Disney's cutting hours. Universal's closing rides. Cedar Fair parks are chopping the calendar. Is there any value in visiting a theme park right now?
Parks are cutting hours and services because the pandemic has reduced the number of fans that they can accommodate... as well as the number who want to visit in the first place. The parks took massive losses while they were closed. They're not about to compound that by operating at a loss after they reopen. So if attendance and income are down from normal levels, parks' expenses need to fall, too.
That's why the cuts. But if parks cut too much, they become self-fulfilling, as they discourage fans from visiting. Not that fans haven't had enough discouragement as it is, thanks to this pandemic.
So the one glimmer of value that parks have had to offer fans during this most difficult summer has been shorter-than-usual wait times. Lower attendance means fewer people queuing for popular attractions. It's the same formula that draws fans to visit Walt Disney World and other year-round theme parks during their "off" seasons. Sure, the hours are reduced and some rides and shows are down for refurb. But with smaller crowds in the parks, you can get more done than during a fully-loaded summer day.
In effect, the pandemic has turned this summer into an off season. I guess that makes this upcoming fall the "off off" season?
Whether you're planning to visit a park anytime soon or not, I would like to hear about how you calculate value on a theme park visit. On average, how many rides or shows do you expect to to get on in a day? When you divide your ticket price by the number, what does that work out to?
Some of us might not like doing that math. (I pay WHAT to go on Steel Vengeance?) But I think it's a helpful way to compare value — whether you are thinking about one theme park versus another, or about theme parks versus other forms of entertainment.
Let's hear how you think about value in planning a theme park visit.
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