Posts Tagged ‘theme parks’

SeaWorld Orlando to Increase Prices in 2009

SeaWorld Orlando will be raising ticket prices another $5 to $74.95 effective January 5th. In 2007 they raised prices in July and again in November. These prices held steady throughout the 2008 year. This price puts SeaWorld just 5 cents under a one-day one-park Disney or Universal Studios ticket who both raised their prices to $75 this past August.

For my family, the ability to convert your SeaWorld ticket into a year long pass for a little bit more still makes the price worthwhile for us, but we live here and can easily get the value out of that deal. I assume the bean counters at these organizations have run the numbers, but I would be curious to see how close the profit margin difference was for actually lowering prices to increase demand against this hike that may deter some locals. I think that’s where these price fluctuations have the biggest impact.

A family traveling here is not going to derail their plans for an extra $20 for the whole family. However, if you live here you may rethink that visit to the parks and go do something else more cost effective in the area. If you kid has a hankering to see sea life there’s a lot cheaper and even free ways to see a stingray, manatee or dolphin, that’s for sure. Add to that the hospitality house going the way of the do-do (I still think this is an unconfirmed rumor) and the “free beer” incentive is taken out of the value added column as well.

What do you think? Will these price increases keep you or any out of town relatives from checking out SeaWorld, or any other parks?

See Blue Man Group at a Discount

blue man groupYup, found another deal going on tickets. This time it’s on the Blue Man Group show over at Universal Orlando. I haven’t seen the Orlando version, but I have seen the Vegas version and I loved this show. It’s visually interesting, funny and I loved the interactive elements.

Through this Sunday (November 29), you can purchase Orchestra/Poncho area seats, which normally go for $74 for $54. That’s a $20 savings, which will at least get you a couple of drinks at the concessions stand.

To nab these tickets for shows through March 13, 2009, call 800-BLUEMAN (800-258-3626) or visit the theater box office at Universal CityWalk and mention the promotional code BLUEZOOUS. Blackout Dates for this offer are Nov. 24-30 & Dec. 22- Jan 1. The discount is also not valid for Friday and Saturday evening shows.

Two Annual Theme Park Fests Start Today

For who look forward to those fall fests at the area theme parks, two of the biggies start today.

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A trio of champagnesEpcot’s Food & Wine Fest starts today. It’s the 13th year of the festival which offers up samples of food and drink from around the world, and this year’s focus is on “culinary cities,” along with the state of Louisiana. You do need to buy a park admission or have an annual pass of some kind for Walt Disney World, but once inside, you can stroll the World Showcase in the back of the park and try food and drink native to countries and cities from around the world. Average samples will set you back $2 to $5 per item, so it’s an inexpensive way to try something you’ve never had before.

There’s also free seminars daily, which usually offer up samples (though the lines can be very long to get in to one, especially on weekends), and free nightly entertainment from nationally-known entertainers. This year’s fest kicks off with the sounds of ska-swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy tonight and tomorrow (Saturday) and continues over the weekend with Sheena Easton on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

For more info, visit the official Walt Disney World Food & Wine website.

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Universal OrlandoFor those that would rather be scared than wined and dined, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights also starts tonight. It’s the 18th incarnation of the annual event and this year’s theme is Urban Legends, Fairy Tales & Myths, epitomized by the legend of Bloody Mary, who comes to life if you chant her name into a mirror. Universal says over 300 new characters were created for this year’s event, which runs September 26-27, October 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 22-26 and October 29-November 1.

Separate park admission is required for Halloween Horror Nights, even if you have a Universal Orlando annual pass, but special Florida-resident discounts and multi-night passes are available. The event’s official website has all the details.

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Are you planning to go to one or both? Do you prefer one over the other? Let us know in comments.

Disney Free on Your Birthday in 2009

In a New York City ballroom on Sept. 18, 2008, Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Jay Rasulo (pictured) announced that Disney Parks will welcome guests in 2009 with free theme park admission on their birthday.

LET THE CELEBRATION BEGIN: In a New York City ballroom on Sept. 18, 2008, Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Jay Rasulo (pictured) announced that Disney Parks will welcome guests in 2009 with free theme park admission on their birthday.

In a stroke of genius that in hindsight makes me wonder, why haven’t they done this before, Disney announced they will be offering free admission for people on their birthday in 2009. What a great way to get people out to the park, especially locally. Hitting the parks on your “special day” is always on the list of possible activities for most any local resident, and this move probably just made up hundreds of thousands of people’s minds for what to do next year. No one goes to the park without dropping some cash on food and merchandise and likely won’t go alone. Further, they created a special reason to pull the trigger for tons of people on a rotating schedule every day of the calendar next year! That’s genius! Give the guy that got that idea off the ground over there a raise.

See the full press release here.

Disney and Universal Raise Ticket Prices Again

Yes, you read that heading correctly. Even in the midst of record high gas prices and nickle-and-dime tactics from airlines, two of the three major Orlando theme parks have decided this is a good time to raise prices on their admission tickets.

Walt Disney World was the first, raising its one-day, one-park pass price on Sunday to $75 (plus tax). Now word comes that Universal will also be raising their basic ticket to $75, starting today.

Now you can say that the $4 or so increase is minor, but for most people working minimum-wage type jobs, they now have to work 10-12 hours to afford to spend one day at the park.

To be fair, Florida residents can still save a bit by purchasing annual passes or special ticket combos, like WDW’s Play 3 or Play 4 day passes or Universal’s 1-day/2-park combo tickets. But one has to wonder if it’s a good idea to raise ticket prices when millions of families in the U.S. are already having their paycheck’s stretched thin with basics like housing costs, rising food bills and gas prices that are keeping many closer to home on their vacations.

At any rate, SeaWorld so far appears to be the lone hold-out, keeping prices at $69.95 for a single day ticket, with a $10 online discount for advance purchase. They also allow Florida residents to turn that ticket into a fun card good for admission through the end of the year for free.

How about it? How do you readers cope with the ticket prices of the area theme parks? Do you rely on friends to let you in? Do you have annual passes? Or do you just not bother going anymore? Let us know in comments.

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