3".

PKI-Wooden, Helix, and Kiddie Coaster Capital of the World!
The First and Only Gigabuzzer bigger than Millie, rising Faster than Maggie, and pulls more BS than MS ever will!!!
*** This post was edited by Koaster King on 4/23/2001. ***
Ah our good friend Parking. Any way you look at it the park still has to pay for the upkeep of the parking lot, and admitedly the parks have gotten 'hooked' on looking at their parking lots as big green $ signs.

But in the adage of "What doesn't directly effect me, I don't notice" Maybe parks are going about collecting the parking fee all wrong. I think we all understand the simple concept that if the park doesn't charge a parking toll, then the money for the upkeep of the parking lot has to come out of some other source of income. ("There's no such thing as a free lunch")

But let's look at two fictional parks, Park Alpha and Park Beta.

Park Alpha uses the time honored method of charging a $7 parking fee, and a $40 gate admission.

Park Beta uses the less obvious tactic of offering "free" parking and charges $43.50 at the gate.

For sake of argument, lets assume all else is equal, both parks offer a similar ride package, and draw a similar crowd, lets say 3 million guests a year, or 25,000 average over 120 operating days a season, and plans on 2.5 guests arriving per car (or 10,000 cars parked per day)

At the end of the average operating day, Park Alpha counts its toll plaza reciepts and realized $70,000 ($7 x 10,000 autos), then counts its gate reciepts and realizes $1,000,000 (25,000 x $40) for $1,070,000 total per diem.

Meanwhile Park Beta has no parking receipts to count, and realizes $1,087,500 from the gate($43.50x25,000). A difference of $17,500 per diem. In the span of an operating season, that would equate to an extra $2,100,000 per season. or a nice down payment on a nice CCI coaster. Best part is, they have 25,000 people per day telling their friends, Park Beta offers FREE parking!.

I know the example is a little simplistic, but if they add $3.50 to adult, senior, and child admission prices the end result is the same. (Season passes would be upcharged like $15, or 5 visits to come out ahead) And think of the toll collectors the park could layoff and not have that salary expense, or the upkeep of the toll plazas, or the cost of printing parking receipts.

Couldn't have put it better myself - shame you don't manage a theme park.

May/June 2001 - 16 parks in 18 days!!!
Ok coasterville dan put it this way, if both park's get the same amount of guest's a day where do you park, do you look for an hour with traffic like at mall's(the non charging lot) or do you go where there are people directing traffic and keeping parking lot clean and secure. 25,000 people trying to get parking space's are going to cause fights, parking lot vadilism and a ton of trash, I sure would not want to park my brand new car in that lot. It would be a car thief's paradise.

Army rangers lead the way *** This post was edited by supermandl on 4/24/2001. ***
I think one of the worse fees this summer is SFGAdv's rasing their parking fee to $10 per vehicle. It's bad enough that their admission is so high, but to pay $10 to park? Sure, they now give free safari admission and a new coaster to regular ticket purchasers, but $10 to park seems alomst robbery. Actually, $8 to park is high. It seems at though Six Flags tend to jump on the high parking bandwagon more than Paramount. Six Flags America, which is still smaller than PKD, charges $8 to park, while PKD charges "only" $6. A fee I'd still rather not pay, but why so high at Six Flags?

The only thing i really have a problem with is the charging for locker use, and then forcing u to use them because you can't bring things on certain rides. Everything else is pretty much on par with what you might pay at any other events. I remember for a 3-hour bulls game (back when they were good) we had to pay $20 bucks for parking. So to pay 6 or whatever for a full day parking is not so bad I think. Simply put, if you don't like what they are charging, don't buy it, if enough other people feel the same way then they will have to lower prices.
to fly: the dream of man and flightless bird alike
When I worked at Sea World in High School, parking was free. Now I understand that the parking fees collected account for employee wages for the entire park. Gate fees go to operate rides, feed Shamu and pay for indirect operational expenses. The rest is all cash in the bank. Think about it. 25,000 cars at 7-10 bucks a pop.

It's still not tall enough!!!!!

supermandl said:
"Ok coasterville DAVE (not dan) put it this way, if both park's get the same amount of guest's a day where do you park, do you look for an hour with traffic like at mall's(the non charging lot) or do you go where there are people directing traffic and keeping parking lot clean and secure.

Supermandl, you missed the whole lead in about systems thinking.

I stated that the park would still have to pay for costs associated with the parking lot. It's just that park Beta earmarks $3.50 out of every gate admission for parking lot expenses, and Park Alpha collects a seperate $7 parking fee per car that goes into a parking lot budget.

The park can still have friendly greeters directing each guest to a parking space, it can still have security actively patrolling its lot, it can still offer parking tram service, and yes still keep the lot freshly blacktopped with freshly painted divider lines. I'm not saying all that is necessary, but if thats what you want for your park, you can still have it, by taking the associated costs out of the $3.50 earmarked portion of the admission tickets. As I illustrated, if the park sets the per admission parking surcharge correctly (yet still reasonably) they can actually make more than with a per car fee. Think of all those guests that get dropped off my friends and family, get dropped off by public transportation, by hotel shuttles, think how many come in motorcoaches and school busses, club vans, etc. The park is actually making more by charging everybody a fair fee wether they use the service or not.

The only layoffs I suggested refer to the parking toll plaza. I mean let's say you have 8 tollbooths, and have a toll collector on duty at each lane for 12 hours per day, making minimmum wage (hardly likely), the park could realize another $100,000 in savings easy by ridding itself of the toll plaza. Yet still keep the parkers and the security force intact.

An added side benefit could come to parks that don't have the luxury of a long access road back to the parking area, by not having a backup to pay parking fees, guests can stream into the lot keeping the access roads to the park moving.

There are a few more items a park sells that could be rolled into the gate fee. However, FREE also means that people take it just becuase its free. Locker Rental could be a target to be made a free service, but parks usually have inadequate locker supplies as it is, and free would cause the lockers to fill up real fast from people just taking them becuase their free. Or a family getting a locker for every person becuase they are free.

And there is precedent in the amusement park industry, think back 40 years ago. The standard practice was to charge you a small park admission, then everytime you wanted to ride a ride, or see a show, out came the wallet for a few more coins.

Can't you visualize a park proclaming "How will we ever be able to afford to maintain the Cyclone if we don't charge to ride it" Yet, the tide turned and parks experiemented with and found that charging one fee for all rides and shows worked, provided a more steady guaranteed income. Most importantly, one price tickets probably caused people to stay at the park longer, because they had already paid for all day, and all these rides are free for the riding, which means that the park has more exposure to sell them the food, gifts, andother stuff. And again think about the staff, supplies, and aggravation eliminating ride tickets saved. (Yes, those rides are still maintained, and the shows still funded, just out of the gate admission instead)
You still have to pay taxes on the land you own thats a pretty big area to hold that many car's, it also cost's alot more to buy land around theme park's, by your your way more people come but what about land do they buy more out of coaster budget or parking budget. More people that come the larger the lot, taxes and cost of property. Here is a link how much theme parks pay in property tax.

Army rangers lead the way *** This post was edited by supermandl on 4/24/2001. ***
Drinking Water. I don't recall the individual price, but my fiance and I spent $60 on water in one day at Magic Mountain. It was about 95 degrees and the warm tap water at the fountains didn't cut it.

It's still not tall enough!!!!!
I dont complain to much about theme park parking. Down here it cost $20 bucks to park at a Miami Dolphins game. And the outer lot isnt even paved its a bunch of little rocks.

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