The rapid acceleration of theme park prices

Rage at Adventure Island

The cost of admission to the UK’s major theme parks has once again risen considerably above the national rate of inflation.

Consumer prices in Britain are currently rising at about 0.3% per year, while overall prices excluding volatile food and energy costs increase by around 1.2% each year.

As theme parks prepare to open their gates for the 2016 season this month, admission prices have increased at the majority of attractions.

Adventure Island’s 12% (£3) hike on peak day wristbands is the biggest increase on prices compared to last year.

Fantasy Island, Drayton Manor and Lightwater Valley have upped their prices by 9% (£2), 8% (£3) and 7% (£2) respectively.

Other parks have increased their cost of admission by between 2% and 5%.

Reductions and freezes

Thorpe Park has dropped last season’s controversial policy of having ‘peak’ and ‘off-peak’ pricing structure.

A visit there during weekends and school holidays now costs £51.50, which is down 14% (£8.49) down on last year’s £59.99 charge.

This effectively makes it the only UK theme park we’ve monitored that has reduced prices on last year.

Meanwhile, Blackpool Pleasure Beach has effectively frozen its entry price for another year, rounding entry up by a penny to £30 for this season.

UK theme park prices in 2016
2016 theme park entry prices have risen by up to 12% on last year

While the predictable response from the parks will be that they are investing and that discounts and promotions are available.

The rate at which prices after discounts and promotions are rising is often still the same, and some of the price rises may be difficult to bear for some theme park visitors.

In a nutshell, the parks have been able to get away with it up to now because overall people have been happy to pay.

It is true that tourism in the UK has been boosted by the 2008 recession, and the rises could simply be seen as the result of supply and demand.

However, it remains to be seen how long the public’s tolerance to these inflation-busting price rises will last.

All pricing data was taken from the theme park’s official websites in October 2015, with the 2016 prices being obtained at time of article publication.