Analysing 2012 admission price rises

As most theme parks have now revealed increased admission price rises for the 2012 season, we take a look at the scale of the hikes, as well as those freezing prices.

While the figures are the on-the-day price before any discounts are applied, the three biggest step-ups in price have come from parks that have announced no new rides for the coming season.

The parks may point to investment made in recent times, or in areas other than rides, but it is only exciting new additions that usually take away the bitterness of increased prices.

Biggest hikers

The biggest rise came from Drayton Manor, who have increased the cost of entry by £4 to £36 – a massive 12.5%.

A £3 car parking charge also takes effect at the Tamworth theme park this season.

Camelot’s admission now costs £28, a £2 (7.7%) increase on their 2011 price.

Lightwater Valley’s 7.2% rise £23 is a £1.55 additional charge.

While it is true that these are merely the on-the-day prices and disregard online/vouchered discounts, they are a good indication of how parks struggling with recession are attempting to drive up income.

Prices on hold

Pleasure Beach Resort and Fantasy Island have held their 2012 wristband prices at £32 and £20 respectively.

Fantasy Island is expected to unveil a re-themed dark ride called The Asylum and will offer ‘low’ and ‘medium’ season wristbands in a change from last year’s £20 all-season policy.

Pleasure Beach has announced no new rides, but is undertaking visual refurbishment of the Valhalla and Revolution rides.

Most expensive

Legoland Windsor remains the UK’s most expensive theme park at £43.20, a 4.3% rise on last year.

It is closely followed by fellow Merlin Entertainments-operated parks Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, who have increased prices by £1.20 (2.9%) to £42 – but both have announced multi-million pound rides for the 2012 season.

Inflation is currently running at 3.6% in the UK, and Merlin will be keen to point out that their prices are roughly in-line or below that figure, and that they are making obvious new additions to their parks.

Complete table

Any theme parks not listed were not investigated as part of this research. Prices correct at time of writing.