No Inflation? A Day Trip To The Regional Amusement Park Costs A Family Of Four OVER $1,000 This Summer (2019)
Cedar Point is the closest “day-trip” amusement park to where my family lives.
This is arguably the best amusement park in the nation in terms of the number/quality of thrill-rides/roller-coasters, and sure, this is subjective opinion, but I’m saying that as having gone to amusement parks all over the country for most of my life, including many in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and In other states I’m sure I’m forgetting about because that data has not yet been de-fragmented in my brain, and by “most of my life”, I mean, I’ve gone to amusement parks as a kid, as a student, as a single, as a married fella, and as a family man.
It takes less than 2-hours to drive to this park, so it is possible to leave home, enter the park when it opens, stay until the park closes, and drive home, all in the same day, and that is exactly what we did on Saturday, as we always do when going to this particular park.
In other words, it is what is known as a “day-trip”, and this most recent one was enjoyed by my family of four consisting of me, my wife, my 12 year-old son and my 14 year-old daughter.
I do not recall where my car’s level of fuel was when we started, but let’s just say the gas tank was 3/4 full, which is close enough to the precise level. When we parked the car upon returning home, I had less than 1/4 of a tank.
Let’s call it a little more than half a tank of gas consumed, so I spent about $25 in gas for the trip.
Add in some peanut butter-n-jelly sandwiches, a couple cans of coke, a home-brewed cup of unsweetened iced-tea, and some bottled water for the ride, along with an en-route pit-stop for gum and who knows what else my kids bought in that convenient store, and let’s call it some $10 spent on Food prior to entering the park.
Finally, add in the cost to drive on the toll road, which was approximately $4 each way.
GAS, TOLLS, AND PRE-PARK FOOD-STUFFS COST: $43
FREE MARKET CLASS WARFARE IN THE COST OF PARK TICKETS
Free markets are beautiful, and impressive!
I remember many, many years ago, and I think it was Disney (as in Disney World, Orlando, FL), that started the whole “fast pass” concept of tickets.
They are called by different names in different amusement parks, but the bottom line is that these “special” tickets allow a rider to basically move to the front of the line.
In Disney, it started out that you would push a button on some sort of self-serve kiosk at the ride’s line-entrance, and the kiosk would spit out a paper ticket-stub-receipt-thingy, known as the “Fast Pass”, which was printed with a specific time to come back to ride the ride without really waiting in line except for waiting with the other people who have fast passes as well.
For example, the stub might say (don’t recall the exact wording) “Space Mountain, 3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.”. This meant that if you went and stood in the line for Space Mountain, without the “fast pass”, it would take 2 hours to wait in line to ride the ride, but if you just came back at the designated time with the “fast pass”, it would take less than five minutes, so yeah, these types of tickets were “game-changers”.
The thing is that these features used to be free at all of the various amusement parks around the nation, but somebody got smart and figured out a way to create an “upgrade” option to the park ticket. Now I’m speaking generally here, and in amusement parks in general. Anyway, there used to be some small price increase to buy a ticket that allowed the rider to access the “fast line”, so from that point in amusement park history, and continuing through to this very day, the one line per ride became two lines per good ride, with the regular, stand-in-line-for-1.5-hours-to-ride-one-dang-one-minute-thrill-ride line, and the new go-through-the-line-85%-to-95%-faster-and-make-everybody-mad-or-jealous-in-the-process “fast pass” line.
The last time my family made a day-trip to Cedar Point was last fall during their Halloween Festival thingy, and we did not purchase the “upgraded” tickets.
That was a mistake because there were literally rides my family stood in line for at 2 to 3 hours a pop.
Call it “mildly unbearable” to “borderline misery” by spending 12 to 14 hours at an amusement park while standing in line for 11 to 13 of them.
Enter Summer, 2019, and this year, we are a little smarter, or we simply prefer to ride more rides in less time.
I do have a teen and pre-teen that love the trill rides.
As it turns out, when purchasing the tickets online “to save money over buying them at the gate”, the ticket price was $55 (if the math doesn’t add up it’s because I’m remembering the exact costs wrong, I just remember the total amount I paid for this ticket purchase).
So we’ll take 4 of those regular tickets.
Now, let’s add on the “fast lane” upgrade.
There are two “fast lane” upgrades.
There is the one that’s kinda-sorta good but only marginally, and then there is the one you want, called “fast lane plus” (that’s the actual name for the upgrade at Cedar Point).
You see, the very best of rides do not allow “fast lane” riders in the short line, but the “fast lane plus” upgrade will allow riders to ride all of the best rides by way of the short line, and apparently, for an unlimited amount of rides, because the regular “fast lane” upgrade apparently caps total rides or something.
Yes, I get it, this is convoluted, but it is important to understand the difference.
It’s really not a choice if you want to have a ton of fun.
Long story short, we needed three “fast lane plus” upgrades, for my wife, my daughter and my son.
Cost of the “fast lane plus” upgrade alone: $155 per ticket (and yes, you still have to buy the $55 regular ticket…that’s why it’s called an “upgrade”).
But wait, there’s more!
You’re gonna need a dang ticket to park your car too, and that’ll be $20, for the economy parking.
I can’t remember the “VIP” parking price, but we always leave early enough that we get a good parking spot, and Cedar Point is not like Disney World anyway where parking your car means you haven’t really arrived because you must now take a tram-ride or something equally tedious.
Nope, even with “economy” parking, we are able to park our car (like usual) some 300 short meters from the park.
PARK TICKET COST AND PARKING COST: $727
RANT ON DISCRIMINATION
Generally speaking, and at Cedar Point (I think Disney does this), kids under 2-years old are free.
Kids over 2-years old pay full price.
There is a reason kids under 2-years old are free.
Their parents will spend the day mostly babysitting their kids and not contributing to the wear-and-tear on the coasters, because going with a 2-year old changes the way you visit a park. I know, we went to Disney when our daughter was under 2-years old, and actually, the experience was miserable for us, and no, 2-year olds don’t like Mikey.
In fact, kids are terrified of him.
So the parks discriminate against age, as in, if you are older than 2-years old, you must pay and pay full price.
Now, here’s the part that really irks me. You see, I can’t physically ride the rides anymore. That sign that you laugh at that says “if you have back or neck problems, don’t ride this ride”, well, yeah, there’s a reason for that sign.
Now don’t get me wrong, I can ride the “train ride”, which is literally a mini choo-choo train that goes in a loop around the park, and I can ride the “cable car”. I’m not sure what it is officially called, but it’s basically the slow cable ride you see about 50-feet above the park, with a booth-car to sit-in that makes its way across some section of the park, and then circles back.
Needless to say, since the family had $210 tickets, I wasn’t about to waste any time riding the two rides I can ride.
Here’s my point – If you are going in the park, and you will not ride any rides, you should not have to pay to enter the park, much like tots under 2-years old do not require a paid ticket.
Anyway, just a pet-peeve of mine because, sure, I basically walk around the park just spending cash. My role at the park is to lug all the crap around for all four of us and wait at the exits of the rides. My secondary duty in the park is constantly being on the look-out for seating possibilities with shade.
Seriously, that’s what I do, other than eat and people watch.
Now don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy people watching. To me, I imagine going to Cedar Point is how others feel when they go to the zoo, but in my experience, the animals at Cedar Point range from North American Walmart Zombies to run-of-the-mill Sheeple. Regardless, even if you’re not riding the rides because you physically can’t ride them, you still pay the full admission.
Sure, I love free markets, but how ’bout discriminating a little more Cedar Point Et. Al.?
RANT COST: INCLUDED IN TICKET PRICE
This article is already way longer than anticipated, but food is another important aspect.
I don’t remember exactly how much cash was in my wallet before hitting the ATM on Friday night, but let’s just say it was $75.
I got out $100 at the ATM, and I imagined $175 would have been plenty for food.
I was wrong.
Here’s a small example – frozen yogurt.
You know, where you serve yourself the yogurt and scoop on as much heavy toppings as your heart desires, all paid for by the ounce, of course?
Well, daughter and son wanted some, so I handed daughter an ATM dispensed, ripped $20 bill .
When they came back with their goop, and yes, I call it goop, because they apparently don’t have a good rhythm with their froyo machines because the yogurt comes out only semi-frozen, and it begins melting immediately, so by the time you are able to get your cup weighed, the yogurt is literally like a “thick-n-chunky” frozen-n-sloshy soup, but regardless, when kids came back with two cups of frozen-ish yogurt, I was handed my change.
But wait, there’s more!
Since we stayed open-to-close in the amusement park, we were hungry as heck for dinner, and probably more so this time since we had that “fast lane plus” upgrade, so we were much, much more active in the park than if a person would be who didn’t have the $155 upgrade.
But I was out of cash!
That’s right, I flew through $175 on food, drinks, candy, snacks, and what not, and I didn’t have any cash for dinner.
We wanted to sit down and be waited-on, albeit still in the park, but in one of the “restaurants” inside it.
What can I say?
We were exhausted!
Cost for a light dinner, no drinks, including tip?
TOTAL FOOD COST: $250
Usually we buy the kids a hoodie or something like that.
They’re not cheap there, either.
This time, my son just got a couple of souvenirs, and my daughter got a couple as well, which my wife paid for with her debit card, and the bill came to $30+ for some cheap Chinese-made trinkets.
SOUVENIRS COST: $30
So let’s do the quick math and add it all up.
Now, I might be forgetting other things I spent money on, but I know I remember at least 95% of our spending from Saturday.
TOTAL COST FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR TO ATTEND A REGIONAL AMUSEMENT PARK: $1,050
I literally could only laugh at the sticker shock.
What are you going to do?
Those are “market forces” at work.
My family agreed it is only worth it to buy the upgraded-upgrade, meaning buying the $210 price of admission (ticket + “fast lane plus” upgrade), and for wifey, daughter and son, they would not be buying just the regular ticket again, so from here on out, a day trip to the regional amusement park will be costing my family at least $1,000.
OK, “Hey Half Dollar, you didn’t have to pay that price. Lots of people pay just $55 with no upgrades you show-off!”.
Well, first of all, I’m pretty sure that $55 ticket price is increasing in the next couple of months, especially as we are about to hit “peak tourist season”, so while true, the regular ticket will actually cost more than $55 in a couple of week’s time.
You are missing the major point, however, so I’ll ask it as a question: Would you go back to 56k dial-up internet service right now?
If your answer is “no”, then you must buy the $210 ticket.
And I’m not exaggerating either.
Hyperinflation is here.
The funny thing is, Jerome Powell will have plenty of time to tell the Council on Foreign Relations about how the risk is for “deflation”, and that inflation is well under 2.0%.
It’s going to be a busy week between the data dumps and the jawboning.
If fact, if anybody would show this real-world, real-time us dollar hyperinflation report to Jerome Powell, he would quite literally say that due to being able to ride many more rides in much less time, that’s an improvement in quality, so the $210 ticket price, by way of “hedonic adjustment”, actually costs $35, a price which is less than the $55 regular ticket price, so the price we paid for our ‘regular ticket with fast lane plus” actually went down this year.
That is how warped the data and information coming from the Fed and also the government has become.
The Dow is in striking distance of new all-time highs:
Recall that the S&P 500 hit new all-time highs last week.
Of course, it might take a flash-crash in the VIX to get there:
Because, as I’ve been saying, with everything that’s going on in the world, it is hard to walk the VIX down much lower than 15.
Yield on the 10-Year Note may be ramped slightly to help-out with the stock market push:
Although it will be hard to do since there are the “flight to safety” and “pricing-in Fed rate cuts” currently taking place.
The dollar is at risk of losing 96:
The dollar’s going to be losing a lot more than 96 however, because I think we are very near the bottom falling out of the dollar, meaning a much weaker dollar, which will only add to the hyperinflation all around us.
Crude oil will be an interesting one to watch this week:
It’s a battle of the technicals and the fundamentals right now.
Copper may make a move this week:
Just like people are very nervous about this gold & silver rally, people are equally nervous if not downright skeptical of any commodities rally.
Which is why platinum could really shine:
Platinum is the only one of the four precious metals that has not begun its break-out.
Palladium may break-out to new record highs:
And the consolidation over the last four days may be setting-up for just such a move.
Gold is staring to price-in all of this inflation:
It’s funny, too, because people think Gold Bugs are crazy for calling for $10,000 gold, but little do they understand gold is real and gold fever is like no other.
The gold-to-silver ratio is really about to start plunging:
Since it is plunging because of rising prices, it is the time to get back into that disciplined “dollar cost average” strategy where one stacks by some steady amount each month.
Silver hasn’t even really begun to price in anything:
Understand that when gold is at multi-year highs and silver is still at fifteen freakin’ bucks, what is coming to silver is going to be a sight like no other.
The bottom line as we find ourselves here on this beautiful day in late-June?
I do not remember what we paid to go to the amusement park last fall.
This year, however, I know I paid more than $1,000 for a day trip.
And 2019’s price is at least double from less than a year ago.
We keep hearing that there is no inflation anywhere at all.
But really, prices are now starting to get out-of-control.
In certain areas, we are not just seeing inflation.
We are seeing rampant inflation, gone wild.
Taking a family day-trip this summer?
You’ll feel it in the wallet this year.
It will be more than noticeable.
But if you’re like me, well.
You can only laugh.
‘Cause we know.
The end game.
– Half Dollar
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