Parks raise prices to cover attractions

By Angela L. Gorter REPORTER

As the top three amusement parks in Ohio have been increasing, so have their admission prices. Over the past five years, all three parks, Cedar Point, Six Flags and King’#39;s Island, have raised their ticket prices by around $10 per general admission ticket.

This spring, thrill seekers all over the state are anticipating the arrival of each parks newest rides. Cedar Point stationed in Sandusky, Ohio, and the most popular of the three, will open its doors to Top Thrill Dragster, their newest record-breaking coaster. Although this and most other rides at this amusement park are the ultimate in thrills, does the general admission price at the park equal to the 40 second scream-a-thon?

According to Robin Innes, public relations director at Cedar Point, ‘#34;Ticket price reflects the value of entertainment.’#34; In addition, he said, factors such as park expansions and new additions, effects whether or not the overall ticket price increases.

Since the year 1998, when general admission prices were $31.95 and junior admission prices were $6.95 (children 48’#34; and taller), the average ticket price at Cedar Point has risen to $43.95 for general admission, to $21.95 for the junior ticket, in 2003.

Although the park, its rides and rising ticket prices, have been received by complement and complaint, Cedar Point guests seem to understand for the most part why the prices are on the rise. ‘#34;They keep building new roller coasters, so they have to charge more. I think it’#39;s ridiculous. You spend most of the day standing in a line for three hours for a 30 second thrill,’#34; Falon Bunn of Lorain, Ohio, said.

The last time Bunn visited Cedar Point, she paid a discounted price through her Prom ticket. ‘#34;If I had to pay the regular price, I would think that I would have paid too much,’#34; she said.

In reaction to the annual ticket increases, Cedar Point, in culmination with Pepsi, AAA and Meijer, has offered discounts to the everyday guest for the past several years. With these and other discounts, such as ‘#34;starlight’#34; ticket prices ($24.95), those tickets purchased after 4 and 5 p.m., the larger percentage of guests pay discounted prices, Innes said.

To the east of Cedar Point is Six Flags theme park. The newest of the three parks, Six Flags includes the old Geauga Lake, parts of Sea World and the original Six Flags theme park thrill rides.

Located in Aurora, Ohio, in addition to the numerous sister parks around the country, Six Flags has not seen much change with its annual ticket pricing. Shannon Pak, public relations manager for Six Flags, said the price has not changed, but there have been some new stipulations to the pricing schedule.

Last year, children 48’#34; and under received the $24.99 ticket price; this year, those individuals 54’#34; and under get in for the same amount. Also, last year, children 2 and under were admitted free, in 2003, the age limit went up to ages 3 and under admitted for free.

Personnel said the park saw no reason to increase prices for the coming year.

Jeffrey Siebert, public relations manager at Paramount’#39;s King’#39;s Island said, ‘#34;It was in the best interest of the park not to raise ticket prices. Guests would receive [us] very well if prices did not increase.’#34;

Paramount’#39;s King’#39;s Island in Cincinnati, Ohio, has been developing their park into a family resort since 1979. Since then, prices have increased noticeably, but remain stable as the park has begun to offer numerous discounts such as the Gold Pass. The Gold Pass is a season pass, which, when purchased at an early date, offers guests perks such as special parking spaces and free guest admission.

These three parks leave the consumer with two questions, which one is worth the cost, and what has the park done to lure me to them?

Jennifer Vissing of Cincinnati, Ohio, said, ‘#34;I would like to see the parks send out $10 and $15 off coupons in the summer and have contests online to win free tickets or coupons.’#34;

Bunn said, free things such as t-shirts or meal deals should be implemented to compensate for the increasing prices.

As to whether or not the increases will continue, Innes of Cedar Point said, ‘#34;The overall entertainment package is reviewed each year.’#34;